Why We Walk
Everyone has a story.
The human story can often be an interesting one, and sometimes you run across a gem that you want to share with the world. That’s why I spent almost a decade in journalism – I wanted to dig up those fine gems and scatter them where more people could find them through my writing.
Now, I find myself working at the SPCA Albrecht Center where, just like people, every animal has a story, too.
Some of those stories have happy endings. For example, Blinkin, the blind kitten and his fuzzy seeing-eye feline friend Hefty were adopted together by a very kind couple earlier this month. Those two cats fit the definition of “happy tails” perfectly.
But in my very short time at the shelter, I’ve witnessed those not-so-happy stories. We’ve seen the abused, the neglected and those few that we did everything we could to save so maybe they’d get a second chance at the good life they really deserved.
That brings me to Evie, a small toy breed dog who came to us recently from the streets with matted fur, gooey eyes, cracking skin and a significantly large tumor on her neck. We didn’t know this dog’s whole story, but we knew after a veterinarian’s visit the end of it – she was too sick to live a comfortable life.
So, we wanted Evie’s story to end on a positive note. As our dog trainer Ann Kinney said, “Let’s give her a good day.” So, we loved her as much as we could. She frolicked in the dog park. She took long naps in our laps while we did paperwork. We even snuck her a few hot dog bits to really spoil her. She had an opportunity to feel safe and happy.
Evie had a good day.
On Oct. 10, we will walk for Evie. We will walk for Blinkin and Hefty. We’re going to walk for every animal we ever came across because each one leaves paw prints in our hearts. Sounds a bit cliché, right? Well, believe me, anyone reading this article who has loved a four-legged being can relate.
The Twilight Walk for Animals is part of the SPCA Albrecht Center’s largest fundraiser. Participants, whether they are going to physically walk the one-mile twilit trail with us or not in October, raise funds for our organization starting about two months prior to our event through an online crowdfunding site. That fundraising is underway now.
After the walk, participants enjoy food, beverages and music at our Barkaritaville block party. Those who raise $25 or more are awarded free entry into Barkaritaville.
Proceeds from both the Twilight Walk and Barkaritaville help us offer a safe haven for homeless animals like Evie, Blinkin and Hefty as well as continue our low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinic.
If you want to help us raise money, visit www.letlovelive.org. You can create a team, join a team or just donate a few bucks. Every dollar counts, and, though we’d love to have you join us under the stars in October, you don’t have to participate in the actual walk. Donations can also be dropped off at our facility.
Barkaritaville and the Twilight Walk for Animals take place Oct. 10 from 6 to 10 p.m. at our facility located at 199 Willow Run. For more information on this event or to purchase Barkaritaville tickets, visit www.letlovelive.org.
Amy Banton is the community outreach director for the SPCA Albrecht Center. A native of Rustburg, Virginia, she graduated from Randolph Macon Woman’s College. She was a reporter and digital news editor for the Aiken Standard from 2010 to 2015.