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Frances R. Willis SPCA: Petfinder 20th Anniversary Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Frances R. Willis SPCA is going through a rebrand in the community and we have made a commitment towards ending euthanasia in Dorchester County. Since we are the only open-admission shelter in Dorchester, we have historically been a high-kill shelter. Thanks to several partners and new staffing, we are making great strides with this movement. One big step was having our employees take pride in where they worked. Thanks to the Petfinder Foundation grant, our organization was able to outfit each employee with two pairs of scrubs, a slip lead and nametag. We have 22 employees at the SPCA, and having each one in a uniform has brought a new spirit to the team. It also helps the public recognize who is staff and to who they should address questions. This was a $2,200 investment.

Secondly, heartworm disease is on the rise in South Carolina and it is rampant in our shelter. With this additional funding, we have been able to purchase Immiticide and start the very expensive and time-consuming process of treating the live heartworms. This goes hand-in-hand with our efforts to work towards ending euthanasia. Historically, testing positive would mean an automatic death sentence; now we are able to provide the necessary injections and we've had great results. Ultimately we are able to adopt the animal to a forever home! Purchasing Immiticide was a $5,000 investment.

Lastly, we take in all different types of cases -- pets with broken bones or gunshot wounds, who are abused or emaciated -- the list goes on. We have an emergency medical fund called Michael's Healing Heart that provides for ANY animal who needs specialized care that we cannot provide onsite. Lily, whose story is below, is a Michael's Healing Heart dog who was helped by this grant.

Our capacity at Frances R. Willis is 78 dog runs. On any given day, we typically have more than 100 dogs on campus and nearly 100 dogs in foster. Approximately 25% of our dog population tests positive for heartworm disease. We follow the National Heartworm Society guidelines of three shots of Immiticide and, therefore, one bottle does not last long! For the first time in over 40 years, we are finally able to spend some funds on treatment! We were also able to help one of our Michael's Healing Heart cases; for her, this funding saved her life.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant will be providing heartworm treatment for approximately 20 large-breed dogs and 10 small-breed dogs. The grant also funded part of Lily's surgery.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Lily, a Boston terrier mix, was brought to us in early March by a good Samaritan who found her as a stray on the side of the road. Because Lily had no use of her back legs and was clearly hurt, her rescuer rushed her to our shelter so we could take care of her. Initially we thought there was a pelvic fracture, but after her initial examination and x-rays, it was determined that she was suffering from two fractures. She ended up needing a bilateral femoral head ostectomy, and this required a specialist. We were able to have Lily’s surgery done, which was a $4,000 investment, and Lily is recovering in the care of a foster family that is likely to adopt her!

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