Love Stories at the Aiken County Animal Shelter

12 May 2015

Love Stories at the Aiken County Animal Shelter

By Joanna Dunn Samson, FOTAS Vice President

I love a good love story. Not the stuff of steamy bodice-ripping romance novels, but stories where love triumphs over tragedy and compassion trumps cruelty. The kind of stories where opportunity and luck sprinkled with a little magic create a bond that transcends the wounds of the past and fashions a new reality based on love and trust.

Like the story of Sheneneh and James Boyd. Sheneneh is a sweet strawberry blond “pibble” (that’s a pit bull cross without the negative baggage, by the way) that was chained to a stake and abandoned by her owners – an act of incomprehensible human cruelty. Painfully thin and dehydrated, Sheneneh was scarred around the neck by the heavy chain and heartworm positive. But for the concern of a neighbor who called the County Animal Control, she would have died on the end of that stake. Sheneneh went quietly with the kindly animal control officers, grateful to be released from the chain and even more grateful for a little kindness.

At the County shelter, Sheneneh caught the eye of a young custodian, James Boyd.  Although James had fostered puppies from time to time, he did not have a dog. He was waiting for the right dog – one that loved to play fetch.

He was waiting for Sheneneh.

“James is one of those compassionate, patient souls that puts everyone at ease,” says Martha Chadwick, the shelter manager. “He is a calming influence on the animals. He and Sheneneh bonded immediately. She is happy to fetch anything James can throw.”

160 dogs at the shelter, a dozen staff and scores of volunteers, and somehow James and Sheneneh found each other. Opportunity, luck and a little magic, and viola! – another love story is written by fate.

The stars also aligned for Morgan Zakis and Palmer – a handsome red “pibble” with striking white markings on his face. Morgan owned two dogs in her past life, and she had been searching for the right dog for a long time after she relocated to Aiken. Then last week she visited the County shelter and found Palmer.

Says Morgan, “I was walking past his kennel. He looked up at me with those sweet eyes and reached out with his paw – like he was saying ‘Hey, I’m the one!’ and I just knew he was. He went home with me that day.”

Palmer bonded immediately with Morgan and her boyfriend, Andrew. From the very beginning, he was quiet and well-mannered in the house – no accidents.

“He loves to snuggle and be close to us,” says Morgan. “He gets excited when Andrew comes home from work. We are so fortunate to have him,” she says, amazed at her good luck.

Yup. Good luck, opportunity and a sprinkle of magic.

We are all about love stories at FOTAS and the Aiken County Animal Shelter. We have to be. With 4300 homeless animals to care for each year, it’s the love stories that keep us going day after day.

Create a love story of your own. This month, you can adopt a bully breed “pibble” for only $20 and a cat for $10 at the county shelter – a bargain for the opportunity to witness the healing powers of love in action.

Please don’t wait. Their lives are in our hands.