Serena's Star Award

Could you use an extra $500? Good. Now that I have your attention...

Do you have or know an amazing pet? I have two. They're just regular house cats, but each is one-of-a-kind and in my eyes at least, absolutely perfect . Most of us feel that way about our pets, but if you have or know a pet that is truly remarkable in their ability to provide compassion or service to people in need, here's your chance to give them the recognition they deserve.

Many of you know the story of Serena, an abandoned dog that found herself, like so many others, dumped in an animal shelter, scheduled to be euthanized. Thankfully, she was saved from death's door and adopted into a loving family, with the help of local rescue group Molly's Militia.

Serena has taken her second chance at life to help others in need. For years, she has used her intuitive compassion to deliver comfort to sick or challenged children, wounded veterans, and shattered souls throughout our community.

Her amazing ability eventually inspired an award, and for the third consecutive year, the SPCA Albrecht Center, in partnership with Serena's owners, Steve and Doris Briggs, will recognize other pets that are making positive contributions in our community , and will name one incredible pet "Serena's Star 2016".

Nominations are open to all pets, no matter the species or breed. While we, at the SPCA, love a good adoption story, the nominee need not be adopted, and purebred pets are welcome too! We just want to hear the great things pets are doing to improve, or even save human lives.

Therapy pets, assistance animals, drug and bomb dogs, even regular old pets that once did something extraordinary like waken a family during a home invasion, or alert a parent to a child's unrecognized distress, whatever the animal-induced miracle is, we want to know! The only stipulation we have is that the pet must make its permanent residence in the CSRA.

Get your story together and submit it by February 25. An easy, online nomination form is available on the SPCA website at or you can print and mail a nomination form to Attn: Amy Banton; SPCA Albrecht Center; 199 Willow Run Road; Aiken, SC 29801.

Nominations should include a photo (which may not be returned). The written portion cannot be more than 500 words. If you are nominating a pet that does not belong to you, please be sure the pet and owner don’t mind being the center of our undying gratitude and attention.

Lastly, Serena, Steve and Doris will generously award the winner a $500 reward for their good-deed-doing. That should keep some lucky winner in food and vaccinations for a while! The award will be presented during the SPCA’s volunteer appreciation luncheon on March 6 and the winner will also be presented with a framed photo to be displayed in our Marr Training and Education Center along with past and future award recipients.

Best of luck to all of the nominees! If you have questions, or want to be sure we received your nomination, please call Amy Banton, Community Outreach Director at 803-648-6863 or email her at

Sarah Neikam is the Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She is an Aiken native and has been with the SPCA since 2012. Sarah lives in Graniteville with her husband, Tom, mother, Cheryl and two adopted cats: Bastian and Luna.

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The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is a

tax-exempt 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.

EIN: 57-0329782

  199 Willow Run Road  Aiken, SC 29801      Shelter: (803) 648-6863    Vet Care: (803) 648-6864

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