In lieu of an interview, Dineen Daniels wrote the following piece. She and her children are huge supporters of our County Shelter.
“There is no greater legacy to leave than a beating heart that would not have had a chance had it not been for you.” - unknown
It was a Wednesday afternoon and my three children wanted to make our routine visit to help the animals at the Aiken County Shelter. While deciding which dogs needed walking, we came upon a large dog recently surrendered, roughly a year old, emaciated, with every rib exposed.
To make matters worse, the dog had tested heartworm positive and was to be euthanized in two days. The children looked at the big dog with their huge sense of empathy and said that he had kind eyes. They and asked if he was gentle, and were told that he seemed friendly, but, as he was not destined for the adoption aisle, no one knew for sure.
Often my children place their hands gently against the dogs’ cages to test how kid- friendly they are. But on this occasion, as this dog was a large intact male, I decided to enter his kennel instead. I entered. He sat and nuzzled his nose between my legs.
In that moment, we decided to save this dog. We were able to arrange a transfer to our vet and neighbor, and six months later “Snoopy” was heartworm free and a brand new dog.
Over the last hear-and-a-half, Snoopy has bonded deeply with my children. When they leave for school, he sits patiently on our front porch. With over 60 acres on which to run and roam, he prefers a stoic vigil until they return and then wiggles with ecstasy when they arrive. Snoopy sleeps in 12-year-old Josh’s bed at night, and his waking hours are spent demonstrating his love for the children who saved his life.
We are an approved foster home for Aiken County Animal Shelter. Fostering dogs and puppies has created a passion for animals and a deep awareness of the importance of love and the responsibility to care for living beings that cannot care for themselves.
The connection that emerges between a shelter animal and a child is deep and immensely gratifying. My children’s creed has become: “Forget the zoo. Let’s go walk the dogs and pet the cats at the County Shelter,” and on their birthdays, “Let’s ask for donations for the animals instead of gifts.”
We thank the Aiken County Animal Shelter for trusting us to help rescue those who wouldn’t have had a second chance, especially our amazing and beloved dog Snoopy!
And as a parent, I thank God for blessing my children – Josh (12), Parker (9), Bailey (7) – with their deep sense of empathy garnered from the life lessons with abandoned, neglected and abused animals. They know about the desperate need to spay and neuter; in fact, it would not surprise me if they all grew up to be vets!
Please consider fostering.
FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter, 411 Wire Road. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fotasaiken.org.