01 August 2014
By Joanna Dunn Samson
Like most people, I’ve made some pretty stupid decisions in my 60 years, but the smartest decision I ever made, right up there with becoming Mrs. David Samson, was to rescue our beloved dogs from a shelter.
Since 1996, David and I have adopted five dogs. Without exception all five were and are extraordinary pets. Each of them enriched our lives in ways we could not have foreseen when we brought them home.
Were we just lucky to find five great dogs?
No. Thanks to dedicated FOTAS volunteers, trainers and staff at the Aiken County Animal Shelter, luck had very little to do with it.
An animal typically spends at least 10 days in intake at the County shelter before being moved to the adoption floor, so by the time it is adopted, volunteers, trainers and staff have had plenty of time to evaluate its temperament and disposition.
They can often even tell whether a dog is housebroken by its behavior in the kennel. For example, does it do its business in the outside kennel or wait until a volunteer takes it for its walk? In addition, if the animal was surrendered, the owner may have provided some reliable background information.
So the perceived risk of adopting a shelter animal – that is, you don’t know what you are getting when you adopt a pet from the shelter – is unfounded. FOTAS Volunteers and County staff are well acquainted with the nature of an animal by the time it is ready for adoption.
There are so many reasons why your next pet should come from the County shelter.
First and foremost, it’s the right thing to do.
Thousands of unwanted animals wind up in the County shelter every year, and although we try, we can’t save them all. Until the wretched overpopulation of unwanted animals is reduced by programs like FOTAS’ Fix-a-Pet, we, the community, are their only hope for a happy, healthy life.
Second, it’s a great bargain, especially until August 9. For $35 for a dog and $17 for a cat, your new pet will be spayed or neutered, microchipped, dewormed and vaccinated.
Third, there are dogs and cats of all shapes, colors and sizes at the shelter, so you have a wide variety from which to choose. Once you’ve narrowed down the possibilities, you can spend however much time you need getting to know the dogs in the large fenced-in play areas. (Don’t be put off by their excitement; shelter dogs love human company.)
If you are looking for a fluffy feline, you can visit with them in the Cat Colony House built by FOTAS, where adoptable cats are free to move around or go outside to a fenced in area to play on the climbing stations.
Finally, my husband believes that shelter animals are grateful because they know in their heart of hearts you saved them, which results in extraordinary devotion to their rescuers. I have to agree.
Their lives are in our hands.
Come on down to the new Aiken County Animal Shelter and adopt your next pet. You won’t be sorry.