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Say ‘Hello’ to Rufus, our 2015 Bark to the Park Chair Dog


We would like to introduce you to the 2015 Bark to the Park Chair Dog, Rufus, a sweet and lovable chocolate lab retriever mix. This handsome furry boy came to Pawmetto Lifeline as a rescue and was quickly adopted by Todd and Kathy Beckstrom, proud and constant supporters of Pawmetto Lifeline. When Rufus arrived at Pawmetto, he didn’t know anything about the comfort of a dog bed or the fun of dog toys. BUT now, he has four favorite beds and many toys to play with. Todd and Kathy quickly fell in love with Rufus. “He is the greatest dog in the world and an excellent poster pup for rescue dogs everywhere!!!”

Large Rufus

Rufus’ favorite activity, other than eating, is now boating. He happily hops onto his parent’s boat and rides along sniffing in the breeze. Even though Rufus hates to take baths, he sure does love to swim in the lake. When he finishes a swim, Rufus often dries off by chasing squirrels around the yard, one of his favorite hobbies. He chases them around and around, up trees and into bushes.   Although the squirrels may not love Rufus, the foster puppies definitely do. He is always very gentle and tolerant with the puppies that Todd and Kathy foster for Pawmetto Lifeline. But after a long day of swimming, chasing squirrels, playing with puppies and eating, Rufus always looks forward to falling fast asleep in one of his favorite beds. His parents say that you can always tell when Rufus has finally fallen asleep because boy does he snore!

Rufus is thankful for Pawmetto Lifeline’s help in finding his forever home with Todd and Kathy. Now Rufus’ biggest problem is where can he find a toy that is indestructible? He has discovered so much about the world and himself. He even realized that he has some real potential as an animal contortionist. He can get in and out of incredibly small spaces, and you cannot imagine the awkward positions Rufus finds himself in.

Rufus Surprised

Rufus has never been one for popular trends. He has never tweeted and does not have a Facebook account, but if you want to contact him, he said that you are welcome to ask his parents. Rufus is very excited to meet all of Pawmetto Lifeline’s furry friends at Bark to the Park on April 18.

Bark to the Park 2015

It is not too late to come and walk with Rufus for Bark to the Park. You can still visit to sign up for a walking team or as an individual walker! Come help Pawmetto Lifeline raise money to help find forever homes for other lovable pets like Rufus!

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Charlie, the 2014 Bark to the Park Chair Dog

Every year Bark to the Park selects a Chair Dog to represent the event’s goal to raise money for homeless pets in the community and Pawmetto Lifeline’s mission to end pet overpopulation.This year, we have Rufus. He is a wonderful pup adopted through Pawmetto Lifeline a few years ago. He has found his home with Todd and Kathy Beckstrom, last year’s top fundraisers in Bark to the Park. In 2014 however, Pawmetto Lifeline nominated Charlie, now known as Tank, to be the 2014 Bark to the Park Chair Dog, because his journey showed what compassionate care and dedication can do.

Charlie before after sitting

When Charlie was rescued from a local municipal shelter in January 2014, he entered the Pawmetto Lifeline facility with a severe case of demodex mange and skin infection on top of skin infection. Charlie’s skin was falling off constantly, and it was clear that he needed extensive medical attention immediately. The medical care went beyond what Pawmetto Lifeline’s in-house medical team could provide and it was evident that to bring Charlie back from the brink, extensive medical interventions would be necessary.

Charlie’s extreme case was recognized  Hendrick Boards, an nationwide apparel company focused on protecting animal rights and rescues, who began a national campaign to raise funds for Charlie’s medical treatment. Though hard work and the dedication on hundreds of animal advocates, Charlie began to heal slowly.

After more than eight weeks, Charlie began to look healthier, although he had always been a happy boy. Even when it hurt him to have any affection show to him, his tail would thump the floor happily, willing to fall in love with every person who happened to meet him.His fur was coming in thick and had a natural healthy sheen to it. The Pawmetto Lifeline staff and volunteers that worked with Charlie said that his sweet, happy and trusting personality was always present but his new fur gave him a little extra confidence.

It was this personality that won over his adopter, a City of Columbia Police Officer, who met Charlie at Pawmetto Lifeline one day and knew he had found his furry companion. His adopter didn’t mind that he still had some hair missing in places or that he had started his life in such neglect and bad health. Instead, the adopter was ready to take on the challenge to take Charlie, now “Tank”, through the last leg of his journey, bringing him back multiple times for treatments and for exams.

That charming personality won over all of the participants at Bark to the Park last year, just like it did his adopter. He mingled with guests, spoke politely to the visiting dogs and greeted children. He helped to present the awards and thanked the event’s many generous sponsors. Tank has been living happily with his adopted parent for the past year, being focused on a few “where are they now” specials for local news stations. Every day, he is running, playing and thriving. His adopter thanks Pawmetto Lifeline for helping him find his best friend and getting Tank to his forever home. Tank/Charlie’s story reminds everyone what the true mission is, helping our beloved homeless pets find their forever homes, no matter how they come into our facility.

bark to the park

Register for Bark to the Park at and help become part of the life-saving mission!

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What does it mean when you give to Pawmetto Lifeline?

cat-dog-1Pawmetto Lifeline is a 501©3 not-for-profit with a mission to end pet overpopulation and create a no-kill community in the Midlands. As a nonprofit organization, Pawmetto Lifeline relies on its generous donors to allow them to rescue thousands of homeless pets each year.

When you donate to Pawmetto Lifeline at an event like Bark to the Park or Fur Ball or even via the donate button on our website, you are allowing Pawmetto Lifeline to save the lives of  homeless pets and help them find their forever homes. Every donation goes back to reducing euthanasia rates at local municipal shelters, promoting sustainable solutions in the community, like spay/neuter, mobile vaccine services, and adoptions, and educating the community on the issue of pet overpopulation.


It is because of this dedication to seeing that 100% of the proceeds from every donation go to solving the homeless pet crisis in the Midlands that Pawmetto Lifeline was honored for its commitment by the Secretary of State, Mark Hammond, identifying the organization as an Angel on the 2014 Angel’s List.

All of this information may be helpful to hear, but do you ever wonder what exactly your donations provide for the animals that enter the Pawmetto Lifeline facility?

When you donate to Pawmetto Lifeline or choose to become a Lifeline member, your contributions help pay for the day to day costs of housing, feeding, and caring for the pets, providing low cost vaccines and spay/neuter surgeries to the community, and funding transports that allow more homeless animals to be saved and sent to other no-kill shelters around the Southeast.

The cost of living for pets at Pawmetto Lifeline is approximately $15 per day and on average, pets in care stay with Pawmetto Lifeline two to three weeks. When you rescue over 4,000 pets a year, numbers really begin to add up. And that doesn’t include medical services for each healthy pet, or critical medical care for the severely neglected or abused pets saved by Pawmetto Lifeline.  Every donation to Pawmetto Lifeline, no matter how large or small, has a huge impact on the organization and helps our pets live long and happy lives.

Being a donor to Pawmetto Lifeline, no matter the amount, has impact.

$10, you provide nutritious food for the pets in our care

$25, you supply treatment for heartworm prevention

$35, you furnish necessary vaccinations and medications

$50, you help cover the cost of spay/neuter surgeries

$100, you underwrite emergency medical treatment provided to the very critical pets

Every donation, to an event like Bark to the Park or monthly, supports Pawmetto Lifelines mission to end pet overpopulation in the Midlands and create a no-kill community. To learn about different ways of giving to Pawmetto Lifeline, please visit our website at It is your generosity that allows Pawmetto Lifeline to be a leader in animal rights activism and give hope to homeless pets in the community.


Start supporting Pawmetto Lifeline by signing up for Bark to the Park on April 18! Form a walk team or register as an individual walker to enjoy a fun-filled family event while helping to save homeless pets across the Midlands. Register online today.


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What IS Bark to the Park?

For those folks who have never been to Bark to the Park and are curious about what they can expect, we thought we would share some photos and a video of the largest fundraising walk for homeless pets in the Midlands!

And if you are interested in joining in on the fun that also helps to SAVE LIVES, register at!

bark 2  Bark 4 Bark 5 Bark 6 Bark 1

Bark to the Park 2015

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The Sweet Comfort of a Furry Friend: An Adoption Story

image003We are delighted to share a wonderful story from an adopter of one of Pawmetto Lifeline‘s dogs named “Sasha,” a Lhasa Apso-mix. She was adopted February 17 by Orangeburg resident Henri Sandifer. Henri already had four Weimaraners in her family but wanted a smaller dog to join them.  Let us tell you why.

She lost her husband a year ago, which was devastating, and she recently learned that her best friend of 20 years had been diagnosed with an illness that placed her in hospice.  She wanted to help her friend with some form of comfort and she knew that bringing her large dog to visit her friend wouldn’t suffice, thus the reason she wanted to add a smaller dog to her family. (And that dog – Sasha – has melded well with her Weimaraner ).

She waited a week after adopting Sasha to be sure she was comfortable with meeting new people. After that short time, Henri was able to take Sasha to see her friend in hospice. They had only just arrived when Sasha immediately jumped into the bed of the ailing friend without hesitation, “loved” on her friend and brought her “much joy and comfort.”  This thrilled Henri, and she felt that  Sasha was not only meant to find her fur-ever home but was also meant to provide sweet comfort to someone who is transitioning to her own “rainbow bridge”.

Henri is so delighted that she not only has a sweet new addition to her family but that the sweet girl is providing comfort, love and “puppy kisses” to a terminally ill friend.

image004Yes, Pawmetto Lifeline initiates the beginning of the story, but it’s learning about the “happily ever after” like this that make us so happy and energized about everything we do for the voiceless, abandoned furry friends in our community.

To adopt a new family member, fill out an application and begin our adoption process now!

Please call (803) 465-9150 or email if you have any questions!

by Karen Deas, Special Events Director at Pawmetto Lifeline

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“Is the mother there?” How You Can Help During Kitten Season

From late spring to early autumn as many as 50 cats may be delivered to a local shelter in a single day. This large influx of cats is a result of “kitten season”. During these months, large numbers of feral and unaltered cats reproduce. Because many of these cats live outdoors, their litters are born in spaces where people such as yourself may find them. So when you find a litter of kittens near your home here is what you can do to ensure the best chances of survival for the kittens.


Ask yourself this important question, “Is the mother there?” Kittens have the best chance of survival with their mothers and should not be separated from their mothers if at all possible.

If the mother is there and the family is not in danger, you have two options. You can leave the family alone and aid them by providing food for the mother in a different location far enough away from the kittens that the mother is not concerned of exposing her litter. You can also try and rescue the mother and her kittens.

If the mother is there and the family is in danger, the best decision is to try and rescue the mother and her litter. If you choose to rescue the family, you must be prepared to help bottle feed and care for the mother and kittens until they are adopted or a local animal rescue shelter can assist you.

You can help reduce pet overpopulation by spaying the mother of the litter. Whether you have chosen to leave the kittens in a safe place or have rescued the mother and her litter, the mother should be spayed. She can become pregnant almost immediately after giving birth and while she is nursing, so it is best to bring her to a local animal shelter as soon as possible. Spaying the mother will not affect her ability to nurse.

mother and kittens

The first thing you do is WAIT. Mother’s often leave for periods of time to hunt for food. It must be absolutely clear that the mother is not coming back because 50% of kittens taken from their mother that are nursing die. Depending on the season (winter is a more dangerous time for kittens than the summer), you must determine how long to wait before being certain that the mother is not going to return. If she does not return then, for the safety of the litter, the kittens must be rescued. Keep the litter together while they continue to be bottle fed and pass through the socializing stages.

kittens outside

For information on how to bottle feed and care for kittens, Pawmetto Lifeline is hosting a FREE class on how to bottle feed found or orphaned kittens and puppies February 28 at 2 p.m. or March 4 at 6 p.m. You must register by contacting DeeAnn Jones at 803.465.9175 or



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The Gift of Unconditional Love


On Valentine’s Day, we think of love and what that means to each of us.  To me, I think of unconditional love – the kind I receive from my pets. No matter the day I am having or the stress in my life, my pets are there to give me the kiss I need or to climb in my lap to reassure me that everything is okay.  They always greet me at the door with the same unconditional love, even if I just stepped outside to get something out of my car.

You may think this is just my personal pets, but this is also true with my foster pets.  I have fostered for more than 8 years and have had 94 dogs come through my home.  Each of them came from an unknown situation with little to no background history, and in some cases, I really didn’t want to know.  They look at me with the love that they want to give.  Not just love, but unconditional love that they have to share.  I talk to them about how their life will be better now and how they will bestow on their new owner this amazing gift of unconditional love.  They just listen and I believe they understand.  During their stay with me, we have this conversation many times.  I have never regretted having so many dogs come through my home because I always have love in my heart and know that I have been unconditionally loved by so many!


Think about offering this type of temporary home to a pet that wants to offer unconditional love to you.  Fostering saves lives, and without foster homes, how will this pet move to a forever home to offer unconditional love to someone that is waiting for their new fur-baby? Fosters are the bridge between a pet’s old life and their new one. As that bridge, a foster home not only gives unconditional love but gets so much back each and every time.

To sign up for our foster program, fill out the online application or visit us at 1275 Bower Parkway, Columbia, S.C.

by: DeeAnn Jones, Director of Foster Program, Pawmetto Lifeline



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It’s Always the Right Time to Protect Your Pet from Heartworm Disease

ribbonIf you’ve ever been to one of Care-A-Vans’ stops, chances are you’ve seen the photos of the long noodle like worms growing from the heart of a dog or cat. Naturally these images would disturb any compassionate animal owner as they express a very clear message: heartworm disease is fatal. The good news is you can protect your pet from this disease.

Heartworm disease is easily preventable, which can be very frustrating to veterinarians and those working in the animal community. Although heartworm disease is treatable, the treatment is very serious and can pose a fatal threat to infected animals. It is far easier, healthier for the pet and much more cost efficient to prevent the disease in the first place.

As described by the FDA on its website regarding heartworms, “heartworms are carried by infected mosquitoes that transmit parasitic worms that grow in the arteries of the lungs and heart of dogs, cats and other species of mammals. The heartworm larvae enter the bite wound and move through the pet’s body and can grow up to 12 inches long.” Since South Carolina is known to have mosquitoes all year round it is very important to maintain heartworm prevention in pets even in the colder months. All it would take is one warmer day for mosquito larvae to hatch then bite and infect an unprotected family pet.

heart worm

The FDA agrees that, “animal owners who stop giving heartworm prevention medication during the winter run the risk of their dog or cat contracting heartworms. If the animal becomes infected and the heartworm preventative is later resumed without testing, the owner may be putting the pet in danger. The preventive medicine can kill so many microfilariae (the offspring of adult, female heartworms) at once that it could shock the animal’s system, with potentially fatal results.Also, preventatives will not kill adult heartworms and they will continue to reproduce.”

This is why it is so important for owners to test their dog or cat prior to starting heartworm prevention! Since practitioners and researchers have also been noticing some resistance from the heartworm prevention it is very important to retest your pets every year. In doing this, if a break through were to occur an owner could find out as soon as possible and notify the product manufactures. With proof of the animal being on prevention consistently and on time every month, an owner could possibly gain assistance in treatment from the manufacture while at the same time helping the researchers understand a need for adjustment due to resistance in the product itself.

Another issue veterinarians face is convincing clients who have indoor pets about the importance of heartworm prevention. Mosquitos can easily access indoor environments through open doors or windows. How often have you woken up to a random bug bite that you weren’t aware of the bug? How often have you been frustrated about a fly in your house that you can’t seem to get out or figure out how it even got in? All it takes is one mosquito bite to transmit heartworm disease! Whether the bite occurs inside the home or outside while the pet is relieving itself is moot. What is essential is keeping your pets on a FDA-approved prevention all year round and being proactive in preventing the disease instead of waiting to be reactive and risking possible complicated or fatal treatment.  heart foot prints

Contact our animal clinic to find out how you can start protecting your beloved pet today:

(803) 465-9100
1275 Bower Parkway, Columbia SC 29212
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Reasons You Should “Beat the Heat” with Your Female Cats

When it comes to reproduction, cats are quite abundant breeders. Female cats are able to reproduce up to three times a year. Each pregnancy produces several kittens at a time. One female cat is able to produce twenty four kittens in a single year.

cats have a lot of babieas

Female cats are “polyestrous”, meaning they go into heat early into the year and will continue to cycle in and out of heat every 14-21 days until bred. The first heat cycle typically begins around four months of age, putting even young kittens at risk of becoming pregnant.  While fertility may gradually decline overtime, there is no age at which a female cat can not become pregnant as cats do not go into a state of “menopause” such as humans. The average life span of an indoor cat is fifteen years which for an unspayed female cat means the possibility of a life time of hundreds of kittens.

Female cats that are not spayed are a risk for multiple health issues as well as poor behavioral and hygienic problems. Mammary cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in cats. Reproductive hormones are the primary cause of mammary cancer found in cats. Spayed cats have a 40-60% lower risk of developing mammary cancer.

In addition to the risk of cancer, female cats that are not spayed are at risk for infections of the reproductive tract and a severe uterine disease called pyometra. Pyometra is a disorder in which bacteria enters the uterus which becomes infected and filled with pus.  Undetected, this condition is almost always fatal.

A female cat in heat can become frustrated with the desire to find a mate, resulting in behavioral and hygienic problems. While in heat female cats will howl, often through out the night for a mate. Unneutered male cats may wander around your property in interest of the female. Female cats will also sometimes spay urine while in heat.

Spaying a female cat is the only method to prevent litters of kittens as well as potential health and behavioral problems for your cat. It is much safer, and easier to spay a cat before her first heat cycle. Spaying before a cats first heat lessens her chances of potential mammary gland tumors as she ages. Many believe keeping a female cat indoors, away from males, will prevent pregnancy or prevent roaming. Unfortunately, in heat females are frustrated with the desire to mate and easily become escape artist in search of a male. It only takes a few moments outdoors for a fertile cat to become pregnant.

Beat the Heat

Pawmetto Lifeline is prepared to “Beat the Heat” in 2015 for female cats in hopes of preventing thousands of unplanned litters this year. During the month of February, in collaboration with Petsmart Charities, Pawmetto Lifeline’s Spay/Neuter clinic will spay your female cat for only $20. While space for this special is limited, it is life-saving for the overwhelming number of kittens who are born every year. If you’re female cat is not spayed and you would like to contribute to a longer, healthier life for her as well as to ending pet overpopulation by preventing future litters of kittens, be sure to call our clinic to “Beat the Heat”, today!

by: Caitlin Gomez, Officer Manager, Pawmetto Lifeline Spay/Neuter Clinic

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Love Isn’t Always Easy

My cat is a little bit of a jerk. This is not to say that I don’t love him, or that I regret adopting him. But if I am being honest, he’s not very nice. And that’s okay.
atlas glare
Atlas’s story is not unique, at least not at first glance. In early 2013, he was just one of the thousands of homeless animals brought to one of our local municipal shelters in the Midlands, but by a stroke of luck or fate or perfect timing, there was space for him in Pawmetto Lifeline’s adoption program. By March, he was up for adoption, single but ready to mingle, right? Not so much.
Atlas on alert
See, like I said, Atlas can be a jerk. He’s temperamental, finicky, and opinionated – so basically, he’s a cat. But when an adopter comes in looking for their perfect companion, they generally don’t look for the one who is glaring in the corner clearly thinking bad thoughts. So after more than a year on adoption row, a stressed Atlas was moved upstairs to the administrative offices for a breather. And there’s where I came in. For the next few months, Atlas stalked his coworkers, feline and human, and acted out almost constantly. He had a bad reputation and was living up to it.

But once or twice a day, he would come into my office and whisper sweet nothings. I got cuddles and head-bonks, and I saw, ever so briefly, the cat he could be when he felt safe. I was hooked by that glimmer, that faint hope that Atlas could actually be a happy cat if given the chance. And who better than me to give him that chance?
Atlas 2
We committed to fostering Atlas for a few months to see how he did in our admittedly chaotic house. From the first night we brought him home, he started his transformation. He stopped picking fights, stopped lashing out, and best of all, stopped being scared all the time. He knew he was safe, and he didn’t need to always be on guard. He wanted to be with his people and cuddle, and yes, sometimes, nibble a little. But as we learned to love him and he us, we also learned to read his cues and know when he was getting overstimulated, upset, or was just tired of our adoration.
Atlas 3
We made our adoption of Atlas official in May 2014, after he had been homeless for more than a year. And in the months since we adopted him, we haven’t regretted it once. Yes, he is still a jerk from time to time, but you know what? So am I.
Atlas 1
Adopting a “hard to adopt” cat can be challenging but the rewards are monumental. You have the chance to save a life, make room for another cat in need, and you get to see the difference unconditional love can make in the life of an animal. And with time and patience, that “hard to adopt” cat becomes the easiest to love.


by Amanda Hamilton, IT and Online Fundraising Manager, Pawmetto Lifeline

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