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Everyday Heroes: Robin Rawls

As she sits in her Clayton County home gently stroking the kitty-cat without any eyes, Robin Rawls remembers how much trouble she once got in after secretly bringing home a cat.

“I didn’t know what pregnant was or what it looked like,” Rawls said. “I found this big old cat and put her in the bathroom and didn’t tell [anyone]. Overnight she had kittens.”

In literature, it’s called foreshadowing. In Rawls’ life, it was indeed a sign of things to come. The blind cat is just one of 15 she’s fostering in her home right now, hoping for forever homes, but doubtful because most are handicapped in some way.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Just a short drive away, there are 85 additional cats, dogs and miscellaneous animals Rawls and her team are caring for as they operate the Clayton County Humane Society, a no-kill shelter in Jonesboro. Those animals are also waiting to go home with someone and Rawls explains that now, at capacity, no other animals can come in until some of the current ones go out.

Serving as president and running the shelter is a natural fit for Rawls. She has had other jobs in her life, but says this one is special. She said she never looked forward to getting up and going to work as much as she does with this job, and while it is 24/7, it is gratifying.

Rawls and two friends revived the organization, which is legally named the Humane Society and SPCA of Clayton County. It is not a county entity, but an agreement allows the use of the county building. The humane society re-opened its doors in July 1998 and it didn’t take any time for the building to fill up with animals.

“This was our way of trying to save as many as we could,” Rawls said. “We were small then, and we’re small now. I can only do about 85 animals at a time.”

The Clayton County Humane Society operates without any county, state or federal funds, depending entirely on donations, adoption fees and fund-raisers, such as its recent 7th Annual Pasta for Paws at First United Methodist of Morrow where 400 people came out on a Saturday to enjoy a meal and support the cause. In the springtime, the humane society hosts the Mutt Strut and a barbecue, along with yard sales. Proceeds from its Two by Two Thrift Shop in Jonesboro, which is run by volunteers, also provides funding for the shelter.

“An animal is hit by a car and the owners don’t have the money for care,” Rawls said. “People have to make the choice, ‘Do we spend $3,000 or let them be euthanized?’ The choice is to usually put them in a box and leave them at our front door.”

While there are sad situations, Rawls said there are also funny ones. She remembers getting a call in the middle of the night from a lady who wanted her to come get a pig out of her yard. Then there was the goat that was “terrorizing” Jonesboro High School. The principal called Rawls.

From snakes, hamsters, ferrets and rabbits to an iguana, the Clayton County Humane Society has helped them all, but dogs and cats are preferred.


The shelter is open for adoptions.

For more information, visit www.claytoncountyhumane.org.


This place we call home is filled with ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary feats. Their selfless acts make this region so special – and they bring out the best in all of us. With the holidays upon us, we wanted to share their inspiring stories, celebrate their accomplishments, and offer ways that you can help.

Just as the 55 people we’re profiling can’t do it alone, nor can we. That’s why we worked closely with our partners to bring you this collection of uplifting stories.

We hope they leave you feeling inspired and ready to tackle the busy new year that lies ahead.

We hope they make you feel more connected to your community or to your neighbors.

And maybe, just maybe, they will motivate you to come up with your own small way to make a big difference in the lives of others.

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