This is Riley. Riley lives with my friend Caryn and her husband and daughter. Riley is trained as a therapy dog and spends time each month with children who are experiencing emotional, behavioral, and dependency problems and are being treated at Charter Peachford right here in Dunwoody.

I thought of Riley and the work he does last night when I was interviewing Katrell Christie, the owner of Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party. Okay, stay with me here. It’s a good story.

Dr. Bombay’s is a coffee/pastry/quiche kind of place on Mclendon Avenue in Atlanta, and Katrell is a long-time book lover who vowed (when she was in middle school) to one day have a place where anyone could afford a book. So if you go to Dr. Bombay’s and spend the day, you’ll see people continually stopping by to donate boxes and boxes of books. These books line the shelves throughout the shop and are each for sale for the ridiculously low price of 50 cents.

Every single penny from every single book sold goes to Noah’s Ark Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. Noah’s Ark is an exotic animal rescue sanctuary, started by a woman who vowed as a little girl to one day have a place for rehabilitating any creature that needed it and never charging a dime. Not only will you find more than 1,000 rescued animals here (including that zebra that fell off the truck on I-75 last April–remember that one?) on more than 200 acres, but you will also find a home for abandoned and abused children, with up to 24 children at a time.

And guess what happens next?

The children and the animals rehabilitate each other.

Like Riley. At Charter Peachford.

Got books? Bring them to Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party. Want books? That’s a great place to buy some (perhaps as holiday gifts). Every fifty cents actually matters.

And, you know what? Complete honesty here. It’s easy to get very insulated here in suburbia, and to think things like granite countertops are actually important. When I talk with folks like Katrell and hear stories like Riley and Noah’s Ark, I am reminded how much incredible generosity and compassion exists right here, close to home and throughout our larger metropolitan area. And I realize how rich we really are.

Posted by Pattie Baker

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