“Out of the mouths of babes …” says Scripture, and we are counting on the children for their wisdom for a very special event.

If you are the parent, grandparent, guardian or role-model of an elementary school-aged child, FOTAS has a wonderful opportunity for you to share with your youngster: help him or her enter “Meg’s Essay Contest.”

Meg is a little brindle terrier who was rescued from the Aiken County Animal Shelter last April. Her owner is Edie, who is in charge of FOTAS’ Woofstock Festival 2012. The essay contest honors our county shelter’s lucky dogs and cats.

The essay contest intends to put children in grades 1 through 6 in charge of addressing a key question at the heart of this year’s Woofstock festivities.

Meg’s essay question for the children to ponder is, “What can we do about all the unwanted puppies and kittens in Aiken County?”

Last year 5,011 unwanted, neglected or abused dogs and cats were received at our county shelter; 3,808 or 76 percent died there. As awful as that number is to confront, over the last five years it is down almost 20 percent.

Let’s ask the children: “What can we do about all the unwanted puppies and kittens?” Talk to them. Help them ponder and write about an answer.

On Nov. 10, FOTAS will hold its second Woofstock Festival, “Mutts & Music.” The organizers have pulled out all the stops in providing a celebration of families and their pets.

Woofstock is also an essential fundraiser for FOTAS’ partnership with the county in providing a new county animal shelter, one that is adequate to the humane treatment of its homeless animals and to the participation of communities bent on reducing those numbers.

The Woofstock Festival of Mutts & Music promises fun activities for all ages: music by 93.9 BobFM, Tony B. of WKSX 92.7 FM and 4 Cats in the Doghouse. There will be contests, demonstrations, a Mutt Strut Parade, vendors, crafters, food by the Willcox, Papa John’s, Coach T’s, Papa Russ’ Bar-B-Que and Brusters. And we are just getting started.

The essay contest will be judged in three “flights:” grades 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6. Each winner will be awarded a chance to co-judge the dog contests at Woofstock (best trick, best kisser and best costume), a $10 iTunes gift card, a commemorative Woofstock T-shirt and two free tickets to the Woofstock Festival.

Entries must be made on the official essay contest form. To get yours, call 522-0471 and request one be sent or visit the FOTAS website and click on the Woofstock tab.

Here are the rules:

Essay contest rules

• Essays must be received by FOTAS on Monday, Oct. 1.

• Contest is open to students in grades 1-6.

• One winner will be selected from each “flight:” grades 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6.

FOTAS wants to hear what the children are saying. See you at Woofstock: Mutts & Music 2012!

FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter, 411 Wire Road. For more information, email info@fotasaiken.org or visit www.fotasaiken.org.

Aiken County Animal Shelter: “By the Numbers”

August 27th thru September 2nd

Received: 57 dogs and 43 catsAdopted: 6 dogs and 3 cats

Put down: 50 dogs and 24 cats Aiken County Shelter “Pets of the Week!” So much LOVE for so little!

(See .jpg attachments for photos).

ELMER FUDD – American Bulldog mix 3 years. 51 pounds. Super-friendly and great to walk on a leash! $70 includes everything but the love!

NUGGET – 14-week male tabby. Cute as a bug that purrs! $35 for kitty, purr-free!

*All adoption fees include: Spay/Neuter, heartworm test, all shots, worming, and microchip and are half price thru 9/8/12!