07 December 2014
By Edie Hubler, FOTAS Director
The little brown and white hound dog named Mae sat at perfect attention in her kennel at the new Aiken County Animal Shelter and looked up at Jeri Barrett, the owner of Herbal Solutions, with earnest brown eyes. “Like she was saying,” says Jeri, “’Please, I’ll be a good girl.’ ”
Jeri wasn’t looking for a dog – Herbal Solutions was an exhibitor at the FOTAS Woofstock Festival and she was touring the new facility – but she was touched by the hopeful Mae sitting quietly in her kennel. She called the shelter on Monday and was relieved and delighted to find that Mae had been adopted.
The memory of Mae plagued Jeri, and although she was already a veteran supporter of FOTAS – Herbal Solutions had been a frequent exhibitor at Woofstock and Jeri has donated dozens of “thunder shirts” over the years to calm anxious shelter residents – she wanted to do more.
Jeri came up with a $10,000 idea. She would recruit other Aiken businesses to sell paper dog or cat ornaments for $1.00 to hang on a special Christmas tree in the store, and all the proceeds would be donated to FOTAS.
All she needed was enough good citizens and customers to buy 10,000 paper ornaments and some willing Aiken businesses to participate.
Jeri began to call other local businesses, and in short order, she had recruited Susan Boland, Vic and Sheri Scarborough of Downtown Dog (who have been extraordinarily generous to FOTAS since they opened last year), Gaye Cain of Aiken Antique Mall, Jay Watts of Family Pharmacy, Dr. Kim Hammond-Beyer of Hammond-Beyer Health Center, Dana Hall of Security Federal Bank, Edie Conway of Riverfront Antiques Mall, and Philip Martin of Powerhouse Pet Resort.
“Hang One for FOTAS” was born.
Here’s how it works. Visit any of these businesses during December, donate $1.00 and hang a paper dog, cat or horse in honor of someone you love. Even better, buy 5 ornaments: the tree will be adorned more quickly, more money will go to the County’s abandoned, abused and neglected animals, and your karma will brighten a notch on the enlightenment scale.
The money will help FOTAS acquire some of the items on the Shelter Wish List: an enclosed fenced in play area for vulnerable puppies, a stainless steel wash tub and a pet dryer for the intake wing, a cat condo for the main lobby, a curtain system to shield the outdoor kennels from rain and wind – all items that keep the animals healthy and make them more adoptable.
There are so many animals to keep healthy – so many that need a new home and a second chance.
Fortunately for them, there are special people in the world like Jeri – people who expend their time, energy and personal capital to help helpless animals.
It seems like a hard lift and a lot of paper animal ornaments, but Jeri is confident the $10,000 goal will be met. “I learned something very valuable from this experience,” said Jeri. “The Aiken business community is so generous; all I had to do was ask for help.”
The season of giving has begun. Stop by one of these businesses and buy an ornament (or 2 or 5) to support FOTAS.
Better yet, come to the County Shelter and take advantage of our ½ price Holiday Adoption Special, and bring home an early Christmas present for your family.
BY THE NUMBERS
January/14 – October/14 January/13 – October/13
Total dogs/cats received = 3821 Total dogs/cats received = 4446
Total dogs/cats adopted/transferred = 1826 Total dogs/cats adopted/transferred = 1274
Total dogs/cats euthanized = 2133 Total dogs/cats euthanized = 3274