WRDW TV News Anchor and Investigative Reporter Meredith Anderson and her daughter, Ella, have joined Friends of the Animal Shelter, and we could not be more pleased to have them on our team. They visit and help socialize the homeless pets at the Aiken County Animal Shelter and both take photos of dogs that Meredith then posts on her popular social media channels.
“With COVID restrictions, social media is their best chance,” Anderson said. “It’s good for my heart because it makes me feel like I am making a real difference. Social media is a powerful thing, and I am thrilled my daughter gets to see it being used for good.”
Added Ella, “I absolutely love volunteering for FOTAS. The best part about it is getting to meet so many adorable, sweet and playful dogs and cats.”
In less than two years, the Andersons went from having no dogs at all to adopting three dogs with special needs from their past abandonment and abuse. The family’s love for shelter dogs began in February 2019, when they saw a big, black pit bull mix named Hank on the FOTAS Facebook page. When Hank was surrendered to the shelter, he shook in fear and had tears in his eyes. The Andersons saw his photo, read his story and couldn’t stop thinking about him. They took Hank home, committed to helping the troubled dog start a new, better life. They hired a trainer and Hank, renamed Hamilton, slowly learned he was loved and became less anxious.
This year, two more rescue dogs joined Hamilton: Eliza, a huge, gray pit bull, and young Mulligan, a black and white mixed breed that Ella fell in love with while volunteering at the shelter. Eliza is a dog that was shot but refused to leave the spot where someone drowned her puppies. Mulligan, a dog who faced abuse in her past, became a family member in November of 2020.
“It’s been a process for sure,” Meredith posted on her Facebook page shortly after adopting Mulligan. “It took a lot of love, patience and work, but I truly believe this was meant to be.”
Adopting Mulligan has made Eliza happy. While she loves Hamilton, he doesn’t like to play as much as she does, and Mulligan fills that role nicely.
“Mulligan is a runner, so she and Eliza spend the entire day running and playing,” Meredith explained. “It has given Hamilton some peace and quiet. He’s happy to walk away and watch the girls when he’s had enough. We never imagined how this dynamic would benefit all of them so much.”
Becoming a FOTAS volunteer is a great way to spend time with animals, and who knows? You might fall in love and add a pet in need to your home, like the Andersons did. Please go to FOTASAiken.org to learn more about volunteering and download an application.
“What I say to people who are planning to volunteer or adopt is, ‘Thank you, that’s very kind of you to think about these poor animals,’” Ella said. “’Never lose that sense of kindness.’”
Their lives are in our hands.
How to adopt a pet
If you would like to adopt a pet from the Aiken County Animal Shelter, please call the shelter at (803) 642-1537 or email FOTAS at [email protected] to make an appointment. The shelter is at 333 Wire Road in Aiken. To see the pets available for adoption before making your appointment, go to FOTASAiken.org and check out the FOTAS Facebook page.