Two and a half years ago, an emaciated pit bull was found by the Saluda County Sheriff’s Department, chained to a stake, starving, barely able to walk, and not far from his two deceased friends who had starved to death on their chains. At the Sheriff’s Department's request, the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare sent two Veterinary Technicians to free the dog from his chain and bring him to their Veterinary Care Center. His prognosis was dim. Not only was he starved to the point of being a bag of bones, but he had an advanced case of heartworm disease.
The SPCA's veterinary team went to work and miraculously, he lived. In tribute to his courageous spirit, he was named Superman. Due to his ongoing recovery and pending court case, he has resided in our shelter; cared for and loved by our staff and especially by long-time SPCA volunteer, Susan Cohen. Susan rarely misses a daily visit with Superman, taking him on walks around our facility and keeping his training in check.
Sadly, heartworms have taken their toll and Superman is most likely living his last months with us. He has been loved and pampered and has amazingly returned that love, even after enduring his horrible past. We are convinced that LOVE is what has kept him alive. It is what we do here at the Albrecht Center, and with the continued support of our community, it is what we will keep doing.
"Let Love Live" is our motto and it rings true in Superman's story and in the story of a much smaller life - a tiny, nearly hairless dog found not far from our shelter, by our Director of Training, Ann Kinney. She spotted him shivering and lost, in the middle of Beaufort Street, tail between his legs, covered in dirt, fleas, and red, irritated skin.
The Chinese Crested mix had no tags, no microchip and no owner ever came forward looking for him. So, we gave him medical care, flea treatment, food in his belly, plenty of love, and named him Sprout.
Sprout didn't adapt well to shelter life, so he spent most of his time in our administrative offices where he was dressed in a different sweater every day and learned to spin and bounce for treats. Whatever he endured before he was rescued, it was long forgotten within a few days of his time with us. He loved every person he met and lived for attention and treats.
These days, Sprout lives for the adoring affection of his new family, who adopted him just after Christmas last year and renamed him Pogo, a fitting tribute to his playful nature.
The stories of these two dogs are examples of who the SPCA Albrecht Center is as an organization, and they illustrate the vision of what we plan to continue doing… protecting animals and improving the human-animal bond.
They are also examples of why we walk, in our annual Walk for Animals fundraiser. We walk to celebrate all of the lives we've been able to save, and to raise awareness and gain support for the ones still waiting to be given a second chance.
I hope you'll celebrate with us, and show your support by joining us for the Walk for Animals on April 23rd at noon. You can register right now at LetLoveLive.org and if you sign up by April 5th, you'll get a t-shirt included with your registration to commemorate your walk and help spread the word about our cause.
In honor of Superman, Sprout, all those who have made their way through our doors, and the countless others who will in the future, walk with us, show your support, and help us continue to Let Love Live.
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.