By Bob Gordon, FOTAS Communications Director and Volunteer
The Aiken County Animal Shelter and FOTAS are partnering with Happy Tales, a not-for-profit organization that shares their mission to find forever homes for rescued cats and kittens. The partnership includes showcasing County shelter cats at PetSmart in Aiken – and the kitties couldn’t be happier about their new showcase venue.
Last week, five cats were transported from the shelter to PetSmart, where Happy Tales Founder Joanne Dansby-Brosz welcomed them with open arms. Morris, Neo, Nicole, Kovu and Caleb were a bit scared and nervous during the trip and when they first arrived. But shortly after they were placed in their PetSmart “apartments,” they began to get comfortable – and even content – in their new digs. Joanne decorates the apartments with colorful bowls, blankets and toys to create a vivid, warm setting that makes the cats look their best.
Happy Tales has eight cat apartments at the Aiken PetSmart and Joanne is planning to transfer in new County shelter cats each week in partnership with FOTAS.
“We get a lot of traffic coming through here and that extra exposure results in a lot of adoptions,” Joanne said. “We are really excited to be part of saving the lives of County animals and can’t wait to accept more of the shelter’s cats and get them seen.”
FOTAS and the shelter are thrilled with the partnership as well. The more exposure the cats get, the better their chances of finding a forever home.
“This arrangement gives the cats an opportunity to shine at the PetSmart store,” said Martha Chadwick, Manager of the Aiken County Animal Shelter. “Our goal is to get every healthy cat adopted – and being in a different venue can make a difference.”
Joanne currently has 11 volunteers, each of whom works in two-hour shifts at the Aiken PetSmart location. Some have been with her organization for close to two decades. Happy Tales has partnered with the Aiken PetSmart store for 10 years and Joanne said that Store Manager Butch Hampton and his employees have been extremely supportive of her and her team.
Joanne only takes cats that are fully vaccinated and vetted, spay/neutered and parasite-free. She is strict about maintaining her strong reputation of providing only clean and healthy felines. In addition, before any adoption is approved, she visits the prospect’s home to ensure they are good, responsible pet owners.
With the shelter now at full capacity in the cat adoption facility and with its cat condos filled with kittens, the partnership with Happy Tales could not have come at a better time.
“We are doing this to save feline lives,” Joanne said. I know the County can be overwhelmed with the huge number of homeless cats coming in, so we need to get them good homes as fast as possible.”
The County shelter, located at 333 Wire Road, currently has some great black cats and kittens available for adoption, including: Muffit, Layth, Corey, Collette, Draco, Keifer, Jamison and Jet. At the shelter, they are $35 (half the price of a dog adoption), which includes all vaccinations, spay/neuter and microchip.
Their lives are in our hands…