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We provide houses to needy dogs and educate our community about animal welfare issues, such as providing for a pet’s basic needs and how to combat pet over-population.

Brenda Nash
Brenda Nash, Founder

Supplying doghouses to dogs in need, as well as working at Rabun Animal Hospital, fulfills Brenda’s mission of lessening the suffering of all animals. She is a certified pet bereavement counselor. She has also been involved with Rabun Paws 4 Life Animal Shelter as a board member and volunteer. She spends her free time with her household of rescued dogs and supportive husband.

Erv Leonard
Erv Leonard, Builder

Erv Leonard, a retired gentleman who enjoys building doghouses and gardening, volunteered to build the doghouses and currently has built over 300 houses for Habitat for Hounds.

Jennifer Arbitter

Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom to three sons with Dr. Stephen Arbitter of Rabun Animal Hospital.  She loves caring for animals, having bottle-raised several abandoned puppies and kittens over the years, and working with her late therapy dog, Kiley.  Jennifer is also on the board of the Sid Weber Memorial Cancer Fund.

Jennifer Arbitter, Secretary
How Habitat for Hounds Began...

“Habitat for Hounds” was born out of the need for one doghouse. Dixie,  a dog Brenda drove by every day, had little shelter to protect her from the cold.  One day in November 2011, Brenda decided to buy Dixie a doghouse to protect her from the freezing temperature and rain. She also realized that there must be other dogs in Rabun County in the same situation as Dixie. Once she got to work at Rabun Animal Hospital, in Mountain City, Ga., she asked owners Dr. Stephen Arbitter and Dr. Brad Smith, if she could put up a donation jar in the hopes of collecting funds to supply other needy dogs with houses. Brenda called the mission “Holiday Doghouse Drive.” The holidays came and went and donations were still coming in and dogs still needed houses, so the name of the mission was changed to “Habitat for Hounds.” Dixie was the first dog to get an insulated, straw-filled house and every morning, Brenda saw her poking her head out of the door, warm and comfortable.

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