Jun. 2—Dr. Michael Good, a Cobb veterinarian regarded by virtually all who knew him as a selfless servant of animals in need and of the people in his community, died at his home on Friday. He was 67.
Friends and family say Good, a fierce and persistent animal advocate, was full of life and energy and represented all the best characteristics in a veterinarian, teacher, father and friend.
Good was the owner of Town & Country Veterinary Clinics with multiple locations in Cobb County. He also founded the nonprofit education and rescue organization, Homeless Pets Foundation, as well as the Underhound Railroad, an initiative that transports adoptable pets to states in the Northeast that have more demand for adoptions, often from kill shelters in the South. Through the two organizations' work, in which family and friends say Good was active, thousands of animals have been adopted and many saved from euthanasia.
He also frequently hosted low-cost vaccination clinics for pets and served as the on-call veterinarian for The Atlanta Braves' Bark in the Park, a day when dogs are welcome at a ball game.
Lori McDowell worked at Town & Country's main office in Marietta with Good for 20 years and helped run the Homeless Pets Foundation. She also helped sign up schools and businesses for Homeless Pet Clubs of America, a branch of the Homeless Pets Foundation.
McDowell said Good, who many called "The Good Doctor," was a "very caring, generous, big-hearted man, who would do anything and everything he could to help both humans and animals."
Good was known to charge little to nothing for services when a pet owner couldn't afford certain care, she said. If he knew they wanted to truly care for their animals, he made sure that could happen.
McDowell once said in passing she'd like to care for some of the adoptable animals in Good's various foundations at her home, but she didn't have a fenced-in yard for play and exercise.
"Next thing I know, he had his fence guy over at my home having a fence installed in my backyard so that I could bring the animals to my home," she said. "And that was at his expense."
McDowell also said her 10-year-old granddaughter, Emilee, was inspired by Good and began volunteering at the clinic at age 4. For years now, she's fed animals, taken dogs for walks, helped clean kennels and more. And now, McDowell said, Emilee wants to be a vet and carry on Good's legacy.
As a much-loved expert in his field, Good made regular appearances on radio station New Country 101.5 to promote adoptions.
Dallas McCade, of the Kincaid & Dallas Mornings segment, said she and Good had been friends for 20 years. She said she learned of of his death just hours after he'd died.
"I was absolutely devastated," she said. "I just can't say enough about Dr. Michael Good. He was such an incredible man."
Of her nine dogs and seven cats, McCade said all the dogs are rescues and many of the animals came from Good.
McCade said during his radio appearances, named "Homeless Pet of the Week," as well as in his life's work, "it was all about the animals."
"When it came to animals, he was always searching for another way to help," she said, noting that's how Underhound Railroad came to be. She remembered how proud he was of that endeavor. "They would send 30 or 40 dogs up to states in the Northeast, and people were standing in line to adopt them. It just made his heart just so full."
Claudine Wilkins was a close family friend of Good for decades. Wilkins, a former prosecutor in Cobb, said Good had planned to take her and her 94-year-old mother to dinner on Tuesday.
"I haven't really registered it," Wilkins said on Tuesday, noting that she'd spoken with Good the day before he died. "It was a typical phone call from Michael — very crazy, in a funny way."
Wilkins, who in high school wanted to become a vet, met Good at a veterinary clinic where he worked when she was 16. She said she worked with him "every day for a long time."
"He was happy, funny, laughing, telling stories — the same personality he was until the day he died. Just jovial, exuberant, full of life, he was a visionary. He always had a story to tell you or a plan to tell you," she said.
And, Wilkins said, he taught her "everything I would need to know." He let her scrub in for surgeries to watch and learn, even though she'd only worked at the clinic for a month.
In addition to her work as a personal injury attorney, Wilkins works on animal advocacy cases and runs the nonprofit Animal Protection Society, an organization that she said she was able to get started with the help of a grant that Good assisted in receiving.
She recalled once asking him to get on a red-eye flight to "the middle of nowhere Tennessee" after he'd worked a full day to be the "veterinarian on the ground" on a puppy mill case she was working.
"And he said, 'Yeah, tell me where to go,'" Wilkins said, adding that he refused to let her buy his ticket. "He was just a wonderful man, and with him goes a vast amount of knowledge. ... He paved the path for other veterinarians to be better veterinarians."
Like the others, Wilkins said Good often worked long hours with no complaints and charged little to nothing for those who couldn't pay for their pet's sometimes expensive care.
Wilkins said Good turned Town & Country into one of the most successful veterinary clinics in the state and was the epitome of a businessman who cared for and invested in his community.
"Many of the thousands of clients will be lost without him," she said.
His greatest loves, she said, were his work; meeting and interacting with clients, who often became friends; and most of all, his family.
Phil Good, Dr. Good's son and co-owner of Town & Country, said his father "meant the world to me." It's hard, he said, to express the size of the impact The Good Doctor will have had with all he has done.
Services will be held Sunday, June 6, at Marietta First Baptist Church, 148 Church St. A visitation will be held in the chapel from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., and a memorial service will be held in the sanctuary from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Homeless Pets Foundation at homelesspets.com.
Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.