FOTAS: Join the ride; save some lives

  • Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014 12:01 a.m.
OLIVIA – 2-year-old female boxer, weighing 40 pounds.  Only $70.
OLIVIA – 2-year-old female boxer, weighing 40 pounds.  Only $70.

If my dog Zeus only had a thumb, he'd hijack a Harley, strap his pal Meg on the back and tour around with the wind whipping his long, silky hair. But alas for Zeus (and good for all the other drivers on the road), he cannot drive a motorcycle.

But you can – along with Hailey, M.Y. and Hope, three young Aiken girls who are passionate about saving as many adoptable animals that they can.

They have joined the FOTAS Ride to Woofstock campaign to raise funds for the FOTAS' Fix-A-Pet spay/neuter program, which will provide financial assistance for those community citizens who may need a little help. This year's Woofstock Dogs, Cats & Music Festival will be held at the new Aiken County Animal Shelter on May 3.

Hailey, M.Y. and Hope aren't actually riding motorcycles to Woofstock (although other FOTAS supporters will be); instead, they will be “virtual” riders. Here are their stories.

Hailey Ardis is the granddaughter of Clay and Carrie Killian, who regularly walks dogs with her grandma at the county shelter. Nine-year-old Hailey put a blue wig on her uncle's willing dog, snapped a photo and formed Hailey's Goal for the Animals. Hailey's original fundraising goal was $300, which she surpassed quickly. She has continued to raise money, even donating some of her allowance.

Four year-old M.Y., the daughter of a friend of longtime FOTAS volunteer Linda Soyars, decorated her tricycle, corralled her dogs Coco & Yuke for a photo op and formed her own virtual riding team, M.Y. Groovy Riders. She also has reached her goal but willingly accepts more donations to her team effort.

Nine-year-old Hope Dyches frequently walks dogs and socializes cats at the Aiken County Animal Shelter with her aunt, Rebecca Reindl. In fact, I see her at every FOTAS event – that's how much she cares. Her team is called Hopes Friends & Family. Her goal is lofty – $1,000 is her “hope.”

Through the efforts of Hailey, M.Y., Hope and a score of other volunteers, FOTAS hopes to raise $20,000 for the FOTAS Fix-a-Pet spay/neuter program. Solving the county's enormous unwanted pet population through spay/neuter is a long-term proposition – most experts agree it takes at least 10 years to see a significant drop in those numbers – so FOTAS is increasing its resources dedicated to that effort. In the meantime, we will be working feverishly to adopt out to the growing Aiken community as many adoptable pets as possible.

Join the “Ride to Woofstock.” You can do it on your own or with a team. You can ride for real or you can ride “virtually.” You can sign up with an existing team, like Hailey's Goal for the Animals, M.Y.'s Groovy Riders, or Hope's Friends & Family.

Plus, if you and your riding team raise at least $300, you will be eligible to win an iPad mini. This is easy, folks.

Challenge yourself! See how far you can go and how much you can raise.

Remember, it's not what you ride, it's what you ride for. Ride on, my friends, ride on.

Visit or for all the details. Or you can contact FOTAS at 803-514-4313.

FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter, 411 Wire Road. For more information, email or visit

By the Numbers

Mar. 24, 2014 - Mar. 29, 2014

16 dogs and 1 cat adopted

Year to Date: 146 terrific pets adopted

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