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TNR Saves Lives

Feral Cats

Each year in the Midlands, more than 17,000 dogs and cats are euthanized due to the pet overpopulation epidemic and more than 50% of those euthanized are cats.  Feral cats who find themselves in the local municipal shelters are statistically euthanized more quickly than other cats. The only way to put an end to this tragic loss of life is to spay and neuter every feral cat possible.

A feral cat is defined as a cat that lives outside and is not socialized to humans. Feral cats can have the same lifespan as companion cats, living long, healthy lives, contented in their outdoor environment. Feral cats typically live in a “colony” where they have access to a food source and shelter. An unmanaged colony can become a problem with rampant breeding, and the onset of problems that come from mating behaviors (fighting, yowling, etc.).

As an organization, Pawmetto Lifeline is committed to working with groups and individuals on trap-neuter-release (TNR). TNR is the most humane and effective method available to end the severe feral cat overpopulation crisis faced in this country. This method has been endorsed by national animal welfare groups, as well as many animal control departments. TNR stabilizes colony size by eliminating new litters and also reduces the nuisance behavior associated with unaltered cats. TNR’s most measurable effect is that fewer cats/kittens flow through animal shelters, resulting in lower euthanasia rates and increased adoptions of shelter cats.

Feral Cat Colony  feral cat family

Here is a step-by-step explanation of the TNR model and how it works:

  1.     A feral cat colony is identified.
  2.     The cats are trapped humanely.
  3.     The cats are transported  to a clinic for a spay/neuter surgery & rabies vaccination (at minimum).
  4.     The cats have their left ear “tipped” for future identification.
  5.     The cats are returned to their colony within 24 – 48 hours.
  6.     Volunteers feed and care for the cat colony on a daily basis.

It is our hope that our flexibility and pricing will allow you to help more cats in your community. For the Feral Cat package ($25), we provide spay/neuter surgery, rabies vaccine, ear tip, and pain medication. Each of these medical services helps to stabilize the colony and to control the population.

To find out more about the Feral Cat Package at Pawmetto Lifeline, please click here.

Appointments are necessary for 3 or more feral cats. Contact 803-465-9100 to speak to the clinic about scheduling.

by: Caitlin Gomez, Clinic Office Manager, Pawmetto Lifeline 

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Heartworm Prevention-Not just for the Summertime

A brief Q&A with a Resident Smarty, Ashley Konon!

What is the percentage chance that my dog will get heartworms?
Dogs that are bitten by a heartworm infected mosquito have a 100% chance of contracting heartworms, UNLESS they are on prevention. That means if your dog is not on heartworm prevention it only takes ONE BITE from an infected mosquito to pass on the parasite. Just one bite!

But I only need to worry about heartworms in the Summertime, prime mosquito months, right? 
Heartworms are a constant threat, especially in warm climates. In South Carolina we have one of the highest numbers of reported cases of heartworm infection in the country! Dogs and cats need to be on prevention year-round, even those pets that stay inside!

So I just need to be sure my dog is on heartworm prevention, but what about my cat?
Heartworms can affect cats too, and unlike dogs, there is no current treatment for a heartworm positive cat. All it takes is one bite from an infected mosquito.

So what symptoms should I look for to tell if my dog has gotten heartworms?
Unlike hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms, you are unlikely to notice your pet has been infected until it is a major problem. Have your pets tested and make sure they are all up to date on their heartworm prevention.

How do the tests work for heartworms? When should I have my dog tested?
Heartworms take about 6 months to develop into adult worms, so it is important to start puppies and kittens on prevention before they reach the age of 6 months. If you have an adult dog you can have him tested for heartworms, a simple test where a small blood sample is taken and tested for the presences of heartworms. Cats don’t need to have a test before they start on prevention.

So what does prevention of heartworms include?
You can prevent heartworms in your pet with a once monthly prevention (pills or ointments). Prevention is a safe, cost effective, and easy way to make sure you and your pet never have to go through the pain of heartworm treatment.

You can also get a combination prevention that will take care of fleas, hookworms, roundworms, AND heartworms. There are multiple options for heartworm prevention in your pets, so you can find one that best suits your needs. The heartworm test takes about 10 minutes to run (and is only $20 at our Care A Van!)!

What does it mean if my dog tests positive for heartworms?
While a positive test result is not good, it is not a death sentence. The sooner you know your pet has a heartworm infection the sooner you can get rid of them. The longer a dog or cat has one or more adult heartworms the more damage they will do.

If your pet does come up positive, you need to seek treatment advice from a full service veterinarian ASAP. There are different options for treatment, so be sure you discuss all the benefits and risks with your veterinarian. Make sure to ask questions so that you can understand what your pet will be going through.

To find out more about prevention options on the Care-A-Van, contact info@careavansc.com

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How Can You Love a Foster When You Know They Will Leave?

I love all of my fosters very much, but I always think of ALL the dogs waiting in the same shelters that my fosters came from. They are waiting, just like my foster was, for a rescue. I like to think of myself as a bridge to a better life, for my fosters.

When homeless pets are in shelters, they are in danger of being euthanized. They can’t save themselves and find their own way to a great family that will love them.  They are too sick, too scared, or just simply unwanted by the first family they had. They need someone to bridge the distance; to teach them how to live inside like a family member. They need someone to take them for their medical treatment, to clip their nails and give them a bath.

At any given time, there are only so many homeless pets that can fit in my home, so I always remind myself that no matter how much I love my fosters and no matter how much fun they are having at my house, there is a more perfect place for them to be, a family where they can be the center of the universe. While they are welcome to stay for as long as they need; when they are strong and no longer the weakened animal that came to me, then its time for them to find their own family so that another homeless pet can have the same chance they did.fostering system always has to be moving, getting one homeless pet ready for their new life and out into the world with a different outlook and different experiences that counter what neglect and possible abuse they may have known prior to being rescued. All so the next homeless pet can use my home as a bridge to a better life.

Adopting a foster isn’t unheard of. I ended up adopting one of my fosters earlier this year. Dash had been in a foster home before he came to me and had a difficult time adjusting. But he blossomed in my home and was with me for almost a year. When he was transported to New York to his new home, his behavior deteriorated and he was sent back to me. It was never my intention to adopt Dash (even though I loved him very much) but his special behavioral issues did not leave him many options. I never wanted him to be at risk because of his special personality, so in the end, I adopted him because he needed  the safety and love my home could provide. Adopting Dash hasn’t hindered my ability to continue to foster other dogs, and I continue to be the bridge for many that come through our facility.

To be a foster home, you have to love enough to let go and dedicate yourself to the next scared, weakened creature that will come through your doors, knowing that you made a difference in the ones that have used your home as their bridge. And the knowledge that they made it to the other side radiant with the love and care you gave and into the waiting arms of a family is the best feeling in the world.

To become a foster home for Pawmetto Lifeline, contact Amber King at aking@pawmettolifeline.org or call 465-9189.

by: Amber King, Foster Coordinator for Pawmetto Lifeline

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“What is Fostering?”, from the Foster Parent Perspective

Meet Maria Huff, animal lover and foster parent extraordinaire. She is a foster for Pawmetto Lifeline and shares some of her thoughts and experiences to give an inside look at what fostering REALLY is.

1.    How do you describe your fostering work?
Rewarding!! I really look at it as saving a life. If I have room to spare, then why not? All he or she needs is a bed, food, and some tender loving care. I like to think of myself as that stepping stone to his or her furever home! There’s one (a home) for every dog or cat out there, they just need that chance to find it.

2.    How long have you been fostering?

I’ve been fostering for a little over 2 years now. However, technically less, since I actually took about 10 months off when I adopted Elijah. Elijah and his brother were our first set of foster puppies, but our fourth time fostering. Since he was still a puppy, I had to take time off until he was about a year old. Puppies are more susceptible to illnesses so we wanted to make sure his immune system was built up in order to handle the many foster dogs coming through our house. The minute we got the “Okay.” from our vet, we started fostering again!

3.    What is the scope of the tasks involved?
It’s really not hard at all! It takes very little extra time out of my day and since I already have two dogs, the foster falls right in line with our household routine, which is sometimes the best thing. Most of the time, these fosters need that structure and don’t forget training too! Five minutes a day for training can make all the difference in the world. Baths may be necessary too and trust me, not only will they look better but they’ll feel better too!

But I think the most important task of all is to provide the love, attention, and socialization that he or she may need. While I am the stepping stone to their furever home, being able to socialize him or her and begin their training (if needed) will most certainly help them become more adoptable. We don’t always know the background and what has happened to them. Their lives may have been turned upside down and they may have experienced a lot of stress so just a little bit of love can go a long way.

One thing I’d also like to mention in addition to the tasks involved is that if anyone is thinking of fostering and are concerned about costs, don’t be! Pawmetto Lifeline provides crates, leashes, and any medications needed, so it has taken very little personal resources for me to foster. However, I enjoy going the extra mile with providing on my own toys and treats to make their stay with me much more enjoyable!

4.    How long do you typically have a foster pet?
The typical time frame is about 2-3 weeks for me. However, we have had a foster or two for longer than 3 weeks due to their medical condition.

5.    What made you decide to become a foster home?
I was volunteering at Pawmetto Lifeline for a few weeks before I thought about it. I believe someone brought up the idea and I decided to apply to be a foster. Once they explained how it would work, I knew I could do it. It really didn’t take much and we had the extra room!

6.    Can you share some of your best fostering memories?
Oh my gosh, there are just so many! From loving on the scared little poodle from the puppy mill, to snuggling with the blue tick hound, to the many play sessions with all the puppies we fostered…it’s so hard to choose!  There are a couple that really stick out in my mind though.

After we began fostering again when the vet gave us the “OK”, we got a set of two of the cutest pups ever (minus Elijah, of course)! Their names were Cupid and Vixen. The names suited them, that’s for sure. When Cupid’s ears perked, it truly looked like her head was heart shaped! They were the best and the smartest pups we had. Elijah played with them daily and they just ate up all the attention. I remember one specific time when all three were in the yard and they would run after Elijah as fast as their little legs would take them. And Elijah would tease them with a stick, always looking back to be sure they were still following him. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it. They returned to Pawmetto Lifeline to be spayed and enter the adoption area. Needless to say, they were adopted within in a week!

I’ve spent countless hours cuddling with several fosters as well; Marley the aussie mix, Petey the pit bull mix, and Stanley the black lab. These were older fosters and mostly they just wanted the love. Many times I would come home after work and they would just want to cuddle with me. Those are the best moments.

7.    Can you tell me about a specific foster animal that left an impression on you?
We had one foster that we nicknamed Wheezy. She was a (Pawmetto Lifeline) HEART Rescue Collaboration foster, rescued from the municipal shelter and set to be transported to  Florida. When we got her, she had pneumonia and was wheezing all the time so that’s how we came to call her Wheezy. We were provided her medication (by Pawmetto Lifeline) and for the first week or so, she seemed to be getting better until she hit a plateau. I took her for vet visits and x-rays (provided by Pawmetto Lifeline) and she was provided more medication to help clear up to the pneumonia still stuck in her chest. We also were asked to do “Coupage therapy” twice daily.  It wasn’t even a question of if we could do it, it was a question of how my boyfriend and I would coordinate our schedules to make sure she got it twice a day. There was never a question of whether or not we could continue fostering her either. We just did it. During the time that we fostered her, we saw her grow and come out of her shell. As she got better, her personality began to emerge. She was a completely different dog by the time she left us; playful and energetic! It was then that I realized how much of a difference we could make as fosters. I don’t even like to think of what the outcome for her would have been had she not been rescued and put in our foster home. What matters is that she made a 100% recovery and was able to be adopted. She’s the reason I continued fostering. I still think about her to this day.

8.    How does it make you feel when you find out one of your fosters has gone to a good home?
I swear that my heart literally smiles. I do inquire about my fosters after they have left me and when I hear that he or she has been adopted, I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. I feel like it’s a relief because I only wish for every rescue pet to find their own forever home. It’s hard to find the words to describe the happiness I feel because I don’t think the word “happiness” is good enough.

If you are interested in becoming a foster for Pawmetto Lifeline, please email Amber King at aking@pawmettolifeline.org!

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Mews from the Cat Room

Location: Lexington PetSmart
August 18, 2014

Welcome to the first installment of Mews from the Cat Room! The purpose of this blog will be to keep all of Pawmetto’s wonderful supporters and volunteers up-to-date about our off-site animal care facilities at local PetSmart stores. Just in case you aren’t aware, there are three PetSmart’s in our area where Pawmetto houses some of our feline friends: Harbison, Lexington, and Two Notch. Each facility has regularly scheduled volunteers for AM and PM shifts, and depending on needs or availability, an afternoon shift. These volunteers also use an email chain to update each other about any happenings or updates during their shifts.

Today’s cute kitty spotlight is on Olivia.

Olivia is a female orange tabby roughly 1 ½ years old. Can you believe this little girl has already had a litter of kittens? But now that her motherly duties are behind her, she deserves a bright future. Olivia has been at PetSmart for a few weeks now, but has yet to come out of her condo as it takes her a little longer than others to get comfortable. She does love affection, though! She talks and wiggles all around when petted, and will even turn to give kisses and love bites.

This shy girl is also pretty playful. She gently bats around toys and wands, and will give you “the paw” when you begin to pull away. (“The paw” is when a cat places his or her paw on you to let you know “Hey! I want attention and I choose you!”)

As with all animals at Pawmetto Lifeline, Olivia has been spayed, has received her microchip, is up-to-date on vaccinations, had her FIV/FELV combo tests, and is on monthly flea and heartworm preventatives. If you’re willing to give this wonderful gal some time to settle in, she is sure to warm your house and heart in the long run.

Check out more about Olivia!

by Courtney Long, Volunteer and Foster, Pawmetto Lifeline

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Why I Volunteer at Pawmetto Lifeline…

My name is Rebecca Chase and I am a rising senior at Lexington High School. This summer, I have spent a pretty good amount of time volunteering at Pawmetto Lifeline, and I can honestly say that I can’t think of a better way that I could have spent my last real summer as a high school student.

I’ve always loved working with animals, and volunteering here is such a rewarding experience. It’s so fulfilling to see the work that you do directly affecting lives. I spent one Saturday doing Pet Soup, and even though it had to be at least a thousand degrees outside, and everyone kept somehow misplacing water bottles, it was one of the best days of my entire summer.

Seeing the people and pets that you know you are directly helping out is really one of my favorite things about volunteering here. I also love how the volunteer opportunities available aren’t just limited to cleaning cat cages or walking dogs. One day I could come and be making phone calls to Care-A-Van clients and the next day I could be painting faces at an adoption event.

The hours that you can come in are very flexible, and because I have a job and school related things to do on a regular basis, it’s nice to have that flexibility. Volunteering here is also a great stress reliever for me. Pawmetto Lifeline is always a very welcoming and positive atmosphere, and it’s absolutely impossible to be upset surrounded by all of the adorable pets. I haven’t met anyone that works or volunteers here that isn’t absolutely fabulous. Every day that I come in there are new faces and new challenges, and I haven’t had a single day that was even remotely boring.

The organization as a whole is also a major part of my deciding factor on coming here, I really appreciating the values and the standards that Pawmetto Lifeline possesses. I don’t volunteer here for a community service requirement, for a school assignment, or because I have nothing better to do, I just genuinely enjoy devoting time to something so worthwhile but also so fun at the same time. I strongly encourage anyone at any age or place in their life to give some time to Pawmetto Lifeline. It’s fun, easy, and one of the most rewarding and unforgettable experiences there is.

By Rebecca Chase, Pawmetto Lifeline Volunteer and Intern

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“Primp Your Pit” is Back!

Pit Bulls have become the centerpiece to an unbelievably cruel world. They are the victim to over breeding, neglect, and violence; only to find themselves behind a shelter door where they will ultimately be euthanized. Shelters are overflowing with Pit Bulls due to intentional and unintentional backyard breeding. There simply are not enough homes or resources to save them.

An estimated 1.2 million dogs are euthanized in the United States every year. Of this number, an estimated 800,000- 1 million of these animals are Pit Bulls. These facts present the gruesome reality that between 2,000-3,000 Pit Bulls are euthanized in a single day.

It is crucial to the future of this beloved breed, for Pit Bull owners to understand spaying and neutering is the only solution we have to ending the number of Pit Bulls being euthanized in the US. Spaying and neutering is the only way to end over population and to prevent unwanted litters.

A few additional reasons why you should spay or neuter your pet:

• A female dog can go into her first heat cycle as early as four months of age. A single female dog can produce two litters of 6-10 puppies a year. In six years that female and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs.

• Dogs that are spayed or neutered are less likely to roam. Your pet is less likely to get lost, end up in a shelter, or be injured.

• Spaying prevents breast cancer and uterine infection in females. Neutering lowers the risk of testicular cancer in males.

• Rather than breeding your own pet, spay or neuter them and adopt a Pit Bull from a local shelter instead. Your own pet’s health will benefit and you will save a life by adopting a homeless animal.

The entire month of August at Pawmetto Lifeline Spay/Neuter Clinic is going to the Pits- and their mixes. In collaboration with Petsmart Charities, Pawmetto Lifeline will be promoting Pit owners  to “Primp Your Pit” by offering spaying or neutering for only $20 for Pit Bull/Pit Bull mixes and free microchipping. There are no income or county restrictions to this grant.

Take the pledge to be part of the solution to end the number of Pit Bulls being euthanized by spaying and neutering your Pit Bull. Call our clinic at 803-465-9100 for more details. Save lives. Support the breed. Primp your Pit.

Take a look at our photo campaigns we did to kick off our Primp Your Pit grant this year!

by Caitlin Gomez, Spay/Neuter Clinic Office Manager, Pawmetto Lifeline

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2015 Calendar Compeition (The Midlands First Responders Edition)

Introducing our 2015 Calendar Contest featuring the Midlands’ finest!

Pawmetto Lifeline has partnered with Richland County, and Lexington County for a new and exciting calendar competition! First responders (fire fighters, police officers, sheriff’s department, 911 dispatchers, and emergency medical service personnel) will be competing for your donations and a chance to be featured in our upcoming calendar.

Our first wave of participants have registered!  The top 12 top fundraisers will join a furry friend (more information on that competition soon!) and have their photos professionally taken for an exciting and fun calendar the whole family will enjoy in 2015!

Have a first responder you think could make the cut? Sign them up here!

To see our current contestants and vote for your favorites, click here!

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Top 10 Reasons to Adopt a Kitten (or TWO)

We are smack-dab in the middle of “Kitten Season”. If you have been on the fence about getting some new furry family members, let us help!
TOP 10 Reasons to Adopt Kittens!

1. They are playful
Kittens are very playful and can be a great way to get the family up and moving with those special kitten toys or they amazing red lasers!

2. They are SUPER cuddly!
After playtime, kittens love a good cuddle. And unlike those 100-pound pooches that think they belong on your lap, a kitten actually fits there quite nicely. Plus, they are warm and fuzzy – so purr-fectly suited for snuggling.

3. They Bathe Themselves
And it’s a good thing, too. Have you ever tried to get a kitten into water? Not fun if you prefer your skin scratch-free. So they bathe themselves and leave you with one less chore – it’s a win-win situation for all concerned

4. You Won’t Need To Housebreak Them
In addition to bathing themselves, kittens come into your life pretty much potty trained. You set up a litter box and with very little instruction they figure out how to use it almost naturally. Adopting a kitten means never having to worry about getting home late and realizing you still need to go out into the cold, cold darkness.

5. They’re Avid Hunters
Not a big fan of lizards, mice, or giant beetles? Adopt a kitten! Kittens turn into cats that are skilled hunters that will help keep the bug population down in your home, as well as those hair-raising lizards, mice, moths, dust bunnies — and those alarming red laser pointers.

6. They are GREAT entertainers.
Kittens are more than capable of entertaining themselves with toys, boxes, drawers and the like. Give a kitten a window (and window sill to perch on) and she’ll spend hours watching the goings-on in the Great Outdoors as she plots taking over the world and generally enjoys making the peons on the other side of the glass jealous of her glorious coat and pretty whiskers.

7. Perfect Couch Potato Companion
When a kitten becomes a cat they spend about 15 or so hours a day sleeping. This means they will never make you feel guilty when you laze about on the couch eating a tub of ice cream and watching TV all day. In fact, a cat would love to just veg out with you. It’s a built built-in excuse to be lazy. Just tell the haters, “I’m spending some quality time with my cat.”

8. They’re Awesome
You can’t argue with the facts. A kitten is pretty much the most popular pet in the world (there are statistically more cats in U.S. households than dogs). They’re adorable, loving, easy companions that make you super happy (and healthy).

9. You’re Saving a Life
According to The HSUS, somewhere between 6 to 8 million cats and dogs are taken in by animal shelters each year in the U.S., and 3 to 4 million of those cats and dogs are eventually euthanized. By adopting a kitten today, you could be single-handedly saving a life. That’s a pretty big deal. Better yet, adopt two!

10. They’re Saving Your Life
As if saving a life wasn’t a good enough reason to adopt a kitten, keep in mind that your potential new kitten could save your life, too. Having a pet has been attributed to significantly lowering blood pressure, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease. Plus, the mere act of stroking a cat for a few minutes has been shown to release “feel good” endorphins in the brain.

Check our our selection of kittens available! And right now, between July 11th and July 27th, take advantage of our $75 Kitten Adoption deal! Your kitten will come to you up-to-date on vaccinations, microchipped, and spayed/neutered! All for just $75! Visit us at 1275 Bower Parkway or look line at pawmettolifeline.org!

by: DeeAnn Jones, Director of Adoptions, Pawmetto Lifeline

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Investing in a Pet

I come from a business school background. I think of things in terms of how I was taught. Every time you put resources into something, you are investing, and you are expecting a return on your investment.

But how does this work when the return is not tangible?

When you adopt a pet, you begin your investment, but what are you looking to receive? Well, that is simple, unconditional love. For pet owners like myself, we know that owning a pet has no tangible return, unless you count new patterns on your furniture that look suspiciously like claw marks, or maybe a wet knee when you eat a snack in front of the TV…

What a pet DOES provide you as the return for your investment are things that mean more than what you can possess or quantify. They provide love, entertainment, and affection beyond anything you could ever expect from something that can be bought.

When you invest in a pet, you are investing in yourself; in YOUR future. Having a pet can improve your overall physical and mental health, as well as providing you with a companion that will always be there for you.

So after the assessment of the investment, I have come to one conclusion. Investing in a pet carries limited risk and high returns. All in all, a good call! Adopt one today and get kisses and cuddles as your first ROI!

by: Taylor Wilson, Director of Marketing & Communications, Pawmetto Lifeline

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