There are many definitions for the word "service." If you still have a dictionary, dust it off, crack it open and take a look, or, if you're like me, Google it.
Google keeps it simple, defining service as "the action of helping or doing work for someone" or "a system supplying a public need." That definition is also best suited for the purposes of this article, which is to make you aware of a few of the many services available at the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare.
You might be thinking, "But you're an animal welfare organization, don't you serve animals more than people?" Ultimately, yes. We find it reassuring in difficult situations, whether they be financial, political or social, to remind ourselves and each other, "It's all about the animals."
Very often though, helping animals goes hand-in-hand with helping people, because our goal is for every pet we see to either stay with the person they are bonded to, or find a loving person and home as soon as possible, whichever is in the best interest of the animal.
Let's start with adoptions. We start by helping the animals who find their way to our shelter by means of Animal Control, a kind citizen, or an owner who is no longer able to care for them. The services we provide to those animals include food, shelter, medical care, enrichment, training, and love.
Eventually, when they are ready, we serve those animals by finding them a forever home, which also ends up being a service to the adopter. We provide the adopter with a loving companion, along with the information, tools and resources they need to ensure a smooth transition and a long, happy relationship with their new pet.
If the adopter happens to be adopting a dog, we also provide training. Our Director of Training and Enrichment, Ann Kinney, works with dogs on the adoption floor in our Phideaux University train-to-adopt program. She, along with trained volunteers, teaches our dogs basic behaviors that will not only make them more attractive to potential adopters, but also help them to be better companions in their new home.
Ann offers a complimentary, individual training session to each dog adopter to show them what their new dog already knows, how to maintain their training, how to provide enrichment, and why it's important to do so. Ann also offers training and behavior services to the public at very reasonable rates. Learn more at www.LetLoveLive.org/training or call 803-648-6863.
Our now full-service veterinary clinic offers a whole range of services that also benefit pets and their people, and at quite affordable prices.
Our organization has offered reduced-cost spay/neuter and vaccination services for many years and we continue to do so. These basic veterinary needs are available to anyone at very reasonable rates and to some, for even further reduced pricing, under City and County voucher programs.
Now, in addition to those services, our clinic offers a full range of veterinary services to help you care for your pet including general wellness exams, x-rays, dental procedures, testing, flea and heartworm prevention and more. We also offer compassionate humane euthanasia when the time comes to offer your pet a final act of love.
These services are available to anyone, regardless of residency or income level, and many are available without an appointment.
However, the availability of many of these services to all income levels is currently being threatened by proposed Senate Bill 687. S.687 is being promoted by the SC Veterinary Medical Association which is a membership of private practitioners. It's an effort to prevent the general public from utilizing the veterinary services of non-profit organizations.
If S.687 is passed, only spay/neuter, core vaccinations, micro-chipping and parasite prevention would be available to all income levels. All other veterinary care would be limited to only individuals and families meeting federal poverty income levels. For example, an individual making more than $11,770 per year would not qualify for our clinic services outside of those basic services mentioned above.
Your help is needed to ensure this bill does not pass so we can continue to offer our full range of services to anyone at any income level. Visit www.LetLoveLive.org/news to learn more about S.687 and get contact information for State Senators and Representatives so you can voice your concerns.
Have questions? You can learn about all of these services and lots more by visiting our website at www.LetLoveLive.org, calling us at 803-648-6863 or visiting us at 199 Willow Run Road, in Aiken, SC. We're at your service!
Sarah Neikam is the Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She previously held the role of Volunteer Coordinator and has a background in business administration. Sarah lives in Graniteville with her husband, Tom, mother, Cheryl and two adopted cats: Bastian and Luna.