Old Cars Give New Life to Pets

I'm not what you'd call a "car person". I can refill gas and check fluids, but any other type of maintenance or repair is sadly not within my skill set. I do, however, have a fond appreciation for nice cars. The way they look, the way their engines sound, luxurious upholstery and high-tech dashboards. Classic cars, too, but more so for the simpler era they represent, when cars were less complicated, more reliable, and much cheaper to buy and repair.

Cars have played a significant role in many of my fondest memories. It's hard to forget being packed into the nearly non-existent back seat of my aunt's Saturn Yellow Volkswagen Beetle with my two cousins, no seatbelts and no a/c. Or sliding around on the huge split bench seat of my mom's 1972, pea-green Ford Thunderbird that I knew as an "old lady car".

Thankfully, the T-bird was replaced by a much cooler 1977 Chevy Camaro Z-28 with a roaring engine and deep bucket seats that barely allowed me to see over the dash. The boys at my elementary school came running over to see it every time my mom dropped me off. I can still remember looking down at my sandaled feet dangling over the edge of the seat, while a police officer scolded my mom through her window and handed her a speeding ticket.

High school graduation came with my very first car, a 1987 Pontiac Grand Am with a powerful V-6 engine that I absolutely never, no not ever, drove over the speed limit. It also came with a sizeable dent over the rear tire that made a horrible scraping sound whenever I rolled over a speed bump too fast or failed to avoid a pothole, which was often.

Since then, there have been a few more practical, reliable, but fun Hondas, and now I find myself back in a Volkswagen. Salsa Red this time, with a much more spacious back seat. All of the cars of my past eventually rolled out of my life, sold or left to sit and rust in a junkyard, and I've taken a moment each time to say goodbye. Inanimate objects notwithstanding, each played a part in my life and each, at least to me, is worth a moment of remembrance.

Had the option been available at the time, those cars could have continued to play a meaningful role by helping support a worthy cause. Charity car donation is not only a great way to help support your favorite non-profit organization, it's an easy way to get rid of your old clunker, and it provides you with a much-needed tax break.

The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare participates in a vehicle donation program that is a hassle-free, excellent way to benefit the homeless pets in our community. All you have to do is pick up the phone or complete an easy, online donation form and the vehicle will be towed away at no charge to you, and you'll receive a donation receipt that will come in handy at tax time.

Donated vehicles do not have to run and cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, scooters, golf carts, RV's, tractors and more are all eligible. Call 855-500-RIDE (7433) or click LetLoveLive.org/Donate and look for the "Car Donation" link to give your old ride a new, valuable purpose, and give homeless pets the chance to enjoy a ride of their own, to a loving forever home.

If you're a car enthusiast, you'll want to join us on September 6th for our last Yappy Hour of the season from 6-8pm: Hot Dogs & Hot Cars! Admission is free, we'll have a cash bar, hot dogs on the grill, live music on the patio by 4 Cats in the Doghouse, and hot cars to drool over. The dog park & pool will be open too, so bring your four-legged friend, just watch him near those cars' nice tires.

And if you're the proud owner of a hot car, bring it to the car show! Spaces are limited, and free, advanced registration is required by emailing Claire at [email protected].

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.

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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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