Page 1

volume 10, issue 2



february/march 2014

animal advocate of the year award making charleston no kill top ten things you need to know about cancer


Southern Sport

Publisher Leah England (843) 478-0266


Advertising Information (843) 284-3094 Communications Gillian Nicol Guest Photographers Kristen & Matt Scott, Maggie Yelton Guest Writer Matt Scott Accounting Carrie Clark Financial Services (843) 367-9969 Lowcountry Dog Magazine PO Box 22 Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465 Web: Twitter: Facebook:



february/march 2014 animal advocate of the year award 4 making charleston no kill 6

This magazine is printed on 100% recycled paper. Continue the green process by recycling this copy. Lowcountry Dog’s mission is to be the leading local resource for dog owners regarding regional events, health and wellness information, trends, style and lifestyle choices. We also strive to be a mouthpiece to the public for various dog related non-profits and promote pet adoption and other responsible pet care practices. Dog lovers can pick up the bimonthly magazine for free at most area veterinarians and pet stores throughout the lowcountry, as well as numerous restaurants, coffee bars and retailers. A full distribution list is posted to the magazine’s web site, Subscriptions are also available. Please call 843-478-0266 for more information.

top ten things you need to know about canine cancer 8 canine cancer care llc finds new home 12 the call of a southern sport 14 calendar of events 21 training 22 Fireworks health & wellness 24 Safety First adoption 28

The entire contents of this magazine are copyrighted by Lowcountry Dog Magazine with all rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue is expressly forbidden without permission of the publisher. Lowcountry Dog Magazine does not endorse or guarantee any product, service, or vendor mentioned or pictured in this magazine in editorial or advertising space. Views expressed by authors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher.

Cover photo and last Table of Contents photo by Kristen Scott.



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INTRODUCING the Lowcountry Dog Magazine Animal Advocate of the Year Award This award will be given to a member of the Greater Charleston community to recognize his/her achievements in advancing the welfare of animals through leadership, public service, lawmaking, education, research, or veterinary service. The magazine’s purpose in bestowing this award is to encourage attention to animal welfare in the lowcountry. LCDM believes in publicly recognizing and thanking those who go out of their way to improve the lives of animals. Four Finalists will be chosen by LCDM and featured on the publication’s website and in the print magazine. Online voting will determine the winner, who will be announced in the Dec/Jan 2015 issue. Recipients must be available and willing to participate in a photo shoot, be interviewed, attend a presentation ceremony, and participate in other recognition activities.

Criteria for Qualification:

Nominee must reside at least 6 months out of the year in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

Nominee’s work must contain specific examples of commitment to one or more of the following categories in Animal Advocacy:

Leadership Public Service Education Research Lawmaking Veterinary Service

Your nomination letter should include:

• Your name and contact info • Nominee’s name and contact info •“Animal Advocate of the Year Award” in the subject line •At least 500 words detailing how your nominee has advocated for animals in our community, citing specific examples within at least one of the key categories listed above. •Illustrative images if available

Nominations should be emailed to by March 1st 2014. Submissions must be sent using the subject line: “Animal Advocate of the Year Award.” Online voting will begin in April and continue through November 1st. Jennifer and Salty.

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Making Charleston No Kill by Michael Quirk

There is a lot of movement in the Charleston Animal Society these days. Employees are buzzing from room to room with a thousand tasks. Prospective pet owners are meandering through the kennels in search of a furry friend as woofs and meows cascade off the walls. Fortunate canines whip their tails and pull their leashes towards wide open arms welcoming them to their new home. It is a picturesque scene consisting of friendship, adulation and opportunity. The shelter off Remount Road hasn't always been this way though. Just over a half-decade ago the ambience was gloomy. In 2007, 9,821 animals were admitted into the 263-capacity shelter. Tragically, only one-third of those animals ever found or returned to a home. Due to a lack of resources a total of 6,170 of them, or 62.8 percent, were euthanized before the year was over. The following year saw 6,726 of the 10,549 animals euthanized, 63.8 percent. "All across the Deep South there's just despair," said CAS chief executive officer Joe Elmore. "There's no will to fight it, people just give up. Everyone says you can't (change the numbers) and you're so overwhelmed that you're distraught." That's when the ASPCA came to help the struggling shelter and the results to date have been nothing short of astounding. In an effort to lower the euthanasia rate, CAS implemented nine strategies: finding homes for homeless animals, fighting animal cruelty, reducing the amount of free-roaming cats, spaying/neutering, containing fatal diseases, creating a food bank, saving abused and neglected animals, reuniting lost pets, and teaching children how to become humanitarians. The ultimate goal was to make Charleston a no kill community, meaning a euthanasia rate below 10 percent. Bringing the number down from 63.8 seemed like a tall order, but with the strategies in place the rates quickly began to drop. In 2009 the statistics went down to 59 percent, then 50 percent the next year. A 13-percent dip in 2011 brought the numbers to 37 percent. Then in 2012 they fell below the national average of 30 percent and state average of 33, all the way down to 23 percent. Last year, just five years after being at 64 percent, the euthanasia rate was at eight percent, declaring Charleston a no kill community. Live release rates have also been steadily improving. In 2007, 34.5 percent of animals fell into the live release 6


category and now that number is at 88 percent. The biggest rise came from adult cats that were only at 15 percent live release in 2007 but have increased to 95 percent last year. "We want to be a humane community, saving the ones that are healthy and treatable while only euthanizing the animals that are suffering," said CAS director of shelter health and wellness Sarah Boyd. "To become a no kill community, it's not our shelter, it's reaching a no kill status in the community. Our community said 'Yeah we don't want to euthanize because of space or an illness, we want to save those that can be treated.'"

When deciding whether or not an animal can be treated, the shelter uses the Pet Evaluation Matrix, a diagnosis from a poll of veterinarians that places an animal into one of four categories: not health but can be treated and recover, treated and not cured but can manage, healthy, or no treatment possible. "We make our decisions based on their diagnosis, not their behavior or the time they have been in the shelter system," said Boyd.


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Animal groups from around the country and even to the stretches of France and New Zealand have called CAS, asking for advice and best practices. “We constantly have people asking about how we're doing it and our progress," said Elmore. "There's still a lot more work that needs to be done. Our animal community here is not cohesive, consolidated or a smooth running machine. Some folks have even said 'look at what our community has done in spite of ourselves.'" The campaign lists three ways to help: the gift of time, financial gifts, or the gift of a home. Boyd said that the public can help the community by adopting from the local shelter rather than getting their pets elsewhere. "It's just like shopping local. Going to your local business is going to help your local economy more than going to a big box store. If you want Charleston to be a humane community, the actions of our pet owners need to reflect that," she said. "That's the reality we face and adopting will really help your community. The numbers aren't as important as each individual case and we just need the adopters out there to open up their homes to others." The only other communities to reach no kill status are in San Francisco, Austin, Texas, and Charlottesville, VA. Boyd said they wanted to be the first to accomplish the feat in the



Deep South, not an easy feat where outdated views of animal welfare still run rampant. 'You know what, people were telling us it couldn’t be done in the South. But we did it in Charleston, and now we are a standard for world.�

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Top 10 Things You Should Know About Cancer by Dr. Kerry Rissetto, DVM, MS, DACVIM Charleston Veterinary Referral Center

CANCER. A breath-stopping, life-changing, world-altering, 6-letter word. Regardless if this word is in reference to your mother, your father, your aunt, your child, or your dog, it is devastating. With our human family members, there is usually very little discussion about options: we do what we need to do for as long as we need to in order to prolong life, all too often, unfortunately, at the expense of QUALITY of life. What do we do if that diagnosis occurs in our four-legged family members? 25 years ago the answer probably would have been humane euthanasia for the main reason being we simply did not have enough experience with cancer treatment (ie Oncology) in animals. Today, however, in 2014, veterinary Oncology is it's own specialty, treating animals with cancer just as easily as treating those with diabetes or high blood pressure. This might be the part where you put down this magazine or turn the page to read something that you think may be more applicable to you. "Who would ever put their dog through that?" you might ask. This is not an uncommon "knee-jerk" reaction for people to have because of what we know about human Oncology. Because cancer commonly affects people in their middle age, every effort is made to be as aggressive as possible and “cure” the disease so that the patient may go on to live 30 or 40 more years to their expected life span. The goal is to provide a reasonable “cost: benefit” ratio: that patient endures a poor quality of life during their treatment protocol, but are hopefully able to experience cancer remission and live to see their grandchildren grow up. In veterinary medicine, however, our patients have an anticipated lifespan of 8-14 years depending on the breed. This makes any extended, aggressive, or unpleasant treatment seem like a very poor use of that pet’s time left on this earth. This is the reason why veterinary oncology is immensely different from that in humans. Because we cannot guarantee a dog will live 20 more years, the PRIMARY goal of cancer treatment is to provide quality of life both DURING and after the course of that treatment. The dogs and cats that come into CVRC’s Cancer Center should always feel BETTER under our care than they did prior to treatment. THE TREATMENT SHOULD NEVER BE WORSE THAN THE DISEASE. Well, “what is the treatment” you ask? The simple answer is, “it depends.” Cancer is not a specific disease, it is an umbrella term used to describe numerous diseases that can affect every organ system in the body. Therefore, treatment is tailored to the patient based on the exact type of cancer diagnosed and likelihood 10


to spread to other organs. So, for example, if a tumor is removed and discovered to be unlikely to spread based on biopsy, that patient may not need any further treatment. If, however, the type of cancer is known to spread quickly, further treatment with chemotherapy will greatly decrease the risk of that tumor spreading to other organs (like lungs, lymph nodes, and liver) and thus allow that patient to live longer and happier than expected. Here are the top 10 things that you, as an educated pet owner, should know about cancer: 1.) Cancer predominantly occurs in dogs and cats over 7 years of age but can occur in animals of ANY age. 2.) Cancer is one of the “Great pretenders:” it can masquerade as absolutely anything from a large mass to a small bump, from difficulty urinating to occasional vomiting. These are all symptoms that should not be ignored. 3.) Large breed dogs are at a very high risk for bone cancer and any limping or pain noticed in these dogs should be investigated by your veterinarian. 4.) Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Boxers are at a very high risk for cancer and owners of these breeds should be very vigilant when it comes to noticing new lumps and bumps or any odd behavior in their pets. 5.) Some types of cancers can be cured, yes CURED, by simply removing the tumor itself. CANCER IS NOT ALWAYS A DEATH SENTENCE, it is important to know your treatment options based on the TYPE of cancer diagnosed! 6.) Chemotherapy is the use of injectable or oral drugs to treat cancer or to reduce the risk of certain cancers from spreading once they have been removed. 7.) Chemotherapy in animals is VERY DIFFERENT than chemotherapy in humans. The majority of dogs and cats NEVER get sick from chemotherapy. Of those patients that do experience side effects of chemotherapy, this is most often manifested as decreased appetite or a small amount of vomiting or diarrhea after treatment. However, with new anti-nausea medication less than 1 in every 10 dogs will experience vomiting or diarrhea. 8.) In general, MOST dog breeds DO NOT lose their hair while undergoing chemotherapy. Dogs and cats may lose their whiskers but only a select few dog breeds will experience noticeable hair loss. 9.) When polled, 95% of owners are glad that they decided to pursue chemotherapy for their pet and are extremely happy with the outcome and both the QUANTITY and QUALITY TIME they got to spend with their pet. These owners are almost always willing to talk about their experience so if you would like to speak to someone who experienced chemotherapy with their animals, that can easily be arranged. 10.) In most cases, the sooner cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of survival for the animal, so if you see a swelling or mass, DO NOT WAIT! Bring it to the attention of your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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Canine Cancer Care, Inc. Finds New Lowcountry Home

Founder, President, and Veterinarian, Dr. Amanda J Cunningham, B.S., D.V.M

Canine Cancer Care, Inc. “Paw in Hand, Standing Strong” is a non-profit organization based out of Mount Pleasant, SC. The team is dedicated to community cancer awareness, providing financial assistance for cancer treatment, supporting cancer research, and celebrating the human-animal bond. This is a deep heartfelt mission inspired by Founder, President, and Veterinarian, Dr. Amanda J Cunningham, B.S., D.V.M. Her passion for caring for dogs with cancer was inspired by her own personal experience of being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, as well as her three-legged best friend, "Chubbs," undergoing chemotherapy for Lymphoma, and her medical experience with clients and patients battling cancer. Dr. Cunningham graduated from Michigan State University in 2004 and practiced small animal medicine for 9 years. While practicing in Northern Indiana, she focused most of her energy in the field of Oncology. According to Veterinary Oncologists, approximately 50% of dogs 10 years and older will develop cancer, and 1 out of 4 dogs will be diagnosed with cancer sometime during their lifetime. After working with a number of cancer patients, Dr. Cunningham found that a lot of pet owners did not realize that many cancer treatment options existed, such as chemotherapy. “When chemotherapy is discussed with a client, a common misconception is that their dog will become quite ill from treatment. In fact, dogs often tolerate chemotherapy very well, have a very good quality of life, and have more time that is meaningful with their families,” says Cunningham. Canine Cancer Care’s mission is to one day ensure that all of our beloved friends can experience the benefits of cancer treatment. Currently, there is a huge lack of pets covered by health insurance. According to Pet Insurance Company statistics, approximately 1% of dogs have coverage. That number is alarmingly low, especially when considering that cancer is quite common. Fees for diagnostics and treatment depend on the type of cancer, but typically range from $2000 - $10,000. Quality medical care can add up quickly. We love our beloved friends, but not everybody has the means to offer their dog this level of care. Canine Cancer Care, Inc. consists of a team of volunteers and representatives throughout the United States. The group is currently organizing 5K Race Events for 2014, which will be 12


held in Indiana, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Florida. To help dogs with cancer and see how you can get involved, visit www. and

Dodger Runs 5K April 26th 9:00 am James Island County Park A fun event for an important cause! JOIN US in our race against cancer!!! We welcome runners and walkers of all ages! Participating with your dog is encouraged, but not required. Also, you can bring your dog to enjoy the event and spend quality time together without participating in the run. All proceeds help the Canine Cancer Care, Inc Non-Profit Organization accomplish it's mission. For more information visit our website at EVENT SCHEDULE & TIMES 1/2 Mile Tot Trot starts at 9:00AM 1 Mile Kids Fun Run starts at 9:15AM 5K Walk/Run starts at 9:30AM ENTRY FEES 5K Run/Walk with Dog & without Dog - $25 1 Mile Kids Fun Run (Ages 7-14) - $15 1/2 Mile Tot Trot (Ages 6 & Under) - $10 OTHER ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE - Free Veterinary Consultations - Bounce House, Music, Food, Beverages, Vendors, Kids' Games, and Pet Contests REGISTRATION OPEN!!

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Southern Sport text by matt scott Photogrpaphy by Kristen & Matt Scott It’s 5:12 AM. I exhale deeply and my breath suspends overhead like a halo. I roll over to bid my wife (Kristen) and silver Labrador (Stella) farewell. Tip-toeing through the dark, my feet press into the century-old planks that creak with each movement. In the kitchen, I hear whole beans swirling in the coffee grinder; the kettle is just about to whistle; I gravitate towards the loaf of warm, pumpkin bread on the table. The farmhouse remains quiet. Few words are exchanged for fear that conversation might ruin this historic moment. It’s opening day of duck season. We pile into the back of an old Mazda pick-up. Headlights illuminate the dirt roads that lead us to a small pond. Here we find ourselves…five full-grown men who have become like wide-eyed boys on Christmas morning. The sense of anticipation and excitement is thicker than the morning fog that sits heavy on the quiet pond. For me, today marks my very first duck hunting experience. Quiet whispers and hand signals cue that it’s time to separate and hunker down into the reeds. The hunt proves to be exhilarating and we return to the farmhouse to enjoy

a leisure breakfast with our wives and canine companions. After chopping some firewood and enjoying a walk through the cotton fields, we returned to the pond. Only this time, we brought the dogs with us. For Labs, nothing is better than being in the water. And Stella is no exception. She loves rivers, lakes, creeks, and the ocean. But much to her surprise, she was about to experience her first legitimate-retrieving-in-the-wild experience. As we waded through the reeds and out into the pond, Stella stayed close by my side. I whispered: “Stella: Sit. Good girl. Stay.” A few moments pass. Then, as several rounds released a smoky haze into the sky, the moment I’d been waiting for arrived. “Go get it! Stella, go get it!” She tilted her head to the side and looked at me as if to say, “Get what?! I see no ball, no stick, no frisbee…?” I repeated again, “Stella, go get the duck!” Now, you should know that my little lady is a champ at retrieving frisbees, balls, sticks, and anything else that can Lowcountrydog


photo by Maggie Yelton 16


Photographer Kristen Scott, husband, Matt, and Stella, their silver Lab enjoyed a weekend trip to a friend's family farm in Estill, SC, a town best known for timber, agriculture, duck hunting and Southern tradition. Berkeley the Vizsla showed Stella the basics of duck retrieval.

photo by Maggie Yelton

photo by Maggie Yelton 18


be hurled through the air. But, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it took her a while to figure out the process! For her first few attempts, she tromped over to the duck and somewhat turned up her nose to it. It took some coaching, but after a short time, she warmed up to the idea. Hitting full stride, she leapt through the shallow waters of the pond and hit a full swim. Retrieving the duck, she brought it back to land with a sense of great accomplishment. And there we were, like parents cheering on their goal-winning child in a soccer match…jumping up and down, clapping, and beaming with pride. After a wonderful morning and afternoon of experiencing the great outdoors, we returned to the homestead to enjoy a true farm-to-table feast. Marinating the duck breasts in bourbon, brown sugar, and soy sauce, we wrapped them in bacon and cooked them over an open fire. We gave thanks for the beautiful surroundings and for the warmth of our friendships. That day, we leaned into what makes life in the Lowcountry so grand: a slow walk through the woods, cooking over an open fire, front porch-sittin’, and man’s best friend at your side.



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upcoming events recurring events every saturday & sunday pet helpers adoptions at petco, west ashley. every saturday cas adopt-athon at petsmart mt pleasant.

special events february



Retriever Demonstrations, Dock Dogs, Art, Area Rescue & Shelter Booths. for tickets.

february 22nd 12:00pm-4:00pm carolina coonhound rescue oyster roast. There will be silent auction items to raise money to help hounds in need. Please email to order tickets or swing by Animal Medical West to purchase. Tickets are $20 each and children under 10 are free.

february 23rd 1:00pm – 4:00pm grand opening celebration at paws in paradise's new location. 1058 Johnnie Dodds Blvd, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464. Tour our entire facility and bring your dog for free. Free food and drinks. Bounce castle for kids. Adoptable dogs on site Dog owners are responsible for their dogs at all times. Children must be accompanied by an adult and will not be allowed in areas with the dogs.

march 1st 8:30am-2:00pm running with the hounds canicross, trail run and walking fund-raiser. Historic grounds of the Middleton Place Equestrian Trails. 5K timed trail run for solo runners. 3 mile canicross timed trail run for dogs and their human

companions. Trail walks for those with and without dogs. Participants can enjoy the 6,000 acre fox hunting and equestrian trails at Middleton Place rarely open to the public and participate in the popular European sport known as canicross (running with your dog in a tandem harness). Walkers can also participate with or without their dogs. The trails and lakes that run throughout the property host hawks, song birds, wild turkeys, hogs and deer. The trails on the run will take you along some of the most scenic areas. After the race enjoy the Athlete’s Village with food trucks, pet vendors, dog demos adoptable pets and the awards ceremony. Entry fees start at $30 for each adult, $5 for each child under 12. Middleton Place Equestrian and Fox Hunting Trails 4280 Ashley River Rd Learn more and register at

march 22nd & 23rd 11:00am – 5:00pm pet fest James Island County Park. Pets, their owners, and those in search of a pet are invited to join in a full weekend of exhibits, demonstrations, experts, entertainment, and more at Charleston’s premier pet festival, Pet Fest A two-day event, Pet Fest provides an opportunity for local pet organizations and businesses to showcase their causes, products and services in a fun, pet-friendly environment. Highlights Include · K9s in Flight Frisbee Dogs and Dock Diving (12, 2 & 4 p.m.). Your dog can dive for a $5 donation!

· Live Music · STARR (Search, Tactics, And Rescue/ Recovery) Team Demonstrations · K-9 Good Citizens Test · Children’s activities, including jump castles · Food, beverages and beer for sale · Official presentation of the 2013 Top Dog, Charleston County Parks’ official dog mascot Admission: $5 per day. Dogs must remain leashed throughout the event. Children 12 and under, Gold Pass Holders and leashed pets are free. For further information call 843-795-4386 or visit

April 26th 9:00am Dodger Runs 5K James Island County Park A fun event for an important cause! JOIN US in our race against cancer!!! We welcome runners and walkers of all ages!

event schedule 1/2 Mile Tot Trot starts at 9:00AM 1 Mile Kids Fun Run starts at 9:15AM 5K Walk/Run starts at 9:30AM

entry fees 5K Run/Walk with Dog & without Dog - $25

1 Mile Kids Fun Run (Ages 7-14) - $15 1/2 Mile Tot Trot (Ages 6 & Under) - $10 For more information and registration visit at

· Lowcountry Dog Magazine’s Cover Model Contest · Pet Contests – · Swift Paws Lure Chasing – let your dog race other canines for a $5 donation · FlyBall dogs demonstrations

Questions? Comments? Call 843-478-0266. Want to submit event information? Visit and click on Add an Event. We will do our best to include your event as space allows. Our online calendar lists all events in full.


Preparing for the Next Shoot out by Kristie Allen, The Learning Canine In light of all of the posts I’ve seen about lost dogs after the New Year celebrations, as well as the flood of questions I got about dogs being terrified during fireworks, I want you to start preparing now, for the Fourth of July fireworks. Many dogs are afraid of fireworks and other loud noises. It’s a survival instinct for them to be cognizant of what could harm them, and loud noises absolutely fall into this category, from the dog’s perspective. If your dog is fearful of fireworks, you need to work on desensitizing him to the fireworks well in advance, instead of right before. This can take several months for some dogs, which is why I’m advising of it now. If you just got a new puppy and aren’t quite sure how they will respond to fireworks, I highly recommend socializing them to the sound in this exact same manor. You can get a recording of fireworks and start playing it back at a VERY low volume while your dog is doing things he deems to be very enjoyable. Play the recording while he is eating a meal, getting a gentle massage, a belly rub, and playing fetch or tug. You can also play the recording while you are practicing known cues/tricks that he knows and loves to do, using rewards that he considers high value. Work on this for several days, maybe even over a week. If he seems to be okay with the sounds, slowly start increasing the volume and repeat process. You never want the sound loud enough to actually frighten or make him anxious. If he is acting a 22


little "concerned", that is fine as long as he seems to bounce back fairly quickly. If he is showing signs of anxiety such as panting, pacing, dilated pupils, inability to calm down, and/or refusal of food, you’re moving too quickly. It’s= time to stop immediately, and start over another day at a lower volume. Once a dog reaches high stress levels and is showing extreme signs of anxiety, they don’t automatically come back down to normal as soon as the trigger is gone. They need time to calm down. In some cases an hour will do, but I’ve seen severe cases where it took days for the dog to get back to normal. This is why it is imperative that you go at his pace and not at the pace you think he should be going. If you try to move too quickly, it can be more counter-productive than productive. Since his pace may be difficult to determine, you want to pay close attention to his body language and the stress signals I mentioned above so you can have an idea of how he is handling the progression and desensitization process. The CD compilation I recommend is by Victoria Stillwell. She has a series of CDs that helps with all sorts of noise phobias from fireworks to thunderstorms and everything in between, with detailed instructions to follow (if you need more than what I have listed in this article). You can find out more by looking up this link: canine-noise-phobia-series/ As mentioned above, regarding a new puppy, I highly recommend socializing

and desensitizing to all of these sounds as a preventative method. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Another amazing resource can be found at: Remember, it can take some time to desensitize our noise phobic dogs, but if you put in the time and effort, you will see progress. Your dog will much happier, as you in turn will be. The Day of Festivities…. If you plan to go out and see a fireworks display and leave your furry friend at home, you need to make absolute sure he is very secure. For some of you, these precautions may even have to be taken if you are home with him. Many dogs have been known to bust through doors, screens, fences, and even glass windows when terrified and trying to escape the scary sounds of fireworks. Many will wiggle free from their collar if out on leash, and ones who may not normally jump a fence will do so in this situation. If you're home with your dog and you hear fireworks, make sure your dog feels calm and safe. Make sure to take your walks and potty time well before the festivities usually begin. Once the fireworks begin, I like to use lots of “white noise”, for example the TV, radio, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, etc., to mask the noise of the fireworks. Many dogs have been known to benefit from a more calming and soothing type of music by Through a Dog’s Ear, which can be found at

Please do not bring your dog to fireworks displays - they will not appreciate the booms, whistles and screeching sounds and it will more than likely scare them or stress them out. if you have desensitized to a med - high volume from the CD’s, you should do the exact same thing during the real festivities as described in the desensitizing exercises. This is the exact protocol I used with my rescue Hound mix who was extremely noise phobic to more things than I can count, including squeaky toys. He still does prefer to go outside during the festivities, but at least he can relax on the couch, which is a far cry from the days he would cower under the bed. Other resources to help your dog naturally with the stress of the night are: 1. Comfort Zone with DAP - This product releases a pheromone that can be comforting to dogs. It comes in many forms such as collars, diffusers and sprays. 2. Melatonin, Rescue Remedy or Calms Forte – When giving your dog any medication or supplement whether it is pharmaceutical, over the counter or holistic, you always want to check with your Vet first. Your Vet knows your dog best and you want to make sure any over the counter products will not conflict with current medications or medical issues. 3. Anxiety Wrap or Thundershirt Many dogs do very well with the Anxiety Wrap or Thundershirt, which is a vest that maintains pressure on your dog in a comforting way that helps to calm them down as well as keep them from getting so anxious.

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I adore my dogs. They sleep on my bed, they have claimed the couch as their territory, and from time to time, they are allowed small amounts of (healthy) people food that may or may not come directly from my plate. They are my favorite creatures on the planet. However, they can drive me crazy. 99.9% of the time my guys are great on walks, however, they can also make we want to own goldfish. They can be mildly annoying, let’s bark at the neighbor next door-that’ll get her to play, moderately aggravating, let’s yank mom’s arm off trying to tree the squirrels, to potentially dangerous, this unknown animal/person looks shady, let’s go on the offensive and show ‘em we are not to be trifled with. Due to my four legged gentlemen’s penchant for trouble making there are guidelines I have created for them, myself, or anyone else entrusted with walking them out in public. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

1) Leashes-always, always, always. There is a very trite (but true) statement I like to tell my clients-a dog is safe off leash until the very moment they are not. Leashes help us to avert hit by car scenarios, dog attacks (dog vs. dog, cat, small fuzzy thing, bike, person, etc…), our dogs eating something potentially dangerous before we can intervene, and it is also the polite thing to do. I know I find it hard to believe, but not everyone out there wants to meet my (or your) love bugs up close and personal (at the very least, not without having you present for formal introductions). A subset to this rule is no retractable leashes and 1 leash per pet. Retractable leashes can offer less reliable control than a standard leash and leashes that are combined to control two or more animals can become easily entangled leading to a potentially dangerous situation. 2) Avoiding potential stimuli. Like any good mom, I know their likes and

dislikes. For instance, I know my guys are amenable to meeting fellow canines but they need a certain set up for a meeting to go well. Therefore, if I spot a dog off leash then I look for another route. If this is not possible, sometimes my guys are overjoyed to find they are going on a short sprint! They cannot run and lovingly stare at their mom while at the same time barking and lunging at the other dog. For my guys, a run is a bigger reward then barking at something they do not approve of. 3) Behavioral modification. I use techniques (all positive reinforcement based) to help desensitize and counter condition my boys to stimuli that typically garners a negative response. For example, instead of dragging mom into the street while trying to chase a garbage truck, I work with them to make eye contact with me while we keep steadily moving down the sidewalk. Other tools in reducing their anxiety have been pheromones, head halters, and thunder shirts. By reducing continued on page 29



their overall anxiety, it has made it easier to work with them regarding their environmental issues. This in turn has made them more at ease, myself less likely to pull out all my hair, and have kept my neighbors from fleeing in a mass exodus. Even with my guidelines and my constant scanning of the horizon for potential problems I cannot (unfortunately) control all things in my environment. This is when I must politely ask those sharing our little patch of earth to pitch in, just a little. 1) Leashes-always, always, always. I know I brought up the importance of my dogs being on leashes already, but now it is time to talk about why it is important to have your dog on a leash as well. If you have a dog with you in an unsecured area, then please, leash up your pet. Even if your dog is the friendliest pup ever born, another animal may not want to meet him/her. An unplanned meet up can sometimes require one (if not both) of the participants to visit the emergency room. 2) If someone asks you to not approach their dog please respect this person’s

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wishes. They can be asking for a variety of reasons: maybe they are in the middle of a training session, maybe the dog is recuperating from an illness/surgery, maybe the dog has severe anxiety/fear/ aggression issues, or maybe the owners just need to get home in a hurry to take care of their own business. A subset to this request is if a yellow ribbon is tied to a dog’s collar and/or leash do not wait for someone to tell you not to approach their dog; the yellow ribbon itself is a sign asking for you to please respect the dog’s space. For more information regarding what the yellow ribbon means, please visit 3) If you just cannot keep your hands off other people’s pets, then please, ask first prior to petting their loved ones. Maybe the owner can give you a tip on how to approach their dog, or what their dog particularly likes. Sometimes when I am out with my doggie dates on a walk I will view other dogs across the park playing the part of fools-barking, dragging their owners, or any other number of embarrassing

things a dog can do, and I feel a kinship to that person and her brood. If you are the proud guardian of a super dog who is unfazed by their environment and at all times listens perfectly you will never know the uncomfortable feelings owners of environmentally challenged dogs go through. However, we can all agree on how important these fuzzy companions are, even if there are hiccups along the way. I am going to continue to do my best in working with my boys and their manners, and I hope to see you (and your safely and lovingly leashed dog) out on our next walk.

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Adoption Page

Meet Jessie! Her perfect day includes a fun romp on a hiking trail, a swim in the lake and some time to chew on her favorite rawhide toys. Jessie is an active dog that would enjoy a yard to play in or an owner willing to give her the exercise she enjoys. She gets along well with children as well as other dogs.. Visit her at

Meet Sixes! His perfect day would be a fun day with his human playing games and going on adventures. Sixes enjoys toys and treats, he would like to take trips to the dog park and the beach. He walks on the leash very well, he knows his manners. Come see him at www.

I came to Pet Helpers from another shelter and have been nothing but a ball of energy ever since! Even though I am still young, I obviously didn't get too much basic training as a pup. am a big love-bug and would have a blast having a human of my own to play ball with. See if I am your match at

This is a special dog named Ruby. She's been in our care since May. She is a Collie/Shep blend, 5-6 years, and weights 45lbs. Ruby has a mellow personality, she's housebroken, and very gentle as well. If you are interested please contact cgumienny@ or 843329-1577

Meet Clover, a three month old hound mix. She's currently in the Adoption Ambassador foster program. If you are interested please contact cgumienny@

Faith is a sweet girl with a really cute curlicue tail. She can be very affectionate to people and loves to go on walks but is a little picky about her doggy friends. If you are interested in adopting him, please visit

Comet is absolutely a great dog. I have had no problems with him & he is great with my six year old. He doesn't like to be left alone. He is so calm & sweet. If you are interested in Bear please contact cgumienny@ or 843329-1577.

I have a lot of energy and will need a lot of activity. My favorite activity here at the shelter is running in the play yard and having a handler throw the ball for me to catch. I like other dogs and would love to have another big, energetic dog, boy or girl, to play with. Learn more at www.

General is a Labrador/Weimaraner mix. He is great with dogs and kids, but no cats please. General is house, crate, leash, trained and knows basic commands. To find out how to adopt this wonderful Lab or how you can foster, please visit

I’m Bixby and as you can see, I’m a big gorgeous fluffy guy, most likely a Flat Coated Retriever/Neufie mix! I’m 9 years young and I have plenty of pep in my step. I’m a very good boy in the house. Learn more about me at

I'm a beautiful, sweet yellow Labby (mix) girl! I haven’t had the greatest life, my family never had time for me and they kept me in a crate most of the time. I’m a true Southern Belle, perfectly well behaved in the house and I get along with everyone! Learn more at

As you can see, I’m very handsome – and I’m super sweet! I love my foster mom and dad as well as my furry foster brothers. I dance in circles when my leash comes out, love to go for long walks and I like meeting new dogs. Learn more at www.



clover comet


ellie mae 28







tom sawyer


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Pet Helpers Names New Executive Director A leader known throughout the state’s animal welfare community as an innovator in developing public/private partnerships, Donna Casamento has joined Pet Helpers as its new executive director, Board President Carol Linville announced today. Pet Helpers is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit animal welfare organization whose mission is to end the euthanasia of adoptable pets throughout the Lowcountry. Pet Helpers impacts the community's pet overpopulation through high-volume, high-quality spay/neuter surgeries; delivering humane education programs to children and the public at large; and providing resources for people whose lives are enriched by their pet. On any given day nearly 100 cats and 40 dogs are available for adoption through its Rescue and Adoption Center, located at 1447 Folly Road. In 2013, Pet Helpers found new homes for more than 1,686 pets and provided much needed medical services to many animals in the community. “This year, as Pet Helpers celebrates its 35th anniversary as the first organization in the Lowcountry to espouse a no-kill alternative to euthanasia, we are excited about the ideas and experience that Donna brings with her,” Linville said. “The board has every confidence that she will be a dynamic catalyst in the Lowcountry’s ongoing transformation into a more humane community where all adoptable pets get the second chance they deserve.” Casamento most recently served as director of Pawmetto Lifeline’s HEART (Help Every Animal Reach Tomorrow) Program, which she developed and implemented in Columbia, S.C., to save the more than 18,000 animals being euthanized in municipal shelters in the Midlands each year. A collaboration between municipal agencies and nonprofit groups, the HEART program is a model of how the public and private sectors can work together to save lives in local communities. “Public and private agencies working together to save lives – that’s the best way we as a community can significantly impact our ability to change the way animals are valued in South Carolina,” Casamento said. “Through education, low-cost access to health care for animals, spay and neuter programs, adoption programs and a spirit of cooperation among public and private agencies, we will make a difference in the Lowcountry.” During its first two and a half years under Casamento’s guidance, HEART relocated more than 7,000 dogs and cats, saving them from euthanasia. She was responsible for creating all aspects of the HEART Program, website coordination, database development, partner communication, shelter management, transport coordination, staffing and training. Previously, Casamento worked in the medical nonprofit field, but for the past 10 years has focused her energies in animal welfare



working with several organizations as director of adoptions, director of marketing and PR, and operations manager. She is also a past board member for the HSPCA in Columbia. Casamento recently spoke at the Carolinas Unite Conference sponsored by South Carolina Animal Care and Control (SCACCA) on “Developing Community Partnerships.” She has also volunteered with the Junior League and other agencies. Married with two adult children, two dogs and two cats, Casamento attended California State University East Bay and Wichita State University and has completed various training courses including many through ASPCA and Best Friends Animal Society.

Donna Casamento

LCDM Feb/March 2014  

animals, dogs, South Carolina, Charleston, Lowcountry, veterinarians, pet health, pets, duck hunting, canine cancer