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 foster@dorchesterpaws.org 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!


GivingTuesday, typically the first Tuesday in December, has announced they are creating a second global generosity movement to help with Covid-19 fundraising relief efforts. #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity, is set to take place on May 5, 2020. It is an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. The day is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world.

Dorchester Paws will be participating in this movement in combination with Donate2it, who have generously offered to match donations up to $500.


How YOU can support Dorchester Paws from HOME.

Recently, the National Animal Care & Control Association released  a statement asserting that animal services should be considered essential public services, and therefore both animal control and shelter operations should continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dorchester Paws will remain open by appointment only. All business will be conducted outside of our building and follow six feet social distancing guidelines. We will be here to serve our community through adoptions, owner reclaims, surrendering of pets who have no other viable options and the delivering pet food to those in need. Our goal for remaining open is to maintain a slow and steady flow of animals in and out of the shelter, with a focus on responding to emergency intakes of sick and injured animals.

Your support remains crucial to our mission, which is to shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, and protect the abused.

Below are a list of ways you can help Dorchester Paws from your home:

🐾 Create your own Facebook Fundraiser for us!


🐾 Make DIY dog toys for our shelter animals!


🐾 Amazon is great for when you’re stuck at home!


🐾Like and share all of our social media posts!


The shelter will not be allowing new volunteers at this time, but we hope you will choose to support us in one of the ways listed above.

Dog Enrichment & Snuffle Mats

Kennel deterioration is when an animal, dog or cat, struggles in a shelter environment. They can begin to lash out, suffer from personality changes, and struggle to get adopted.

One of the ways that Dorchester Paws combats this is through our animal enrichment programs. As a part of our enrichment programs, we use crafts, tools and behavior programs to keep our animals mentally stimulated and happy. Check out our enrichment wishlist on Amazon here and keep reading to find out how to make one of our favorites, the snuffle mat!

One great tool is using a snuffle mat, an easily created homemade toy that gives your animal the chance to sniff and search through fleece strips to find kibble or treats.
It’s basically a rubber mat tied with lots and lots of fleece fabric strips – so let’s get started!

Materials Needed:

  • Rubber Sink, Door Mat with Holes (cut to desired size), or Basket
  • Washable fleece fabric or cloths
  • Scissors

1.      Cut your mat to desired size.

2.      Cut your fabric into 1 inch wide, 8 – 10-inch length strips.

3.      Take one strip and push one end through a mat hole and then then take the other end of the fabric strip and feed it through the hold next to the first one. Flip the rubber mat over and tie the fabric strip into a knot.

4.      Repeat this step until the entire mat is full and there are no empty spots.

5.      Turn the mat over and give it a good shake to remove any fleece particles. Sprinkle with treats or kibble and let your pet explore, sniff and search!

Baskets can be used as well to create a more challenging search!
An easy way that our community can participate in bettering the lives of our animals is through partaking in crafts like these that help keep our pups mentally stimulated!
At Dorchester Paws, we have a donation shed right outside of our gates that our community can drop off their creations too.

Five Steps to A Facebook Fundraiser

Hey Facebook Friends!

Did you know that it’s incredibly simple to start a Facebook Fundraiser for Dorchester Paws?

If you have a birthday, wedding, or other major life event, you can have your friends and family celebrate with you by supporting your community animal shelter.
Our adoption fees vary from $50 to $350 for dogs and $25 to $100 for cats. This fee covers everything from spaying and neutering, vaccinations, microchipping, medicine, and common tests like heartworm testing and FIV/FeLV testing.

If you start your fundraiser today, you can set a goal and donate to sponsor an animals adoption!


1. Click Fundraisers on the left of your newsfeed
2. Click Raise Money
3. Select Nonprofit or Charity
4. Select Dorchester Paws, choose a cover photo and fill in fundraiser details
5. Click Create

Mama Knows Best.

So, you’ve found a homeless kitten. 

It’s not at all an uncommon thing. 

For some, it’s normal to see mothers and their kittens nursing in hidden spots in the yard, bushes, and sheds in the warmer months.

On the surface, kitten season sounds fun. It’s kittens! 

However, a mixture of human interference and homeless pet over-population makes this time of year tough on cats and the shelters who care for them. With so many neighborhood cats roaming as the summer months head in, it’s inevitable that we receive a steady progression of pregnant moms having litter, after litter of kittens. 

Female cats are able to have kittens as early as four to six month old, they’re literally still kittens themselves. Mix that with their ability to go into heat again, just six-eight weeks after giving birth — it’s no wonder they’re are so many kittens this time of year.

What should you do when you find kittens? 

The scenarios in which you can find a kitten are never one size fits all. We have heard of kittens being found with a whole litter with no mom in sight, or it could be just that you found a single kitten on their own.

The rule of thumb is: Leave them be. We all want to help protect these babies, but the truth is that kittens stand a better chance at survival when they are with their mom. 


Here are some questions to ask before interfering:

Is mom around?

Chances are mom will move her kittens from den to den if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Or mom leaves to grab a quick meal. This is likely the time when a Good Samaritan would have stepped in seeing an “abandoned” kitten. What you should do:

  • Find a spot near by (35 feet at least or mom won’t come back) to sit quietly and wait. That way the kitten isn’t completely unsupervised, but you aren’t interrupting.
  • Make sure the kitten is safe from any animals loose in the yard, they aren’t near heavy foot traffic, and the weather isn’t too cold, or rainy.

How long have the kittens been here? 

It can take several hours for mom to return to her kittens, but as long as they’re warm and healthy they shouldn’t have a problem waiting for her to come back. So wait as long as you are able.

Is the kitten clean and silent, or dirty and meowing?

The longer a kitten is without mom, the more signs there are that you can intervene. Healthy kittens who were taken care of by mom recently will look plump, clean, and will be relatively silent (these are the kittens to leave as long as possible). Kittens who are dirty and meowing have likely been left alone for a longer period of time.

Are they able to eat on their own?

Kittens at 8 weeks should be weened from nursing. Some moms will leave their kittens at this age. You can test to see if a kitten is old enough to eat solid food by getting a pate style wet food and see if the kitten eats. If they don’t eat right away but look healthy, please continue to wait for mom. If it’s been over an hour, the kittens look dirty, and they’re eating the wet food, it might be time to intervene.

If you have waited several hours and are certain that the mom isn’t coming back, you can remove the kittens, but understand, this is no light task. 

If you feel unprepared to foster the kittens yourself but are willing, feel free to contact Dorchester Paws for guidance and next steps. 

If you have questions about kitten season or have found a kitten that you’re willing to foster, please call 843-871-3820 or email foster@dorchesterpaws.org.

Kitten images used from blog Heavenlycats! 

Urgent Help Needed For Kitten!

Urgent support needed for Missy! Dorchester Paws just took over ownership of a 6 month old kitten who is in need of an EMERGENCY leg amputation TODAY! Missy has severe bone exposure. From the condition of her leg, it seems the original injury took place awhile ago. Staff is currently prepping to transport her for an immediate operation.

Dorchester Paws is committed to ending unnecessary euthanasia and preventing animal cruelty. We rely on our supports to help us carry out our lifesaving work. Despite current situations, our work is essential. We will continue to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and protected the abused.

As an open admission shelter, Dorchester Paws’ work is never done. Despite the decrease in adoptions and donations, the shelter will continue to take in every lost, abandoned and abused animals in Dorchester County.

Donate so we can help get Missy the care she needs. https://dorchesterpaws.org/give-today/






We Will Remain Open by Appointment Only

Dorchester Paws has had to cut back staff hours due to a 20% decrease in donations, fundraising events, and shelter income. Despite these hardships, the shelter will remain open. We will operate by appointment only. We are here for our community through adoptions, owner reclaims, stray intake, and to hand out pet food to those in need.

Dorchester Paws has seen a decrease in adoptions. Can you make room for one more? Through April 15th we are running a $25 adoption special, thanks to the Bissell Pet Foundation.

Join us on Facebook as we offer virtual meet and greets, Bringing adoptable animals right to your phone from the comfort of your own home.

Dorchester Paws’ work is essential. Every day they feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and protect the abused.

To schedule an appointment you can email adopt@dorchesterpaws.org or call 843-871-3820!