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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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Making Room in Your Heart

Ever wondered what a “Canine Care Volunteer” at Pawmetto Lifeline does? Well, one of our volunteers, Amy Aaronson, shares her experiences and her favorite parts about working with our adoptable dogs!

I only have room in my home for one dog right now, but volunteering at Pawmetto Lifeline gives me the chance to share my love with lots of dogs on a regular basis until they find their own homes. Since I started volunteering at Pawmetto,  I’ve seen so many great dogs find such amazing homes and families.

Volunteering Pic

While dogs patiently wait for the perfect family to come and find them, they spend their days sleeping, eating, barking, and of course walking and playing with volunteers like me. There’s nothing like the smile on a dog’s face when they know it’s their turn for a one-on-one walk or fetch time outside. Spending quality time with these dogs has given me the chance to learn more about dogs of all different breeds, ages, and sizes.  All the dogs are sweet and eager to provide unconditional love, but they all have characteristics that make them stand out.  And I can’t forget about the adorable puppies who just want to play and give kisses.

CanineCare

Not only do I spend time walking and playing with the dogs, but most recently I’ve started giving tours of the dog room. I enjoy telling visitors about the facility and introducing them to the dogs. When giving tours I also get to see dogs find their forever homes.  The best part of giving the tours is certainly seeing a dog walk out with his or family.

I know that having one dog is a lot of work, so housing and taking care of a whole room of dogs takes a full staff and volunteers. Spending time walking the dogs and giving tours is relaxing and rewarding, especially when you see so many dogs leaving to go to their forever homes!

by: Amy Aaronson, Canine Care Volunteer, Pawmetto Lifeline

To find out more about volunteering with Pawmetto Lifeline, click here !

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The Foster Experience

We appreciate all of our foster homes so very much, and their experiences fostering help people find the courage to open their homes to join the foster movement. Below is one such testimonial.

Liz blog

I’ve been fostering dogs for almost 2 years & it’s been a wonderful experience. I have dogs, cats & chickens of my own but there’s always room for 1 more….or 2…..maybe 3!

There are many reasons I enjoy fostering. One benefit is how good it is for my animals as well as the foster dog. It’s important for them to be socialized & while mine are very social with each other I want them to know how to behave around others besides their own “family.” I also think it helps me to be a better pet parent because I’m getting experience dealing with different issues I may not have with my own pets. Plus I have other foster parents to go to when I’m not sure about something that comes up & I’m able to use that knowledge for my own pets as well as my fosters.

Sometimes fostering involves helping a dog change a bad habit or learn new habits to help them to be more adoptable. But I think one of the most rewarding aspects is watching an animal bloom & come out of its shell. The dog you see when you first bring them home may not be the same one you see in a week or 2 or even more. As they start to relax & feel safe you see their real personality come out. Sometimes you see something that needs to be tweeked but most of the time you see a sweet loving dog that just wants to love & be loved.

A few people have told me they couldn’t foster because they’d become too attached & it would be too hard to give them up. I feel that way a lot! When it’s time for my foster dog to move on it’s happy & sad at the same time. You can’t help but become attached to them & sometimes fall in love. I’ve become attached after just a week & boo hoo’d my eyes out when they left! But I always try to remember they’re going to their forever home, I can’t keep or afford them all & by sending them on to their new families I’m making room in my home & heart to help save another dog.

by: Liz Krejci, Foster Home/Volunteer, Pawmetto Lifeline

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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet

2015 is here! As you consider your own resolution for the New Year, remember to include a resolution for your pet, too. Here are just a few of our tips for assuring your pet has the best year yet!

Spay/Neuter
Give your pet the gift of a longer, healthier life. Studies show that spaying or neutering a dog or cat reduces the risk of certain cancers and other diseases. There are a number of benefits to spaying/neutering your pet.
•         Spayed pets are less likely to develop mammary tumors and/or ovarian cancer and neutered pets are less likely to develop testicular cancers.
•         Altered pets are less likely to roam in search of a mate; therefore your pet is less likely to be injured (hit by car) or catch a disease from another animal.
•         Spaying and neutering your own pet, benefits your entire community by limiting animal overpopulation.
•         Spaying/Neutering reduces/eliminates the urge for your pet to mark their territory (spraying)
•         Raising puppies and kittens are costly and require an abundance of care! Spaying/Neutering saves money and time that would be spent on raising puppies or kittens.

Pawmetto Lifeline’s Spay/Neuter Clinic  offers affordable spaying and neutering to the public. To learn more about our pricing and special promotions please contact our clinic at 803-465-9100.

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Vaccinations
Many homes receive new additions to their family over the holidays. Puppy and kitten vaccinations begin between 6-8 weeks of age and continue in a series of vaccinations up to 16 weeks of age. Dogs and cats should then be vaccinated annually. Vaccinating your pet is essential for your pet’s preventative care. Many canine and feline diseases can be prevented with safe and effective vaccinations.

Pawmetto Lifeline’s Spay/Neuter Clinic holds a low cost vaccine clinic every Friday from 10:30am – 12:30pm and again from 2:00pm – 4:00pm. The low cost vaccine clinic is also open every 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month from 9:00am – 1:00pm. There is no examination fee and appointments are not required. Vaccinations start at just $9.

Also, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Pawmetto Lifeline’s Mobile Vaccine Clinic, Care-A-Van, travels around the Midlands and other communities, providing the same services and prices, right in your neighborhood! Check out their schedule to see when they will be in an area near you!

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Heartworm Prevention
A heartworm is a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected animal. Heartworms are transmitted from animal to animal by mosquitoes and are a serious disease that results in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and death in pets.

Monthly heartworm preventative is the only measure to help reduce your pet’s risk of developing heartworm disease.  In addition, some heartworm preventatives may also protect against other worms such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. A heartworm test is required in animals six months and older in order for heartworm preventative to be prescribed by a veterinarian. In addition, testing your dog for heartworms should be completed annually, even if your pet is on heartworm preventative year round.

Pawmetto Lifeline Spay/Neuter Clinic performs heartworm testing during our low cost vaccine clinic hours for only $20 and even sells many major heartworm and flea prevention brands at competitive prices.

Pawmetto Lifeline’s Care-A-Van, the mobile vaccine service, is also equipped with preventatives and can provide the testing and the prevention meds on-site!

Microchipping
Microchips are a permanent identification for your pet, increasing your pet’s chance of returning home if they become lost. Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice, that use radio frequency waves to transmit information about your pet. They’re implanted just under the skin, typically right between the shoulder blades.
The microchip is programmed with an identification number that is read by a microchip scanner. In the event your pet is found and brought into a veterinarian office or shelter, your pet will be scanned and this identification number will present. This identification number is registered with a microchip company and with the identification number the finder contacts the microchip company and receives the owner’s information.
Collars can come off, tags become illegible, but microchips are permanent forms of identification for your pet. Pawmetto Lifeline Spay/Neuter Clinic offers pet microchipping for only $25 during our low cost vaccination clinic. This service is also available on our Care-A-Van stops!

Annual Check Up
Establishing a relationship with a full service vet is a key component of preventative care for your pet. Yearly examinations are essential in your pets care outside of vaccinations. Many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity are common in aging pets and much easier to manage when detected in the early stages of the disease process. Make a date with your regular vet during the New Year to discuss your pet’s overall health.

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Gifts for Your Pets during the Holidays

‘Tis the season for gift giving and warm holiday cheer. It is important not to forget the furry members of your family during the Holidays. To help you, we have created a list of fun gift ideas for cats and dogs!

  1. Home-made treats: Try some of Martha Stewarts Paw Print Dog treats or Becky Hardin’s Catnip Croutons: Homemade Cat Treats or Paw Print Dog Treats

    Martha Stewart's Treats

    Martha Stewart’s Treats

  2. Catnip Sock Toys: Have a sock that you cannot find the mate to? Try turning it into a fun new toy for your kitty! Just fill the sock with some catnip and either sew the parts together so the sock is sealed or tie tightly with a piece of yarn, which will allow you to refill the sock in the future.
  3. Personalized Pet Bowl: You can purchase ceramic bowls at any craft store, pet store, or home supplies store. You will also need some food-safe ceramic paint. Decorate with your pet’s name and get crafty. You can also try-out Martha Stewart’s tutorial for these beautiful hand decorated bowls.

    Martha Stewart's Cat Toy

    Martha Stewart’s Cat Toy

  4. Cat Teaser: We all know how fun it is to dangle brightly colored jingly things in front of our cats. For Christmas, you could give you cat a new toy made with love. Have some left over fabric? Cut this in strips. Tie the middle of the strips together with another piece of fabric. Use a jump ring or old key ring and attach the fabric from the middle. Tie to a piece of satin cord, or something that is comfortable for you and your kitty. You can also try Martha Stewart’s project plan for a feather teaser.

    Craftbits' Tugga Toy

    Craftbits’ Tugga Toy

  5. Dog Tugga Toy: Do you have some old stretchy t-shirts or pants that you no longer wear? Well instead of throwing them away, these can be used to make a fun chew toy for your dog. Just follow the easy guidelines in Craftbits’ tutorial and you will have a new play toy for your dog.

However, DIY may not be for you around this busy time of year.

Fortunately, Pawmetto Lifeline’s pet store offers great gifts for cats and dogs of all ages and sizes.

calendar

Some of the items on offer include our new 2015 Midlands First Responder calendar, limited edition Pawmetto Lifeline t-shirts, and our special hot/cold beverage tumblers!

All of these gift items and more are available on our online store or at the Pawmetto Lifeline facilities at 1275 Bower Parkway. And remember, 100% of proceeds from all of the times sold by Pawmetto Lifeline go back to helping homeless pets in the Midlands!

 

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Cats make great pets…no seriously!

Everyone knows the age old argument, “Cat or Dog?” The debate has been on-going since the beginning of time, and cats are often not celebrated the way they should be. We would like to take a moment to appreciate all of the sweet and sassy cats that have been a part of our lives.

Annabelle Done

We should never forget that cats adapt to their owner’s personality. They won’t scratch you or howl until you play with them while you are busy eating Chinese food. You can house train them in a matter of minutes, and cat’s keep themselves very clean. On a cold, rainy day in December, you do not have to worry about taking your cat for a walk.

Cats are perfect for both families with or without children. They adapt to the behavior of their owners and will react if raised in a very playful family. They will also leave you alone if you prefer not to interact too much. Even if a cat is generally independent, they sure do love to cuddle. Just be careful when they want to head- butt you in the morning. Never forget that cats are great excuses for procrastination.

Cat sleep

“I am sorry, I could not finish sending that email. The cat would not stop sitting on my keyboard.”

It is no wonder why there are over a million cat memes on the internet and videos of them playing in boxes. Cats provide us with a wealth of entertainment. You may even end up saving money on your cable bill after you adopt a cat. A cat will entertain you all on its own. However, if you have a laser pointer lying around, that can add some extra fun. Cats are great hunters and extremely thoughtful gift givers. Invite them to any event and they will remain calm, cool, and collected as well as bring the best hostess gifts.

Cats have been important figures through-out history. In ancient Egypt, the noblest cats were mummified along with their owners. They were used to keep houses and fields safe from rodent infestations. It was actually declared illegal to kill cats during this time period because of their essential service to society

When choosing what pet is right for your family, it is important to consider all of your options. Cats can be an amazing addition to the right family. They will offer you plenty of love and companionship.

sweet kitty

At Pawmetto Lifeline, cats are spayed or neutered, micro-chipped, brought up-to-date on vaccines, and dewormed before leaving to join their forever home. You can see our cats available for adoption at http://pawmettolifeline.org/adopt/adopt_a_cat/. To adopt a new family member, fill out an application and begin our adoption process now!

Please call (803) 465-9150 or email adopt@pawmettolifeline.org if you have any questions!

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You have heard of #BlackFriday, but do you know about #GivingTuesday?

The media has done a good job teaching us about #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday! But do you know about #GivingTuesday?

Giving Tuesday
What is #GivingTuesday?

#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back! This campaign, created in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Together, with a team of influencers and founding partners, they launched a global movement that has engaged over 10,000 organizations worldwide.

 

Why give to Pawmetto Lifeline this Tuesday?
Pawmetto Lifeline was recently honored as an Angel Charity by the Secretary of State of South Carolina. This designation shows our dedication to our mission of saving lives, our fiscal responsibility, and our ability to do the most good with the resources we have. Just ten charities in the state were given this honor, and of those ten, we are the only agency in the Midlands, and the only agency dedicated to solving the pet overpopulation issue to make the Midlands a no-kill community. What better investment could you ask for?

Sugar (3)

How will your donations be used?
Donations will be used to save more animals from our local municipal shelters. Did you know that more than 17,000 animals enter our local municipal shelters, and over 62% never make it out alive? With your donations, we can pull animals from death row, get them medically ready, and help them find their perfect forever homes.

We rely on generous donors like you to achieve our goal of reducing pet overpopulation so that no healthy pet is every euthanized for the simple fact that they are homeless.

You’ve donated; now what?
Help spread the word! Tell your friends and family why you chose to support Pawmetto Lifeline and be sure to use the hashtag, #GivingTuesday, on social media.

Giving Tuesday 2

 

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Put “Vaccinate Your Pets” on the To Do List!

Vaccinations are a critical part of your pet’s care and the easiest way to help your pet live a long, healthy life. Many canine and feline diseases can be prevented with safe and effective vaccinations. Most contagious diseases are airborne; therefore it is important to vaccinate both indoor and outdoor pets.

Essential vaccinations for your dog include:

DHPP- (commonly called the “distemper shot”) protects your pet against Distemper, Hepatitis, Par- influenza, and Parvovirus.

  • Distemper is a devastating disease that can wreck a dog’s health, specifically its nervous system.
  • Hepatitis is a blood disease that affects the liver, initially affecting the tonsils and larynx causing sore throat, coughing, and occasionally pneumonia.
  • Para-influenza is a respiratory infection that is highly contagious and can produce a persistent cough and lead to persistent bronchitis.
  • Parvovirus is the most common disease amongst canines and the hardest to kill. Parvovirus is most often fatal and can kill in a matter of days. Parvovirus causes bloody diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dehydration, and even shock.

Rabies- Rabies virus is fatal and all mammals, including humans, are susceptible to infection. Rabies vaccinations for dogs are required by law in South Carolina.

Bordetella- (commonly called “kennel cough”) The Bordetella virus causes an extremely contagious upper respiratory infection. Your veterinarian may recommend this vaccine before your dog goes to a dog park, groomer, boarding kennel, doggie daycare or dog show.

In additional to vaccinations, your pet should receive a monthly heartworm preventative beginning as a puppy, and be heartworm tested annually. Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease. Heartworms cause severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body.

Essential vaccinations for your cat include:

FVRCP-(commonly called the “distemper shot”) protects your pet against Feline Viral Rhinotracheatis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia .

  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheatis is a viral infections respiratory virus often resulting in chronic, often life long, infections with intermittent reoccurrences causing respiratory and eye disease.
  • Calicivirus is a viral infectious respiratory disease causing mouth sores resulting in sever oral pain.
  • Panleukopenia is a severe, highly infectious, sometimes fatal disease of the gastrointestinal tract, the immune system and the nervous system.

Rabies- (see above for information)

Feline Leukemia- Feline Leukemia is a viral infection that is only transmitted through close contact. The virus commonly causes anemia or lymphoma, but because it suppresses the immune system, it can also predispose cats to deadly infections.

When to Vaccinate Your Pet

DOGS

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1st Round: DHPP Vaccine, General Dewormer (6-8 weeks)

2nd Round: DHPP Booster, General Dewormer, Bordetella Vaccine (9-11 weeks)

3rd Round: DHPP Booster, General Dewormer (12-14 weeks)

The rabies vaccine is given between 12-16 weeks of age based on your pet’s maturity.

4th Round: DHPP Booster, General Dewormer (15 – 16 weeks)

Annually: DHPP, Bordetella, Rabies, Heartworm Test

CATS

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1st Round: FVRCP, FELV/FIV Combo Test, FELV Vaccine (If Negative Combo Test), General Dewormer (9-11 weeks)

2nd Round: FVRCP Booster, FELV Booster, General Dewormer (12-14 weeks)

The rabies vaccine is given between 12-16 weeks of age based on your pet’s maturity.

3rd Round: FVCRP Booster, General Dewormer, Rabies Vaccine (15-16 weeks)

Be sure to get  your pet’s vaccinations before the craze of the holiday season! We will be open Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 24-26) from 10:00 to 4pm each day to provide low cost vaccines for your pet with NO EXAM FEE! Visit our Vaccine Clinic Webpage for pricing and other information!

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

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Vote “Yes” for Amendment One

On November 4, South Carolinians across our great state will enter voting booths to cast their vote for candidates and issues of importance. One of those issues entails amending our state Constitution to legalize nonprofit raffles for charitable purposes.

As a nonprofit leader in the Palmetto State, I encourage the Midlands citizens to vote YES for Amendment One – Raffles on the November Ballot.  Let’s make this important change a reality in 2015.

Countless nonprofits, schools, civic clubs and even churches across South Carolina conduct raffles on a routine basis, despite the current illegality of those raffles.  Enforcement is haphazard, exposing unknowing citizens attempting to do good for their communities to substantial embarrassment and wasting of nonprofit dollars when raffles must be cancelled.

The South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations (SCANPO), our state’s leading association run by nonprofit leaders for nonprofit leaders, worked closely with state legislators to pass necessary legislation to properly address concerns and design regulations to allow this creative way of encouraging charitable giving.

Our own nonprofit organization, Pawmetto Lifeline,  as well as hundreds of others across the state, will benefit from this common-sense approach to allow what is often already done as a simple means of raising money for charity to be put on solid legal footing instead of worrying about haphazard enforcement of existing outdated laws.

On behalf of our donors, volunteers, employees and board members, I encourage all South Carolina voters to support our churches, civic groups, schools and nonprofits. Vote yes on November 4 for Constitutional Amendment One – Raffles –  and give these organizations the tools and legal backing they deserve to keep doing good in the world.

Charlotte Berry

Charlotte Berry
Vice President
Pawmetto Lifeline

*A version of this blog was submitted as a Letter to the Editor across South Carolina days before the impending election to help share more about this important issue.

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