I hate this time of year. While the rest of Aiken settles into the steamy, sleepy tempo of summer, FOTAS volunteers and County staff shift into hyper-drive at the Aiken County Animal Shelter to care for the inevitable onslaught of puppies, kittens and owner-surrender animals that crowd the intake wing and stress county resources to alarming levels.
Every summer, the County Shelter is filled to capacity, and this summer promises to be no exception. The Cat Adoption House is packed. Every dog kennel is occupied. Yet day after day, more homeless dogs and cats are picked up or surrendered to the shelter.
“As I walked through the aisles last Saturday,” says Jennifer Miller, President of FOTAS, “every single dog looked up at me with longing and hope – desperate for some human love and attention, desperate to be out of the stressful kennel environment, desperate for a home of their own. It breaks my heart because it never ends.”
And although we at FOTAS work like crazy – through print, television and social media, through our daily efforts to make the animals more adoptable, through our transfer programs – to find these animal homes, we can’t keep up. Even though last week was a record week for adoptions and transfers, 58 to be exact, the Shelter took in even more animals. The crisis continues, week after week, month after month throughout the summer and into the fall.
And here’s the thing: at the very time intake is so high, our volunteer ranks are thin because of vacation schedules and family commitments. That means that even though our cherished core volunteers and fosters are working non-stop, there are just not enough to give all of those dogs and cats the care and attention they need and deserve.
We need more people! I know you love animals or you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. So, help us out – join Team FOTAS. Volunteer at the Shelter, one or two hours a week, that’s all we ask.
One or two hours a week: you can walk and love up the dogs, play with the puppies, cuddle with the cats in the Cat Adoption House, help the handlers with dog playgroup sessions, greet visitors and potential adopters in the air conditioned comfort of the Shelter’s cheerful front lobby – there are so many options.
Just one or two hours, that’s it.
Please do not walk away from those unfortunate animals longing for love and attention. They ended up at the Shelter through no fault of their own, but it is our responsibility, as a community, to care for them.
Call the FOTAS Hotline 803-514-4313, go to www.fotasaiken.org , or email firstname.lastname@example.org to help volunteer, foster, or donate.
Their lives are in our hands.