21 September 2014
By Joanna Dunn Samson, FOTAS Director
It’s not just the stuff of fairytales, you know. It really happens.
Take Andrew and Skittles, both American boxer/bull terrier/retriever crosses currently available for adoption at the Aiken County Animal Shelter.
Andrew was a stray picked up by Animal Control in July. He was emaciated, hungry and scared. His reddish brown coat was dull, his white chest dirty and matted.
In his kennel in the Intake Building, Andrew cowered in the corner and would not make eye contact, but Sandy Larsen, the shelter’s senior vet tech, and the shelter staff were patient and kind. After a day or two, Andrew began to relax.
Over the next week, Larsen continued to evaluate Andrew. Despite his fear, he showed no aggression towards people. He was underweight, but otherwise healthy. Larsen was confident Andrew would continue to improve with training and attention, so she released him to the Adoption floor.
After that, FOTAS volunteer Ellie Joos and Andrew bonded immediately.
“He is the first dog I walk in the morning,” says Ellie. “On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work in the yard with trainer Jay Lyda from Southern K9 Solutions. I always walk him again before I leave.”
“His progress has been amazing,” says Jay. “Andrew has become a happy, affectionate dog. He walks quietly on the leash, sits and comes when called. He still gets excited in his kennel, but that’s to be expected – he’s young and energetic. What’s important is how quickly he calms down when he’s taken out.”
Then there’s Skittles, a stunning 5 year-old white dog with a striking brown mask over her eyes. She is quiet and calm by nature and adores people. After regular weekly sessions with Jay, she walks quietly on a leash, sits and rolls over for a nice belly rub.
Volunteers Kathy Jacobs and her nine-year-old son, Noah, visit Skittles frequently and play ball with her in the yard. Skittles loves her tennis balls, but she loves her playmates more. When they call her, she comes back quickly.
So Andrew has blossomed from a lonely, scared frog to a handsome, happy prince with Ellie’s devotion, Jay’s training and consistent care, while Skittles has transformed into a majestic, loving princess under the same formula.
But here’s the bad news: Andrew has been on the Adoption Floor longer than any previous shelter resident, followed closely by Skittles.
That’s a seriously bad place to be for a dog in a public shelter desperate for space.
It’s a mystery to FOTAS volunteers and staff why these two sensational dogs are still at the shelter.
Andrew loves people and children – he recently entertained an entire troop of girl scouts. After his walk and training, Ellie takes him into the Lobby, where he sits quietly by the desk and wags his tail furiously for everyone who stops by.
Skittles is quiet and mature. She loves people, especially children. She loves to play. She is a devoted and kind and will make someone a faithful companion.
Help us save these dogs – you won’t be sorry. Their adoption price has been reduced to $35, a small price to pay for a fully vaccinated and neutered dog and a life long companion.
And please, please don’t wait. Their time is running out.