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Publisher Brian Foster email@example.com
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www.lowcountrydog.com FEBRUARY 2023 3
We believe that our dogs are our best friends, and that’s why we need a reliable source to turn to for information on all things “dog” in our community. Our mission is to be the number one Charleston area resource for dog owners regarding regional dog-centric and dog-welcoming events, health & wellness information, dog training, trends, and local news. We also strive to be a mouthpiece to the public for various Lowcountry-based pet nonprofits, and we promote pet adoption and other responsible pet care practices.
Founded in Charleston, South Carolina in 2005 as a print magazine, we re-launched in 2015 as “Charleston’s Digital Dog Magazine.” We continue our mission to be the best dog friendly resource in the Lowcountry. the
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Sit, Stay, Behave... Sport Tracking
HEALTH & WELLNESS: Canine Obesity
FEATURE STORY: Toby the Tripod
LOCAL DOG EVENTS
IN THE NEWS
Lowcountry Dog Animal Advocate of the Year: Erin Cannon
GO GREEN: Adopt A Recycled Dog!
Cover Photo by Kirk Chambers. Above Photo provided by Mark Bryan
Peanut was 17 years old and her health had been declining for the past 6 months. She had never been sick in her life, but something was definately off mentally and physically. Our suspicions were true and she was suffering from Canine Dementia. Her good days were few and far between and after vet consults, the decision was made. We gave her the best last week of her life, with whatever she wanted to eat, trips to the beach, and some time with family.’
Peanut was the face of Lowcountry Dog Magazine. The magazine has been around since 2005, around the same time that Peanut was born. Our Peanut was adopted from Pet Helpers in 2009. She was found on Wadmalaw Island at the dump with her 8 puppies. After adopting her, Our publisher, Brian Foster, began volunteering, fostering, and saving dogs. Peanut inspired him to help rescue dogs from helping at the shelter, to running off site adoption events, doing adoption counseling, trapping ferals, to most importantly, FOSTERING.
Peanut became foster mama tocountless puppies over the next 14 years. In 2015, after working parttime with Lowcountry Dog Magazine for a few years prior, Brian purchased the magazine, and Peanut was dubbed, “Chief Canine Officer.” A title she has held ever since. Her likeness is used in the magazine logo, on shirts, stickers, and more. Nutty, as her friends called her, was the ideal dog. She was the “mama dog” in every sense of the word, from being a positive role model to the
We Say Goodbye to our Pack Leader
After 17 years of being her best self, she was laid to rest on Saturday, January 7, 2023. Her mind and body may have given up but her spirit lives on and her legacy will most certainly live on in her magazine. Pur April issue will be a dedication issue to her story and her legacy.■
www.lowcountrydog.com FEBRUARY 2023 5
Words cannot express how we feel about losing our fearless leader, Peanut.
countless fosters that came through the door, to being friendly and kind to everyone she met.
www.lowcountrydog.com FEBRUARY 2023 7
Sport Tracking for Your Dog!
Police dog style training for fun & exercise
WRITTEN BY JEFF SCHETTLER, Georgia K9 NTC
We are in an amazing period in the world today. The use of dogs for specialty detection work, human assistance, and medical purposes has skyrocketed. There has never been a time in our history where Canis familiaris has been more in tune to the human experience than now. From the primitive beginnings of mankind when the wolf first shared a meal with a humanoid to modern times and the detection of early stages of cancer in the human body, the dog has evolved on par with us; perhaps more so.
Dogs can perform tasks with their noses that no machinery could ever duplicate at a cost that is negligible all while acting as a calming agent for our souls. They ask for nothing other than a meal and our companionship. Their loyalty is beyond any human experience ever known. Just think about it for a moment…how do you feel when you engage with your furry friend after an incredibly long and arduous day? When everything that could go wrong, did go wrong but in the end, who was there waiting without a comment or complaint? We all know who that is. Each one of us opens to our dogs in ways unimaginable with another human. The relationship is selfevident, but often not equitable. Most of our companions rarely have the freedom to express their instincts openly and regularly. But we owe that to them. Our dogs deserve to be dogs whenever possible. They have a right to use their
abilities with abandon and nothing stimulates their mind and their bodies more than hunting.
And here is the cool part…you do not have to be a hunter, a police officer, or a military working dog handler to do the same thing with your dog that they do! You simply must apply the hunting art and the principle to your pet dog. All dogs, not just working dogs, have the hunting instinct deeply imbedded in their being. It does not matter if you have a chihuahua or a French bulldog, they too have the wolf-like instinct to hunt and track wild game. Believe it or not, from a DNA perspective, these diminutive breeds are not all that far removed from their wolf cousins and have the same desires and drives; we simply need to harness it.
Tracking is the act of following a specific odor from a place last seen to an ending location and finding that thing, human or animal. Wild dogs do this for food, pack mates, enemies, and reproduction. This same instinct is in our everyday house dog, but they rarely get to use it. You may have even observed some of these things play out around your house and yard when the dogs seem to get attracted to something on the ground and begin to follow it from one place to another.
How did all of this get started?
Well, humans have been hunting other humans with dogs for centuries with some of the first writings on the subject appearing in Scotland where bloodhounds were used to hunt William Wallace and Robert the Bruce in 1307. The basis for this work came from hunting wild game with tracking dogs.
How does tracking help us in our contemporary world?
Tracking dogs are used widely today on every continent on the planet for everything from saving missing people to hunting down poachers or criminals. As a matter of fact, this is how my
career started way back in 1994. I was a new police K9 handler for the City of Alameda with the very first single-purpose tracking bloodhound used full-time in a municipal police department. Ronin and I were partners for close to a decade and worked every manner of search possible throughout California as well as other states. We worked over 400 man hunts to include the Carry Stayner serial killer case as well as Eric Rudolf, convicted abortion clinic and Atlanta Olympic Games bomber. I wrote about our escapades in my book, Red Dog Rising. Since that time, I have retired, opened a dog training company, Georgia K9 NTC, and written four other books on the subject, primarily in the how-to genre. I spend my time now professionally training others to do what I did!
A human track may be in the woods, a field, a rural village, or deep in the city and tracking dogs can work all these places if they have become accustomed to them. A big part of what we do is not teaching the dog to track, but more importantly, how to track in certain places all while staying locked on just one odor. Believe it or not, dogs can track effortlessly for many miles and over hours without stopping.
Why is Sport Tracking so wildly popular?
It is very simple…pure fun, great exercise, and happier dogs than ever before. You can’t ask for a better combination. You can also do this anywhere with a minimal amount of equipment or cost. You only need a harness and tracking leash for your dog, and you are all set. Most people see immediate results on the first day of training.
At the end of the day, your dog will be tired, satisfied, and happier than ever before all because they fulfilled an instinctive requirement for survival. A happier, more satisfied dog also means a reduction in unwanted behavior such as digging or chewing, better physical fitness, and a far stronger bond with their human partner than ever before. It is simply win-win, no matter how you look at it. As the dog becomes happier, more energetic, and fitter than ever before, so do our human clients. It is truly a symbiotic relationship.
Class sizes are usually very small from a single student per trainer to five max. The whole idea is to maximize leash time for everyone. Most dogs will work 3-4 trails a day with 100 yards or so in the initial training and then up to about a mile or so depending on the dog and handler’s capabilities.
Our training locations vary, but usually start in the woods or fields free of human activity. We need
“A happier, more satisfied dog also means a reduction in unwanted behavior such as digging or chewing, better physical fitness, and a far stronger bond with their human partner than ever before. It is simply win-win, no matter how you look at it.”
this to ensure the dog stays focused on just one odor while they build their skills. As the dogs’ progress, we change locations to rural, suburban, and then ultimately, urban locations.
How do I get started?
Click on the link below and you will be directed to our main landing page for sport tracking. Simply fill out the inquiry at the bottom of the page and hit send! We will have a trainer call you to schedule an evaluation. The evaluation is free if you come to us, and it takes about 3045 minutes to complete. Our trainer will test your dog for ability and determine how and where you should start training. That’s it! It’s that easy to get into one of the best things you can do for you dog. Call us today!
SC: (843) 823-0660 GA: (770) 721-(MYK9) ■
www.lowcountrydog.com FEBRUARY 2023 11
Canine Obesity: FAT TO FIT!
considering any other limitations or particular needs. But the truth is, we are responsible for our dog’s health and weight. They aren’t making their own meals! Except for the occasional episode of gastric indiscretion when Rover gets into a bag of cookies unexpectedly, we are the ones doling out the treats. In this new year, reflect on your pet’s health as you would your own. Need a little exercise boost? Chances are good, he does too! Want to eat better and optimize your health? Fido can benefit too!
New Year, New You!
WRITTEN BY JEANNE TAYLOR, Staff Writer
We’ve all heard it - a range of reasons or excuses as to why a dog is on the chunky side. “He’s big boned” or “She’s not fat, she’s fluffy.” “Labs just love to eat.” Sure, chunky puppies fresh off the milk train are adorable, and as they increase mobility, they thin out. That roly-poly exterior morphs into muscle and their bones become stronger. But did you know that you can shorten your pet’s life by at least two years through overfeeding and not addressing the literal elephant in the room?
According to a 2021 survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than 50% of our companion pets are obese or overweight. And in a 2018 clinical survey, 56% of dogs were noted by their veterinary practitioner as being overweight or obese. That’s over fifty million dogs!
Pet food labels list a recommended amount per serving by a dog’s general weight – NOT their optimal weight by breed, age, activity level or
This resolution mindset can apply to your pets too. In most cases, a newly rescued dog doesn’t need to put on the “Freshman 15” pounds! Don’t overfeed or overtreat your shelter dog because you feel sorry for their past! Give them their best possible FUTURE by keeping them fit and trim and in your life for longer. They deserve that. Obviously, this doesn’t apply, at least initially, to medical or neglect cases where dogs need to put on a little weight. But once they are at their ideal weight, level it out to maintain their overall health.
Body Condition Score
We’ve all seen the poster in the vet’s office showing the range of side and top views representing a dog’s ideal weight. There are factors to consider, of course, including breed or mix, health notes, age, and activity level along with diet composition and quality. But there are relatively easy ways to determine your pet’s actual calorie needs – you are already halfway there every time you are near your dog, and you may not even realize it.
Step 1: Pet your dog! Have them stand still and run your hands along their ribs, enjoying that smooth, silky fur. Can you feel even a hint of their ribs or is it covered by a fat layer? Gently pet their smooth underbelly –does it waddle or is it nice and tight? Stand directly behind them – can you see a noticeable waistline or is the shape you see more like a barrel? Keep them in that regal
HEALTH & WELLNESS
stand and view them from the side, from a few feet away. Do you see their ribs, even faintly? Does their chest line run flat into their waist or is there a visible “tuck up”? Based on what you see – or feel - commit to ensuring they enjoy good health. Commit to either maintaining that fit and trim dog, or helping Fifi get to that Instagram-worthy “after” photo!
Step 2: Quality vs. Quantity. As with people, it’s not just calories, it’s the quality of the intake. We must turn that corner and promise to do OUR best to give them THEIR best opportunity. Once you narrow down the daily calorie needs, you can sort out content percentages such as protein vs. carb requirements, etc.
Smartphones mean there are plenty of calorie calculator resources available at your fingertips! These tools can help you identify the ideal calorie intake for YOUR dog, and not just feed
according to a package instruction. Ask your veterinarian to help devise a slow and steady weight loss plan for your pet if necessary. A safe level of weight loss for a dog is 3-5% per month, generally speaking. I asked for a “pro-tip” from Dr. Marie Ingle of Cainhoy Veterinary Hospital. “Your veterinarian can help you create a plan for pet weight loss. We try to look at the whole household and find a way to make it work. For example, in a home with young kids, it’s not realistic to expect the pet won’t get ‘people food’. Instead, cutting back on intentional calories can make allowances for fallen treats from little hands. Making a reasonable plan that accommodates the family’s needs and having follow-up check-ins is the clearest path to success.”
Dr. Ingle further shared, “We love our pets, and we all know that food is love, but taking a walk, throwing a ball and certainly belly rubs are also LOVE.”
www.lowcountrydog.com FEBRUARY 2023 13
Need more motivation? Overweight dogs suffer more preventable injuries and have harder postop recoveries. They require more anesthesia for procedures. They require more veterinary care to treat the conditions that are sometimes created - and other times exacerbated - by their weight. They engage less with their families because they don’t have the energy or desire to participate. And they simply don’t live as long as their healthy-weight friends. A dog carrying as little as five extra pounds has an increased risk for serious health concerns such as diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, and more! Sounds miserable, right?
Start walking. Yes, you want to give Champ some fun by allowing him to explore and sniff on your morning strolls, but make time for one exercisefocused walk per day at least and work up to more. Or use that new fitness watch you got for Christmas and time the first half of your walk so you and Champ move with purpose. Get your collective heart rates up! Burn some calories. Build some bone strength. Improve joint flexibility and range of motion. Get moving!
When we take on the care of a dog, whether as a shelter pet or a purebred puppy from a reputable breeder, it should be in planning for the entirety of their life. That means providing them the best quality diet and veterinary care we can afford. It demands that we train them to co-exist peacefully in our homes. It entails giving them emotional stability, comfort and making them a vital part of our family. We want to give them experiences to enjoy – and make memories with them that will last forever.
Only we as loving and responsible pet parents are blessed with the opportunity to share our lives with these spectacular creatures. And only we have the power to ensure they benefit from our good decisions for as long as nature will allow. ■
[Not intended as veterinary advice.] Dogs are individuals. Always consult your veterinarian to develop a specific plan for your dog.
STORY: A Story of Hard Work & Perserverance
WRITTEN BY HALI SELERT Staff Writer
Toby the Tripod is a pup that found his way to Eunoia Rescue in July of 2021. He had originally been trapped in Lexington, South Carolina after having been a stray for who knows how long. When originally rescued, he had an injury to one of his hind legs that ultimately required an amputation. Once he recovered from his surgery, he was transferred to a foster home closer to the rescue. And that’s how Toby the Tripod came to live in Charleston.
Toby spent several months awaiting his forever home with no interest. You see, Toby wasn’t just a normal rescue pup– he was one who wasn’t well socialized prior to rescue. This translated to a severe lack of confidence and uneasiness while in new situations/around new people. Toby’s foster mom, Jamie, was very understanding of this and worked with Toby to build that confidence up! He was making great strides in the later part of 2021.
His foster family was going away for Thanksgiving and planned to board him at a local facility. Unfortunately, on Thanksgiving day, Toby jumped the fence at the boarding facility where he was staying, while an employee was in the yard with him. Unfortunately initial searches
for him yielded zero results. Knowing that Toby had to be trapped multiple times in the past, the rescue reached out to local trapper Kerri Lyons for assistance.
Kerri immediately dedicated her time to finding and trapping Toby. She and his foster mom spent hours upon hours walking through the woods, putting out clothes, setting up feeding stations, etc. Kerri put flyers up all over town, distributed them in mailboxes surrounding the area where Toby was known to be, posted all over social media, and set up/broke down traps repeatedly. Kerri did this daily. It didn’t take long for all of Ridgeville to know who Toby was, and that Kerri was working on getting him back.
Kerri quickly learned that social media wasn’t going to get Toby back. Because Toby was so scared of humans, especially humans he didn’t know, having the general public get involved would just make things worse. To top it off, she would have people tell her things like “ leave the dog alone,” “he’s wild,” “he doesn’t want to be caught,” “he’ll never be the same,” “you’re doing something wrong,” etc.
FEATURE STORY TOBY’s
So for months, Kerri worked in private. Most people probably thought she had given up on Toby, but that was far from the truth. The new year came and went, and Toby was still being tracked in the woods. Weather turned from brutally cold to sweltering hot, and still, Kerri followed Toby and learned more about him from afar. It was mid-August 2022 when Kerri changed her approach. She began working on what she calls a “slow build” of a fenced enclosure where he was eating. This approach was definitely the slow and steady route– Toby was smart as a whip and any time something changed, he’d stop eating. And she needed him to keep eating to keep him in one spot.
Over time, the constant food source in the woods attracted stray cats to the area. The cats would eat the food, and Toby would come to tell them off about eating the food that was his. He’d take over eating where they left off. Kerri fed off of this and used it to her advantage– she slowly moved the food bowls into the enclosure she erected in the woods. The enclosure had a spring door that she had control of. She would monitor on the camera and wait for her opportunity to hit the button to close the door with Toby inside. And on November 22, 2022 (3 days shy of a year of Toby being on his own in the wilderness), that opportunity presented itself. Toby followed the cat’s lead, and ate the food that was located in the enclosure. Kerri hit the button, and Toby was officially trapped! She raced to the woods and got there within 30 seconds of the trap shutting. Timing was huge because she had previously attempted a similar trap and Toby escaped before she could get there. She called her husband on the way and he left in the middle of a work meeting to race to her and Toby and help get him out of the woods once and for all.
It’s been a little over 2 months since Toby was captured. He has been staying with Kerri, and honestly we think that they were meant to be. Toby’s never had anyone as dedicated to him as Kerri, and we know he’s safest there. Thanks to Kerri leaving heartworm prevention in his bowl in the woods each month, he’s miraculously
www.lowcountrydog.com FEBRUARY 2023 19
heartworm negative. He does have a tick-borne illness, and originally had a few scrapes, but overall he’s in amazing shape.
What Kerri pulled off was nothing short of a miracle. She put in hard work and we’re just so happy that it paid off. The most important takeaway is to not give up. Toby didn’t give up while living in the woods for an entire year. Kerri didn’t give up on catching him. And because of that, they get to live their best lives together–almost as if it was fate.
If this story touched your heart the way it has ours, I’d encourage you to check out Kerri’s Amazon wishlist. She spends her time trapping dogs like Toby out of the kindness of her heart and spends her own money on her supplies. Let’s clear her wishlist so that the burden of helping future pups is lightened! ■
www.lowcountrydog.com FEBRUARY 2023 21 FOSTER. ADOPT. DONATE. PETHELPERS.ORG 843-795-1110 1447 FOLLY RD CHARLESTON, SC 29412
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Hootie & the Blowfish’s Mark Bryan hits the road with his dogs
Riggins & Rosie
Riggins & Rosie
WRITTEN BY ALYSSA HELMS, Media Manager
We have all heard the song “Only Want To Be With You,” by the Grammy award winning, and platinum selling band Hootie & the Blowfish. What would you think if I told you that the song was written about dogs?! While that fact can not be confirmed, one may think so after meeting Mark Bryan. He’s one of the founders and songwriters for Hootie & the Blowfish. The band started in 1986, when Mark met Darius Rucker at the University of South Carolina, and they started gigging as the duo called The Wolf Brothers. The band we know today formed shortly after with friends, Dean Felber and Jim Sonefeld. Their 1994 debut album, Cracked Rear View, reached the Top 100 charts around the world and is still one of the best selling albums in music history. Mark and Hootie have sold over 21 million albums, and Mark has spent the majority of his life traveling the world and performing, but along with being a musician and songwriter, he is a big dog-lover!
Mark says, “Dogs are the model of unconditional love, humans strive for it… and dogs make it look so easy, loving all the time.” The one thing he loves more than making music and enjoying the Charleston area with his kids, is doing things with his Golden Retrievers, Riggins and Rosie, who Mark thinks are the absolute coolest, and certainly the smartest.
He loves taking Rosie out to the woods behind his property - she loves to go on deer hikes. Once, he remembers Rosie taking her favorite deer toy out to where Mark and she usually see them roam so the stuffed deer toy could be with his own kind. Riggins loves to play ball with his dad - he is really good at football. Riggins knows how to snap the ball to Mark with his nose, on ‘down, set, hike,’ then go out for a pass and catch the ball off a onehop. Those are some of Mark’s favorite memories of them. Super smart right? And I’m sure that has much to do with their dad teaching them.
Mark had several special dogs throughout the years that all left an impact on him: Rocky, Ripken, and Rolly, incidentally also beginning with R- but
www.lowcountrydog.com FEBRUARY 2023 27 www.southernvintagephotography.com | firstname.lastname@example.org everyone a session for Mention this ad & receive 20% OFF your session! Don’t forget those four-legged family members! Reserve your session TODAY! follow us
none being Goldens. He got Riggins and Rosie four years ago when they were puppies. Since then, the brother-sister duo accompanies him to as many places as possible. From the horse stables to Capers Island and studios to stages... Riggins and Rosie go anywhere and everywhere with their dad, including the Hootie and the Blowfish Group Therapy Tour, visiting 44 cities in the US, Canada and the UK. Mark was grateful he got to travel to so many places and let his pups have experiences they may have not gotten otherwise, especially letting them swim around and play where he grew up in Maryland. On tour, Mark always complied with rules of whether spaces were dog-friendly or not, and says he wouldn’t want to be unfair to anyone if no one else can bring their pets, but at some amphitheaters like Hanahan Amphitheater, where Lowcountry Dog Magazine holds Woofstock Music Festival, dogs are allowed and Riggins and Rosie will be there! Hopefully, the pups will come out to Woofstock Music Festival on March 25th to support their dad as he takes the stage to perform alongside his friends, Drivin N Cryin. Grab tickets at woostock.live
He has produced hit records heard all over the world and helped create Carolina Studios in 2005, a non-profit, after school program that provides students a creative space to write, and record music. Mark has been an influential person for a lot of people. He also wants everyone to know that cleaning poop is part of the commitment you make when you get a dog, so you gotta live up to it. Hootie & the Blowfish are playing PNC Arena in Raleigh on February 17th and are throwing their
“Dogs are the model of unconditional love, humans strive for it… and dogs make it look so easy, loving all the time.”
www.lowcountrydog.com FEBRUARY 2023 29
annual HootieFest: The Big Splash, in April, in Cancun, Mexico. You can also catch Mark’s latest solo album released last year, Midlife Priceless.
It was such an honor to talk to musician, family man, and dog-lover Mark Bryan. Riggins and Rosie along with Mark’s past dogs have given so much companionship, hope and inspiration to his music and life. He even came out with a song and video about them called, ’The Puppy Song’ - https://youtu.be/ewXVYRlQCZ8 Following in his dad’s footsteps, Mark’s son Kenny will be releasing an EP later this year. Mark has also curated a special new single called, “Make It Right” with all of the instruments, vocals, and video done entirely by him! It will be streaming on all platforms Feb 3. Check out his site, markbryanmusic.com and head to Woofstock Music Festival on Saturday, March 25 at Hanahan Amphitheater.■
Photos provided by Mark Bryan, except cover and page 26 by Kirk Chambers.
S T R O N G M I N D K 9 P r o f e s s i o n a l D o g T r a i n i n g
P e t O b e d i e n c e S e r v i c e D o g s ( 8 4 3 ) 4 0 5 - 3 2 0 6 s t r o n g m i n d k 9 @ g m a i l c o m
S t r e n g t h e n i n g t h e m i n d b e t w e e n h u m a n a n d d o g
w w w s t r o n g m i n d k 9 c o m
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Local Dog Events
02/04/2023 23rd Annual Oyster Roast For Dorchester Paws
Summerville Country Club 6:00pm
02/11/2023 Angel’s Crossing
Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary
02/11/2023 Doggie Day at the Rec
IOP Rec Dept.
02/17 thru 02/19/23 SEWE
Dock Diving, Herding, & Retrieving
Brittlebank Park sewe.com for times
03/04/2023 Annual Oyster Roast for Carolina Coonhound
1113 Sam Rittenberg Blvd
12 to 5 pm
03/11/2023 2nd Annual Chili Cook Off for the Nubs!
Wings & Ale · Columbia
03/25/2023 Boxers & Brews
Catawba Brewing Company - Charlotte
04/08/2023 Photos with the Easter
Bunny at Owl’s Roost
Owl’s Roost Brewing · Franklinton
2023 LOWCOUNTRY DOG EVENTS
02/25/2023 Lowcountry Dog’s 8th Annual Eat, Drink, & Rescue
Eat, Drink, & Rescue
Estuary Brewery 1:00 to 5:00pm
03/25/2023 Woofstock: A Lowcountry Dog Music Festival
Hanahan Amphitheater Gates at 11:00 am
woofstock.live for tickets
05/06/2023 May the Dogs Be With You Festival
09/2023 Lowcountry Dog’s Bark in the Park
10/2023 Lowcountry Dogapalooza Festival
11/2023 Dia De Los Perros
12/2023 Home for the Holidays
Check out our Events page for even more local events and to check for date changes.
Missing dog reunited with North Charleston family after more than three years
A North Charleston family’s dog, Roc, went missing from their home in 2019. Now, nearly three and half years later, the family has been reunited with their beloved pet. According to Berkeley Animal Center, Roc was found as a stray in St. Stephens by a Berkeley County Animal Control Officer.
‘Dog ‘left to die’ outside animal shelter in South Carolina, officials say
It will be a long road to recovery for a dog that was “left to die” and “barely clinging to life” outside an animal shelter in South Carolina.
Authorities at the Charleston Animal Society said the dog was abandoned, in critical condition, outside the gate of the facility at about 9 p.m. on Dec. 22.
Joint Operation Targets Massive Dogfighting Conspiracy
a joint team of more than 60 federal and state law enforcement officers executed nearly two dozen warrants for various properties in the Midlands area in what is believed to be the biggest takedown of a dogfighting operation in South Carolina history.
Click images above to read the full story. For more top stories, visit www.lowcountrydog.com/top-stories
In The News
www.lowcountrydog.com FEBRUARY 2023 37
WRITTEN BY: JEANNE TAYLOR, Staff Writer
2023 Lowcountry Dog Animal Advocate of the Year
Everyone on this earth carries the potential to make a difference in the life of another living being, and some truly take their giving-spirit to the next level.
Lowcountry Dog Magazine has, in the past, recognized local animal advocates in their bimonthly publication, and in late 2022, they determined it was time to introduce an annual award.
The publisher contacted local pet-related entities with a call for nominations. The candidate pool was narrowed to four and voting began online and via social media. The final votes were tallied, and I am pleased to introduce to you the 2023 Animal Advocate of the Year, Erin Cannon.
“Advocate” is not just a noun, it’s a verb too, and Erin checks the boxes for all the definitions according to Merriam Webster, as well as all the organizations and animals she helps!
When I asked how she felt upon learning of the nomination, she replied, “I was very happily surprised! There are so many incredible volunteers here in the Lowcountry doing amazing things. I was humbled to find out that Libby and Mace’s Place Animal Rescue nominated me. I
hope I have a chance to submit a nomination next year, as I have quite a few people in mind.”
We all have a different story of what sent us down this path, and I wanted to learn more about Erin’s motivation. What unfolded was an account similar to so many in animal welfare: it began with one very special pet. After losing a 21-year-old dog named Snowball, who was her first dog, Erin’s mind had blocked the possibility of bringing another pet home, something many of us who have experienced a devastating loss completely understand. But one day she found a flyer for “Dogs on Deployment.” This nonprofit matches dogs of military members with volunteers who foster the animals through the service member’s deployment. This keeps those pets out of expensive boarding – and out of overburdened shelters. Within a week
of completing the volunteer profile, Erin was matched with Argos, an Australian cattle dog belonging to an Army Special Forces service member based out of Fayetteville, NC. Over a three-year-period, Argos guested with Erin whenever his dad was deployed, which could last from weeks to months and sometimes occurred with just 24-hours’ notice. Erin was committed to making herself available for Argos whenever needed. Once the service member was medically discharged and retired, she said, “it left a huge hole in my heart as I came to love Argos as my own.” Soon after, she began fostering for local organizations including Libby and Mace’s Place Rescue, Lakeside Animal Rescue and Little Black Dog Rescue, all of which are foster-based with no physical facility. With a desire to then help animals in a shelter environment too, she began volunteering at Charleston Animal Society. Throughout this process, there was also some healing of her heartbreak, and she has since added to her furry family. She and her significant other, Ben, share four dogs, including two from local Charleston area rescues, and, at this writing she is also fostering an eight-week-old puppy named Bella.
Erin invests a significant amount of her time in the cause of animal welfare and advocacy. A business analyst for Blackbaud, Erin’s schedule has become remote-based over the last couple of years so she has more flexibility and can work her volunteering around her professional activities. Three days a week, she schedules early morning hours at the shelter and is back at her desk in time for morning meetings. She muses, “This would not be possible if I had to get ready to go into an office. I think I would get some funny looks if I showed up with puppy kisses on my face and dog food on my shirt. Blackbaud is very supportive of employees giving back and I am very thankful to work for a company with a strong philanthropic culture.”
Simply put, to Erin advocacy offers “an opportunity to reach people to discuss the ways to get involved to help animals, rescues and shelters,” she said. “There are so many ways to contribute, from fostering, to working with
local politicians to pass more animal-friendly legislation, to sponsoring an animal to be spayed or neutered. I have done all of these things and welcome the opportunity to talk with anyone who is interested in learning how to be a hero for our four-legged friends.”
I have found people who are involved in animal welfare are open to sharing their experiences, and to encouraging others to participate as well. We all realize we are in this together and the more helping hands we have, the better we can serve the animals in need. There are so many ways to get involved, truly, an activity for every time block, every area of interest and ability. When I asked Erin what she would tell someone interested in getting started, she stated, “There are so many ways to get involved! Rescues are always looking for fosters to take puppies and dogs into their homes as they are waiting to be adopted. Volunteers are needed to bring animals to adoption events and fun places like breweries and sporting events. You can help transport animals, either between a shelter and a rescue, or to and from vet appointments. There are even more ways to volunteer at our local animal shelters – you can walk and play with dogs, make enrichment items on-site, do laundry, or serve on a transport team to help get dogs out of disaster areas. There are even ways to help without leaving your home, like organizing a pet food drive in your neighborhood, or making enrichment items at home and delivering to the animals housed in your local shelter, or simply sharing social media posts. The possibilities and needs are endless and there is always a way to help.”
If Erin’s story has inspired you to get involved, please contact your local shelter or rescue for more information.
Congratulations, Erin Cannon, 2023 Lowcountry Dog Animal Advocate of the Year.
Erin will receive her award on February 25, 2023, at the Eat Drink Rescue event to be held at Estuary Brewery. At that time, any program donations made during the voting period will also be issued to the rescue or shelter of her choosing. ■
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17-19, 2023 |
For more than 40 years, Charleston has hosted one of the most beloved events in the Southeast. SEWE is a celebration of the great outdoors through fine art, live entertainment, and special events. It is where artists, conservationists, collectors, and sporting enthusiasts come together to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and connect through a shared passion for wildlife. This Is SEWE.
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