Volunteer opportunities in our area are abundant. Many people want to stay connected to service groups when they move to Savannah Lakes Village, and there are some outstanding, well-established organizations waiting for you. The Humane Society of McCormick County needs dog walkers, cat sitters, trainers, and foster families! Founded in 1999, the HSMC began with three women who wanted to help dogs and cats in need. Today, the organization operates the only shelter in the county and has roughly 100 active volunteers and hosts a variety of programs: hands-on care of the animals; adoption events; the low-cost spay and neuter program, the trap-neuter or spay-release program (TNR); the Thrift Store; publicity, marketing, and community outreach; and more.
The HSMC needs a minimum of ten people each day to care for the cats and dogs on site. When there are young litters of kittens or puppies or animals with special needs, two to three more people are needed daily.
For years, the HSMC raised money by collecting donated furniture and household goods from and selling at periodic garage sales. As the need for storage increased, they purchased a building in town for “a good price in 2017” and opened a thrift store. The building has become a great way to raise money for their efforts and is a great connection point for the community.
Caring for McCormick County's cats and dogs is no small task! In addition to the ten to thirteen daily volunteers needed to tend to the animals, the HSMC runs a host of other programs. In 2020 alone, they found homes for 178 cats and dogs. A high percentage of the rescues need to rehab from injuries, extreme hunger, neglect, etcetera before being adopted. But in addition to the adoptions, the HSMC helped spay and neuter 280 cats and dogs: 58 through their TNR program, 126 shelter cats and dogs, and 96 owned cats and dogs through their low-cost spay and neuter program. All of this during Covid and with so many restrictions in place!
The Humane Society currently hosts 34 cats and kittens and 28 dogs and puppies between the shelters and foster homes. Thanks to the generosity of Patty McCabee, both a dog and cat shelter sit side by side in McCormick. Before the land donation in 2013, the cat program mainly depended on foster homes, so establishing a premanufactured building for the kitties (The Cat Barn) was the top priority. According to one volunteer, Judy Haywood, “We had two large areas for a communal living, but that meant that all tiny kittens, nursing mamas, and sick cats had to be foster homes. We soon realized that the shed was not warm enough in the winter and we needed a dedicated quarantine space. Volunteers built "The Cat Haven" in September 2017. The kitties thought they hit the jackpot! The haven is climate controlled with isolation rooms for nursing cats and their kittens and for sick cats who need to heal. There is also a communal living area with lots of climbing trees, toys, and two screened-in porches so the kitties can safely enjoy the sights and sounds of the woods.
The dog program moved to the new land when we built the dog shelter in 2014. The dogs can choose to be inside or outside and have soft beds. They can spend supervised time in play areas. Walking paths and additional isolation pens have recently been added to keep them healthy and happy until they can get adopted.
The old “Cat Barn” shed is now used to keep animal/shelter records and store supplies. When needed, it has also become a maternity ward for a pregnant dog to have a quiet place to give birth and nurse her puppies. We are constantly working to improve conditions for the animals and provide enrichment opportunities to keep them physically and mentally healthy while they are in our care.”
The Humane Society of McCormick County is a beloved organization in our area with so many great people volunteering there. If you love dogs or cats or both, it is a wonderful way to be of service to the community and meet like-minded neighbors.
Many of us have adopted our pets from the HSMC and it is always fun to meet up with other paw parents at HSMC hosted events like Bark in the Park or the Annual Golf Tournament (RE/MAX Leisurely Living is a proud annual sponsor of hole 5).