Recently, an older dog was taken to the Aiken County Animal Shelter as an abandoned pet. We were told he loved his stuffed squirrel who failed to make it to the shelter with him. I spoke to a member of staff who helps with the kennels. Later that day I saw a cute little orange squirrel toy next to a soft bed in the kennel. The next day there were three stuffed squirrels in the kennel. Word spread and the team of caring assistants brought him any squirrels they could find.
It is something that the public does not see. We so often highlight our phenomenal volunteers but sometimes employees go by without the recognition they deserve.
It is not easy to come in every day and see new homeless dogs and cats. Right now the intake kennels are starting to double which means we are out of room and have to put two dogs in each kennel. The line of stray dogs at the admission gate has never stopped.
For the staff who clean kennels, feed the animals, and maintain a healthy environment for homeless animals, this can be extremely difficult. Their work is continuous and physically and emotionally demanding. Yet every day they do little things that mean so much to animals.
A few weeks ago a senior beagle arrived at the shelter and he cried all day. Then I see Brandon bring in a big plush bed and the soft beagle cuddles and relaxes for the first time.
We have a dog named Titos who was so scared that he would bark at anyone who walked past his kennel. We didn’t know what we were going to do until Riley sent us a video of him snuggling up to her after she fed and comforted him.
It wasn’t that long ago that we had a mother and puppies who were found to be in poor condition – scratched and neglected. Kelly watched her throughout the day, laying new blankets in her kennel, hugging mom and telling her how wonderful she was.
When a Chihuahua arrived after his owner had died, we couldn’t comfort him as he was terrified of the loud barking in the kennels. Brandy would sit in the kennel until he trusted her, then sit on his lap. I thank him for saving this dog who is now happily adopted.
Chase bond emotionally with any dog that needs extra care and will quietly work the magic, gaining their trust and showing just how wonderful a battered pitty can be.
These are just a few of the names of those who go the extra mile. Those who arrive early clean up and organize themselves. The ones who bring a cheeseburger for a dog so sick he probably won’t. Those who notice when one of the dogs or cats is not eating and will try several different types of food until they find one that comforts that animal.
The Aiken County Animal Shelter truly has the most attentive staff, and they don’t ask for praise or a pat on the back. They are there because they really care. How lucky are we?
Their life is in our hands.