The Magic of Shelter Pets

By Joanna D. Samson, Vice President, FOTAS

My husband David swears that shelter dogs are grateful, that they know they have been saved and that you saved them, and that their love and devotion are expressions of that gratitude.

Now I can’t say for sure that our Maggie dog’s love is an expression of gratitude rather than a reciprocal response to our love and care, or that the depth of our terrier mutt Jack’s devotion to us is somehow greater than, say, a pedigreed poodle’s devotion to its owner.

But I can say this: every one of our shelter dogs has brought us indescribable joy. No matter what the circumstances of their unfortunate history that brought them to the shelter, whether neglect or abuse or both, they bonded with us seamlessly and with no hesitation. As always, love transformed them, and in return, they transformed us, enriching our lives in ways that we could not have imagined on the day we brought them home.

David Stinson is a dog-lover, and for the past 10 years, he has resided with 4 large dogs in his lovely little cottage on Newberry Street. When old age and cancer took two of his dogs, David was uncertain whether he wanted to add another dog to his remaining aging brood. Maybe, he thought, the inevitable aging-out of his canine pack would free him to travel more or pursue his many hobbies in more depth.

Then along came a pretty red and white Pibble named (by the Shelter staff) Snickers, who was picked up as a stray, clearly abandoned by her negligent owners. Snickers wore the tell-tale marks of neglect bordering on abuse. Her neck bore scars of a chain, suggesting she had been tethered to a stake. She showed signs of repeated breeding, and her front teeth had been filed, indicating a life as a breeding bitch for fighting dogs. And of course, she had early stage heartworm disease.

I met Snickers when she was introduced to a play group at the Shelter. Despite her background, she was an unapologetic, enthusiastic, fervent people-lover. I was smitten, and when I introduced her to David, he was smitten, too. He took her home, renamed her “Lady Edith of Newberry,” befitting of her regal nature, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“This morning,” says David, “Lady Edith is riding in the passenger seat of my car wearing her seatbelt. We stop at Popeye’s and share a sausage biscuit. She spent the first part of the day washing the faces of my old hound dogs at home. Now she is on her way to my office, where she will spend the morning with me. I have to keep her moving along; otherwise, she will linger to play with every dog and human we meet on the way.”
Now that is the happiest of endings.

Your destiny may be waiting for you right now at the Aiken County Animal Shelter. Maybe it’s an adorable puppy, a goofy dog or a regal cat. Please consider adopting your new pet at the Aiken County Animal Shelter – it’s a choice you won’t regret.

Their lives are in our hands.

Lacy Edith of Newberry poses in her new home.
Lacy Edith of Newberry poses in her new home.