LOCAL RESCUE ORGANIZATIONS

Palmetto Animal League

This private, non-profit, no kill animal rescue organization believes every animal deserves a second chance at life. PAL’s Adoption Center, located in Okatie’s Riverwalk Business Park, serves as a temporary residence for about 200 cats and dogs while they wait to find a loving home. “Our comfortable, upbeat facility is also home to PAL’s Community Clinic, which offers spay/neuter, wellness exams, vaccines and other services to pet owners at affordable prices,” said PAL President Amy Campanini. In addition, Palmetto Animal League manages a network of loving foster families to house and care for abandoned animals that are either too young or too weak to adopt out. You can also support their work by shopping at the PAL Thrift Store in Sheridan Park where great buys save lives. (843) 645-1725, 56 Riverwalk Blvd, Okatie. www.palmettoanimalleague.org.

HAIRCUT FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT FERAL CATS

Toby CrosbyIt’s a win-win: you’ll have a new look, and cats on Hilton Head Island will benefit as well. The fifth annual cut-a-thon fundraiser at Tara of Hilton Head Salon will be Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. One hundred percent of the money raised will be given to the Hilton Head Humane Association’s feral cat program.

In addition, Hilton Head Humane Association will showcase some adoptable cats and conduct raffles and a silent auction at the salon. Co-sponsor Hilton Head Ice Cream will host games and give away prizes. The ice cream shop also donates to the HHHA feral cat program all proceeds earned during event hours.

petshealingAn expert in troubled teens, psychologist Catherine Scott knew that late-night calls from the adolescent psychiatric unit likely weren’t for her. They were for her Shih Tzu, Cissy.

“Doctors would call the nurses station to ask that Cissy come to a specific area of the unit to help calm and or stabilize a situation or to provide comfort,” Scott said. She began bringing her dog to work with her because Scott sensed the dog could help. It was years before research and literature confirmed her intuition.

smokeyABOUT EIGHT YEARS AGO, RICHARD CZARK OF BLUFFTON ARRIVED AT A MOBILE HOME FIRE AS A RED CROSS VOLUNTEER TO HELP THE FAMILY, WHO HAD LOST THEIR HOME.

Smokey has been an exceptional dog from the very beginning.

As the flames died down, a soaking wet puppy emerged from under the home. Then another puppy crawled out.

Training a therapy dog is a lot of work, said Abby Bird, owner of Alphadog Training Academy in Bluffton — and not all dogs are cut out for the job.

First, a dog has to pass the American Kennel Club’s 10-step Good Canine Citizens training course. It teaches the dog good manners at home and in the community. Tested skills the ability to ignore distractions like other people, other dogs and food.

Maranatha FarmBob and Linda Heise of Sun City Hilton Head are excited to bring home a new member of their family in a few weeks. They’ve got a bed for her, and some toys, and plenty of treats. Plus a brand-new leash and collar.

Cody, a 7-year-old Shih Tzu-schnauzer mix, will be coming home with the couple in a few weeks, after she finishes treatment for heartworms. Her adoption fees are waived as part of Maranatha Farm’s Seniors for Seniors program, which places older dogs with older people.

While riding through the beautiful Lowcountry, occasionally you will see a cat running by. Most of the time, the cat is domestic and close to home, and it is just taking its daily route thorough well-known territory. There are, however, significant numbers of homeless cats that most of us ignore. They may be feral, sick or injured, and may live together in several cat colonies around Hilton Head and Bluffton. One of the problems with ignoring the stray and feral cats that roam the streets is over-population.

Sometimes, home is where you are instead of some place you are trying to get to. A shelter dog can teach us a lot about that.  A shelter dog named Heather taught us that.

Working at an animal shelter is filled with many joys. There is no greater joy than finding a new home for a pet.  There is no greater satisfaction. You come to work every day with that goal: find homes for these pets.

Hundreds of readers sent in photos of their cute pets for our annual “Cutest Pets” issue. This year’s contest was decided by the number of “likes” each photo got on our Facebook page.

In a heated battle, Jackson came out on top. The 14-week-old German shepherd is the proud puppy of Kristen Cyrilla and Jason Nearen.

Judging by the number of leashed dogs seen frolicking on Hilton Head’s beaches and bike trails, it’s safe to assume a lot of people in this area love animals. That assumption is confirmed by the number of generous donations given each year to local nonprofit groups that care for and protect our four-legged friends and neighbors. Here are three groups with all paws on deck working hard to make life better for the Lowcountry’s cats and dogs.