The Christmas season, rife with stress, can cause many of us to recoil, especially in October when the first signs of its impending madness appear. But then we clear our Thanksgiving hurdles and ultimately succumb to the spirit.


Swept up in the beauty and magic of the season, its colors, lights and sounds, we can’t resist its mood, the joy, hope and kindness or its flagrant generosity.


The Christmas season is buoyed by giving, especially to those who truly need. And after the children, the poor and disadvantaged, where is the need greater than among our homeless pets?


Friends of animals have much to celebrate this year and even more to anticipate for 2013. With the help of volunteers and supporters, FOTAS and Aiken County are well on their way to begin construction on a new shelter. The project design was funded by FOTAS, and the County should break ground by early February.


2013 will be “The Year of the Shelter,” and the project is so meaningful, so carefully considered and so terribly necessary that we hope it will inspire profound generosity in everyone who cares.


With tight budgets and competing priorities, FOTAS is partnering with Aiken County to get this project just right and still help our current inadequate, underfunded shelter meet the needs of the animals and demands of the public.


FOTAS is helping raise funds for essential furnishings: equipment, cage-banks, kennels and unanticipated “extras” the new shelter will need. If you prefer, give to FOTAS SNAP and support our spay/neuter efforts.


There are many ways you can give in the spirit of the season. Here are a few suggestions:


• Adopt a dog or cat. They are half price until New Year’s Eve.


• Take a shelter pet home for Christmas as a fostered guest. Let them experience some holiday peace and joy, and be a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.


• Donate money and deduct the entire amount of your gift. FOTAS is a 501(c)(3) public charity. You can use PayPal and give monthly.


• Donate stock, and save on taxes! Talk to your broker about transferring some shares to FOTAS.


• Donate as a holiday gift. We will send a lovely greeting card, with our architect’s rendering of the new shelter, in your name to those you designate ($10 minimum per designee. Please write names and addresses clearly).


• Donate food to the shelter. They especially need small bites kibble, puppy and kitten food. They also welcome treats, durable toys, collars and leashes.


• Give your time. FOTAS is always looking for volunteers to do many things, especially work with the shelter dogs and cats, foster short and longer term or help with community-based spay/neuter projects. If you love animals, your time is a gift that keeps giving.


Let us come together this Christmas season and celebrate our many blessings, each other and our new County Shelter as it hopes to represent who we truly are in our devotion to God’s creatures.


Merry Christmas to all!


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”


December 3rd thru 9th


Received: 44 dogs and 21 cats


Adopted: 18 dogs and 2 cats


Euthanized: 23 dogs and 21 cats


Aiken County Shelter “Pets of the Week!”


All adoptions ˝ price for the rest of the year!


(See .jpg attachments for photos).


MUFFIN – This lovely, playful kitten wants a home for Christmas. Only $35.


LESLIE – 1 yr, a golden-eyed girl and so soft! Cuddle her for the holidays! Only $35


*All adoption fees include: Spay/Neuter, heartworm test, all shots, worming, and microchip.