By: Miranda Ewing, Director of Volunteer Services

The SPCA Albrecht Center would like to recognize two volunteers who have shown great dedication to the shelter animals – Brooke & Haley Thornsberry. In August 2020, this mother/daughter duo became part of the volunteer team and dived right into fundraising events as well as socializing with the adoptable cats and kittens. Mother, Brooke, knew from the start she wanted to assist with Cat Care – a morning task in which volunteers assist staff with cleaning and feeding the felines in the SPCA’s Kitty Kat Kastle.

“Volunteering is very rewarding and good for the soul,” Brooke explains, “It makes me so happy to be able to give the cats clean food and water while also taking the extra time to love on them.”

Daughter Haley has expressed interest in veterinary medicine as a potential career, and volunteering at a local shelter is a great way to build experience with animals as well as add pizzazz to future college and job applications.

Brooke was born and raised in Aiken County where she met her high school sweetheart and now husband, Gary. They are proud parents to Haley (15 years old) and Natalie (9 years old), and Brooke has put her utmost love into raising these two young ladies. Brooke grew up with dogs, cats, gerbils, and hamsters and has continued this family tradition in the Thornsberry homestead.

In addition to the human members, the Thorsnberry family includes three dogs (Elvira, Diesel, Marvin the Martian), three cats (Church, Monkey, Kitty), rabbits, and various fish housed in two aquariums with each daughter caring for an aquarium. Diesel, an eight-year-old chorkie, was actually adopted from the SPCA Albrecht Center by the Thornsberrys in 2013. He fits right in with his Pitbull sister, Elvira, and jet-black pug Marvin.

Haley is a sophomore at Midland Valley High School where she is participating in the Dual Enrollment Program with Aiken Tech to earn her associate degree. In addition to her academic pursuits, Haley has had a childhood talent for softball and now enjoys playing with her competitive travel softball team as they travel to tournaments in Georgia and South Carolina. As a junior volunteer, Haley comes to the shelter with her mom to socialize with cats, participate in in-kennel enrichment activities with the dogs, help with fundraisers, and attend SPCA volunteer seminars about animal welfare topics.

Haley will continue to build her knowledge about ways to socialize with companion animals of different backgrounds and breeds, how to support the animals’ mental health through enrichment activities and see firsthand how a human’s love can change the lives of these homeless pets for the better. Haley is a great example to all the youth in our community including her younger sister, Natalie, who is thrilled to socialize with the kittens too.

Both Brooke and Haley work closely with the adoptable cats, and they each have their favorites. Mrs. Brooke is a fan of Momma and says, “you can tell that she wants to be loved but she’s still scared.”

Momma has been at the SPCA since September 2020 when Animal Control Officer Morano brought her in as a stray cat. Readers may remember when Momma was also highlighted in May‘s Volunteer Spotlight. Obviously, volunteers have a sweet spot for this almost three-year-old short-haired grey and white female.

Young Haley enjoys working with a cat named Ignatius, and she remembers when he was surrendered by his owner in August 2020 resembling a streetwise tomcat. Haley says she “always thought him such a sweet cat with a very distinctive voice.”

Ignatius no longer looks like a tom cat, but instead has transformed into a distinguished almost 12-year-old medium-haired tuxedo male.

Thank you, Brooke and Haley, for showing such love to the shelter animals as they are waiting for their forever family!

Miranda Ewing joined the team at the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare in February 2020. She has committed her life to volunteering and fostering homeless animals and believes the strength of a community shines when we can lean on each other. A 2012-2013 AmeriCorps alumni and Rescue Volunteer for Team Stinkykiss (a local CSRA animal rescue), she is an advocate for all animals and all people! Her family includes her husband, who knows all critters may find a temporary home with him (even if he’s allergic to some).

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.