Ah, Spring. Warmer weather, flowers, buzzing bees, singing birds, fresh fruits and vegetables, and pollen. Lots and lots of pollen. Even after the yellow powdery stuff is gone, microscopic pollen is still in the air, drifting into your home, requiring a good spring cleaning to stifle your sneezes and help you breathe easier.
While you're busy dusting, scrubbing and decluttering, keep the SPCA Albrecht Center in mind if you come across any household items you no longer want or need. Their two Thrift Shops accept all kinds of donations and can resell your items to help fund their efforts to find homes for homeless pets and offer affordable veterinary services.
Thinking of having a yard sale to really clean up and clean out? The SPCA will be glad to take any unsold items off your hands. You can take them to either Thrift Shop location or call 803-648-6863 for a free pick up. Yep, free!
And if you have an old car sitting around collecting pollen, consider donating it. Your old clunker will be towed for free, and you'll be provided with a tax-deductible donation receipt. Just call 1-855-500-RIDE (7433) or visit www.LetLoveLive.org/donate. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, boats and more are accepted and they don't even have to be running.
After you've finished cleaning, take some time to enjoy the warmer weather by taking your dog for a walk. Even better, register to take him for a walk with lots of other dog walkers on April 23rd for the SPCA's Walk for Animals!
Registration for the walk is just $25 and includes admission to the after-walk patio party with music, burgers on the grill and a cash bar. Relax with a drink and take your dog to have some fun and maybe a swim in the dog park. Sign up by April 5th to get an event t-shirt included with your registration.
Proceeds from this event, as with all of the SPCA's events, help continue their mission of providing shelter and care for adoptable pets and providing affordable veterinary care to the public. Go to LetLoveLive.org or call 803-648-6863 to register.
Speaking of affordable veterinary care, spring can also bring hazards for your pets. Cleaning products, pesticides and plants can be toxic and sometimes fatal to your furry friends. Pets can also suffer from allergies, and fleas & ticks will begin to be more prevalent. The SPCA's Veterinary Care Center can help with all of these issues and more. Call or visit so the vets can get to know your pet and help them have a safer, healthier season.
One more thing that spring brings: kitten season. This is the time of year when kitten births peak as a result of unaltered adult cats. An estimated 20 million kittens will be born nationwide this spring alone, and there are never enough homes for them all.
There are a few things you can do to help. If you have a cat, please make sure they are spayed or neutered. Female cats can get pregnant as early as 4-6 months, so don't wait. The SPCA's Veterinary Care Center makes it affordable and easy, just call 803-648-6863, ext. 1 or visit LetLoveLive.org/vet-care for information and prices.
Know of a stray cat or colony? Help calm the community cat population by participating in the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. TNR is endorsed by both the American Humane Society and the ASPCA and has been described as "the most humane, effective and financially sustainable strategy for controlling free-roaming cat populations." Learn more at LetLoveLive.org/TNR.
Help the SPCA care for the many kittens that spring will surely bring by donating supplies. The third annual Kitten Shower will be held on May 6th and you can find a wish list at LetLoveLive.org/kitten-shower.
And lastly, spring brings a chance for fresh starts and new beginnings. Consider giving a homeless pet a new beginning by opening your heart and your home to one waiting in an animal shelter. The love they return to you will warm your heart, much like a spring day, minus the pollen, but plus the fur.
Sarah Neikam is the Communications & 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 family which includes three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady, who are all living happy, loved lives thanks to the efforts of the SPCA.