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“Batter Up!” Pawmetto Lifeline Launches Calendar Competition Featuring Columbia Fireflies Baseball Team

Pawmetto Lifeline is proud to announce the launch of their 2017 Calendar Competition featuring the Columbia Fireflies Baseball Team. Each month the calendar will showcase a Fireflies baseball player and a local pet from the Midlands community with the background of the brand new Spirit Communications Park. The top 12 fundraisers among both the baseball players and the local pets will secure a spot in the 2017 calendar. All proceeds from fundraising and calendar sales will go directly to supporting Pawmetto Lifeline’s mission of saving homeless pets in the Midlands.

The public is invited to get involved by voting for their favorite players and pets. The top player and pet fundraisers overall will win the honor of posing for the cover! Pet owners are encouraged to register their pets for the competition and begin their fundraising to win a coveted spot in the calendar.

Last year, the Pawmetto Lifeline calendar featured the local Roller Derby girls (Richland County Regulators and Columbia Quad Squad) and a group of adorable local pets who raised over $60,000. Those funds were able to save 480 companion pets from the local municipal shelters. The goal is to help even more homeless pets this year with the proceeds from the 2017 Players & Pets Calendar featuring the Columbia Fireflies!

Please help support Pawmetto Lifeline and vote for your favorite Columbia Fireflies baseball player and local pet!

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Urgent Need For Kitten Cat Fosters, Adoptions – Local Municipal Shelters Overflowing

Pawmetto Lifeline, a local non-profit animal rescue whose mission is to create a no-kill community in the Midlands, saw a brief reprieve from cat and kitten euthanasias within the local municipal shelters over the past few months. Unfortunately, Pawmetto Lifeline’s rescue facility has reached capacity and has no room to pull more cats and kittens from the local shelters. An urgent plea is being broadcast around the Midlands for the public to help by adopting a cat or kitten directly from the local shelters or from Pawmetto Lifeline. The public can also help by agreeing to foster a litter of kittens or an adult cat. If action is not taken quickly, overcrowding at our local shelters means that cats and kittens left behind will be euthanized.

“Pawmetto Lifeline currently has over 200 cats in our care within our facility and in foster homes. We have no more room to pull cats and kittens that desperately need to get out of the shelter,” stated Denise Wilkinson, CEO of Pawmetto Lifeline. “We need the community to step up and agree to foster cats and kittens until we can make room for them. Our foster program is our best solution to the tragedies that are happening right now in our local shelters.”

Pawmetto Lifeline’s Foster Program is a 2-4 week program in which the public agrees to care for a dog or cat from the local shelter that we have designated for our adoption program. These pets are fostered until arrangements can be made for a permanent placement (transportation to another no-kill rescue or adoption to a local family). Pawmetto Lifeline’s Foster Program also provides all food, supplies, medical care, and 24/7 support/training.

By committing to adopt or foster for 2-4 weeks until the kittens are ready for adoptions, YOU will help Pawmetto Lifeline save lives! The Pawmetto Lifeline staff and municipal shelter staff are heartbroken that euthanasia will be the ONLY option for so many cats and kittens unless the community steps up. Go to a local municipal shelter or Pawmetto Lifeline today to adopt and save a life!

Click here to learn more about becoming a partner in Pawmetto Lifeline’s Foster Program. If you are interested in joining the Foster Program, please respond today by contacting the Director of Foster Homes by email or leave a brief message at (803) 465-9175.


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Why Pet Retention is a LARGE Part of the Solution

At Pawmetto Lifeline, pet retention is a critical component to being a no-kill community. Surrendering your pet to the local shelter for various reasons may seem like the right idea at the time, but there are many ways that Pawmetto Lifeline can help you keep your pet in the best environment for them, your home.

Financial reasons are a huge factor in owner’s desire to give up their pet. To help with the financial burden of owning a pet, Pawmetto Lifeline runs a high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter clinic that has the capability of altering tens of thousands of pets every year at a low cost. Call: 803-465-9100 for more information.

In addition to the spay and neuter clinic, Pawmetto Lifeline’s Care-A-Van Mobile Vaccine Service is  designed to provide pet owners with convenient access to low-cost vaccines and products to keep their dogs and cats healthy. Three mobile vaccine units operate every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in various locations across SC. The preventative measures provided are paramount to keeping healthy pets in your home. Check out our schedule at

_MG_8799 smaller

Aside from the burden of medical costs, food for pets can be financially taxing during tough times. The Pet Food Pantry, also called Pet Soup, provides dog and cat food to needy owners. By providing this resource for qualified pet owners, less fortunate members of the community are able to keep their animals, instead of having to add them to the huge number of homeless pets. This simple, yet much-needed program serves more than 1,000 registered clients each year, and distributes up to 6,000 pounds of pet food each month. Contact: for more information.


If you are having trouble with training your pet, Pawmetto Lifeline has access to trainers and can provide recommendations for your specific situation. Contact DeeAnn Jones at for more information.

Increasing the pet retention rate helps people find a happy solution for themselves and their pets. It also limits the number of animals entering the shelter system where there are limited financial resources and space. In the Midlands municipal shelters, we have a 62% euthanasia rate for companion pets.  Adult cats and medium to large dogs have a much higher chance of euthanasia.    Keeping pets in the home and out of the shelter is the best possible life for your furry friend!

Curious about other ways to help keep your pets in the home they belong in? Contact Alison Gibbons at or call 465-9150.

Information from:

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Benefits of Fostering Pets

Right now there are cute and cuddly homeless pets that need foster homes. These wonderful dogs and cats, puppies and kittens are looking for loving, compassionate people like you to help them until they find their forever home! If that didn’t convince you that you should head right over to Pawmetto Lifeline and sign up to become a foster home, here are 10 benefits of fostering.

10. Fostering allows more homeless pets to be taken into the rescue shelter by rotating them in and out, which in turn saves more of our furry friend’s lives!

9. Un-socialized pets will get more individual attention, increase their exposure, and in turn increase their chance of being finding a forever home.

8. You will get a sense of pride knowing that you helped an animal find a wonderful and loving home.

7. Fostering gives animals a chance for exploration that they would not get in a shelter’s limited space.


6. Feral kittens and young adult cats need help with socializing. Being one on one with these cats will make their transition into a home much easier.

5. Because not all dogs, and especially puppies, are fully trained, a home environment can help teach these pets appropriate home behaviors like house training and greeting people.

4. You will never be bored with a foster pet around! They are an endless source of entertainment from cuddles to training to playing.

3. By fostering a pet, you have joined a community of people who do the same. Lean on each other for support and questions and make new friends in the process of fostering a pet!


2. Fostering is a way to test out if your family is ready to adopt. The shorter time frame is a good way to see if you and your family can fully commit before adopting a pet.

1. Knowing you made a difference in that animal’s life is paramount. You have provided these pets with a comforting and nurturing home and that is a great feeling that you’ll want to do it all over again!

Pawmetto Lifeline provides training, crates, medical care, and 24/7 case managers to help you through the fostering process to ensure both you and your foster have the best experience possible.


If you are interested in joining the community of foster homes and helping these furry friends get adopted, contact DeeAnn Jones for more information at

Information from:


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What is Roller Derby REALLY All About?

Defying Stereotypes:

If you’ve never seen a Roller Derby Bout, you may have an idea of what it looks like due to popular movies like “Whip It” (2009). The women typically associated with Derby are rough, tough, and aggressive. While you will definitely find these characteristics on the track, you will find that these same women are also inspiring, intelligent, and animal- loving.


Many of these women never thought they would get into a sport like Derby, including Marcy Utheim, Pathologists Assistant. Utheim “fell in love with being in the presence of strong, athletic, passionate women who weren’t afraid of falling down”.

CQS Headshots - Utheim - 06022015 (Marcy Utheim)

Nicole Powell, Veterinary Technician, agrees with Utheim adding, “it has given me the opportunity to become an athlete, to get involved in the community, and to create new friendships.” The women who have volunteered to help with our Pawmetto Lifeline fundraising to save community pets are as diverse as their derby nicknames might suggest.

Evolution of Derby:

Roller derby has transformed over the years since it started during the Great Depression. In 1935, Leo Seltzer created the Transcontinental Derby in Chicago as a new sporting event to attract spectators. The Transcontinental Derby started as a long distance, endurance skating event that would last multiple days. Each team consisted of a man and a woman who had to skate a certain number of miles per day and at least one member of the team had to be skating at all times to avoid being eliminated. The event had early success in part because it was one of the cheapest forms of sporting entertainment during the Great Depression.

In 1937, a tragic bus crash caused an explosion that killed nearly twenty Roller Derby skaters, including stars like Joe Kleats and Libby Hoover. After the loss of such important members of the Derby community, the Transcontinental Derby never made a full recovery. Instead, a change in rules and format allowed it to thrive in a new way.

Roller Derby began its revival in Austin, Texas in 2001. Roller Derby now consists of two teams where teams can score points by lapping members of the opposing team in timed intervals. Today it is one of the fastest growing sports, bringing together hard working, driven and passionate individuals to compete in an exciting athletic challenge.

Larger Derby Legs

More Than Just Collisions on Skates:

If you want to be part of this community you can! Within the group of women who have volunteered to help, occupations range from Lawyer to Nuclear Chemist to PhD candidate and beyond. The sport of Derby brought these women together and many can’t imagine what their life would be like without the Derby community.

Derby has become an identifier for many of these women. Fawnna Parker, administrative specialist at orthopedics clinic, said “I learned that there was so much more to Roller Derby than just big hits.” Each one of these Derby girls has found their niche in a community of strong and passionate women who would do anything for one another.

CQS Headshots - Parker - 06022015 (Fawnna Parker)

Julianna Virgili, Legal Assistant at Rogers Townsend and Thomas, agrees. “The empowering support and acceptance the people of the Roller Derby community offer is what made me a lifetime member,” said Virgili.

virgili (Julianna Virgili)

Check out their personal pages here to learn more about these exceptional and talented individuals. Then donate to raise funds for your favorite derby girl to help choose our calendar contest model and, of course, save our community pets.


History and derby information from:




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Donate to the Food Raiser Today!


Save animals’ lives by helping keep them at home where they belong.

Senior Resources

Pawmetto Lifeline is hosting a “Food Raiser” to gather food donations for Pawmetto Lifeline’s Pet Soup Program and Senior Resources’ Meals on Wheels Pet Pals Program.

Cuddling with a pet can relieve stress and provide companionship for owners of all ages. Unfortunately, some owners hit hard times and cannot afford to feed their pets, even though they still love them and want to keep them at home.

One of the reasons pets end up with their lives on the line at municipal shelters is because their owners cannot afford to take care of them. The Food Raiser aims to help people in need take care of their furry friends and help reduce the homeless pet population.

The Pet Soup Program is a Pet Food Pantry that provides an emergency food resource to needy families in the Midlands area so more families can keep their pets.

old people

Meals on Wheels Pet Pals Program is a Senior Resources program that helps sponsor the pets of senior citizens. Volunteers deliver food monthly to keep these pets with their loving owners.

With the help of these programs, owners can take better care of their companions and save the lives of many pets.

The Food Raiser will run from July 12-18. We accept donations of any brand of cat or dog food. If the bags have been opened, please be sure they are taped securely shut. Donations can be dropped at Pawmetto Lifeline, 1275 Bower Pkwy, Columbia SC.

For more information, contact Alison at

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Protect Your Pets During Columbia’s Famously Hot Summer

Summer is here and with temperatures reaching and exceeding record highs this week it is more important than ever to keep your pets safe and cool.

Do not leave your pet in the car. Ever. During the day or at night. Temperatures inside a car can reach upwards of 120 degrees within just 30 minutes during an average South Carolina summer day. Dangerous and deadly.

How do you know if your dog has experienced a heat stroke and is in severe danger? Be on the lookout for these behaviors and symptoms:

  •  Excessive panting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Staggering/stupor/seizures

Short-nosed breeds, large heavy-coated breeds, and dogs with pre-existing respiratory or heart problems are at high-risk for a heat stroke.


If you have established that your animal is suffering from a heat stroke there are a few things you can do to quickly cool your pet down.

  • Remove the animal from the heat. Bring the pet inside or into the shade and out of the sun.
  • Give the animal cool (not cold) water. Begin with a small amount and do not force the animal to drink.
  • Place cool compresses on your pet around its head and feet.
  • Contact your veterinarian.

Be mindful of hot surfaces such as asphalt and concrete. The summer sun and air temperatures can heat asphalt to astronomical numbers resulting in painful burns and skin destruction. Would you want to walk down the street barefoot in Famously Hot Columbia? Neither does your animal.

It is easy to enjoy the summer with your pet while keeping everyone healthy & happy.

Pool Time

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The Science Behind Kitten Season

mother and kittens

Thousands of cuddly friends are coming to shelters every day but this season can be a dangerous time.

What is kitten season?

Kitten season is the large increase of kittens being born in the late spring and summer. The kitten season has three peaks: first in the spring, then late spring though early summer, and has its final peak in the fall. These cats are generally feral or community cats and because they live outdoors, run the risk of living in dangerous conditions.

The large influx of cats leads to massive amounts of cats and kittens being euthanized because of limited resources of municipal shelters.

cats have a lot of babieas

Why does it happen?

Kittens are born in such a high rate when cats who are not spayed and neutered mate. Cats go into a cycle called “the heat”, which means a cat is able and ready to mate. Although cats can breed nearly all year long, the heaviest heat season runs March through September, which has to do with the increased daylight hours of the spring and summer.

During the heat, the cat’s hormones rage. The cats can turn into hormonal versions of their once cuddly selves and will even sneak outdoors to find a mate. The mating creates a domino effect and thousands of more kittens can be born from just a few unaltered cats.

Did you know…

Cats can become pregnant and give birth to kittens when they are not much older then kittens themselves. It is different for every cat, just like for every human, but cats generally reach adolescents by 5 or 6 months, some can even give birth to a litter as early as 4 months.

sweet kitty

How to help:

Overwhelming numbers of kittens are brought to shelters every day in kitten season. As many as 50 cats can be delivered to a shelter in a single day.

There are more kittens being rescued then there is food, money, and fosters. To help, make sure your cats are spayed a neutered, volunteer time or money to your local animal shelter, and adopt or foster cats to give them a forever home.

For more information on our Feral/Community Cat package, please call our Spay/Neuter Clinic at 803-465-9100.

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URGENT: STOP BILL S.687-Third Hearing this Tuesday


There has been a THIRD public hearing scheduled for the “Vet Bill”-Senate Bill S. 687 on Tuesday at June 16th at 10am Gressette Bldg Room 308

PLEASE ATTEND!!!!!    You do not have to speak to have your voice be heard. The presence of those in the room who oppose can make a very powerful, visual statement!

PET OWNERS …your choice of affordable veterinary care is being threatened!

The South Carolina Veterinary Association (SCVA) wants to prohibit you from seeking affordable care from non-profits by restricting services offered by non-profit clinics. It would PROHIBIT ANYONE ABOVE POVERTY LEVEL from using selected low cost services offered by non-profits.
The (SCVA) wants to limit your choice of veterinary care by eliminating competition, despite the fact that non-profits have been responsible for a reduction of 31% in the euthanasia rate in the last 5 years.

According to the 2015 Poverty Guidelines (HHS), 1 person would have to make less than minimum wage to qualify.  So, a person making minimum wage (less than $16,150) would have to take their pet to a private practice clinic.

Please attend and show your support for free choice and AFFORDABLE veterinary care. Oppose government intrusion and price protection in veterinary care.

To learn more, visit

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What does Bill S.687 REALLY mean for Shelters?

As Senate Bill S.687 receives additional media coverage and other sub committee hearings have been set up outside of our recently wrapped up  legislative session this year, we are receiving a lot of questions from animal advocates in reference to what this bill ACTUALLY means for animal shelters and the services they can provide.  It has been mentioned, on many occasions, that quality of care is a significant issue surrounding this bill and that many shelters do not have an in-house veterinarian. All of those pieces of information are TRUE; however, what is not necessarily accurate is that the main purpose of this bill is QUALITY OF CARE.

If that were the case, the inclusion in Bill S.687 to have mobile vaccine services restricted to a minimum of a seven mile radius from any private veterinary office would not be included in  the language of this bill. Additionally, it would not have language in the bill that restricts services only to those who can prove low income status, which would completely  eliminate an affordable service from an already overtaxed middle class group in SC.  It has been noted that the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR) Vet Board provides oversight to ANY SC veterinarian no matter where they work:  private clinics, shelters, or mobile vaccine programs.  This means that the quality of care issue could be addressed with an entity that is already in existence and has the authority to investigate any and all veterinarian medical services in question.

It is my opinion, and the opinion of most of our partners and supporters, that this bill’s primary purpose is LIMITING COMPETITION in order to protect private vets.  It is interesting that on all media interviews, the majority of the South Carolina Association of Veterinarian (SCAV) comments surround quality of care.  Why do they not discuss their desire for restricting services? When asked about the language in the bill relative to restricting services, they say not for profits do not pay taxes; which gives non-profits an unfair advantage.  When actually researching not for profit guidelines,, , like Pawmetto Lifeline, one can determine that this is not true. The SCAV also says we have an unfair advantage because we get our vaccines at a discounted rate.  We receive discounts because of volume ordered and NOT because of our not for profit status. The vets also cite that they have tremendous debt from their education.  What about all of the other professions that require a college education, and most often personal debt, in order to obtain a specialized degree?


So what does Bill S.687 mean for organizations, like Pawmetto Lifeline, who do actually have four full time vets on staff? Currently, the primary services we provide to the public are basic vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, micro-chip services and testing. While the bill as it is currently written DOES allow non- profits the opportunity to provide these types of services, it will NOT allow those organizations to ever have a full service clinic.

This is a source of great concern for us.  EVERYDAY, we get calls from people who have sick or injured pets. When they take them to a private vet, they often cannot afford to pay for the cost of the services. As a result,  they are oftentimes either euthanized, taken to a municipal shelter where they can be euthanized for free, which adds cost to taxpayers who ultimately provide the funds to run these facilities, or the pets are sent home to die a painful death.  Based on the restrictions of Bill S.687, if we decided to open a full service clinic, we could not provide services for any pet owner making more than $12,000 a year (less than minimum wage, as this is $5.65/hour for a full-time employee).  The language of this bill and the precedence it sets aims to mandate that South Carolinians either get their pet’s medical services from a private clinic, if they earn more than $12,000 a year, or their pet goes without care if they do not have the funds readily available.

We all know if a pet contracts pneumonia, or pancreatitis, or has a broken leg, the medical bill at a private clinic can be well over $1,000.  Should your pet suffer and die simply because you do not have the funds to pay a private clinic? If Pawmetto Lifeline is willing to provide that service at a much discounted rate, should you not have access to that care?

Our goal is to save animals and  to make sure they have  the necessary medical care so people can keep their beloved pets.  If we are willing to provide a service close to cost with our full time veterinarians on staff, isn’t that in the best interest of companion pets?  All private clinics have the chance to serve clients in need that visit their office, AND they CAN provide discounted rates for the needed service or set up payment plans with their clients if they want to ensure the pet gets care from their clinic. Many times however, their choice is to maintain their price structure. Ironically, NOW they want to impose regulations for those who would provide veterinary care for less.  Once a client leaves a private vet clinic with an animal in need of care, the client should have the right to choose where they want to go to receive care, EVEN if it is at a non-profit clinic that CHOOSES to offers the service at an  affordable price.

Perfectly illustrating what the REAL issue is at hand, here is an example of a heart-wrenching situation. A woman called recently with a pregnant dog in labor.  She had taken the dog to a private clinic, and they wanted $1,000 to do a C-section. The woman did NOT have $1,000 so the veterinarian sent her home with the dog, which was in obvious distress and in danger of dying.   When the woman contacted us the next day, we called the clinic she visited and they would NOT negotiate on the fee for service. We then started to collaborate with another local vet clinic in Ballentine, who was willing to give us a discounted rate. This PRIVATE VET CLINIC partner was more than willing to help us ensure that this dog and her puppy did not die. (One puppy in the womb was already dead.)  Sadly, we receive calls like this every day from individuals who cannot afford to pay for medically necessary services.

Restricting mobile vaccine services will likely cause pets to die because the preventative services that could have been received from our mobile vaccine service will be limited, eliminating access to care for a significant amount of individuals and overtime, leading to the deaths  of many pets that have contracted preventable, but deadly illnesses. Pawmetto Lifeline’s mobile vaccine clinic provides vaccinations for Rabies, Bordetella, DHPP and FVRCP. We test for Heartworms and FELV and FIV. The funds generated from our mobile vaccine service allow us to provide for the homeless pets in our care and offer our services for privately owned pets at a lower cost, which includes spaying and neutering. Less income and restricted services to the public, will equate to more unwanted litters of puppies and kittens being born and ultimately, more pets dying each day.


It appears as though this bill was written without any thought or time spared for the Middle Class pet owners and what the future of animal welfare will look like in our State. If the SCAV is concerned with QUALITY of CARE, should they not spend their time partnering with the non-profits so we can work together and continue educating the community around animal welfare issues and the dire need to reduce the number of pets  being euthanized? Restricting services by class and by location speaks to a financial motivation and not to quality of care concerns.

The SCAV has been telling you pets will NOT die because of this bill.   This is false information.  Innocent pets WILL die, and they are dying right now because their owners can not afford to pay for medical services at many private clinics around the State.  Thankfully, we do NOT believe that ALL veterinarians support this bill.  We know A LOT that don’t and are embarrassed that their peers have introduced this legislation; however, many are not willing to speak out against their professional association. It is apparent to us that the SCAV does not understand the impact of this legislation.

For the SCAV to continue to espouse on TV and other media outlets that their primary concern is “quality of care,” yet members of this same association will deny a client care based on their ability to pay, provides a bit of insight into the TRUE motivations of the bill. For veterinarians to deny those of us with a mission, the passion, and the RIGHT, as well as the ability, to provide medical services certainly does not demonstrate compassionate care.   People have the right to choose who they want to provide care for their pets.  Just because you do NOT have funds for medical services, doesn’t mean you don’t love your pet and that your pet should die from a treatable illness.

We need YOUR help

We are truly saddened that we are forced to fight the very profession, SCAV, which should be searching for more ways to ensure that ALL pets get the care that they deserve.  Restricting services and access to care is harmful to SC, our citizens and our companion pets.

by: Denise Wilkinson, CEO of Pawmetto Lifeline

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