Grand Opening of Free-Roaming Cat Room

This weekend, on June 20th, Dorchester Paws celebrated the Fur-st Day of Summer with the grand opening of our Free-Roaming Cat Room.

Previously, the admissions cat room, consisted of rows of metal cages and pop up kennels. This new space was originally designed a holding room for cats that were waiting to be spayed or neutered, reunited with their owner, or adopted.
The area has been transformed with new purpose into the Dorchester Paws Free-Roaming Cat Room. It allows cats the space the roam and play in an environment that is comparable to the atmosphere of a real home. It features brightly colored shelves, lounge areas, ramps, cubbies, an outdoor catio and more, all within a large social area for them to play and interact with each other and potential adopters.

Through eliminating the isolation that is associated with kennels, the Dorchester Paws cats will be able to experience more natural behaviors.

Research has shown the benefit of a free-roaming cat adoption floor. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a communal space “helps provide cats with a sense of control over their environments, thus eliminating a major source of their stress.” This new initiative will hopefully decrease the amount of stress experienced by shelter cats, decreasing our signs of kennel deterioration, length of stay and hopefully increase the number of successful adoptions.



To donate to help support the Free-Roaming Cat Room, click here.

Board of Directors

Dorchester Paws is seeking candidates to join.

Serving on a charitable nonprofit’s board will require continuous learning about those served and being an advocate for the mission, making decisions that are in the best interest of the organization, ensuring prudent use of the nonprofit’s assets, and looking ahead to help the nonprofit plan for the future.

Please contact Richard Hayner at if you would like to be considered as a candidate.


Tips for National Pet Preparedness Month

While you and your four-legged best friend are busy enjoying sunny days at the dog park, cooking out on the grill, or splashing around in their favorite lake, it can be easy to forget that, while summer weather can be gorgeous. it can also be a time for flooding, tornados, and wildfires. Luckily for us pet parents, June is National Pet Preparedness Month, giving us all a helpful reminder of what to do in case of an emergency or natural disaster. It only takes a short time to create an emergency plan for yourself and your pets and it can prove to be life saving. The following are some basic tips that will help ensure you and your pets are prepared in the face of an emergency:

1. Identification!

A simple way to ensure that your pet is prepared is to make sure they’re able to be properly identified. Through a microchip, a vet or animal shelter can scan a small device and ensure that your pet’s information is there. With that information, they can find your address an phone numbers.

Make sure identification tags are current and easy to read. Another helpful tip is to include information such as whether they need medication, or if they do not like other animals, on their tag to help emergency personnel know what type of care they need while they work on reconnecting you.

It is also a good idea to have an up-to-date photo of you and your pet stored in your emergency kit. It can come in handy when identifying your pet, but also can be a calming agent when you’re overwhelmed!

2. Know where to go!

If you live in Charleston like us, you know that we’re a city surrounded by water and are prone to flooding in various places. In the event of a natural disaster, you should have a place outside of your home to stay safe in.

Whether you bring them to a friend or family member’s home, or to one of many pet friendly hotels, it is a good idea to have a list of options and contact numbers for where you might go.

And remember – if you need to leave your home because the electricity is out and it too hot or too cold for you to stay, it is the same for your pets, don’t leave them behind!

3. Stay together!

Natural disasters can be frightening for us and even more chaotic for our pets. When transporting them, and for a few days after a disaster, it is important to have them on leash at all times while you are outside. Often times your area may have different smells that may lure pets away, or dangerous debris that they can get into. If your home has been damaged, remember to keep cats in a carrier or confined to an undamaged area of your home, they can surprise you with how small of an area they can squeeze through.

4. Make a kit!

Having a premade kit is one of the most essential items to have in the case of an emergency.

In your kit you should include these items for your pet:
a few days worth of food
bottles of water
extra medication
copies of veterinary records
poop bags
cat litter and pan
sturdy leashes and collars
first aid kit (comes in handy for people too!)
list of pet friendly hotels
if they have a favorite type of treat or toy it never hurts to have an extra packed away for emergencies!

There are many other items that are good to have; create your kit for your pet’s individual need and remember you can never be too prepared!

5. Know who to contact!

If a disaster hits while you are at work or away from your home, it is a great idea to discuss a plan of action in advance with a neighbor or nearby friend or family member.
Agreeing that if one of you cannot make it back home that the other will bring your pets and their emergency kit will make the situation much less hectic.
. Keep your veterinary clinic, pet friendly hotels, and the Pet Poison Helpline numbers handy so you are prepared for any situation you may encounter.

No one likes to think a natural disaster will happen in their area but having these strategies in place will help ensure that you and your pets are prepared and able to enjoy all the wonderful activities that summer offers us!


For more information, read on Fluent Woof to see their take on proper first aid protocols for your dogs and how to be prepared for an emergency with your pet.

Weekly Numbers at Dorchester Paws

Free Roaming Cat Room

We’re Hiring!

Dorchester Paws is looking to add a clinic technician to our team. If you think that could be you, read the job description below and email your resume to!



The Clinic Technician position is a key role in the composition of our staff for maintaining the wellbeing of our shelter animals by tending to their medical needs. Clinic technicians must be self-motivated, team player, dependable, able to multi-task, and enjoy caring for animals! The primary functions are to work in our processing clinic doing intake exams on all animals that come into the shelter. This includes giving vaccines, drawing blood, microchipping, trimming nails, assessing medical needs, daily evaluation and care of animals, maintenance of preventative health programs and medical protocols, keeping records up to date in PetPoint


Ability to work well with cats and dogs.
Knowledge of shelter medicine.
Possess reliable transportation to/from work.
Possess a minimum of a high school degree or equivalent.
This position requires many detailed tasks and multi-tasking abilities. Must be able to work effectively in a team environment.
Ability to work during the week as well as weekends and holidays.
Ability to stand for long periods of time.
Good driving record
Certified vet tech or vet assistant preferred.

The Clinic Technician is responsible for the medical care and health maintenance of all animals at the Dorchester Paws facility. Under the supervision of the Chief Veterinarian, and Director of Operations, duties include maintaining medication and medical supplies inventory, assisting in the processing of animals admitted to the shelter, maintaining up to date campus animal inventory, dosing and dispensing of daily medications to all shelter animals. The clinic Technicians fill an integral part of the team as s/he is the first in line to prevent and treat conditions for the animals at the shelter.

Essential Tasks

Support Dorchester Paws in daily functions including the general care and maintenance of the facility and all animals including morning cleaning.
Assist in the processing of animals coming into the shelter.
Examine animals to determine if there is a need for treatment.
Giving medication to the animals on campus that are being treated for various conditions.
Keeping track of inventory.
Walk and exercise animals to maintain their physical and mental health.
Making rounds to check on animals listed on the medical board for inspection.
Keep up to date Animal Inventory
Perform animal grooming duties, such as washing, brushing, clipping, trimming coats, cutting nails, and cleaning ears.
Collect, prepare, maintain and record animal information, such as weight, size, physical condition, treatments received, medications given, and food intake.
Establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers, other organizations, and the general public.
Maintain the shelter by performing tasks including, but not limited to, sweeping/mopping floors, wiping counters, taking out trash, cleaning bathrooms, and checking equipment and supplies.
Assist other staff members on occasion with such tasks as helping restrain an animal, helping clients with their pets, etc.
Make medical decisions in regards to continued animal care
Perform other duties as assigned.
Additional Competencies:

Knowledge of medications and conditions • Flexible • Independent • Time Management • Communication Proficiency • Organizational Skills • Supportive • Problem Solving and Decision Making • Responsible • Goal Oriented • Decision Making • Professionalism • Integrity • Thoroughness/ Attention to Detail • Active Learning Skills • Innovative • Stress Tolerance • Initiative • Dependability • Leadership • Initiative • Cooperation • Thoroughness • Collaboration and Teamwork

Work Environment

This job functions both indoors and outdoors of the shelter.

Duties will take place at Dorchester Paws that require consistent walking. This role routinely uses medical supplies and clinic equipment.

Physical Demands

This role requires regular and extended standing and walking. This role requires flexibility and the ability to stand, lift, stoop, kneel, crouch, bend or stand as necessary. This position also requires frequent lifting or moving of objects or materials up to 50lbs.

Position Type and Expected Hours of Work

This is a full or part-time position. Days and hours of work are flexible, however Saturday and Sunday are preferred with a mandatory 1 hour unpaid lunch break.


Some travel is necessary for offsite training and other managerial conferences. Additional travel may be required and is usually within 16-mile radius from the main facility.

Ways to Help at Dorchester Paws!

This month was Jaydan’s birthday and he knew that he wanted to use his quarantine celebration as an opportunity to help his favorite cause… puppies.

In combination with his mother, Jaydan was able to organize a pet supply drive in his community to collect items to help his community animal shelter.  With help from his mom, Facebook, and a little sidewalk chalk, he brought in his donations to the shelter last week and we couldn’t have been more touched.

While he’s too young to volunteer on-campus, Jaydan used this opportunity to help out and we have multiple ways that we encourage our younger volunteers to help out.


Hold a pet supply drive!

At Dorchester Paws, we use so many various supplies and we appreciate any help collecting them. We’ve seen people hold a “wishlist” drive, meaning they collect items specifically from our Amazon wishlists, food drives, blanket drives, toy drives and much more.

Collect empty aluminum cans! 

As it’s getting into the Spring and Summer months, make sure you’re saving all of your cans from your outdoor adventures!  At Dorchester Paws, we collect aluminum cans and are able to turn them into monetary donations for our shelter! We have a trailer where we store our collections and are able to recycle them for anywhere from $23 to $301.

Hold your birthday party in honor of the shelter animals (like Jaydan!) 

We included some pictures from Jaydan’s shelter drive, but you can make it as big, small, silly, funny, or formal as you want! If you’re having a party, you can ask your guests to bring dog and cat toys instead of human ones, or you can host a drive like Jaydan’s.

Make toys for dogs or cats! 

There are so many ways that you can create toys to help make our pets happier in their time at the shelter. Here we included a step-by-step in how to make a Snuffle Mat, an enrichment toy that keeps our pet’s senses sharp!




We’re NOT Kitten, We NEED Fosters!

Since the start of 2020 we have taken in over 300 kittens. Recently we have seen an increase of bottle babies. Bottle babies are young kittens that currently cannot eat on their own, but have no mom. These kittens are often too young to be vaccinated and therefore cannot safely stay on campus.

As a foster for Dorchester Paws you can have peace of mind that your foster babies will stay apart of the Dorchester Paws family until they find a forever home. We will provide all the supplies, vet care, and 24 hour support, if you can provide a space for them to grow.

Please email for more information on how YOU can become a foster hero.

Combating Separation Anxiety

Dorchester Paws Wishlist | May 2020

Donations are important to keep any nonprofit running, but this is especially true in animal rescue organizations and shelters. With so many animals that require help and little support from the government, private donations are the backbones of most animal shelters.

Almost every animal shelter will have an Amazon Wishlist (see our Amazon wishlist here), we wanted to take a second to discuss a few of our top needs right now this March!

  1. Cat Litter: If you follow us on social media, you know that we’re always in desperate need of our paper pellet cat litter. We use paper pellet litter, because it’s truly the best for our cats and helps prevent upper respiratory infections associated with traditional litter. At Dorchester Paws, we clean our cages multiple times a day, scooping litter, and we completely replace cat litter approximately once a week. Because of this, we typically go through 6 bags of cat litter every week. With puppy and kitten season approaching, we can predict the number of bags of cat litter that we use every week to nearly double, if not triple.
  2. Paper Towels: Paper Towels are one of the most used products on the Dorchester Paws campus – up there with our different foods and litters. After interacting with an animal, we encourage everyone to wash their hands thoroughly and dry them with a disposable towel. Paper towels are also essential in our cleaning process, specifically when cleaning cat kennels and drying things in dog kennels.
  3. Printer Paper: At Dorchester Paws, we use our printer for just about everything. While we are partnered with a local printer, Mr. Sign, we prefer to do our small printing in the office. With printer paper, we make our kennel cards, we print forms, we share information and sign contracts. It’s our bread and butter and we’re in need of some more!
  4. Hand Sanitizer: Everyone has experienced a different struggle throughout quarantining and isolation thanks to Covid-19. However as our animal shelter is responsible for almost 300 animals right now, we were unable to close. While we did our best to social distance, we had to continue to take care of our animals and keep our staff safe. One of the ways that we cared for our staff is through constant sanitizing, mask-wearing and social distancing when possible. Now that we’re open to the public again, Dorchester Paws is taking precautions to keep our staff, our animals, and our community safe.
  5. Rescue: Rescue is the cleaning product that we live by at Dorchester Paws. We use it to clean, get rid of odors, and help make the safest and cleanest space possible for our animals. 

Our address is 136 Four Paws Lane in Summerville, SC 29483. We couldn’t do what we do without the help of our volunteers, the kindness of our community and the generous donations that we receive constantly.

Thank you so much!