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FoCCAS plans to grow in 2015, seeks volunteers

Jim Wieszczyk, FoCCAS President, demonstrates the correct technique for opening a kennel at the Colleton County Animal Shelter to new volunteer Alaina Slocum. Alaina attended the last volunteer orientation on January 24, 2015. Photo by Christie Slocum

Have you ever wondered how the Colleton County Animal Shelter cares for all of the animals that are picked up from around the county? Have you ever wondered what happens to the animals after they are picked up? Members of Friends of the Colleton County Animal Shelter wondered this as well and in 2009 started their group as a 501c3.

Many of us take for granted coming home from work or school and playing with our pets. They are there for us during our loneliness and times of grief. They give us a purpose and responsibility. They ground us and bring joy to our lives. But when a pet goes missing, owners often feel helpless and afraid. FoCCAS is there to help lost pets and owners. Through the use of their social media, FoCCAS has had a great year helping pets and owners reunite. They have helped raise public awareness of the importance of Pet ID and strongly encourage the use of a collar with tags and having your pet’s microchipped which makes it easier to help pets find their way home.

The group has large goals for this year. Just last week former teachers and FoCCAS volunteers Carol Armentrout and Janice Young along with veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Hughes started a pilot program for fourth graders at Forest Hills Elementary School named CACE (Colleton Animal Commitment Education). The group learned of a similar program in Moore County, North Carolina while attending a “Learning Dog” conference. The former teachers customized the program to fit our county’s need. The six week program highlights the Colleton County School Districts character education program which teaches good judgment, integrity, kindness, perseverance, respect, honesty, cooperation, good citizenship, self-discipline, caring, dependability, fairness, and a positive attitude. The fourth graders will be learning how to be responsible pet owners. They will also be told of the large number of homeless pets in the community and taught the importance of spaying and neutering pets. By presenting this program to fourth grade students FoCCAS is hoping to raise pet ownership awareness to children at a young age so they will be able to carry the message with them for the rest of their lives. “The students were very interested and receptive of what we had to say during our first visit. We are hoping to eventually be able to offer this program to all fourth graders in Colleton County”, said Armentrout when asked how the first week went at Forest Hills Elementary.

They also help pets who are not claimed and end up at the Colleton County Animal Shelter. FoCCAS holds monthly adopt-a-thons, where shelter animals are up for adoption. If you are interested in adoption the fee is very small at just $90 for a dog and $70 for a cat. This price includes spay/neuter, all vaccines including rabies, microchip and a free wellness visit to the vet.

FoCCAS also would like to have more volunteers for the foster program. Many animals need a home to stay in until they can be ready to be placed for adoption. This way the foster parent can give the animal the care it needs until it is ready to find a forever home.

With the help of FoCCAS, several dogs from the Colleton County Animal Shelter move on to very exciting lives. Many are sent to New England where they have a shortage of adoptable dogs. Lines of folks wait for Colleton County dogs to arrive in the hopes of finding one to fit their family. FoCCAS has also formed a relationship with a group named K-9 for Vets and just this past week sent a dog to their training program, where after 13 months of intense training he will become a companion for a disabled veteran.

It is very easy to become a volunteer with FoCCAS and/or a member of this organization. The first step is to attend a Saturday morning volunteer orientation which is held at the animal shelter. Expect to be there for an hour or two. The first part of the session goes over general information with you about FoCCAS. This past Saturday John Glass, Director of the Colleton County Animal Shelter was also there to answer any questions the volunteers may have had. The next session will be held on February 21, 2015 at 9:30 am. You can also become a supporting member of FoCCAS for as little as $10 a year. French journalist Anatole France said “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened,” and I must say I agree. For more information about FoCCAS, you can visit their website at www.foccas-sc.org.


Christie Slocum (190 Posts)