It Takes a Village

Shelters across the country, including the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, are faced with the challenge of providing quality care for hundreds or thousands of homeless pets each year. With a small staff and limited resources, we would be hard pressed to provide quality care at the level we do without the help of our dedicated volunteer team. In 2017, our 300 volunteers gave over 11,500 hours of their time – this is the hourly equivalent to more than 5 full-time staff.

Volunteers give their time raising funds for the Albrecht Center at our two retail Thrift Shops. Both shops are run almost entirely by volunteers who sort and organize donations, run the cash register, assist customers, and more. The work done by the retail volunteers provides roughly a quarter of the funds needed to run the shelter each year.

The team also gave their time to help provide pet care and enrichment. Volunteers have many options when working with the shelter pets including cleaning and feeding in the Kitty Kat Kastle, providing socialization for the shy cats, reading to the shelter dogs, walking the dogs, and even working on enrichment activities and behavior modification with shelter dogs who need a little more training before going to a home.

Our wonderful volunteers also bathe the pets and provide grooming services, collect donation bins, transport animals, bring pets to off-site adoption events, help with office administration, assist with humane education and community outreach, and help run all of our annual fundraisers. We truly could not do all that we do without them.

That is why, on Sunday, April 8th the Albrecht Center held a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon to recognize the hard work and dedication of our volunteer team. Volunteers enjoyed a presentation and speech by SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare Board of Trustees member and benefactor Gary Albrecht. Gary is a volunteer himself and spoke to the level of commitment and dedication he sees in our volunteers. The celebration continued with a lunch buffet, raffle, and for the fifth year, the Albrecht Center partnered with Steve Briggs to present the 2018 Serena’s Star Award.

Serena’s Star is named after Steve’s dog Serena who 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. The Briggs family sponsors the $750 award to recognize other pets who are making amazing contributions in our community.

This year’s Serena’s Star Award recipient is Jose. Jose is an Armed Service K-9 who completed three tours in Afghanistan. He now has a role as an Active Service K-9 for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, and he recently re-certified in a national Explosive K-9 Certification at the modest age of ten. He will continue to serve and protect Richmond County until his retirement in summer 2018. Jose’s coworker, Sergeant John Gray graciously donated the $750 monetary prize to the Albrecht Center so we may continue our lifesaving work. A framed photo of Jose and Sergeant Gray will be displayed in our facility.

It truly takes a village to help over 1,200 pets each year, and we are so grateful to have such a dedicated, hardworking team of volunteers to help us save lives and provide care at such a high level. We are also thankful to be part of a larger community of volunteers (both human and animal alike) who are making the world a better place each and every day.

Are you interested in lending a hand? For information about joining our volunteer team, please visit the volunteer portion of our website or email Jessica at

Jessica Gladkowski is the Director of Community Relations at the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. Jessica received her Bachelor of Arts in Japanese from The University of Vermont in 2013, and over the next several years she traveled to Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines where she taught English and immersed herself in different cultures. Jessica is inspired to combine her passion for helping animals, teaching, and serving a diverse community through a career in animal welfare. Jessica lives in Aiken with her husband David and their rescue dogs Django and Ollie.

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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

Copyright 2014     SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare      All rights reserved