We see it in the news every day: A firefighter saving people from burning buildings, teachers going above and beyond for their students, people selflessly giving up all of their free time to help the homeless. Remarkable people doing remarkable things. Don’t get me wrong; these people deserve the utmost respect and recognition for what they do for our community, but what about our furry friends that are out there making a difference?
When Steve Briggs and his wife, Doris Briggs, adopted Serena, they began to truly appreciate the “remarkable” in our furry friends. Serena was rescued from a shelter, days before facing euthanasia due to space limitations, to lead a life delivering comfort to challenged children, wounded veterans, and shattered souls with intuitive compassion. At 15 years of age, Serena is still serving our community.
With Steve’s new respect for the furry heroes of the world, he decided to create the Serena’s Star Award, which would recognize the year’s most amazing, local pet.
Last year’s winner, G.G, was a heartworm positive pup from the Animal Advocates Center in Barnwell. She first served her community as the first dog housed at the Allendale Correctional Institution as part of the Animal Advocate’s Muttmate Program and as a foster mom to motherless puppies and kittens. After her adoption, G.G. continued her life of giving as a companion for her autistic, human brother and dad, who was going through major medical treatment.
For the 5th year, the SPCA will partner with Serena's owner, Steve Briggs, to recognize other pets that are making amazing contributions in our community, and will name one incredible pet "Serena's Star 2018". The selected winner (pet & owner) will be honored during a ceremony on April 8th at the SPCA Albrecht Center and will receive a $750 prize sponsored by the Briggs family, plus a framed photo, which will be displayed at the SPCA for the remainder of 2018.
Online nomination forms are available at www.LetLoveLive.org/SerenasStar or print and fill out an application and mail the nomination form to Attn: Claire R. Grimes; SPCA Albrecht Center; 199 Willow Run Road; Aiken, SC 29801. Deadline for applications will be March 19, 2018. Please send a photo (will not be returned) with the application of the pet you chose to nominate.
Before the Serena’s Star Award is presented on April 8th, the SPCA Albrecht Center will recognize their volunteers with a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. In conjunction with the Serena’s Star Award, this is a great way to acknowledge our organization’s and community’s most astounding group of volunteers – furry and human alike.
Every year, the SPCA volunteers go above and beyond to make the lives of the homeless, adoptable animals better. Last year, volunteers accumulated over 11,000 hours of generous, life-saving service by dog walking, working in SPCA Thrift Shops, cat socializing, assisting with events, taking animals to off-site adoptions, training pets, fostering and humanely educating the next generation of pet owners.
“Volunteer” is defined as, “an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain ‘to benefit another person, group or organization’.” [i] Volunteers truly are the backbone of the SPCA Albrecht Center and we simply could not be a successful organization for our community’s homeless pet population without the help of our amazing volunteers.
If you are interested in joining our team of volunteers, please visit www.LetLoveLive.org/volunteer to choose a date to attend a Shelter 101 Information Session. If you have any questions regarding the Volunteer Program, contact Jessica Gladkowski, Director of Community Relations, at Jessica@LetLoveLive.org or (803) 648-6863 ext. 2.
In every wholehearted, grateful way to say the phrase: THANK YOU to our SPCA Albrecht Center volunteers and to our community’s remarkable pets who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a difference every day.
[i] Volunteer definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volunteering
Claire R. Grimes is the SPCA Albrecht Center’s Development Director. She is an Aiken native, but spent time in Charleston to graduate college and intern with Charleston Animal Society. She is excited to now be working in animal welfare in her hometown and is proud of the community efforts to better the lives of Aiken’s animals. Her family includes her husband, Logan, a SPCA adopted black lab, Ozzy, a SPCA adopted Siamese mix, Luna, and Claire’s first love, Anakin, a 17-pound rescued Maine Coon mix.