By Joanna D. Samson, FOTAS Vice President
Here’s what I know about you: you have a big heart and you love animals (or you wouldn’t be reading this article). You probably have pets at home – maybe a dog or cat or two or more – and those pets bring you and your family great joy and lots of laughs. You are sickened that almost 5000 abandoned and abused animals pass through the Aiken County Animal Shelter each year, and you wonder: how can this happen in this community you love and call home?
And although you are relieved that a record number of shelter animals were saved last year (almost 3000) thanks to the combined efforts of FOTAS, the County and the community, you are profoundly saddened that another 1900 had to be euthanized, either because they were irreparably damaged emotionally and/or physically by the cruelty or neglect of other humans or because we just couldn’t find them homes fast enough.
You want to do something that matters, but what?
Here are some ideas to think about.
- You can volunteer at the shelter, where you can work with the animals or help at the desk. You can commit to any amount of time that makes sense in your life – there is no amount too small. You can maybe set aside Tuesday afternoon? Great. Only have an hour on Thursday morning? Also great. The FOTAS volunteer program is structured on blocks of time committed by people like you – just tell us what you would like to do and how much time you can reliably commit. We’ll make it happen.
- You can foster dogs for a short period of time that have been approved for transfer to a sister no-kill agency in other parts of the country, which allows the dogs to decompress from the stress of shelter life beforehand and creates much needed space on the adoption floor for a dog from intake. Or, you can foster mama dogs and/or their puppies until they are old enough to be transferred or adopted. All you need is a safe, protected place in your home or your garage or barn to house the animals. FOTAS even pays for food and medical supplies, if necessary.
- You can adopt your next pet from the County Shelter. That’s huge. Unlike other private no-kill shelters, the County Shelter does not have the luxury, space or resources to hold their animals for a long time: it is an open admissions shelter, required by law to take all animals. At the no-kill shelter, the animals can stay until someone comes to adopt them. At the County shelter, the animals are at risk unless they can be transferred or adopted out quickly.
- Or you can donate to FOTAS. We will use that money to improve the quality of life for the animals at the shelter, pay the costs associated with transfer, or attack the problem at its source through the FOTAS Fix-a-Pet program or its Lenny’s Brigade for community cats.
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (803) 514-4313. Your help makes the difference between life and death for these unfortunate animals.
God Bless and Happy New Year.