Have you ever received that phone call at the last minute letting you know that 10 people are coming over tonight for dinner? You immediately start worrying that you won’t have enough food to feed everyone.

You probably also want to pull your spouse aside and ask them exactly how they thought inviting 10 people to your house for dinner tonight without speaking to you first seemed like a good idea, but that’s another conversation for another day.

At the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, we’ve got lots of mouths to feed.

Some days we have as many as 200 dogs and cats looking to us to provide them with breakfast and dinner each day. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of kibble to have on hand at any one time.

We sometimes get to “cook” for goats, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, iguanas, ferrets and pot bellied pigs.

Our kennel staff “chefs” are responsible for preparing specialized meals for all of these animals and boy can they eat!

We are very fortunate that many people and businesses help to provide the “groceries” needed to feed all of our guests. Our dogs eat mainly Pedigree dog food, while our cats enjoy Whiskas brand cat food.

In the past, large pet food manufacturers donated food to shelters like the SPCA and the Aiken County Animal Shelter, but that program stopped well over a year ago.

Now, both organizations rely heavily on local animal lovers to donated dry and canned dog and cat food to both shelters, so they don’t have to tap into their tight budgets and buy it themselves.

Local schools, churches and civic organizations also have pet food drives for us that bring in a lot of canned food, treats and toys the animals truly enjoy.

Other people are great about driving big bags of cat and dog food up to our shelter, along with donations of blankets, towels and cleaning supplies. All of this is tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

If coming to the shelter is too far or if you are afraid you’ll adopt every cat in the lobby, you can drop your donations off at our downtown Aiken Treasure Chest at 404 Richland Ave. E. or at our North Augusta or Edgefield locations.

If your business, school, civic group or church would like to host a pet food drive to help us keep our 200 hungry mouths fed, give us a call at 648-6863. Even better, if you’d like to adopt one of our great animals to give us one less mouth to feed, come on down or visit us online at www.spca-albrecht.org or stop by the Aiken County shelter at 411 Wire Road or give them a call at 642-1537 to inquire about their food needs and animals they have up for adoption.

Lights Of Love

The SPCA is delighted to announce the first annual Lights of Love Tuesday, Dec. 11, at our new facility.

The event is a casual holiday event meant to celebrate the impact animals have on our lives and the lives of our family members.

Your $15 tax-deductible donation will supply either a memorial light for a pet who has passed, or a light in honor of a great dog or cat that still shares your home and makes it a better place.

At 6 p.m., we’ll have a program with free admission where we will display a slide show of all the pets honored or memorialized this year, with some nice music and snacks and good fellowship with fellow animal lovers. For more information about this event, please contact us at 648-6863 or email development@spca-albrecht.org.

Gary Willoughby is the president and CEO of the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare.