By: Miranda Ewing, Director of Volunteer Services

For August’s Volunteer Spotlight, the SPCA Albrecht Center would like to recognize a dedicated volunteer named Linda Perkins. Staff at the SPCA’s Shelter and Thrift Store have witnessed Linda’s giving heart and friendly nature. In the Kitty Kat Kastle, Linda comes Saturday mornings to assist in cat care. Every adoptable cat needs to start the day with a bowl of breakfast, additional water, fresh litter, and clean bedding plus toys. Pet Care Specialist Emily Garcia remembers when Linda started helping with Cat Care in October of last year and describes her as a precious angel who is enjoyable to work alongside and also brings donations for the shelter animals.

In June, Linda heard the SPCA Thrift Store was in dire need of volunteers and she was eager to join the team there as well. Thom, the Store’s Assistant Manager, sings Linda’s praises and knows the Store has benefited greatly from her shining personality and diligent hand. Linda helps at the Store every Wednesday to greet regular and new customers, help with the donations brought in, as well as wiping down shelves and shopping carts.

Linda grew up in Maryland on a 13-acre farm where her father grew produce to sell at the market and was also a carpenter during the winter months. She’s one of six children and demonstrates the unconditional love of family when she welcomed several siblings into her home who needed care. On the farm, Linda grew up with several dogs and one cat named Momma Cat, who joined the family when Linda was born and lived a happy 13 years. She and her husband Ralph married, and Linda became a mother to two sons: Billy and Matthew.

The family lived in Prince George’s County just outside of DC where mom and dad worked in government- Linda with the local housing assistance program and Ralph counseled those struggling with drug addiction. Linda has fond memories of having family reunions at her home when all the clan would gather to eat hotdogs and catch up with one another. When retired, the couple built a three-bedroom ranch in Gettysburg but then were drawn to a community in Hilton Head where Ralph’s brother lived. The beach life was wonderful and after Ralph’s passing, Linda decided to stay in the South. She has several family members in the CSRA and fell in love with Aiken. When asked about visiting one of her sons in New Hampshire Linda says, “Good gravy, it’s cold up there!,” so the South has definitely won her over.

Linda has recently settled into a new house in Aiken with her two cats she adopted from the SPCA in December 2020. Ethan and Maximum (nicknamed Maxi) came to the shelter as a bonded pair being surrendered by their owner. Maxi is the orange tabby and Ethan is a luxurious tuxedo cat who is the talker of the two, for sure. Linda knows each cat’s particular meow and enjoys their funny antics. Both cats like to snuggle up for naps together with Maxi’s arm around Ethan. Ethan can be mischievous and will stare at Maxi and suddenly bop Maxi with his paw. Linda says Maxi will take the hits about 4 times before either running away or returning the favor.

PHOTO: Volunteer Linda Perkin’s SPCA Adopted Cats – Ethan & Maxi

Linda has always had a dog as a child or adult, such as her sweet beagle named Willow, who lived to be 18 years old. Remembering the joys of Momma Cat in her youth, Linda knew having cats in the home would be an adventure, too. She is a doting mother of these two felines and ensures they have scratch pads, toys, and cat towers with plans to expand their territory with an added enclosed sunroom.

Linda loves coming to the Kitty Kat Kastle to spend time with the adoptable cats. She particularly adores the shelter cat named Mauve. Mauve came to the SPCA in April 2021 as a stray who was picked up on Moultrie Drive by Animal Control Officer Joe Morano. Mauve can be shy, but Linda has a special touch. These two have a specific routine- Linda will brush Mauve’s long grey and orange fur, then after a bit of grooming Mauve will grab a few munches of food. You see, Mauve has had some difficulty with her appetite and Linda is all too pleased to find this trick peeks Mauve’s cravings.

After some food in the belly, Mauve will wander back to Linda for more brushing while Linda chats lovingly to her. At first, Linda says Mauve can be a bit shy, but brushing her is the way to her heart. Now Mauve will even rub up against the door in greeting and anticipation of a relishing rub down. Linda finds volunteering with the SPCA pleasurable and reflects “it’s important to do [this work] and lovingly care for them because we don’t know their background.” With Linda’s patient and gentle hand, she can prepare the animal for a new life as a beloved pet.

PHOTO: SPCA Adoptable cat, Mauve

Thank you, Linda, for your dedication to helping the homeless pets at the shelter!

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.