When Friends of the Animal Shelter and the Aiken County Animal Shelter launched our Doggie Day Out Program, we had no idea just how beneficial it would be for the dogs. Turns out to be great for the volunteers as well!
Shelter dogs can shut down due to kennel stress. Some will cower in a corner, some will spin in circles, others will bark and jump. It is hard to watch a pet suffer in this way. This is why a Doggie Day Out, away from the shelter, is so important.
We have a growing number of Aiken County residents who are taking advantage of this program. They take a dog for an hour or two, or even overnight. Many are former dog owners; others just enjoy the company during this pandemic.
“When I started volunteering at FOTAS, I came over weekly to walk your sweet doggies. Then I read your article about taking one home for the afternoon and I have loved this. I have noticed such a difference since I have started taking one home with me for a few hours. Our time together is invaluable for both of us. I get my personal doggie fix and they get undivided attention from us versus sharing us with other dogs.
“Also, having a chance to walk and play outside of their typical environment relaxes them and allows them to unwind. Many times, after walking them, I will let them run freely through my house and they seem to love this new freedom, away from their cage. I really have noticed such a difference in each of the sweet doggies after we have shared an afternoon. Their constant licks tell me that they have enjoyed the afternoon as much as I have and yet when we get back, they are always happy to see shelter staff. I have had my special doggie fix for the week and look forward to next week,” writes Frère Miller.
“The best part about a Doggie Day Out is watching the dog and its behavior. We always start with a walk around the pond and then go back to our house, take their leash off and watch them run around in our fenced yard. From the time we pick them up to the time we bring them back, we get to see the dogs come out of their shell and enjoy just being a dog. We have had a couple that started off timid but by the time we took them back they couldn’t give us enough hugs and licks,” wrote Michael and Laura Nearhoof. “We had to put our 17-year-old dachshund down in May of 2020 and, for now, are just not ready to commit full time to another dog. Doggie Day Out is helping us and we take joy in knowing we are helping the dogs socialize, feel loved, and find their forever home. If anyone asks if taking a dog for a walk or for an overnight is worth it, I would say it’s 1,000% worth it.”
We would love to see our dogs get more time away from the shelter. If you are interested, please call FOTAS, (803) 514-4313 or email us at [email protected] It is very easy to set up a pickup and drop off time. We will select a dog that fits with the activity you choose.
Their lives are in our hands.
To adopt a pet from the Aiken County Animal Shelter, call the shelter at (803) 642-1537 or email FOTAS at [email protected] to make an appointment. The shelter is at 333 Wire Road in Aiken. To see the pets available for adoption before making your appointment, go to FOTASAiken.org and check out the FOTAS Facebook page.