By: Sarah A. Neikam, Operations Manager

Writer William Arthur Ward said “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” So as we approach Thanksgiving this week, here is a small, clickable gift of appreciation to the people who make everything we do at the SPCA Albrecht Center possible.

To our President & CEO, Barbara Nelson, and our amazing administration team: Shelter Manager, Sybil Altman, Operations Manager, Michelle Floyd, Training & Enrichment Director, Ann Kinney, our new Community Outreach Director, Claire Roberson, and our Medical Director, Dr. Rick Williams – your dedication to this organization is amazing and I am honored to be part of your team.

Thanks to our Volunteer Coordinator, Kelsey Schwartz and our Receptionist team, Heather Dry & Kellyn Morrison. These ladies help keep our volunteers and clients happy and the front desk running smoothly.

To our maintenance and custodian team, Bryan Adams, Roosevelt Crawford, Vanessa Greene and Liam Mulherin, who take care of the daily cleaning, fixing and heavy-lifting: thanks for staying on top of your never ending to-do list!

Our animal caretakers do the job that many people think they want, but few are able to stick with. Highly rewarding, but sometimes astonishingly unpleasant, this job takes a special kind of devotion. Thank you for all of your hard work: Adoption Coordinator, Nate Darlington, Cat Care Specialist, Emily Gunter, and Pet Care Specialists Judy Craig, Ashley Eidenier, Tracy Gunter, Karen Johnson, Lyndsey Leitch, Taylor Sawyer, Carol Thigpen and Elaine Widener.

The staff in our Veterinary Care Center take excellent care of our shelter animals and our clients’ pets. Big thanks to Receptionist Heather Tager, Veterinary Assistants Courtney Arbaugh, Jennifer Blizzard and Lauren Holtzclaw, Licensed Veterinary Technician Crystal Broughton and Dr. Jason Wright.

Trish Wamsat is Headmaster of our dog training program and works tirelessly to help people with their own pets as well as offering her expertise with our shelter dogs to help them find homes faster. Thanks, Trish!

The SPCA Thrift Shops are a crucial component of our organization. There are no animals to care for in these stores, but there is plenty of work to do and money to be made to help us care for the animals in our shelter, and provide affordable veterinary care to the public. Thank you to our super store managers: Jennifer McBride, John Sanders and Wanda Gibson.

Our gratitude extends to Aiken Department of Public Safety’s Animal Control Division and Animal Control Officers Alan Willing and Chris Weathersbee for being reliable, supportive team members and essential partners of our organization.

Finally, there is our valued team of volunteers. Dog walkers and trainers, cat cuddlers, humane educators, adoption ambassadors, office assistants, event helpers, retail volunteers and more. These people go above and beyond to help us with whatever we need and make sure that the pets in our care are well loved and socialized while they await adoption. THANK YOU to each and every volunteer who contributes their time and energy to the cause we all hold dear.

Included in our volunteer team is our Board of Directors. They guide, advise, and make sure we stay focused on our mission, despite the obstacles and challenges that come our way. Thank you for your support!

Speaking of support, thank you to our gold sponsors: Aiken Saddlery, Aiken Standard, Atlantic Broadband, Auto Tech Inc, City of Aiken Parks & Recreation, The Dog & Hound, Linda’s Bistro, Return Engagement, Ted Cummings Insurance, Security Federal Bank and Smith, Massey, Brodie, Guynn & Mayes LLC; as well as our silver sponsors: Avoca Equine LLC, Hutson-Etherredge Companies and The Willcox.

Last but certainly not least – thank YOU. Our donors, adopters, clients, visitors, friends, followers, fans and advocates. The good we are able to do every single day would not be possible without your help and support.

From our furry family to yours – have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Sarah Neikam is the Communications & Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She is an Aiken native and has been with the SPCA since 2012. Sarah lives in Graniteville with her husband, Tom, mother, Cheryl and three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady.

The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is a private, nonprofit, no kill animal shelter in Aiken, SC.  The SPCA also operates a local Thrift Store (“Where Shopping Saves Lives”),  a public, affordable Veterinary Care Center & a Dog Park.  It is our mission to improve the lives of companion animals by rehoming abused, abandoned, and neglected pets while fighting for their well-being through vigorous legislative efforts, humane education, and by offering affordable veterinary care for all.