“Wild” Dogs — Much Love
20 July 2014
By Joanna Dunn Samson, FOTAS Director
Are you under the impression that dogs that come from a shelter are wild? Really? Let me introduce you to some of the “wild” dogs at the Aiken County Shelter.
Take 3 year-old Sweetie, a favorite among the volunteers and staff because she lives up to her name. A beautiful brown and white, 38 pound bulldog/terrier cross, Sweetie’s sole purpose in life is to please a human and cuddle up on the couch.
There’s Booker, a four year-old boxer mix with such an exceptional temperament, our trainers believe he’d make a wonderful service dog. With darn near perfect leash manners, Booker is a pleasure to take for walks on the newly created trails around the shelter. He loves playing ball and he loves children, and he particularly loves playing ball with children. By the way, did I mention Booker is house-trained?
How about Iffy, a leggy, one year-old mixed breed with a stunning brindle coat? Iffy loves people. She gets so excited when people approach her kennel that she wags her tail against the wall so hard it bleeds: a condition our shelter vet calls “Happy Tail.” Affectionate and sweet, Iffy will make some lucky human a very devoted pet.
Then there’s Lokey, another boxer/terrier cross with beautiful white markings on her face and a shiny black coat. Two years old and the perfect medium size (38 pounds), Kathy Jacobs and her son Noah (FOTAS volunteers) take Lokey out to play ball every time they come to the shelter. Lokey is playful, intelligent and willing to learn. She just needs a human to take care of, fuss over and love.
Are these dogs wild? You bet they are – they are wild with love.
Jay Lyda of Southern K9 Solutions and Veterans K9 Solutions comes to the shelter three mornings a week to work with the volunteers and the dogs on basic obedience skills, like leash training.
“Most of these dogs have never been obedience trained,” says Jay, “yet without exception, every one of them are eager and willing to please, even in the generally stressful environment of a crowded shelter.”
In fact, according to national surveys, 95% of dogs surrendered to shelters have never had any obedience training, which along with lack of exercise, accounts for the majority of behavioral problems that cause an owner to surrender a dog in the first place.
Continues Jay, “A dog does not know how to be a good family member without proper instruction. Like a child, they need to be taught basic manners. Any dog can be trained with a little patience and commitment, and the payoff is huge. Training stimulates their brain, helps them focus, and provides an outlet for their energy.”
He is so right. We see it all the time at the shelter. Even the most unruly dogs become attractive adoption prospects after a little leash training, attention and exercise provided by dedicated FOTAS volunteers and trainers like Jay, Susi Cohen of Palmetto Dog Club and Nancy Webster, and the payoff has been huge. In 2013, more County shelter animals were adopted and rehomed last year than from any other rescue facility in the CSRA.
That’s a remarkable and well-earned achievement, but we desperately need the community’s help to keep it going.
We need more volunteers to work with the animals, especially during these hot summer months when intake numbers are heartbreakingly high.
We need financial donations to enable FOTAS to continue to supplement the County’s resources to provide the best possible care for these animals.
But most of all, we need responsible owners to adopt their next pet from the Aiken County Animal Shelter, and now through August 9th, adoption prices have been cut in half.
For only $35.00 for a dog and $17.00 for a cat, your new pet will be vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and spayed or neutered. Now that’s a bargain.
Please don’t wait. Reach out today. Their lives are in our hands.
BOOKER — Male, Boxer mix — 4 years old — 63 lbs — $35
EDWIN – Male, tabby kitten — 6 wks old — 1.6 lbs — $17