Because of them, we can’t close!

7 days a week. 24 hours a day. Our animals are here. We need your help now more than ever. Volunteer. Adopt. Foster. Donate.

1. We will continue to remain open for adoptions/fosters/volunteers – HOWEVER,  no more than 10 people will be allowed in the admissions lobby or adoption lobby at once. Should there be a rush, staff will inform guests to stay in there car or wait outside until we can come get them.
2. As of Monday, March 16, Animal Control is operating as usual but “scaling back” public interaction. They will not be setting cat traps.
3. We are keeping close tabs on our medical and PPE supply as our shipments are either delayed or supplies are on back order. Staff is to use gloves and masks sparingly, but if needed – use them! Our rep from Patterson sent an email with the following link: Here is a letter from the FDA about how to preserve PPE materials in human hospitals. However, many of the same strategies will apply to veterinary hospitals.
4. We are currently OVER capacity with dogs. Therefore, we will still need to seek fosters and adopters. Being an open-admission shelter doesn’t allow us to completely shut down – ever, so please be mindful of your surroundings and limit the interactions between staff and the public.
5. Currently, PetSmart, Petsense and Puppy Katz is still functioning as normal with housing our cats for adoption. Until further notice, we will continue to promote the offsite cat adoptions as well.

EVENT POSTPONED – Dogs Playing For Life

Our event, Dogs Playing for Life, on March 25th-27th has been postponed. We will reschedule it soon and have been reassured we are the first shelter on list for when it is safe for the teachers and trainers to travel again.


Thank you for your understanding and patience. Participants can register to be kept update here.

Sit. Stay. Learn

Join us on Facebook Live every day at 1PM (EST) for family fun learning and activities.

We know many of you are stuck inside and that schools are closed due to COVID-19. We hope this will bring a smile to your face. We also hope this will help more of our animals find foster or forever homes!


Tuesday: Simon says with staff and dogs. Allow your kids to be Simon as we teach our dogs basic commands.

Wednesday: Create a DIY cat toy out of an empty toilet paper roll.

Thursday: Story time with an adoptable dog

Friday: Create a DIY dog enrichment toy out of a muffin pan

Saturday: Story time with an adoptable cat

Sassafras is Home!

Our sweet Sassafras, a Cat Pawsitive cat, was just adopted!
While a resident at Dorchester Paws, she was working with one of our animal care techs to learn how to high-five!

Once upon a time, back when television was good, there was a hit television show called My Cat From Hell. It brought the idea of cat enrichment to the forefront of the American conscious and taught viewers that a mentally stimulated, active cat is a happier cat. This concept can directly translate to the shelter world, behavior enrichment, mental stimulation and physical activity can help make a cat happier and more adoptable.

Developed by Jackson Galaxy and a team of animal behavior experts, The Cat Pawsitive Training is “a mojo-enhancing, positive-reinforcement clicker training initiative that enriches day-to-day life in shelters, builds new skills for cats as well as shelter staff and volunteers, promotes the human-cat bond, and helps improve adoptability.”

According to Storm Moll, an Admission Clinic Tech at Dorchester Paws, the Cat Pawsitive Training Program was a “game changer in teaching he cats new behaviors and showing how amazing cats are.”

At Dorchester Paws, 33 Cat Pawsitive cats were adopted in 2019 and 3 more in the first couple of months of 2020.


Top 5 Needs | March 9, 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 are in need of help and little support from the government, private donations are the backbones of most animal shelters.

While most shelters have their own wishlists (see our Amazon wishlist here), we wanted to take a second to discuss a few our 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. Adopt Me Harnesses:  We specifically use harnesses when we’re taking our animals out, because it can help reduce the stress that a traditional leash can put on a dog’s neck, it’s safer for the dog and the human walking it, and can assist in training and security when taking the dog out in public. These specific harnesses will be used when taking our dogs out to adoption events and to help our dogs receive more attention when they’re out on dates!
  5. Puppy Food: This is just one brand of the dog food that we use, but it’s important that we have enough! At Dorchester Paws, we accept every brand of food through our donations, even though we prefer Purina animal food. The variety is helpful, because we know that when we’re adopting out, our animals aren’t attached to a specific brand/flavor of food. However, it’s important that we consistently are receiving food donations, as we have been overcapacity for almost a month and puppy and kitten season is approaching.

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!


Volunteer Spotlight | Jeanne Taylor

Volunteering at an animal rescue is transformative, life-saving work. 

Dorchester Paws volunteers contribute to our organization in many ways and we offer many opportunities for people to get involved, including dog walking, fostering, donation sorting, and more. We encourage everyone to find a way to use their skill sets to volunteer at Dorchester Paws. Some people organize, others clean, and some get to be creative. One of the animal-lovers who helps us at Dorchester Paws is Jeanne Taylor. 


While during the day, Jeanne is the award-winning photographer of Jeanne Taylor Photography, the animal shelters of Charleston know her for her amazing pro-bono work with our animals. “I am proud to say that over the last several years, I have photographed adoptable animals reaching into the tens of thousand snow, across a number of different rescues in both Virginia and South Carolina”


Jeanne Taylor is the dog-mom to two Catahoula Leopard dogs, rescues Roux and Gracie, and those two are just the beginning of her love and heart for the four-legged creatures. “As far as pets go, well, it’s always been about the pets for me. It’s not an add-on service, it isn’t supplemental. It’s my priority, my specialty and my niche.” 


Since working with our animals at Dorchester Paws, we’ve been able to see an elevated portrayal of our animals, specifically Jeanne helped change the game for our cats. 

Do you have a special skill that could be helpful to Dorchester Paws? Contact us and we’ll have you working to help animals on their journeys from victim to victory too!

To arrange having photos with your special furry ones, check our Jeanne’s website here and mention that Dorchester Paws sent you!

Out of the Blues Comes Something New!

A game-changing decision came from one of the hardest parts of shelter life and now our animals are going to get the chance to thrive!

Dorchester Paws is excited to announce that we have partnered with local boarding facilities to help reach more potential adopters, help our animals and make space for the constant influx of animals that come to Dorchester Paws on a daily basis.

The idea stemmed after seeing Blue struggling.

Blue is a 10 month old terrier mix and he was in agony at the shelter. We could see him scraping his nose against the kennel gates and walls until he was bleeding and crying out in pain. However, he would thrive during playtime. Wishing Blue could just play all day, we reached out to our local doggy day-cares and boarding facilities.
Blue has since been placed into an Adoption Ambassador’s home and the Pet Mahal, Blue’s shelter stay-cation, is now boarding a new Dorchester Paws resident, Hamlet, a loving hound dog.

The longest residents at Dorchester Paws have been at the shelter for over 90 days. We hope that by sending animals to these facilities, we will be able to increase their exposure and help them find forever homes.

Currently, we’ve been able to partner with the following offsite adoption partners: The Pet Mahal, Pooch Palace North, My Three Dogs, Petsense Goose Creek and PetSmart. Stop at one of these locations to see our sweet friends in action and enjoying their staycation.


Check out our offsite adoption partners at their locations and websites:

The Pet Mahal 
8028 Dorchester Road
North Charleston , SC 29418

Pooch Palace North 
3357 Business Circle
North Charleston, SC 29418

My Three Dogs 
905 Cedar Street
Summerville, SC 29483

PetSense Goose Creek
98 Davenport Street
Goose Creek, SC 29445

270 Azalea Square Blvd
Summerville, SC

100 Doggie Dates!

A few weeks ago, we reached out to you guys about our Date With A Dog Program!

This program gives our animals the opportunity to really shine. When you take a dog on a date, they get an afternoon of fun, exploring and tail wags outside of the shelter.

Well, the community surrounding Dorchester Paws has officially taken 100 dogs out on dates!

These dates have been everything from going to the beach, getting Starbucks, heading downtown to going to get groomed at PuppyKatz! They’ve directly lead to the adoption of some of our longest residents and have helped countless dogs find their forever homes.

This week, Wintergreen was our 100th dog! To celebrate this major milestone, we thanked her date for the date, Robert, by giving him naming rights to a litter of dogs or kittens this Spring!

Here’s what her family for the day had to say!


I wanted to say thank you for allowing me to take Wintergreen on a doggie date on Tuesday.  When we left the shelter, she seemed shy and scared.  We went to Hutchinson Square in Summerville and walked by the shops. She stood up in the backseat the entire time and wouldn’t sit or lay down.  People stopped and petted her and talked to us.  I promoted the fact that she is up for adoption and shared her name and age with them.  She wagged her tail.  We then drove to Starbucks in Wescott on Dorchester Road.  This time she layed down and I gave her two treats for being a good girl.  At Starbucks, Wintergreen enjoyed a pupiccino.  The staff were friendly and Wintergreen enjoyed more petting.  Then we drove across the parking lot to Pet Supplies Plus and I let Wintergreen pick out a toy.  She chose a soft bone.
Two more people talked to us and showed her some attention. I gave her two more treats.  Then we went to my house.  We sat on the couch and she fell asleep.  She slept for just over an hour…
She seems afraid of all doors.  I tried to work with her on this but she will need more work with someone who is patient with her…
I hope to see you again on Tuesday for another date!”

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs!

Dorchester Paws is currently flooding and Staff is actively scooping buckets of water out of our drains to keep the kennels dry. This is the second time, in one month, that we have had to close our gates due to flooding.

Currently we have 258 animals on campus that staff is working keep safe, dry, and warm.

Dorchester Paws is currently operating out of a facility that was built in 1972. In January of 2019 we launched a capital campaign to build a new shelter. The campaign raises awareness for, support, and funds in order to build the new shelter the community both needs and deserves.


Please consider donating funds to help us build a new shelter by visiting:

With all the standing water, staff is coming up with creative ways to keep our dogs entertained.

Blue | Adoption Ambassador

We got a note from Blue’s adoption ambassador!

“You’re my boy Blue!!!!!
This is what you could be saying by adopting this sweet, lovable, somewhat clumsy goofball of a pup!

Blue was a 10 month old stray brought in from the streets and was deteriorating in the kennel. But once in our home, this dog’s true nature shined! He is the biggest cuddle bug and will put his 100 pound head on top of you whenever you allow it! He has done amazing with our dog Luna and plays with her in the backyard throughout the day.

He is house trained, crate trained, does extremely well in public places with other people, and has never shown aggression to any other dog in any situation (even when other dogs aren’t being very nice to him!).

Though he does love to play rough sometimes! This pup can play for hours, but also nap for hours, and has been such a great addition to our home. He is still learning the basic commands but should be very trainable. And being a puppy, he can sometimes get mouthy (but never puts pressure on it) and can get easily distracted by things around him. Though he is quickly learning to not do either! If you have any interest in meeting Blue, please let myself, Mary, or Dorchester Paws know!”

If you’re interested in adoption or finding out more about Blue, email us at!


Here’s some pictures from his life away from the shelter!