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A child wearing a red shirt stands with a beagle in The Dig’s article about Charleston Animal Society

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Charleston Animal Society

An animal welfare organization with plans to make all of South Carolina no-kill

Fetch by The Dodo presents our shelter partner, Charleston Animal Society. As the pet insurance brand that shelters trust, we’re proud to highlight the important work they do for animals. 

Since 1874, Charleston Animal Society’s mission has been “the prevention of cruelty to animals.” And they have a lot of experience as one of the oldest animal welfare organizations in the nation. The organization’s Laura Pullyen Center for Animals cares for up to 250 animals at a time. The process of adopting a new family member is pretty simple. “Our goal is to meet people where they are,” Sean Hawkins, chief advancement officer at Charleston Animal Society, said. “When you come into our shelter, you fill out an informal questionnaire that helps us match you with the best adoptable animal that meets a family’s lifestyle.”

The organization places over 4,000 homeless animals a year into new homes, but they also provide many other services to help animals on its campus, too. Charleston Animal Society’s on-site veterinary hospital is one of a handful of shelter hospitals in the country that’s certified by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). “Our veterinary function is something we're very proud of and it plays a huge role in how we're able to make sure that every healthy treatable dog and cat in our community finds a home,” Sean said. “Not only are we spaying and neutering about 10,000 animals a year, but we're able to provide all of those medical services to help and heal injured animals.”

The shelter accommodates pets that can’t come to their campus, too. Pets for Life is one of the organization’s outreach programs that provides pet resources, like free spaying and neutering procedures, vaccines and even building backyard fences, to families in underserved communities. The organization assists pets in rural areas, too. Helping Hands for Rural Paws is the same program, but their mobile Sam Greer Spay-Neuter Clinic travels on these trips, too.

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In partnership with Petco Love, Charleston Animal Society is also leading the charge to make South Carolina a no-kill state by 2024. “It's a collaboration with shelters all across the state of South Carolina to help them promote adoptable pets, provide veterinary care, resources, training and a pretty significant transport program,” Sean said. “We're able to move animals from shelters that are over capacity to shelters that can place them into homes. Our goal is lofty, but we think that we’ll be the largest no-kill state in the U.S. by 2024.”

Charleston Animal Society partnered with Fetch by The Dodo pet insurance as another way to advocate for pets’ long and healthy lives. “We know that a pet parent’s ability to afford future veterinary care is going to help guarantee that that animal has a home for life,” Sean said. “We wanted to partner with a company that was committed to working with animal shelters and provides an affordable product so that the pet parenting public can have pet health insurance in place to pay for those unexpected veterinary bills and keep a loved family member home and out of shelters.”

Educating today’s generation of young people to be compassionate pet parents with their Humane Education Program is another way Charleston Animal Society keeps animals out of shelters. Kids of all ages and all interests can attend any of the organization’s on-site summer camps. Team members go into the community, too, by incorporating STEM programs at local schools. “The staff does an incredible job of getting into the community and teaching the next generation how to be respectful and compassionate to animals,” Sean said. 

Photo by Charleston Animal Society

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