An elderly woman comes out to the Aiken County Shelter. She tells Denise and Caroline, FOTAS adoption coordinators, that she is looking for a dog. She lives alone.


They take her back to see the adoptable dogs.


The one that attracts her weighs 80 pounds.


They learn that the woman recently lost her husband. She says that she wants a guard dog. They also learn that she has rheumatoid arthritis. “Perhaps a Chihuahua; at least it will bark,” they said.


But the lonely woman can’t walk a dog and goes home happy with a lovely cat.


For the last four years, FOTAS volunteers have been working with shelter staff to make the most of the adoption opportunities for the thousands of dogs and cats that end up at our county shelter.


The objective is not to just find them a home but to get them into the right home. Bringing a new animal into any home takes partially a leap of faith but so many things can be done to make it a good decision.


At the County Shelter, the FOTAS volunteers and shelter staff work to assure that every animal is physically and mentally healthy.


The dogs on the adoption floor have to be non-aggressive and heartworm free. All animals older than four months that leave the shelter have been wormed, vaccinated, micro-chipped and spayed or neutered.


FOTAS volunteers, like Caroline and Denise, invest many regular hours exercising and training the dogs or sitting and socializing with the cats and kittens.


They teach dogs leash manners and attentiveness to simple commands such as “sit.”


The cats learn to trust or trust again, curling up on an available lap in their lovely cat colonies provided by FOTAS.


There are so many wonderful dogs, puppies, cats and kittens waiting for forever homes at our County Shelter. What’s more, “experts” are ready to help interested people make the right decision.


If you wonder, will the animal get along with other pets at home?


Bring them along for a meet-and-greet. Wondering how the new pet will behave with children?


Bring them, too, and spend time playing together in the play yard.


If you want to know how will your dog does with cats, the back patios of Cats at the Shelter is a good place to see how the canine candidate responds to the feline behaviors on exhibit.


Denise and Caroline have helped some of those grieving the loss of a beloved dog to discover that it is too soon to fill the painful vacancy. They have also helped bring joy back into a home with a new best friend.


If you, or someone you know, is ready for the rewards of a companion animal, FOTAS urges you to come to the County Shelter to adopt.


Go on Petfinder.com for a preview of the lovely animals available.


Then come on out, and let us help.


If you love cats and dogs part-time, come on out, volunteer and help us provide the perfect pet for someone else.


FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter on 411 Wire Road.


For more information, email info@fotasaiken.org or visit FOTAS at www.fotasaiken.org.