Though it's warming up outside considerably, and quickly, summer doesn't officially begin for another few weeks. June 21st at 12:24 a.m. to be exact. The start of the longest, hottest days of the year in the southeastern U.S.
But that doesn't mean the summer fun hasn't already begun. As hot as it is here in the summertime, people still love to be outside, enjoying the sunshine with friends and sometimes with their pets, too. It helps to have a cold drink and maybe a refreshing splash of water nearby.
Luckily, the SPCA Albrecht Center has all of those things! Summer at the SPCA means Yappy Hours and Dog Washes. Two super fun events and opportunities to support homeless pets.
Yappy Hours this year are being held on the first Wednesday of each month from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. If you missed it this month, don't worry, just mark your calendar for June 7th, July 5th, August 2nd and September 6th. There is no admission fee, plenty of parking, and your dog is welcome, in fact encouraged to accompany you. Or, you are welcome to come alone or with a two-legged friend as well.
Yappy Hour offers live music on the patio with plenty of seating, a cash bar and burgers on the grill available for purchase. It's a welcome mid-week break from your normal routine, a great place to meet friends and an opportunity to support your favorite animal welfare organization.
The SPCA Dog Park, which is normally only available to members, is open to everyone during Yappy Hour. There's plenty of space for your pooch to run, a splash pool so he can stay cool, and covered benches for you to rest and sip your beverage from the cash bar. If you and your dog have so much fun that you want to visit the park more often, just call the SPCA at 803-648-6863 or visit LetLoveLive.org/dogpark for membership information. Membership starts at just $40 per year.
Another fun way to stay cool in the summer heat and help support the SPCA is by bringing your dirty dog to the monthly dog washes. These are held on the second Saturday of each month, on the patio, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
SPCA volunteers will work their tails off in the sun to lather, rinse and towel dry your pooch 'til he's squeaky clean and smelling fresh. Nail trims and ear cleanings are also available, and wash prices start at just $20.00. Cash or check only is requested. Dog Wash dates are this Saturday, May 13th, then June 10th, July 8th, August 12th and September 9th.
Now that your calendar is marked with the fun, summer events at the SPCA, consider other fun events in Aiken that you can do with or without your pet. Aiken's Alley is beautiful since the renovation last year, making it even more pedestrian-friendly and enjoyable than before. Check out the Market in the Alley on Thursdays from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. for live music, local produce, crafts, food vendors and more.
The Farmer's Market on Williamsburg Street is another great place for fresh produce, baked goods, flowers and herbs. They're open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8:00am until noon (or until the farmers sell out).
Aiken also offers a Concert Series at Hopelands Gardens every Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free, leashed pets are welcome and you can even take a picnic dinner. How fun is that?
Don't let the heat stop you from enjoying all the fun our town and the SPCA Albrecht Center have to offer this season. Spread on some sun block, grab a hat and a cool drink, leash up your dog and enjoy the summer!
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 family which includes three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady, who are all living happy, loved lives thanks to the efforts of the SPCA.