By: Miranda Ewing, Director of Volunteer Services

For June’s Volunteer Spotlight, the SPCA Albrecht Center would like to recognize Tammie Shedd.

Tammie has been volunteering with the shelter’s dogs since August 2020. With a ready passion for supporting the animals and eagerness to learn new skills, Tammie has become beloved amongst both animals and staff. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when she brings a basket of freshly-baked cookies to the shelter! Her heart for the dogs is evident, particularly with those needing a patient human to build trust and a new outlook on life. The shelter’s canine behaviorist notes Tammie is not afraid of a challenge yet also knows her own limitations, and both attributes are invaluable as a dog handler.

When you speak with Tammie, her passion and love shine through when talking about the dogs she is working with. Tammie particularly enjoys helping the larger shelter dogs and reflects on her volunteering, “I like that I’ve made a connection with that dog and I can tell he/she feels comfortable with me.” It can take a while for human and dog to understand each other and begin to communicate, especially when the dog is very shy or under stress.

As a volunteer, Tammie has gained knowledge and training to become a Phideaux University Professor. Phideaux University is the canine program which helps the volunteers support the shelter dogs’ overall health and happiness. Volunteers who become Professors are assigned a shelter dog to train on particular behaviors. Tammie is currently paired with Lars (available for adoption), who she describes as a lovely dog with an exuberant spirit. When Lars meets new people, he just can’t contain his excitement. He’s bubbly and absolutely loves to be pet. Tammie and Lars have worked well as a team and now he’s mastered sit and down. Tammie is hopeful for Lar’s new family and says he’d blossom with another canine playmate, morning and evening walks with his person, and a couch to chill on while snuggling with a family member.

Tammie has previous experience fostering Great Danes and now opens her heart and home to the SPCA’s homeless dogs as well. If a shelter dog has been waiting for a long time for their forever family and needs a vacation from the hustle and bustle of shelter life or a shelter dog is showing signs of distress at the shelter, staff may reach out for a foster family. Tammie and her husband, Jerry, have been fabulous foster parents to SPCA dogs: Ahmadi (adopted, now Charlie), Jaelyn (adopted), Salmon (adopted), Pretty Girl (adopted), Remy (available for adoption), and Regan (available for adoption). The staff greatly appreciate the notes and photos Tammie relays while fostering a dog. The stories she tells helps match a potential adopter with the pet who’d best fit their family.

Tammie’s career background is in court reporting and closed captioning. As a young adult she moved to the D.C. metropolitan area where she was first a freelance reporter, then an Official Reporter for D.C. Superior Court. Her skills as a reporter paved the way for working with a company that provided closed captioning for live television shows and soon became the head of the department. After 17 years in the closed captioning business, Tammie and Jerry started their own closed captioning and video description company. They lived and worked in Northern Virginian where their boys, Greg and Nick, grew up in a community with great opportunities, restaurants, friends, and education. Greg is now in Pennsylvania where he’s the athletic trainer and outreach coordinator for Upstream Physical Therapy. Nick is in West Palm Beach, Florida working as Head of Strength and Conditioning for the Astros.

When contemplating retirement, Tammie and Jerry wanted something different than what Virginia offered, particularly a locale which didn’t require a snow shovel. While working down their list of potential residence, they came to visit Aiken and were immediately hooked. Since moving to Aiken 9 years ago, Tammie has since picked up a knack for pickle ball and frequents several recreation centers where she gets together with other players to engage in a friendly game or two. The couple also enjoys the city’s friendly atmosphere, local activities, and restaurants and feels Aiken has proven to be exactly as expected. The SPCA is grateful the Shedd family chose Aiken as their home and know we have gained a dedicated and astute volunteer in Tammie.

Thank you, Tammie, for all your help with the SPCA Albrecht Center!

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.