PHOTOS: Volunteering at the Aiken County Animal Shelter Offers Many Rewards | features

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You could say I’m selfish. Community service is great, and I’ve done my part, but I don’t claim to be a true philanthropist. Also, I’m not looking for awards for volunteering at the district home. My motives are much more self-serving – it’s fun, relaxing and rewarding.

The shelter has a very calming social vibe. Everyone comes simply because they care about animals. The camaraderie is strong and the conversation easy. We have fun.

After a career of long hours in a busy restaurant, when I retired to work just a few, I felt a little redundant – a little useless. I needed a place that needed me. FOTAS and the staff at Aiken County Animal Shelter made me feel like part of a successful team and helped me see and reap the rewards of volunteering.

When working with homeless dogs, the experienced and knowledgeable staff will help determine what each dog needs. Every dog ​​is different and I’m not sure which ones have a more disturbing history. There are those who have been chained, starved, abused, or neglected for whom the shelter may feel like the best place they have ever lived, complete with food, air conditioning, blankets, soft music, love, and affection. Then there are those who had homes and families that they gave up for whatever reason – these dogs are scared, sad and confused. The positive results of meeting each dog’s unique needs are often quick and absolutely heartwarming.

When I see a dog crouched in the back of his kennel, tail tucked under him, come forward and wag a little for the first time, I just melt. When a dog that has never had attention or training and has no manners learns a few basic commands or even plays fetch and becomes infinitely more adaptable, I feel proud.

Especially the old ones touch me deeply, maybe because I feel old. The seniors, who obviously have had a tough life, can have gray snouts, broken teeth and sagging teats. They don’t expect or ask for much, but often you can see the gratitude in their eyes when they realize that someone has chosen to bring them home and give them a cozy place and finally a chance to have a good life .

Those are the only rewards I need.

Your life is in our hands.

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