By: Miranda Ewing, Director of Volunteer Services

PHOTO: Kathryn Dow with pups Eddie & Rosie

The SPCA Albrecht Center would like to recognize Kathryn Dow as the Volunteer Spotlight of the Month for October 2021. Kathryn began volunteering with the SPCA this summer shortly after moving from Oregon to be closer to her family. Kathryn’s twin brother was the first to make the trek from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast when he was stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta. He married and settled down, and the parents soon followed. Boy, are we glad Kathryn decided to make the CSRA her home as well!

Not afraid to dive right into her new community, Kathryn knew she wanted to help in animal rescue and applied to be in the volunteer program explaining, “I like to work with other people who also like to be around animals and [I want to] give back as well.” Staff describe Kathryn as full of spark and friendliness, so both animals and people enjoy being around her.

With a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a minor in equine science from Oregon State University, the SPCA’s Canine Behaviorist jumped at the chance to put Kathryn to work. After receiving instruction in the shelter’s policies and training methods, Kathryn began working with the shelter dogs with leash-walking skills, in-kennel enrichment, and even groomed the shelter dogs. As part of the Phideaux University program, volunteers can use reward-based methods to teach “adoptability” skills to a shelter dog.

Kathryn was paired with big goofball Abe, who was adopted in August. Kathryn also opened her heart to fostering a shelter pup named Vanilla Bean who was brought to the SPCA after someone found her wandering on Silver Bluff Road. Kathryn cared for sweet Vanilla Bean for almost 3 weeks until the pup was ready for spay surgery. Fostering a homeless pet is a very rewarding experience but also a challenge as the foster parent prepares for the bittersweet goodbye. Kathryn loved Vanilla Bean so much and wrote a very detailed letter to her potential adopters, which staff posted on Vanilla Bean’s door while she waited for adoption. Happily, Vanilla Bean found her forever family the following week.

Kathryn’s love of animals includes her furry friends Kidd, Eddie, and Rosie. Kidd has been Kathryn’s horse companion since high school, and he is a 20-year-old sweetie. The pair have been on the equestrian team, dabbled in polo, and competed in barrel racing. The other two faithful friends are Rosie the schnauzer poodle and Eddie, who Kathryn jokingly calls her Jack Russel “terrorist.”

Kathryn even started her own grooming business in July which she named Rosie’s Place. In addition to owning her own business, Kathryn also works at two different barns in Aiken and gives horseback riding lessons on occasion. Kathryn’s lively spirit shines through in all aspects of her life including her leisure activities: camping, going to the beach, hiking, construction, sewing, leather work, and anything to do with animals.

When asked what she finds most rewarding about volunteering with the SPCA Kathryn replies, “knowing that I’m changing lives and helping animals to live as good as they can until they find their forever home.”

Kathryn, you have most definitely influenced the lives of these homeless animals and made a positive impact on the people you work alongside. Thank you for your compassion and tireless volunteer efforts!

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.