In November of 2021 our RedRover Responders team headed to Bennettsville, South Carolina, to support the Humane Society of Marlboro County’s (HSMC) Unchain Marlboro program. This program offers education and resources to improve the quality of life and safety for dogs who currently live outside with projects like the construction of secure outdoor spaces. These spaces, built right on the resident’s property, provide dogs with appropriate shelter from the elements and, true to the program’s name, allow them to be unchained.
The HSMC has worked incredibly hard to create positive relationships in the community with both the shelter and local animal control. Through their efforts, families also receive access to free spay and neuter services, vaccines, food, and preventative medications for heartworm, fleas, and ticks. RedRover is honored to play a role in this vital program and has committed to fund fencing, dog houses, supplies, and more for up to 10 families per year through Unchain Marlboro.
Despite the tireless work of local shelter and animal advocates to drive change, educate, and offer resources in Bennettsville, there is still a great need for improvement in this region’s animal advocacy. During the three days we were at the shelter, we saw a harsh reality for many dogs and cats in Marlboro County:
The low adoption rate is mainly due to an assembly line of available puppies and a large stray dog population that allows folks to easily take in an animal off the street versus coming to the shelter to adopt. Conditions are hard – and it’s a community in crisis.
Fortunately, with collaboration comes opportunity. The tiny puppy who had only known life on a short leash tied to a mailbox made the 12-hour drive from South Carolina to New England with her new foster mom…me! One month later, while we were leaving a local park, I crossed paths with a couple who noted how adorable “my” puppy was. “She’s available for adoption!” I called out, and that was that. Sterling now lives the most loved life on Cape Cod with a family who absolutely adores her.
Cash, the dog kept outdoors and confined to life inside a small wire crate, and his buddy Tyler, the dog with multiple bullets in his leg, made their way to Vermont for adoption. Cash was quickly scooped up by his new people, and Tyler is receiving much-needed surgery to have his injured leg amputated.
Our partnership also secured transport for Pork Chop and Cotton, two dogs who were found together on the streets of Bennettsville. These cuties were very popular with Vermont adopters, and Pork Chop is receiving medical care for a double TPLO surgery (knee surgery), thanks in part to some RedRover funding.
As is the case anywhere, there are cultural and educational factors that inform how anyone cares for their animals, including their housing and overall welfare. Another contributing factor to the attitude towards animals in this particular area is the very limited resources for both pets and people. But thanks to the dedicated team at the HSMC and our RedRover Responders volunteers, eight dogs now have safe spaces – and each family we visited on this deployment was so grateful. Plus, these families now have a support system through the shelter that will ensure happier, healthier lives for animals in the community.
There’s always an immense amount of compassion and kindness when we work with the HSMC – it’s truly heart-bursting – which is why we are committed to continuing our partnership to help build a more humane community, with two additional deployments already planned for spring and fall 2022.