Aiken Standard (Newspaper) - January 28, 2011, Aiken, South Carolina
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Vol. 145, No. 28\ our I un* a I Son rrr Since I h(> z——www.aikenstandard.com
Man in coma
Rescued dog is subject
of upcoming ‘Paw Prints’ after being
shot in head
By HALEY HUGHES
Filmmaker Peter Whitehead believes the story has to be told - the story of a rescued stray in Aiken who is runs a trained therapy dog.
“Paw Prints.” the name of the documentary Whitehead is working on. features Serena, a Delta Society-certified therapy dog, her work with the sick, elderly and disabled and, in the greater scheme of things, the w ork of the Aiken SPCA and Aiken C ounty Animal Shelter.
Whitehead’s brother is a neighbor of Serena’s owners. Steve and I kins Briggs. While visiting his brother. Whitehead heard Serena’s story and was inspired.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. For all 'ntents and purposes, Serena si amid be dead. It is a story that can go untold if you don’t appreciate the details,’’ Whitehead said recently from his home in C anada.
Before they moved here, the Bnggs were visiting Aiken to take advantage of long rides in Hitchcock Woods on their Past) Fine horses. IX>ris picked up a copy of the Aiken Standard and saw a Molly’s Militia advertisement for an Australian shepherd being fostered in Augusta. Their Australian shepherd of 11 years had recently died.
The couple pulled up the group s website and saw Serena’s picture. She was not an Australian shepherd but appealing nonetheless. Serena had been found by Aiken C ounty Animal Control officers as a stray and was taken to the shelter, where she was picked up by Molly’s Militia volunteers.
Serena was a perfect fit for the Briggs from the start. Someone suggested she train as a therapy dog after witnessing her calm, gentle manner.
Today, Serena holds the highest certification from the Delta Society: complex. She possesses the temperament, discipline and calmness
By KAREN DAILY
A Warrenv ille man is in a coma atter he was shot in the head during an argument over money at his Brier Patch Lane home in Warrens ilk on Wednesday, officials said.
I )onald Lee Smatters, 68, was taken to MC ti Health about 10:50 p.m., after his wife, Tammy Smathers, called 911, according to Capt. Troy ElwelL, a spokesman for the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.
He was lying on the living room floor in a pool of blood when deputies arrived.
He was bleeding sev erely, a deputy observed.
Investigators said Tammy Smathers had been out to dinner with Melvin Lowe, a
friend of the family, and met the victim at the residence alter dinner.
“Donald had loaned Mr.
Low e money, and there w as an altercation of some kind," the capulin explained.
Tammy Smathcis claimed that’s when the shooter fired at her husband. She claimed he left in an older model Ford Explorer, officials said.
Atter calling for help, she was waiting on deputies outside and led them to lier husband. Investigators said it appeared as if the critically injured victim was unarmed.
Flwell said a gun was recovered at the home, adding thai investigators believe it was the weapon used to shoot Smathers.
Please see SHOT, page 14A
ACTS celebrating 25 years in Aiken
Staff photo by Haley Hughes
Filmmaker Peter Whitehead of Canada-based Beech Island Films has been filming a docu mentary in Aiken on a therapy dog and the work of the Aiken SPC A and Aiken County Animal
necessary to work in highly active environments with many distractions and with unanticipated interactions.
“He (Whitehead) thought it would be a fun story. I think the idea has merit, that of a rescue dog that has grown up to be a top-trained therapy animal,” Steve Briggs said.
On a regular basts, Steve takes Serena to children’s homes, senior citizen care centers and hospitals; Whitehead and his camera crew followed them for about a week.
“You don’t know how it’s going to go the dog rejecting the person or the person bonding with the dog. As Peter will say, the footage is
Please see DOG, page 14A
Staff photo by Haley Hughes Serena lays against Steve Briggs during one of their therapy visits. Serena's work as a certified therapy dog is a feature in a documentary "Paw Prints.''
By SUZANNE R. STONE
Area C hurches Together Serv mg (ACTS) is celebrating its 25th year of helping the people most in need in Aiken County,
A volunteer committee has scheduled a yearlong slate of events to honor ACTS’ quar-ter-century mark. The events kick off this Saturday with the sold-out Thud Annual Icicle Ball at Newberry Hall and will conclude w itll next year’s Icicle Ball.
ACTS’ annual events, such as its participation in the Lexington Race Against Hunger and the fan drive in June, will be adjusted to reflect the anniversary spirit, and several special events are coming up, according to anniversary committee cochairs C arolyn Beeler and Amy Stertz.
“The idea is to have an event every month to emphasize ACTS’ importance to the community and to get people to remember ACTS,” I feeler said.
February’s events include the Souper Bow l of Caring Hunger C ampaign, pegged lo the NFL’s Super Bowl Sunday, as well as the Lexington Race Against Hunger and a Senior Food Client Celebration.
“Every third Saturday ACTS has its Senior Food
PIMM SM ACTS, page 14A
Shari Lynn Clifford,
Reba C. Ennis,
Mary M. Huff,
Deaths and Funerals I BA