Today, I am sporting two of my favorite fashion accessories: poop and vomit. And it isn’t even 9 o’clock in the morning yet. Hey, it’s a dirty job, but I’m happy I’m the one who has to do it.

There’s nothing else like the ups and downs of a day at the SPCA. Well, except golf. Or motherhood, maybe. Not only is this a messy, physical challenge; it provides a full set of mental challenges, too. Copious amount of tears, handfuls of hair and unbridled swearing are the secret life of the animal welfare administrator.

And yet today, having already had poop flung at me and vomit wiped on me, I know it will be a good day. Probably, by the time I finish writing this article, something amazing and inspiring will have happened. How do I know? Because there is a precarious “best of times, worst of times” balance at play here. Take yesterday, for instance.

On Thursday, we were a little short-handed in the cat colonies, so the receptionists cleaned and I manned the phones for a bit. The first call I retrieved from voice mail was a distraught woman seeking affordable emergency veterinary care. She had inadvertently run over her cat with the car. The next call was from a woman desperate to know if we could quarantine her cat which may have come in contact with a rabid animal. “What a way to start the day,” I thought.

In answer to the first kitty’s tale, the SPCA does not currently offer any veterinary services outside of spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations, microchipping, basic testing and preventive medications. Secondly, the cat that was exposed to the rabies virus was not up-to-date on vaccinations, which is almost always means euthanasia by law for the exposed animal.

Commence downward spiral.

Thankfully, all proverbial ropes at the SPCA are more like bungee cords. Once you feel you have reached the end of that rope, it snatches you out of the mire and flings you into the clouds.

The day that started so low took a sharp upward turn. The clinic performed nearly 40 spay and neuter surgeries. Pets were adopted one after another throughout the day. A whole new crowd turned out for Yappy Hour where some kind soul made a very generous donation.

The day was an equivalent to messy diapers followed by first words. Or a chip in from the bunker for quadruple bogey. These little victories are the things that keep us coming back for more.

So, am I right? As I wrap up this article, what is going on that will make up for the lingering smell of vomit and the soaked shoe I washed in the sink earlier?

For starters, we just had one booth and two walking teams register for Barkaritaville and the Twilight Walk for Animals, which just goes to show this event is going to be even more fantastic than it was last year.

A tiny chihuahua, a beautiful, blue pit bull and a chocolate cocker spaniel just found new homes, and we haven’t even been open half an hour yet.

Finally, I was just told that Officer Alan Willing of City of Aiken Public Safety’s Environmental Control Department is graduating from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, which is great for him and means we will have all animal control hands on deck again next week!

The ups in animal welfare make the downs worth it. Every day is a new adventure. If you are looking for a real roller coaster ride (and don’t want to take up golf or start a family), here are some ways you can get involved a little or a lot — register a booth for Barkaritaville, sign up to walk in the Twilight Walk for Animals or volunteer with the SPCA.

Think you might be ready for the ride of your life? Come in and fill out an employment application. We currently have a veterinary assistant and groomer positions open and would love to add a couple more enthusiastic, professional, team players to our roster.

Stop by and see us about these opportunities and more at 199 Willow Run Road in Aiken, call us at 803-648-6863 or visit us virtually at

A graduate of Winthrop University in Rock Hill, Chrissey Miller has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and is a certified animal welfare administrator. She is thrilled to be able to mesh her creative passion and sales experience together now as development director, in charge of programming, fundraising, events, marketing and grant-writing. Chrissey and her husband David live in Aiken with their children Blair and Gracey, and their adopted dog, Zipper and Django.