Buddy was the kind of dog that gets passed up at any shelter. A medium-sized hound/pit/who-knows-what mix, Buddy was high energy and untrained on a leash. The volunteers tend to wait and hope someone else takes these cases out.

Buddy’s break came because he was “housebroken.” Sandra stood outside his clean cage and looked at Buddy who looked back at her as if to say, “I’m good; I’m really trying; just give me a chance.” She leashed him up.

Buddy dragged her out to a spot where he balanced on three legs and peed and peed and peed. Sandra felt sorry for him.

The next time Sandra tells Buddy, “This time we are going to the play yard first.” She watched Buddy run three fast laps, go to the gate, and look at her. She leashed Buddy up, and they go for a walk.

This became their routine: Buddy waits for the leash, goes out and relieves himself, three laps in the play yard and a walk up the trail. Buddy became Sandra’s project.

A month goes by and Buddy is still at the shelter. They neuter him and give him another 30 days. Sandra has grown fond of Buddy and urges the Shelter staff to take him on TV. Monday, May 6th, Buddy goes on TV. No one calls.

Meanwhile, across the river, a man called James lost three dogs with the end of a relationship. His co-worker knows James is rattling around in an empty house and altered life. She sees Buddy on TV. She tells James. She shows James the TV clip. She reminds James. James is still thinking about it. She takes James to the Aiken County Shelter that following Saturday.

Sandra was there when the party arrived and asked for Buddy. She was breathless with her urgency.

Sandra says it was love at first sight between the man and the dog. James describes a more considered interaction in the play yard. His co-worker offered that she’d brought a sheet for the back seat, should James decide to take Buddy home.

James stroked Buddy’s head, ruffled his neck and said, “You’re not staying here any longer, Bud; I’m taking you home.” Tears welled in Sandra’s eyes. She knew that Buddy didn’t have much longer.

Sandra had grown attached to Buddy and gave her contact information to James, suggesting he might call, or send a picture for the bulletin board.

As weeks went by, Sandra was at least relieved that Buddy was not returned. Then she got the call.

On Saturday, July 6, James and Buddy came for a visit. They arrived before the shelter opened.

Buddy gets groomed; Buddy goes to dog parks and plays well with other dogs.

Buddy has a whole house to share with James, who keeps saying, “This dog is a blessing in my life.” He means it.

Sandra looked down at Buddy looking up at James. “The dog was actually smiling,” she says, “He got the perfect home.”

Find your blessing at the shelter.

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”

July 1st through 7th, 2013

Brought in: 88 dogs and 40 cats!!

Adopted: 11 dogs and 2 cats

Put down: 48 dogs and 40 cats!

Aiken County Shelter “Pets of the Week!”

GEORGETTE – Adult calico. Affectionate and unique. She is a purr-fect pet! Only $35

KYRA – 9 mos. 33 lbs. Shepherd/hound mix. Playful and bright as a new penny. Only $70

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