By: Sarah A. Neikam, CAWA

On Saturday, the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare wrapped up it’s two-week “Empty the Shelters, Holiday Hope” adoption drive, in partnership with the Bissell Pet Foundation. Bissell’s support and sponsorship enabled the shelter to waive adoption fees, eliminating what can be a barrier to pet adoption for some families.

During this special event, a total of 43 cats and kittens, along with 23 dogs and puppies, were adopted into new homes. Each adoption is a tremendous success story for the staff and volunteers of the Albrecht Center, and our hearts are full of gratitude for every individual and family who stepped forward to adopt. Your choice to welcome a pet into your home has changed their world, and for that, we are eternally thankful.

Among these lucky pets were three very special adoptions that remind us of the enduring hope that resides within the walls of our shelter.

Wonderwall’s new family!

Wonderwall, a cat who initially arrived at the shelter as a small kitten, was adopted two years ago, only to be returned a year and a half later, declawed and afraid. The procedure left her unable to defend herself against other feisty cats, and seemed to have left her in pain, so it took some time for our staff to work with her to regain her trust and bring out her loving nature. Wonderwall waited 9 months in the shelter, but was finally taken away to a home of her own.

Bones in his new home!

Another heartwarming tale is that of Bones, a dog who was readopted into a wonderful home after overcoming significant health challenges, including a leg amputation. His resilience and the compassion of his new family exemplify the spirit of faith and giving.

And then there is Barold; a playful but feisty cat who was a shelter resident for nearly two years, most likely due to his unruly behavior which could be intimidating for potential adopters. SPCA staff and volunteers had resigned to assuming that Barold would remain a shelter resident, but just last week a woman who seemed charmed and not at all dissuaded by Barold’s spirited nature, decided to take him home. As the shelter doors closed behind them, applause and cheers could be heard throughout the building as “Barold has left the building!” was announced over the intercom.

As we revel in the success of the adoption event, we also extend a warm invitation to our “Home for the Holidays” foster program. This initiative seeks to provide our shelter animals with a loving, temporary home during the holiday season.

Barold’s adoption!

Fostering not only brings joy to these animals, but also offers a rewarding experience for the foster families. We encourage everyone to consider opening their homes and hearts, even if just for a short while, to make a pet’s holiday season as special as can be. All necessary supplies, including food, will be provided by the SPCA Albrecht Center.

The program runs through the end of the year, with the hope that some of these temporary stays turn into permanent adoptions, if not by the foster families themselves, then by a friend or family member introduced to the pet during their stay.

For more details on the Home for the Holidays foster program, and to view available pets, visit Every act of kindness, be it adopting, fostering, or even spreading the word, makes a difference in the lives of these animals. Help us make this holiday season a memorable one for our furry friends waiting for a home of their own.




Sarah Neikam is the Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center in Aiken, SC. She has been with the organization since 2012, holding various roles including Volunteer Coordinator and Director of Operations & HR. A Certified Animal Welfare Administrator as of 2022, Sarah is a passionate advocate for animal welfare. She resides in Aiken with her husband, Tom, and their six cats.