Earlier this month, FOTAS hosted its first Dog Alumni Social at the new Aiken County Animal Shelter, and oh boy, what a turnout!


There was Indy, adopted from the shelter 14 years ago, who looks like she hasn’t aged a bit – maybe she had a little work done at the groomers?


There was Morris, a lab mix who was the first dog from the County shelter rescued and trained by Jerry Lyda of Veterans K9 Solutions. A total party animal at the shelter (he never met a ball he didn’t love), Morris is now the dedicated service dog for veteran Michael.


And how about Glory and Josie? Totally misunderstood in their shelter days (bulldog crosses just look like the baddest girls on the block) – they are now loving and devoted family members with their humans Caiden and Judy, proving once again, just how wrong and unfortunate those old stereotypes are.


It was great to see little Jax, a terrier mix with boundless energy who literally bounced off the walls as a shelter resident. Well, guess what? Crazy little Jax ain’t so crazy anymore – he has calmed down and blossomed under the expert care and love of Dr. Sybil Davis. Hey Jax, you’re looking mighty dapper in that bow tie.


Then there was Princess, always the most stylish girl in the room, strutting her stuff with her humans Carol and Jim and looking oh so fashion-forward in her ruffled collar.


Sweet girl Pollyanna is the same sweet girl she always was, living the good life and doting on her human David. That David is a lucky man.


And let’s not forget Parker, even handsomer now than the day he left the shelter thanks to the love and care of his human Pixie, who continues to swoon over his good looks and charming disposition.


These were just a few of the happy canine alumni who spent a few hours visiting the new shelter, enjoying Thea’s homemade doggie cookies and muffins, having their photos taken by talented photographers Janice Freeland and Pam Eckelbarger, getting a quick manicure and pedicure from the vet techs from Veterinary Services, and adding their “Paw” Hancock to commemorative certificates.


Veterans K9 Solutions, which trains dogs and volunteers at the shelter three times a week, was also present to give training tips and demonstrations.


By all accounts, the day was a great success thanks to scores of FOTAS volunteers (to whom we are eternally grateful for this and all they do), good weather and lots of willing participants having a good time. Even better, seven dogs and three cats found new homes that day.


The greatest success of the day, however, wasn’t just a function of the sunny day, fun-filled activities, raffles, tours, adoptions and shopping opportunities.


Rather, it was the overwhelming affirmation of just how wonderful, how satisfying, how loving a pet adopted from the Aiken County Animal Shelter can be.


We see these successes all the time, year after year. A responsible pet owner adopts a lost, homeless animal and an enduring bond is created that sustains not only the adopted pet, but its adopted family as well.


Ask any human who found their loving friend and companion at the County Shelter; they will tell you just how lucky they are to have that animal in their life.


Shelter animals make the greatest pets. Adopt your next pet from the County Shelter – their lives are in our hands.


FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter, 333 Wire Road. For more information, email info@fotasaiken.org or visit www.fotasaiken.org.