Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe is a non-profit with a unique mission: to contribute to the well-being of pets and people everywhere to improve human-animal interactions, reduce the incidence of animal cruelty, and relieve the strain on local animal shelters. We achieve this goal by providing fun, interactive, and engaging humane education, pet therapy, and community-building programs for all age levels from pre-kindergarten on up, even for adults.
The CEO and Founder, Aaron Fisher, taught elementary school for seven years, spent more than 12 years volunteering and working in animal welfare, and has been working with at-risk youth since the early '90s (yes, he's that old). He first came to Atlanta in 1993 to attend Emory University, and his love for the city has only grown since.

The idea for this innovative project was born from these experiences. His students were often too young to volunteer with animals (but really wanted to learn more about pets). Yet, no single organization was primarily dedicated to educating the community about animal welfare, how to care for pets and be safer around animals. Our programming now reaches more than 1,000 participants a month!
Despite so much good that's been accomplished for Atlanta's pets, the number of animals entering area shelters continues to increase, as does the incidence of animal cruelty. Yet, few local rescue groups offer the educational resources to help prevent pets from entering shelters in the first place. Simply put, we're not going to spay/neuter, shelter, or adopt our way out of the pet overpopulation and animal cruelty problems. Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe addresses the root cause of these issues through innovative educational programs that focus on the critical aspects of prevention and healthy human-animal interactions.

Making an Impact

Our humane education, community-building, and pet therapy programming reaches more than 1,000 participants a month, and since 2018, nearly 23,000 people have joined in on our programs. More than 70% are children, and 60% are from Title One schools and underserved communities. Our programs are available to libraries, schools, scouts, youth groups, colleges and universities, business organizations, long-term care facilities, and everything in between.

​Through our innovative One Leash Project, not only does the community learn safe and humane animal practices, we've also kept more than 5,500 lbs. of climbing rope material from entering landfills. Many of the leashes are donated to local first responders, whom we train how to secure loose pets in emergencies, so that they can be reunited with their owners, and kept off the streets and out of shelters. Each leash comes with a card that says the name of the person who made it, and whom the leash was made in honor, memory, or celebration of. This unique program has helped forge meaningful, lasting relationships among law enforcement and community members - on behalf of both pets and people.

Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe - helping people, pets, and the planet.



Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe is so fortunate to enjoy the support of many organizations, businesses, and individuals. We know that "It takes a village," to effect change, and we couldn't achieve all that we do in the community without their generosity.  
Because of the support of the above businesses and organizations, as well as generous individuals, we've been able to work with such amazing schools and groups as:
  • North Carolina A&T University
  • Friends School of Atlanta
  • Duke University
  • Shallowford Elementary
  • St. Martin's School
  • Covenant House
  • Congregation Or Hadash
  • Huntley Hills Elementary
  • Atlanta Fulton Public Libraries
  • Kingsley Elementary School
  • JCC Camps
  • Georgia Tech
  • Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts of Atlanta
  • International Community School
  • Garden Hills Elementary
  • The Temple (of Atlanta)
  • University of Georgia
  • The Dinerman Group
  • Atlanta International School
  • Tuskegee University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of Toronto
  • Cheatham Hill Elementary
  • Bells Ferry Elementary
  • Temple Sinai
  • SarahCare Senior Care
  • Green Acres Elementary
  • Emory University
  • Powers Ferry Elementary
  • Congregation Gesher L'Torah
  • DeKalb County Libraries
  • Henderson Mill Elementary
  • Eastvalley Elementary
  • Inman Park Cooperative Preschool
  • Colorado State University
  • The Ascent Project
  • Agnes Scott College
  • Trinity School
  • The Federal Reserve Bank
  • Mount Paran Christian School
  • St. John's University
  • Kate's Club
  • Jewish Kids Group
  • SoulShine Early Childhood
  • Altruistic Day Care for Seniors (Tucker)
  • Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta
  • Montana State University
  • Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School
  • Children's Museum of Atlanta
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • Midtown International School
  • The Westminster School
  • Midvale Elementary School
  • ideas United
  • Clemson University
  • and many other schools, organizations and businesses.


We love it when we get good press. Please check out the links below that highlight who we are and all the good we're doing in the community to promote responsible pet care, humane animal practices, and the importance of preventive education.  

Major Awards

We also love getting major awards. We're honored to have received the following:  
Mary Allen Lindsey Branan Foundation Grant
Constellation Community Champion Award
Bloom Grant from the Atlanta Jewish Federation
The Helen Marie Stern Fund
Walmart Community Foundation Grants
Binky Foundation Grant
Georgia's Own Foundation Award
Second Life Foundation Grant
See Beautiful Giving Initiative Grant
Virginia Highland Civic Association Grant
Race for the Rescues Grant
Delta's 48in48 program

Board members

Dwayne Marshall
Board member
Dwayne currently serves as the Vice President of Community Investment for the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, where he and his team manage strategic grantmaking, scholarships and impact investing. Previously, he was the Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships for the Southeastern Council of Foundations where he spearheaded grantmaker education for over 300+ foundations from across the region. Dwayne is an alumnus of various civic leadership programs including the New Leaders Council, Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition, Aspen Institute Socrates Program and the Independent Sector NGEN Fellowship. Dwayne is also a member of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Alumni Association, and received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the Emory University Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, Georgia. Dwayne is a proud native of Savannah, Georgia.
Dr. Janine Franco
Board member
An Atlanta native, Janine went to the University of Pennsylvania for her undergraduate education, and obtained a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from University of Georgia in 2006. She enjoys spending time with her two children and husband when she is not working at The Village Vets of Decatur, where she has been an associate veterinarian since 2008. She enjoys exercise, especially long walks outside, cooking, playing with her dog, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. You can often find her picking weeds in her front yard, her favorite form of therapy.
Kristine Schmit
Board member
Kristine is a Medical Epidemiologist with the CDC. Kristine attended med school at Duke University, completed a Family Medicine residency at the University of California San Diego and a Preventive Medicine residency at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to returning to medical school, Kristine worked as a social worker in Atlanta assisting men and women experiencing homelessness search for full-time employment. She volunteers weekly as a physician with Mercy Care of Atlanta, and also volunteers with a local neighborhood non-profit, Neighbor in Need East Atlanta, that provides home repairs for seniors to keep them safe in their homes. The current light of her life is a spunky, quirky, delightful little hound mix named Lola.
Robin Harpak
Board member
Robin is the Director of University and Nonprofit Partnerships at Ideas United, an Atlanta-based creative agency. Robin joined the firm in 2019 after more than eight years as a fundraiser for Emory University Laney Graduate School. Previously, Robin worked at the University Of Haifa. Born and raised in Atlanta, Robin attended school in Boston (Brandeis University) and lived in New York and Israel before making her way back to Atlanta where she now resides. In her free time, Robin loves working out, running, cooking, drawing, and volunteering. Robin lives with her husband, Dotan, her daughter, Carmel, and their dog Charlie in Decatur, where everything is greater.