Carolina Tails Magazine - Charleston Animal Society - Spring 2015

Page 1


PET ER We take you inside.

TAILS State of Neglect? South Carolina Horses

Kitten Invasion How You Can Help

Sssssnakes! 6 to Watch For

No Kill South Carolina A New Initiative

SPRING 2015 A Charleston Animal Society Publication








Publisher: Keith Simmons Editor-in-Chief: Dan Krosse Managing Editor: Joe Elmore Graphic Design: Heineman Design Advertising Director: Lila K. Cloar, Writers: Ellie Whitcomb Payne, Teri Errico, Claire Roberson, Helen Ravenel Hammond, Dr. Anna Vecchione, Dan Krosse Photographers: Reese Moore, Jason Bennett Paul Mulkey, Ellie Whitcomb-Payne, Michael Mulligan Distribution Manager: Denise Fletcher Contributor: Kay Hyman For inquiries regarding advertising, distribution or suggestions in Carolina Tails call (843) 352-9048 or

2455 Remount Road, North Charleston, SC 29406 (843) 747-4849

President: Elizabeth Bradham Vice President: Julie Bresnan Vice President: Ann Long Merck Vice President: Matt Watson, CPA, CVA Secretary: Perry Jameson, DVM Treasurer: Hilton Smith, III

Members of the Board Kiara Barnett Mary Black Joe Waring, Esq. Sarah Hamlin Hastings Cynthia Hayes Andrea Ferguson Helen Pratt-Thomas Eugenia Burtschy Nancy Worsham Britton M. Hawk, Esq. Gerri Greenwood Dean Riegel

Hal Creel, Esq. John Cawley Johnny Maybank Tara Gerardi Bob Rife Elliott Summey Jeff Webster Meg Phillips Ellen Harley Aussie Geer Tami Zerbst

Chief Executive Officer: Joe Elmore Media & Marketing Consultant: dpk media solutions

Please contact regarding Carolina Tails distribution, advertising or suggestions. For all other inquiries, please contact Charleston Animal Society. (843) 352-9048 Carolina Tails is published quarterly by Traveler Communications Group, an independent publishing company. PO Box 22677, Charleston, SC 29413 (843 352-9048). Carolina Tails is a registered trademark of Traveler Communications Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


Contents SPRING 2015




Pet Pointers


State of Neglect: How are SC Horses?


6 Snakes to Avoid


Garden Alert: Could Your Plants Harm Pets?


One Night in the Pet ER


Pet Owners’ Tough Choices: Life or Death Decisions


The Kitten Invasion


Reading Between the Claws: A Tale of Forgiveness


Sanctuary Havens


Analyzing the Jumps


No Kill South Carolina


Ask the Trainer


Pet Heroes: Frequent Flyer


Around Town


Kid’s Zone







Photographer: Reese Moore

f you have been a reader of Carolina Tails since our first issue almost a year ago, I hope you can appreciate how our magazine has grown! Our spring issue tackles some seasonal problems that we run into every year, spring plants that are potentially poisonous to pets and the annual kitten season, when the feline birth rate in the Lowcountry peaks and we are inundated with kittens. We always need foster parents, particularly at this time of year, so we hope that you and your family will consider becoming kitten foster parents this year. Our cover story this quarter focuses on equine cruelty and the state of horses around South Carolina. Led by one of our fearless board members, Ellen Harley, we intend to expand our efforts regarding equine welfare – which we have been doing for more than 100 years. For too long, these beautiful creatures have not had adequate protections or enforcement, a situation which should no longer exist in our society. We will keep you posted as to our progress, so please stay tuned! As you know, Charleston Animal Society has a strong ethic of working with other animal welfare organizations in our community and elsewhere. Our goal is to take care of every animal possible, and we rely on outstanding partners such as Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary and Feline Freedom Coalition. My three running coaches -Henry, Hannah and Eugenie - are all graduates of Hallie Hill in Hollywood, SC. Who needs a gym when you have this trio keeping you on the run- literally!!! And I would like to close by thanking, our Pet Heroine, Jennifer Whitworth. Jennifer is an education volunteer who flies from Seattle to Charleston once per month, at her own expense, to continue to teach humane education for Charleston Animal Society. Who needs inspiration when you have Jennifer as a role model! So enough time at the desk - my canine coaches are ready to pound the pavement! With kind regards,

Elizabeth Bradham, President, Charleston Animal Society

Kitten season is upon us and Charleston Animal Society needs your help. Learn more about fostering these kittens until they can be adopted (Pg. 22).



NEWS:: You Can Use



New NG Tidb s its

Hacking up a few facts about cats and hairballs We couldn’t let April 25th slide by and not give a shout out to National Cat Hairball Day! (We’re not joking). That sandpaper tongue of your cat licks up hair while grooming and passes it all the way through the digestive tract. Usually, with no problems. But when the buildup of hair gets to be too much, up it comes in that awful, yucky, yet loveable hack, we call a hairball. Local vets like Dr. Johnny Ohlandt have to remove hairballs surgically, when no amount of hacking can clear it. One time Ohlandt had to operate two times on an older cat. The long-term prognosis-- shave the cat. And it worked. “Some cats are just wired to groom a lot,” said Ohlandt, “My cat is diabetic and three times a week, he throws up hairballs.” Coughing up a hairball every now and then is nothing to worry about. However, ongoing vomiting or hacking with no hairball coming up is a cause for concern. Other clues to a potentially life-threatening blockage due to a hairball include lack of appetite, lethargy, constipation and diarrhea. To help? Ohlandt suggests figuring out why your pet is grooming so much. It could be emotional or it could be a skin problem, or it could be absolutely normal. The best advice is to keep your eye on your cat and don’t hesitate to get an expert opinion from your vet.


Dogs have about different facial expressions, most of them made with the ears 6 CAROLINA TAILS | SPRING 2015

Snake Bite ■ If you are bitten, try to take a quick picture of the snake to show your doctor and immediately call 911. ■ If your pet is bitten, take a picture of the snake to show your veterinarian and immediately take your pet to your local vet or animal hospital. ■ If you or your furry friend is bitten, you can email a picture of the snake to Will Dillman at for him to identify it or visit for a complete list of snakes in South Carolina.

Kitten ICU Ready for Incoming Spring Litters Incubators decorated in beautiful pastel colors. Mobiles hanging from the ceiling above a white rocking chair. Soft music and lighting. If it sounds like the perfect nursery, well, it is – but this one is for kittens. The Jane and Jerry Acker Kitten Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is ready to go at Charleston Animal Society. A glass wall allows visitors to see how neo-natal kittens are nursed back to health. “So many times, our life-saving efforts are done behind closed doors. We wanted a way to share what we do with the public, and Jane and Jerry Acker’s generosity, along with all of the people who donated on last year’s Day of Giving, helped make the Kitten ICU possible,” said Charleston Animal Society Senior Director of Animal Services Pearl Sutton. Eight custom-made kitten incubators line the walls of the intensive care unit. As you will read on page 22, Charleston Animal Society rescued more than 2,500 kittens last year alone! “We call spring ‘Mount Kitty,’” Sutton said. You and your family are invited to the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the Jane and Jerry Acker Kitten ICU, followed by a Kitten Foster Shower on Sunday, April 12th at 3pm at Charleston Animal Society (there is even a kitten registry that you can check out!) We hope to see you there.

Who’s Going to Take Care of Her When You’re Gone? Death is never something nice to think about. But visit any shelter in America for one day and when you see bewildered animals coming in because their owners have passed away, or entered hospice – that will get you thinking about mortality. It will also motivate you to plan ahead for your pet once you are gone. Attorney Jessica Wentworth, with Kuhn & Kuhn Law Firm, says more and more people are setting up “pet trusts.” In a nutshell, it’s a document that clarifies who you’ve designated as a caretaker for your animal when you depart, or become incapacitated. More importantly, “a pet trust sets aside funding to insure your pet will continue to live in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed,” Wentworth said. Wentworth tells us people will many times assume a son or daughter will take the pet in, if they were to pass away. But what about when that child gets married, and a grandchild develops pet allergies? What then? “We encourage people to make pet trusts a part of their comprehensive estate planning,” Wentworth said, “Estate planning covers who will take care of children, what happens to property; so it should also cover what will happen to your pet.”

Factors to Calculate Your Pet Trust 1. Age of person 2. Age of pet 3. Any more pets in future? 4. What kind of pet (birds can live to 80!) How Much to Set Aside? There is a simple formula to help you calculate how much you may want to set aside. Calculate how much you spend a month on your pet (remember medical costs) and then multiply by 12. Then multiply this calculation by the average number of years in your pet’s life expectancy to determine how much you should set aside. Consultations at Kuhn & Kuhn Law Firm are free. (843) 577-3700 or

Spring Cleaning? We’ve Got a Great Idea. Nothing makes it cloud over on a beautiful Charleston Spring day like the thought of doing the spring-cleaning you’ve put off all winter! Well one way to get motivated is to plan on donating all of your extra stuff to Animal Helpers ReTAIL store at 1601 Savannah Highway in West Ashley. The store itself is a bargain hunter’s paradise, with everything from electronics to home furnishings. All of the store’s proceeds are split between Charleston Animal Society and Pet Helpers. In 2014, each organization received $48,800. While the ReTAIL store doesn’t want completely broken items, it can repair things that may need a little TLC, according to employee Steven Meyer, “We have a couple of guys who do electrical and other repair work, especially on items like lamps.” And if you have that couch you’re dreading hauling out to the curb, the ReTAIL store picks up large furniture items every Tuesday and Wednesday. Call (843) 277-2010. Store hours are 10am – 6pm weekdays and 10am – 5pm on Saturday. So spring clean without fear! Know that you will be helping one of the Lowcountry’s homeless animals – with every lift, carry and drop of sweat you make.

SPRING CLEANING TIPS: Getting started is always the hardest part of any springcleaning project. Experts say putting a plan down on paper before you just “dive in,” is always a good way to get going. Writing a plan down will help you monitor your progress and stay organized. Folks at Better Homes and Gardens remind everyone to check these areas for clutter: • Junk Drawers • Medicine Cabinets • Garages • Closets • Storage areas: attics, basements, crawlspace • Outdoor areas

Inbox:: Reader Feedback

DEAR CAROLINA TAILS: “Reading Tim Scott’s article about how an adopted Rottweiler changed his grandfather’s life was something so many people could relate to. Thank you and the Senator for sharing this. One question, who was the Rottweiler in the pickup truck on the cover?” – Nick, Summerville Editor’s Note: Hi Nick! Thank you for reading Carolina Tails. I’m glad you asked this, because we did mean to give Cello a big thank you! He is 10-years-old and was adopted by Beth Wade and her family.

“Neuticles! I laughed so hard when I saw that in your magazine. It’s amazing people really do that.” – Anne, Mt. Pleasant “Finally, a balanced article about coyotes. Usually the media blows the issue so out of proportion. Way to go Carolina Tails!” – Steve, McClellanville “Thank you for Carolina Tails. I am so proud that the world’s smartest dog is from the Palmetto State.” – Richard, West Ashley

Event Calendar

Lowcountry Giving Day MAY 5 12:01am – Midnight Give online at Hosted by Coastal Community Foundation, Lowcountry Giving Day will take place on May 5, and involved more than 180 nonprofits in nine counties along the South Carolina coast! Your donations to Charleston Animal Society this year will help us finish a beautiful dog park in front of our building to help showcase our animals who need adopted. Please remember to help us #LiftTheLowcountry! Donations on May 5th need to all be made online, just visit to get started!

Pet Fest APRIL 11 & 12 10am – 4pm Palmetto Island County Park Mt. Pleasant Pets and their owners are invited to join Charleston County Parks for a full weekend of exhibits, demonstrations, experts, entertainment, and more at Charleston’s premiere pet festival! Pet Fest provides an opportunity for local pet-related organizations and businesses to showcase their causes, products and services in a fun, animal-friendly environment. Leashed pets are welcome with their owners! 8 CAROLINA TAILS | SPRING 2015

Summer Kickoff Block Party MAY 23 Noon 1440 Ben Sawyer Boulevard Mt. Pleasant Join Steel City Pizza and Triangle Char Bar as they kickoff summer with their annual block party just 2 miles from the beach! The event helps raise money for Charleston Animal Society and you can adopt your new best friend! Come on out and get ready for summer.

S E S OR h


t Sou lina ro Ca




began with a sad, complicated rescue of 11 horses in Charleston County. Charleston Animal Society staff and foster families worked tirelessly to find foster care and help get the horses adopted. Police and prosecutors are still investigating aspects of the case. The case illustrates the disturbing fact that something as large as an 11-hundred-pound horse can fall under the radar when it comes to tracking cruelty and neglect. Joanna Lacey knows the plight of horses all too well. She and her family are currently sharing their lives with 11 horses on their Ravenel farm. Three of those are recent fosters Charleston Animal Society rescued from the January neglect situation. Lacey has also rescued horses from an auction barn in New Jersey that were going to be shipped to Mexico for slaughter. Even with her front line experience she believes that most people don’t intend to harm these animals. “Most scenarios are probably ‘I got in over my head and now I have this horse that looks terrible and I have to sell it.” Charleston Animal Society Chief Executive Officer Joe Elmore said the organization has been rescuing equine and other farm animals for over a century, and more work needs to be done. “Early last year we had several equine advocates approach us and say there needs to be something in place to find homes for horses at the same rate as dogs and cats, and get them adopted,” Elmore said. While it is not as obvious a problem as that of cats or dogs, people involved with investigating and rescuing equines are concerned, and say more awareness is needed. Aldwin Roman is the Director of Anti-Cruelty and Community Outreach for Charleston Animal Society. He said negligence involving a horse can include the failure to provide food, water and adequate shelter. More serious crimes include intentionally harming a horse. Elmore and Roman formed a work group that included a variety of advocates who began to study equine rescue and cruelty, working closely



with the Humane Society of South Carolina in Columbia – leaders in the state for equine investigations. “We knew it was bleak but once you leave Charleston County it plummets,” Elmore said of how horses are faring across South Carolina. “The situation out there is just horrendous,” Roman said. “Speaking with other cruelty investigators in the state we are coming across horses that are starving.” Complicating the neglect is that some agencies are hesitant to get involved with these desperate situations since they will have to seize the animal and pay the expenses to feed and house it, he said. And because of those costs to care for these majestic animals, neglect is their greatest threat. When purchasing a horse a prospective owner has to factor in that the average lifespan is 2030 years and the minimal yearly expense can be up to $3,000 -that’s a financial commitment of $60,000 in addition to the purchasing cost. Equine ownership is connected to economic trends. Though the U.S. economy has improved since the end of the recession in 2009, Americans are still bouncing back. When someone who is barely getting by perceives that he or she has limited options to care for an animal, experts say starvation often becomes the unintentional solution by cutting back on feed or even abandoning the animal. Lacey believes there is a lack of public awareness and urges people to support the organizations that help those owners in need. “It helps to get the horses out of their hands and not make them feel ashamed for it,” she said. “Everybody falls on hard times. People need to ask for help. Donate to things like Toby’s Fund (Charleston Animal Society’s Medical Fund) or something similar because that’s what it’s for.” Elvis is an example of a how these magnificent animals can be saved. In 2004, Elvis was rescued from Wadmalaw Island by Charleston Animal Society after he was found 450-pounds underweight. 11 years later he is thriving and already has two Pinto World Championships under his belt. Terri Skinner adopted Elvis and paid thousands of dollars in medical bills to treat him, “We need stronger laws that would take those who abandon horses and hold them responsible for their future treatment.” Charleston Animal Society is now looking at how to expand the scope of their rescue efforts with equines. “We need to bring our success in fostering and adopting, and expand it across the state,’ Elmore said. “We are talking to other organizations about forming a public-private partnership to approach equine rescue.” While that planning is underway, Elmore passionately urges horse owners who are in need to seek help. “There’s no excuse, at least not in this country, to let a living creature starve to death. This is America, not a third world country,” he said. “When we put out a call for food, folks come in droves with food. That is just part of the American character, particularly in the South.” 12 CAROLINA TAILS | SPRING 2015

■ Routine veterinary needs


such as vaccinations, de-worming and dental care

■ An average of at least

16-22 lbs. of hay and/or grain each day ■ Hoof care every

two months

■ Appropriate shelter

and fencing. ■ 17 horse rescues in SC are on

“The situation out there is just horrendous,” Roman said.

(Top Left): Elvis, rescued 450-lbs. underweight, is thriving now and spends his days entertaining young friends. (Top Right): lists 17 rescues in South Carolina. (Lower Right): Joanna Lacey spending time with her latest foster, Sarab, one of 11 involved in a recent Charleston Animal Society rescue. (Bottom Right): Sarab striking a pose, hoping to impress her new adoptive family who might be reading this very article.



NATURE:: Watch Your Step


Wh OOR Slit at’s heri n’


It’s that time of year for a refresher course on snakes. Especially the six venomous kinds that slither between the coast and the mountains of South Carolina. “Snakes do not want to bite people. They do not want to bite pets,” said Will Dillman, Herpetologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, “if you see one, just stay away.”




These large snakes are heavy-bodied and have large, wide heads. Adult diamondbacks are typically 33-72 inches long and can weigh over 10 pounds! Their coloring is tan, yellowish or brown and they are covered in a brown diamond pattern, bordered by lighter colored scales and these snakes have two light colored lines across their face. This snake is very uncommon, but still a potential threat.



Timber rattlesnakes, also known as canebrake rattlesnakes in the southeast, are large and heavy-bodied. Adults can be 30-60 inches long. These snakes have the well-known rattles at the end of their tails. Canebrake rattlesnakes are typically grey with a brown, yellow, pinkish or orange stripe down their back. Their tails are black, almost velvet, with black chevron patterns that point forward. This snake is the most common of the rattlesnakes. 14 CAROLINA TAILS | SPRING 2015



This small rattlesnake (14-22 inches) has a tiny rattle and nine big scales on their heads. Pigmy rattlesnakes have mid-dorsal lateral spots and a black or brownish-red rod that runs from the base of its mouth to its eye. They also have a reddish-brown or orange dorsal stripe and a grey, lavender or tan body and the tip of their tail, used for luring, is often sulfur yellow.



These large semi-aquatic snakes have a triangular head with a line through their eyes and large jowls due to their venom glands. They range from 24-48 inches long and have keeled-scaled heavy bodies. Their colors vary from completely black or brown or brownish or yellow with dark crossbands. Their belly is commonly blotched with dark and brown/yellow. Juvenile cottonmouths are easily identifiable by their sulphur yellow tail.



Copperhead snakes are large (24-40 inches) and heavy-bodied with cat-like eyes and triangular, large heads. Their bodies are tan or brown with hourglass crossbands down their bodies. Their heads have two small dots in the center and are often solid brown. Like the cottonmouth, the young snakes have a yellow tipped tail. Copperheads are the most common, but least toxic - meaning their venom is not as potent, but still harmful.



These slender snakes are medium-sized (18-30 inches). They are brightly colored with black, yellow and red rings – red and yellow touch. Their nose is black and their scales are smooth. Coral snakes are often confused with scarlet king snakes and scarlet snakes, but the colorings of these are different – red rings touch black rings on the scarlet and scarlet king snakes. These snakes are extremely uncommon.

NATURE:: Yard Watch


NGto I R SP ts


n Pla void A

Spring is a symbol of rebirth and life, but be aware of the potentially toxic plants growing in your backyard that could harm your pet. According to Amy Dabbs, Urban Horticulture Extension Agent at the Clemson Extension, “There are a lot of plants that, if ingested, can cause issues.” These issues range from nausea to possible death. So if you see your dog or cat sniffing around one of these – keep them away!

TULIP Tulips are six-petaled flowers that have colors ranging from peach to lavender to yellow. These plants are poisonous to dogs and cats with the most toxic part being the bulb. Symptoms include depression, hyper salivation, vomiting and diarrhea. Since tulips are grown both indoors and outdoors, it is important to keep these potted plants out of reach of your pets.




Sago Palms, also known as cycads, Coontie Palm, Cardboard Palm and zamias, are year-round. This plant is toxic to dogs and cats. Symptoms of toxic consumption include hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, increased thirst, vomiting, icterus, melena, liver damage, coagulopathy, bruising, liver failure and even death.

There are many varieties of daylilies with colors ranging from yellow to purple to pink, but all are toxic to cats. Oddly enough, daylilies are not toxic to dogs. All parts of this plant are toxic to cats, even small portions. If your cat has consumed a daylily, it can result in kidney failure.

This plant, also known as monkey grass, looks a lot like long grass and is found in many southern yards. Though it is part of the lily family, monkey grass is toxic to both cats and dogs. However, symptoms are minor and include stomachache and nausea/vomiting.




These white or yellow six-petal flowers are also known as Jonquil, Paper White and Daffodil. This plant is toxic to both cats and dogs. The bulbs of these plants are the most poisonous parts to pets. If a large amount is consumed, low blood pressure, convulsions, cardiac arrhythmias and tremors can occur.

This flowering plant is commonly pink, red or white and has burgundy markings. It is known by many other names, such as Belladonna lily, Saint Joseph lily, Cape Belladonna and Naked Lady. It is toxic to both dogs and cats. Signs that your pet has consumed an Amaryllis plant are depression, abdominal pain, vomiting, tremors, hyper salivation and diarrhea.

As suggested by the name, elephant ears are huge, elephant ear-like leaves that can grow up to 6 feet long. Elephant ears, also known as Pai, Via, Caladium, Taro, Ape, Via sori, Cape and Malanga, are toxic to dogs and cats. If consumed, intense burning and oral irritation, excessive drooling, difficulty in swallowing and vomiting may occur.





Clo Loo ser k



It’s a place fueled by high emotion, life-and-death situations and compassionate, caring animal healthcare workers. We’re talking about the Pet ER, the one place every animal lover hopes he or she will never have to visit. Our Teri Errico spent a night at Mt. Pleasant’s 24-hour Veterinary Specialty Care with photographer Reese Moore and files this report.


r. Shelley Fetterolf is one of two veterinarians working the ER night shift when we visit, and one by one she is briefed on each animal in its individual kennel, or “room.” Tonight’s cats and dogs run the gamut of breeds, sizes, diagnosis and medical needs. First up is Kasey, a 9-year-old Lab labeled “HBC” (hit by car) with a broken wrist and hip. The dog will have a lengthy stay in the ER following surgical reparation of his bones. He is joined nearby by fellow Lab, 1-year-old Gracie, who was admitted the day before when her spay sutures slipped and caused internal bleeding. “Gracie was definitely one of those ‘stop everything’ emergency cases,” Dr. Fetterolf notes. “She came in and it was a moment of, ‘okay, we need to treat her now’ to save her life.” A typical entry into tonight’s ER begins with parents giving their info at the front desk, then awaiting Maria Spivey, to come talk to them. “I gather the information, the history of the patient and the story of what happened, and I relay it all to the doctor” Spivey says. Her job is known as “triage" technician. Pets then have their information placed on the ER white board as they await the doctor’s exam. As Dr. Fetterolf continues rounds, in walks the next patient: Maggie, an 8-year-old German Shepherd with a mass on her jaw the size of a grapefruit. The dog has no fever, no signs of pain, and is eating and drinking—but something is obviously wrong. Oncologist, Dr. Kathryn Taylor, happens to still be in the practice that evening and aspirates the mass, noting, “This could be something small like a tooth abscess or it could be cancer-filled with fluid. We won’t know anything conclusive tonight, but we’ll see what we find.” What she finds is a black liquid, concurrent with melanoma. Her face falls as the realization hits her. More tests need to be done, but the diagnosis doesn’t look good for Maggie. After conferring with Dr. Taylor, Dr. Fetterolf comes up with a list of treatment for Maggie and then prepares to speak with Maggie’s owner, Danielle Bellknap, founder of Fur Life, a German Shepherd rescue organization. Danielle took in Maggie four months

Opposite Page: (Clockwise from top left): Max’s parents were alarmed at his limping, so staff did a lengthy exam with the nippy dog to try and uncover the cause. A small Chihuahua with a broken leg checks in overnight before her reparation surgery. Dr. Fetterolf examines Flair to see if there is a neurological reasoning the cat can’t walk tonight. Vet Techs discuss the night’s procedures as shifts end and new employees come on. Maggie, an 8-year-old German Shepherd, calmly awaits an ER vet to aspirate the mass on her face. (This Page) ER staff bring Dulce out of back surgery for a herniated disc and make him as comfortable as possible for recovery stay.

ago when she discovered the previous owners weren’t caring for her properly. That’s when Bellknap discovered the tumor. “It was fairly small and the doctor we saw, said it needed to be removed, but just to keep an eye. And we did,” Danielle says. “There was absolutely no change in it until today. This morning it was completely fine and then suddenly tonight it just exploded in size.” Test results won’t be ready tonight, but the doctor informs Danielle that Maggie most likely has cancer. “Doing nothing is not an option here,” Dr. Fetterolf explains. “If the mass ruptures and Maggie bleeds internally, she is going to die.” Surgery of this extent is going to cost about $3,000 and the melanoma vaccine SPRING 2015 | CAROLINA TAILS


will be another $3,000. “But this is a very serious type of cancer and a very aggressive type of cancer, so even with all that, you’re still looking at only another six months.“ Because Maggie is stable and still very happy, Bellknap doesn’t want to consider euthanization yet and agrees to see her primary vet tomorrow to discuss the best options. Sadly Maggie won’t be the first dog in the ER with cancer tonight. Betty has pulmonary adenocarcinoma, and has been admitted because her chemo caused her white blood count to drop too far, developing an infection. It’s a full house tonight with nearly 20 animals in the ICU, several others who also have significant medical challenges. Booty is a 12-year-old diabetic Maltese whose blood sugar level has spiked too high and is receiving plasma intravenously for pancreatitis as well. Boxer Roxy has been brought into neurology for seizures. Back in the exam room, the friendly Finley cheers up the doctors as he hobbles by, his back left leg bandaged in a green cast with cartoon lambs. Finley is an 8-month-old Walker Hound who got a little excited about a plate of cookies, jumped and fell, breaking his leg. It’s a cold night and Spivey notes that weather plays a big role in what types of injuries they see in the ER. “In summer you get a lot of heat strokes, snake bites and outdoor activity” she says. They even saw one dog who jumped off a boat and caught his neck on one of the posts. “But when it’s cold like tonight, people stay in more,” she continues, “so you see pets eating foods they shouldn’t, or dogs who are bored and have chewed or ingested household objects.” Case in point is Chunk, an older English bulldog who swallowed a ham bone. She showed no signs of choking, but was brought in 18 CAROLINA TAILS | SPRING 2015

(Top): Violet was admitted into the ER after she was accidentally given too much pain medicine. (Left): Maggie hearing the diagnosis of the tumor that grew rapidly on the side of her face.

for lethargy and nausea. “We found the bone stuck in the back part of her esophagus, so we had to push it down into the stomach and then surgically go in to remove it,” explains Nicole Imler, Veterinarian Technician. Aside from cats and dogs, the ER is also a drop off for Birds of Prey and other animal wildlife, so strays are often brought in, as well as wild animals and exotics. Buzzards. Alligators. Owls. Turtles. One day the cat den was filled with squirrels. Another time they even had a wild pig. Incoming again. This time it’s Leilah, a female Beagle who has been bitten on the mouth by another dog. In some situations, when the bleeding is controlled and the dog is acting normal, parents should use their discretion whether to take the dog to the ER or not, the vet techs advise. Leilah does have a puncture would, however, and needs sutures, but she howls and flinches when the doctors come near her. “Rather than digging in sutures and putting a dog in further pain, I prefer, especially in this case, the ease of

Clockwise from Top: Sometimes treating pets is a two-person job as the animals often flinch, howl and stir out of distress or pain. Each patient’s course of treatment is outlined carefully by the vets, and Vet Techs carefully. Maggie receives a dehydration check. A Chihuahua isn’t quite sure what to make of her new cast.

staples because it’s two quick piercings and you’re done,” Dr. Fetterolf explains. Both take equal time to heal, about 10-14 days, and Leilah’s staples are done in a matter of seconds. In addition to wounds and accidents, many dogs are brought in for vomiting or diarrhea—such as Brody, a spritely young Pitbull who has just been admitted—and Dr. Fetterolf performs her umpteenth dehydration check of the night. First, she looks inside the animal’s mouth to see if the gums are tacky or dry. Then, she presses on them to see how quick the capillary reflexes are—whether they turn pink immediately or stay white too long. Lastly, she pinches the hair of a pet to see if it falls back into place (healthy) or stays standing (dehydrated). Brody passes all the tests, and despite unusual bowel movements, he is in ideal health. “Sometimes, like humans, it really just boils down to an upset stomach. Maybe Brody ate something that didn’t agree with him and that’s all it really is,” Dr. Fetterolf states. Brody is discharged, but with the promise that the owner can return within 24 hours for a free followup if the dog becomes unstable. The veterinarian adds, “You have to trust the parents that they will watch their pet closely, though, and bring it in immediately if things change.”

It’s a full house tonight with nearly 20 animals, several others who also have significant medical challenges. The one thing that’s distinct about the ER is the sounds. It can be filled with a cacophony of beeping as monitors alert techs that doses are done or a dog has crimped his IV tubes. Around 10PM, there is a completely new sound: cooing. Spivey brings in Violet, a 5-month-old pug who has overdosed on pain medicine after her owner was confused by dosage instructions. Brenden Ridnick’s doctor had given him a syringe filled with 10 doses. Ridnick misunderstood and accidentally gave Violet the entire syringe at once. Immediately after realizing his mistake, Ridnick rushed to the ER following the suggestion of animal poison control. Back in the ER, Dr. Fetterolf also calls poison control to back up Ridnick’s findings. She is told to monitor Violet’s vitals for the first hour, and after two hours, the puppy is doing great, despite being in a bit of a haze. So the vet sends Ridnick home with detailed directions on how to monitor the pup’s heartrate for the next few hours. As our time in the ER winds down, Dr. Fetterolf leaves us to go tell the owners of a senior cat the difficult news that their pet may have had a stroke. New techs come in to take over Imler and Spivey’s shifts. But while they clock out, nothing truly ends at the hospital. Some pets will be there when they return, others will be discharged, or unable to be saved, and their rooms filled with new

furry faces. “We’d love to do everything and save everything and fix everything, and sometimes that’s a really hard part of my job,” Dr. Fetterolf admits. “But then I think about how we also do a lot of good here in the ER and it keeps you going.” And go they must, because they are the ones pet owners depend on in every kind of emergency, in all kinds of weather, 24/7.

What’s Your Pet Worth? How do animal lovers make the call when their pets face life or death? ARTICLE & PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELLIE WHITCOMB-PAYNE

L A C DI r

MEClosoek Lo


eet Pluff E. Floyd. No really, check out her Facebook page! Ashby and Theresa Floyd fell in love instantly with the German shorthaired pointer and the energy she brought to their lives. A natural athlete, she started jumping off docks when she was less than a year old. Just the word ‘jump’ gets her dancing with excitement! “Once she learned to swim,” says Theresa, “she only wanted to be in the water.” She is a Master DockDog. Her first recorded jump—more than 19 feet! One month later at a competition in Winyah Bay, she reached her personal best --- a whopping 21’1”. They were on the way to nationals, but her reign was short-lived. Two days later, tragedy struck the James Island family. “She followed me out the door when I went to take the trash out,” recalls Ashby. “When I noticed she wasn’t behind me, I called her, but she didn’t come.” Screeching tires and painful yelps heard one instant later made it clear where she had gone. In no time, a frantic Floyd walked into Charleston Veterinary Referral Center with a bleeding dog in his arms.

HOW DO YOU WANT TO PROCEED? After an accident, concern and worry can send a person into a time warp. The 30-minute drive to the clinic somehow only takes 10, and, seconds later, the patient is wheeled through the “Employees Only” door. Now, the minutes that felt like seconds drag on for hours until, finally, some news. Then the the inevitable- “how do you want to proceed?” What the doctor really needs to know is “Are you prepared to pay for treatment?” In Pluff’s case – the Floyds learned she could fully recuperate, but it would cost $27,000. “To spend that kind of money on a dog was overwhelming to me,” said Theresa. A tough choice had to be 20 CAROLINA TAILS | SPRING 2015

made. As they would find out, modern pets have amazing medical options, but you have to pay for the privilege. “Cost comes in to play a lot and it’s a completely understandable thing,” says Justin Lewandowski, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Ohlandt Veterinary Clinic, “We always hope to give the best care we can. [We look at] what the animal has been through, it’s age, and the position of the family to find the best thing to do.” Most pet caretakers he sees have little problem with the expected costs. Traumatic situations usually come down to a number.

THE KINDNESS OF OTHERS When Kayla Gillam of West Ashley brought Riley to the doctor, she was sure something was wrong. The eight-year-old Yorkie had his share of health problems. “I’ve made several sacrifices for this little thing,” Kayla quips. Only a few years earlier, Kayla cleaned out her college savings to pay for treatment for Riley’s bowel obstruction, but she wasn’t ready this time. “He had 11 bladder stones; one in his bladder and 10 in his urethra.” It would cost $2500 in surgery. Kayla had no way to pay. The nurse came out with the papers- one set for surgery, the other consenting to euthanasia. “They were super nice about it, but the decision had to be made that second.” Feeling helpless, Kayla called her boyfriend, Don, to get picked up. In tears, she explained that she had to put her treasured Riley down. Seeking comfort when he arrived, Kayla got more than she ever expected. Don took out a loan to pay for Riley’s treatment! “I don’t even know if there is a thank you big enough for something like that.”

IN THE LINE OF DUTY Bobo’s main job was to protect the goats and horses on Chris Brown’s Yonges Island property, a role that came natural for the Blue Heeler. He was a working dog and beloved pet. And it was Bobo’s protection instinct that got him in trouble.

“Bobo was never chained but he never wandered off,” says Chris. "He was always there when I came out.” It was a risk, but it was necessary to protect the livestock from danger. A pack of dogs would sometimes stray into Chris’s lot. Usually Bobo would stand his ground and fend them off. On this night, though, the pack female was in heat, wandering with her grown offspring, and looking for a fight. They cornered Bobo at the front porch, where he was trying to protect his people. Chris remembers the night clearly. “It was late and there was a lot of barking. I ran outside and there was Bobo,” who had been critically injured. Chris rushed Bobo to the nearest emergency clinic, about 40 minutes away. Bobo was not in good shape but he was still alive and fighting for his life. “They cleaned him, then, 20 minutes later, they came out.” A course of action was available but the doctors couldn’t be sure how effective it would be. Chris was asked to make a decision. “I just couldn’t imagine him not being Bobo. He would not have been able to do the things that he was used to.” The initial exploratory surgery would cost at least $2500, and would go up from there with intense therapy and medication. “I just couldn’t imagine him living that way.” Chris knew that he had really only one choice. In the early morning hours Bobo was euthanized with his best friend nearby.

(Pg. 20 Top): Pluff E. Floyd soaring in the DockDogs competition one year after surgery. (Pg. 20 Left): Pluff E. Floyd recovering shortly after her $27,000 surgery and treatment.

Ethicists agree that making these kinds of decisions are gutwrenching for people, because while medical advancements are available, the financial costs are often beyond someone’s ability to pay. Jennifer Baker is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the College of Charleston. “When we adopt a pet,” says Dr. Baker, “we take the place of someone else’s ability to care for the animal.” She explains a good guardian should “rid his pet of pain and fear,” even if this requires a financial or emotional sacrifice. But, she cautions, “This isn’t the same as requiring cancer treatment or brain surgery for pets.” “Everyone has a right to enjoy a dog, whether you’re a millionaire or you have enough to get by,” says Dr. Lewandowski. “If [you] are taking on the responsibility for an animal, not necessarily spending a lot of money but at least doing the best that you are able, that’s all we can ask.”

PLUFF RETURNS After Day 2 at the hospital, Ashby and Theresa Floyd received Pluff’s full prognosis: broken ribs, broken hip and a punctured lung. With treatment and some rehabilitation, she could live a comfortable life, but her active lifestyle would have to be curbed. And, she would never compete again. “But when we showed the doctor the 21ft dock jump she had performed only two days earlier, the whole treatment changed,” says Ashby. The surgery and therapy to replace Pluff’s hip would cost nearly $27,000. Just about every cent they had saved to buy their first home. Theresa wasn’t convinced, but to Ashby, money was never a concern. “She was such a young dog, maybe if she had been older it would have been different,” he said. The way he saw it- they had it and Pluff needed it. Theresa lacked confidence, that is, until she saw her Pluff. “I knew she was going to be fine if I spent the money. We could have spent less and she would have been a lap dog. But she was a DockDog and you could see it in her eyes that she had the will to live.” In February, about one year after treatment, the Floyds went back to DockDogs at SEWE. “As soon as we turned the corner to Brittlebank Park she was super excited,” recalls Theresa. “Her first jump that day, I didn’t even throw the ball. She jumped 17 feet!”

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: (Clockwise from top): Riley before and after her $2,500 surgery to remove 11 bladder stones.

Money does not equal love. Many factors influence a person’s decision when it comes to expensive medical treatment for pets: ■ Your financial situation ■ Pet’s quality of life

■ Pet’s life expectancy ■ Follow-up care and cost



FOSTERING:: April Kitten Slam


We ER Ne You ed


IT MIGHT BE THE CUTEST INVASION you’ll ever see – but it’s an invasion nonetheless. We’re talking about “Kitten Season,” which sounds cute, furry and cuddly, yet the season, which runs from April to August, brings in an overwhelming influx of kittens to Charleston Animal Society and other shelters. “Last year we had 2,500 kittens in foster homes,” beams Christina Ellwood, one of Charleston Animal Society’s foster coordinators. You read that number right, 2,500! But the only reason Christina is beaming now is because we’re talking to her before the kitten slam begins. By the time you read this, she’ll be busy working the phones and emails, rounding up foster families. Which brings us to you! If you are looking for a fun and educational family project, look no further than fostering a rescue animal. Family Experience Lisa Nichols’ family has had 32 fosters over the past three years! She says the lessons learned by her two sons, Haley, 10 and 22 CAROLINA TAILS | SPRING 2015

A kitten “hanging out” with foster mom Mary Beth Dew, who has fostered 50 kittens in the past three years.

Dylan, 7, – are invaluable. Haley and Dylan have taken turns bottle-feeding kittens, and they’ve learned to be gentle, empathetic and sympathetic. Haley keeps a journal and both boys love taking field trips back to the shelter to see if the animals have been adopted. Nichols says the fun is contagious, because friends of the family have become foster parents after seeing the Nichols enthusiasm and success. “Fostering has crept into every aspect of our lives for sure,” said Nichols. Adoption ambassador Mary Beth Dew has been fostering kittens for the past three years. Having owned cats all of her life, when she and her husband, David, put their last pet to rest after 17 years, she decided to begin fostering kittens. Dew has cared for 50 kittens and says it’s important for these animals to be in a loving home where they can receive oneon-one care. In her case, she introduces the kitten to her master bathroom and lets the kitten settle down for four hours. Once comfortable (and yes, once they know exactly where the litter box is), she lets the feline have free run of her house. Dew works from home, and is never short of company; many times she finds kittens sleeping on a pillow at the end of her desk. Her husband is also a big part of Foster Team Dew.

What does Dew tell people who may shy away from fostering because they’re afraid of getting too attached? “I love my fosters. The reason I have to give them up is to make room for more,” Dew said. And this attitude has helped save dozens of lives. While animals are out in foster, there is more room in the shelter, and private homes are always a healthier environment. Dew has a log of all of her cats, and new owners will often “check in” by sending her photos and email updates. Sometimes she even “kitty sits” for her former foster kitties.

Dylan Nichols is learning all sorts of life lessons by helping to foster kittens. To learn more about fostering, visit



BEHAVIOR:: Adjustment Period

MY T Rosie (l) and Romeo (r) have kissed and made up after a nasty fight that got our author thinking about the importance of not giving up on pets who may have an outburst of bad behavior.


TWO YEARS AGO, WOODSON, OUR beloved 14 year old black Labrador passed away from cancer. Our indoor cat, Romeo, was distressed because Woodson was with him since we rescued him as a kitten. When we found Romeo he was a stray, with little chance of survival and infested with fleas. Woodson smothered Romeo with love and affection from day one. They were happy



Ca Fight t

together. After Woodson’s death, Romeo was wandering the house, particularly near the spots that he used to share with him. Our cat was unresponsive to our attempts to cheer him up with cat nip, treats and toys. I wanted to look for another cat as new companion for Romeo so I decided to visit the Charleston Animal Society. I was told it is difficult to find placement for older cats. I wanted to rescue a cat with less probability of being adopted. On my way to the cat adoption area, I noticed a white kitten that had a sad demeanor, similar to the one that Romeo displayed. As I toured the adoption area, I could not take my mind off the white kitten. Her name was Rosie. I immediately adopted her and took her home. Rosie and Romeo were introduced to each other gradually. After one month, the cats seemed to be fine with each other. But one night I heard sounds of distress. The two cats were very vocal and loud. I heard tumbling noises and I wondered where

they were coming from. I found Romeo and Rosie fighting in the cat room. There were bits of fur everywhere. The tumbling noises were from objects falling as the cats bumped into things. Romeo seemed to have overcome Rosie. I grabbed a towel and threw it towards Romeo with the hope that the fight was going to stop. I hoped my action would cause a diversion. Unfortunately, it did not work that way. Rosie escaped from Romeo’s grip and ran towards me. I knew she was scared. Her claws reached deep into the skin of my legs. I could not break from her clutch. I had to call my husband to detach her from my legs. Since the fight Rosie has forgiven Romeo and I have forgiven Rosie. Often it takes time for pets to get comfortable with each other, as it does between human beings living in the same house. My clumsy attempt to protect my cat from harm was done in good faith, yet it harmed me. Adoptive parents need to know as much as they can about animal behavior. Nowadays, it is such beautiful sight to see Romeo and Rosie playing together and grooming each other. Rosie is such a loving and tender cat. At night she sleeps next to my feet. It is such cozy feeling when I accidentally brush my foot against her soft fur. I love her. Now that she is settled in our house, she shows no sign of aggressive behavior. I wonder how many people give up too quickly on their new pets because of behavioral issues. But it is time for forgiveness again as we make space for another pet. Last month we adopted a puppy from Charleston Animal Society. We named him Harbies. Rosie and Romeo are doing their best to let him realize that they are not interested in playing. There is lots of vocalization in our house but very little action. But Harbies does not mind. He is very active and has a big heart. But most of all Harbies is a forgiver. When not doting on her two cats and new puppy, Dr. Anna Vecchione does research on ocean dwellers, including sea horses! She wants everyone to remember that when you adopt at Charleston Animal Society, you will receive tips on introducing your new pet to your family. You can also take advantage of dog training classes.

Follow Us CharlestonAnimalSociety




Thinking Outside the Cage Animal sanctuaries provide safe oasis for homeless pets BY HELEN RAVENEL HAMMOND PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL MULLIGAN

Hallie Hill Animal Caretaker Sue Winder giving some TLC to a group of dogs enjoying the great outdoors.



e all know the great work that shelters like Charleston Animal Society do for the welfare of animals in our community. But did you know the Lowcountry is blessed with two “sanctuaries” for homeless animals? Indoor/outdoor slices of heaven that help some of the most challenging animals.

Hallie Hill Sanctuary About 25 miles outside of Charleston lies an extraordinary place for homeless dogs and cats. Hallie Hill gently rolls across 37 acres in Hollywood, where on any given day, you will find a variety of dogs playing in extensive runs. Volunteers are on-hand to provide special one-on-one time with each of the animals, every day of the year. It’s as close to the “Ritz” as a dog or cat can hope for, with animal houses sporting heat lamps, bedding and automatic water dispensers. And there are plenty of fenced-in pens with lots of room for the dogs to run around. The history is interesting as Hallie Hill was once a horse farm for Helen Bradham and her family. Stray dogs would show up and the Bradhams would take them in. Over time, as the horses lived out their lives, the horse stalls were converted into dog pens, while the barn and other buildings were converted to accommodate cats and dogs. “It is almost like an old folks home for dogs and cats with geriatric needs and all of the medicines we give,” said Hallie Hill Director Jennifer Middleton. Helen Bradham is still involved with Hallie Hill and likes to be there when veterinarians are called. She especially likes to take the dogs to a specialist and cares for them when they are in hospice. During these times, she is constantly cooking meat for them to make them comfortable before they cross “the rainbow bridge.” “When people bring in dogs, we take them. No questions asked,” said Middleton. And oftentimes no answers can be found. Like why two female dogs brought in had gunshot shrapnel in their legs. Or why some of the rescued dogs continue to have behavioral issues. But one thing is certain: the sanctuary can serve as a forever home if the animals need it. They can spend their remaining years in a healthy and safe environment,” Middleton said. Oftentimes Middleton will see people bringing in dogs of neighbors who have passed away. As soon as they come in, they will often need medical treatment, vaccinations and spayed or neutered. As for the older dogs, Middleton says that medical treatment is even more intense, because the animals need more medications and orthopedic treatment. Hallie Hill is currently caring for 168 dogs and 51 cats. Most are adoptable and a few are fostered. “But it is imperative to make sure that any adopter will provide the care that is needed, as many of these animals are in very bad situations,” remarked Middleton. The sanctuary has built relationships with other organizations to help with their life-saving mission. Charleston Animal Society has helped immensely with spay and neuter, according to Middleton. As for cats, West Ashley Veterinary Clinic has been instrumental in showcasing cats to be adopted. To donate, adopt or volunteer, visit for more information.


E U C ES less

me als o H im An

Feline Freedom Coalition Just a few minutes away from Hallie Hill, you will find Feline Freedom Coalition. Tucked in the woods, these 20 acres are home to 250 feral and adoptable cats. Over a dozen structures (RVs, trailers, converted container units) serve as housing for the cats. Feline Freedom Coalition Founder Diane Straney points to one called “The Dollhouse” that is mainly for ferals. Creativity abounds. Visitors will find wooden picnic tables stacked on each other to provide ample kitty lounging room on the ledges. Many of the structures were donated by people inspired by Straney’s passion for saving lives. “With the miles of woods, this is a great place for the cats to have free rein,” Straney said. Straney began her mission 20 years ago on the Isle of Palms, where she pioneered the TNR (trap-neuter-return) program that has helped the cat overpopulation problem in Charleston County. When you visit, be sure to ask to see Boy Boy, who she found at the Isle of Palms Marina in 1998—he is still kicking and now lives at the sanctuary. Feline Freedom Coalition does not take owner surrenders. Straney’s focus is on ferals and homeless cats, many of whom she still traps herself. She also does her part to help local shelters like Charleston Animal Society, where she takes in half of her cats. “We are able to help with cats that need extra socialization, ferals , and those who need medications,” Straney added. When feral kittens are brought in, Straney starts to work her magic by engaging them with human touch and other peoplefriendly cats. When they become six weeks old, they are sent to Charleston Animal Society to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated. Then they are offered for adoption at a local PetSmart store. If you would like to donate, volunteer or adopt, visit for more information.

(Top Left and Below): Feline Freedom Coalition Shelter Operations Coordinator De Mock spends her day giving love and attention to cats of all types. (Left): As with any shelter or sanctuary, laundry and cleanliness are a top priority.




UP, UP AND AWAY! How’re These Dogs Lookin’?


Spla ING Dow sh n

“Here is an excellent example of what we call ‘using all of the dock.’ This is a great team out of Tennessee and as the photo continues, you can see a beautiful transition into the water. This is great form for a tall dog and he gets a good stretch.”


THE CROWDS AT THIS YEAR’S Southeastern Wildlife Expo (SEWE) in Charleston were epic. So were the dogs flying along the banks of the Ashley River in the DockDogs competition. We selected a few jumps and had DockDogs event manager Bob DeWire give us the inside scoop on form, technique and overall “woof” appeal. Bob estimates he’s witnessed 48,000 jumps in his career.

“I would say this is a relatively new dog because of where his transition point is. I think this was a short jump (about 10 feet) and pretty flat. All he needs is more time on the dock to build up that confidence.”

“What I see is a dog that has good speed and is a flat jumper. Her speed will carry her well, but if she could work on getting a little more ‘pop’ at the end of the dock, it would help with her hang time and distance.”

“This is a young dog who got a lot of ‘pop’ at the end of the dock, but then lost track of the toy, so midway, he’s just saying, ‘I’m going to have some flying fun,’ and prepares for the landing. The throw is everything in dock jumping.”


“I have two words for this: ‘Drug test.’ You can’t get a better picture. This dog is an athlete. He is ripped, like a young Arnold, and his form is like few others. Look at him driving right through the air; it’s exactly what you want a dog to do. I would say he is in the higher ranks of DockDogs and probably jumped 25 to 26 feet.”





ANIMAL RESCUE:: New Initiatives


No HKILL arm

Q&A WITH CHARLESTON ANIMAL SOCIETY CEO JOE ELMORE AT THEIR 2015 ANNUAL MEETING Charleston Animal Society launched not one, but two life-saving initiatives for animals. No Kill South Carolina and No Kill, No Harm. Carolina Tails thought it was a good time to sit down and learn more about this exciting new direction from Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore. Why did you launch No Kill South Carolina? Since 2008, Charleston Animal Society, with the help of the ASPCA, has worked diligently toward increasing the community’s live release rate from 35% to over 90%. The Animal Society takes in 90% of Charleston County’s unwanted and stray animals and is the only organization in the County that does not turn animals away -- it rests with us to change the community! In 2013, The Animal Society launched the boldest animal rescue initiative ever undertaken in the Southeast – No Kill Charleston 2015. Although many industry professionals and others thought this was nearly impossible to do in the South, we believed in ourselves and our community, and with focus, strategy and determination, we were able to build a No Kill Community and we did it two years ahead of schedule! Now, we must inspire other communities across South Carolina and elsewhere to do 30 CAROLINA TAILS | SPRING 2015

the same. No Kill South Carolina (NKSC) will link communities to us so that we can share the strategies, tactics and capacitybuilding that have worked in Charleston County. We will work with organizations both here and in their communities growing this movement statewide.

and we’re not going to take it anymore! We are going to build out No Kill Charleston to become No Kill, No Harm Charleston. We have already started organizing a task force of key leaders to lay the foundation for building a community that doesn’t tolerate animal cruelty. We must educate those that don’t know how to properly care for their animals and punish those that willingly harm their animals. We’ll make this a priority of our elected officials and if it doesn’t become a priority, then we’ll change those elected officials. Just as No Kill Charleston mobilizes the entire community, so will No Kill, No Harm Charleston.

What is No Kill No Harm?? Although we have built a No Kill Community, we have a long way to go in building a humane one. Every day, we see animals who have suffered a wide array of cruelty. From Mt. Pleasant to Hollywood and Ravenel, from West Ashley to North Charleston, from Charleston to Johns Island, it’s everywhere and cruelty is committed by people from all walks of life. We see animals poisoned, starved, burned, shot, stabbed, bound and thrown into waterways to drown, tossed from overpasses into oncoming traffic, and left to die in the extreme heat of automobiles during summer. Quite frankly, we’re mad as hell

How can people get involved? We need everyone who is sick and tired of hearing, “It’s just an animal” to stand with us because “us” is “you!” This is about our families, our pets and our home. To add these initiatives to our continual challenge of keeping Charleston County a No Kill Community will take financial support, volunteer support, foster support, law enforcement support and grassroots advocacy. Watch closely for our calls to action and become part of something that has never happened before – a community that doesn’t tolerate needless euthanasia, nor cruelty.



TRAINING TIPS:: Sit. Heel. Stay




Pe apy er Th

ASK THE TRAINER I have a very sweet dog and would love to have her become a therapy dog. How can I tell if she has what it takes, and what is the process? - Aileen, James Island Aileen, there are never enough therapy dog teams to fill the needs of our community. The good news about training a dog to be a good therapy dog is that it is the same training someone would do to have a wellbehaved family pet -- teaching basic good manners and lots of socialization with all kinds of people -- different races as well as of various ages.

Requirements of a Therapy Dog: • The dog must be at least one year of age. • The handler must have owned or had a close relationship with the dog for a minimum of three months. • The dog must not mind being touched all over by strangers. • There must be no jumping when greeting people, or pulling on leash when walking. • Dog aggressive dogs are not allowed to be therapy dogs. Dogs should be able to work around other dogs with no excessive barking or any growling/lunging. They are not allowed to come within two feet of other dogs while working. • Dogs should be comfortable around wheelchairs, walkers and other medical equipment, and not mind people walking unsteadily. • Above all else, the handler must never take his eyes off of the dog, and maintain full control at all times. 32 CAROLINA TAILS | SPRING 2015

Jane Hirsch with two of her therapy dogs, (l) Will and (r) Ben. (Below) Jane’s late dog, Rafter, who was the very first therapy dog ever at MUSC. His portrait hangs in the lobby.

We test the handler (owner) and dog as a team. We look for a strong relationship between handler and dog. Once the team passes this first part of the test, called the handling portion, the team must complete three successful visits in an actual facility. On these observations, the tester not only evaluates how well the handler and dog work together, but also gives tips and advice on how best to present the dog for petting and interacting. Once the team passes the handling portion of the test and three observations (given four chances), the handler sends in his application packet to Therapy Dogs Inc., in Cheyenne, WY. This is a national organization, with 14,000 members, which means that if someone is tested in South Carolina and moves to California, the registration is still good! Members may be individual members, visiting solo wherever a facility allows; or members may join local groups so they visit with other teams or do group events. There is no such thing as therapy dog certification. Teams that pass testing become registered with Therapy Dogs Inc. This means that handlers have liability insurance when visiting as volunteers and are following Therapy Dogs Inc. rules. It is important to recognize the distinction between therapy dogs and assistance dogs. Therapy dogs are personal pets, which have been tested and passed the process described above. They have no legal access rights. Assistance dogs have been trained to perform specific tasks to help a disabled person function in every day life, and are allowed to go places where dogs are not usually allowed.

Aileen, I hope this information helps and perhaps we will see you and your pet visiting one of our area hospitals, libraries (where children read to pets), senior centers or mental health facilities very soon!

Jane teaches classes through Charleston Animal Society's dog training program. To learn more, visit: dog-training.



RESCUE:: Adopt, Don’t Buy!



Spring is here and Charleston Animal Society is hoping you can make room for one more. Our pets come spayed-neutered, vaccinated and each are evaluated for their behavior. Come visit Charleston Animal Society today at 2455 Remount Road in North Charleston or go online to:

Had I known you were coming, I would have tidied up a bit. They call me Scrappy and I have a thing for stuffie toys. I hope you have a thing for awesome dogs

“All days are nights to see till I see thee/And nights bright days when dreams do show me thee.” I am Lola. Shakespeare fan by day. Cuddle buddy by night. Well, hello there. Yes, you caught me winking at you. I am Elliott. They call me “L” here at Charleston Animal Society – because I’m filled with a whole lotta’ love.

Hello amigo, mi nombre es Wonka. (The other cats go loco when I speak Spanish.) Do you not like how my whiskers frame my face? Do you dare come closer and adopt?


I am Ava, a shepherd mix who will turn two this summer. My birthday wish is to have a new home and celebrate in my own backyard! See you soon.

Tommy’s my name, sweetness – my game. Yes, I’m a senior dog, but that just means I’ve got the know-how to make you smile. Like, when you nap, I nap.



COMMUNITY:: Making a Difference


Hu ion Educat


THREE MILLION PEOPLE FLY IN AND out of Charleston International Airport every year and counted among them is an amazing woman whose commitment to children and humane education is awe-inspiring. Once a month during the school year, you will find Jennifer Whitworth wheeling her carry-on through the airport terminal, heading back to Seattle, after spending three days in local classrooms teaching for Charleston Animal Society. “It feeds my soul. It’s what keeps me right with the world,” Whitworth told us, when describing why she pays for a roundtrip ticket between Seattle and Charleston every month ($750) to teach children. “Charleston Animal Society is absolutely amazing, which is why I am so passionate and devoted to you guys.” Her passion is hard to miss. Sitting across from her and listening to her talk about her experiences in the classroom, leaves you wanting to rush out of the room, signup and start teaching too. Although how many of us would fly 2,938 miles, 9 times a year, to do that? “Bringing animals into these classrooms to kids who may have never seen a big dog is so special. I ask, ‘how many kids are afraid of him?’ and some kids are laughing, and you know they are scared, but won’t admit it. But by the end of class they see how calm and amazing he can be and it is like one little step. And there have to be 1,000 steps to encouraging children to respect animals,” Whitworth says. Whitworth teaches humane education to 5th graders in seven classrooms at Lambs Elementary and Pinehurst Elementary 36 CAROLINA TAILS | SPRING 2015

Jennifer Whitworth prepares in a school hallway for a humane education class with Louie, her three-legged co-teacher.

Schools in North Charleston. It’s something’s she’s been doing since 2010. She has a background in social work, but it wasn’t until she turned 38 that she says a light bulb went off in her head, “I didn’t know what to do with social work. But when you add animals in with the kids, it’s just like a dream come true for me. “ Her devotion to teaching children is a dream come true for Charleston Animal Society Director of Humane Education, De Daltorio, “I tell people about Jennifer and they look stunned. They’re amazed that someone would travel that far, so often, to reach out to our community’s children, and pay for it all themselves!” As an educator and animal lover, Whitworth is convinced that one key to a better world is instilling compassion. “I

think that compassion is where it starts,” Whitworth said, “If you don’t at least plant that seed so it can grow over the years, you’re lacking as an individual, there’s part of you that isn’t whole. Feeling love toward an animal or human is very powerful.” Always the optimist, Whitworth believes people aren’t inherently mean toward animals, it’s often a lack of understanding about what animals need. “I’m so passionate about animals and kids and about getting that message out there because animals are so forgiving, so accepting, even when we are horrible and mean to them, because they want that bond,” she said, “I need that light. I need to be reminded that there’s good in the world. And this is what does it.” Shine on Jennifer. Shine on.


Pets • People • Places 1. Crews Subaru receiving the 2015 Charleston Animal Society Ambassador Award: (l-r) Marketing and Events Manager Ken French, General Manager HR Hicks and owner Robert Crews receiving award from Charleston Animal Society Vice-President Julie Bresnan.

2. Dana Perino, host of “The Five” on Fox News, was the keynote speaker at Charleston Animal Society’s Annual Meeting. Pictured here in the center with her dog Jasper and (l-r), Tracy Schuberg, Dana’s husband Peter McMahon, and Jeff Schuberg.

3. Nick Bailey and his service dog Abel at Charleston International Airport, after flying home from Arizona, where Abel had received the additional training he needed, thanks to 8-year-old Rachel Mennett of Summerville (who we profiled in our last issue).

4. Charleston Animal Society Board of Directors President Elizabeth Bradham addresses the 141st Annual Meeting February 28th.


5. Kaitlyn Swicegood got this picture of her boyfriend Tommy Dingle and their dog Atticus paddleboarding and enjoying the beauty of the creek near the Pitt Street Bridge In Mt. Pleasant.









Kids are some of the best animal advocates so we’ve devoted this space to young pet lovers.

BEST SHOTS:: Photo Contest



And Sen d


We want to see pictures of your dog out enjoying the water in the next edition of Carolina Tails Magazine. So remember plenty of water and the sunblock and get that picture! Pick your favorite and send us your best shot and we’ll publish our top 5 picks. Deadline for submission is: MAY 31, 2015. EMAIL US YOUR PHOTO TO:

MEET OUR CELEBRITY ADVOCATE “Abused, abandoned and neglected animals are nothing to laugh about. No Kill Charleston is something to believe in.” – KEVIN NEALON Actor/Comedian




Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.