PAWgress Newsletter
Issue # 1 January 2016
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Dear Friends,

As we think back over all that happened in 2015, we can't help but be grateful for the many people who came into the shelter looking to make a difference in the lives of the animals in our care. We think of the many families that came in looking to take shelter pets into their homes and are filled with gratitude that together we were able to save their lives. We love getting updates from the families after their new best friend has settled in, and those adoption stories keep us moving ahead, even as the shelter gets inundated with new animals.

We are also very thankful for the countless others who volunteered their time or brought in donations for the animals. So many people assume that we receive funding from the Humane Society of the United States or that donations mailed in to national rescue organizations are somehow shared with their local shelters, but the truth is that our only source of support is our community. It is only because of friends like you that we are able to go about the business of rescuing homeless, hurt, neglected, and abused animals and giving them the chance to love and be loved.

This past year brought many challenges to our organization - challenges like skyrocketing medical costs, never-ending building maintenance and equipment repairs, and ever-rising insurance premiums - however, it also brought many joys and successes. In 2015, we helped to find adoptive homes for more than 1500 animals, we performed more than 2700 low-to-no-cost spays or neuters, and we provided temporary shelter, care, and hope for approximately 3500 homeless animals.

While this year was huge for us, it was even more so for animals like our three "garbage bag puppies" (Hefty, Glad, and Zip) who were found tied up in a garbage bag on the side of the road and rushed to us for emergency care just in the nick of time. All three puppies are now safe, healthy, and thriving in forever homes with families that adore them. We were so blessed to have been a part of countless acts of love and caring like this in 2015 and know that we could not have done it alone.

With your support, we also offered a wide range of humane and environmental education programs to more than 11,600 participants in schools, nursing homes, and community centers throughout Charles County. One of our goals as an organization is to promote the kind and ethical treatment of all living things, hopefully helping to break the cycles of violence and bullying so common today. We also aim to inspire hope and healing through our pet therapy programs and to help the children in our school programs grow into compassionate and thoughtful community leaders.

One of the most unique things we added in 2015 is the Freedom for Bullies Rescue and Enrichment Program. As many of you are aware, the Humane Society of Charles County is the "dumping ground" for the Pitbulls and Pitbull mixes that are banned in surrounding communities. Through partnerships with S&D K9 and our dedicated rescuers, we are able to provide honest evaluations, comprehensive training, and loving placement for the Pits in our community who have nowhere else to turn.

Of course, none of our accomplishments in 2015 would have been possible without support from friends like you. As we enter 2016, we would like to wish all of you a Very Happy New Year from the Humane Society of Charles County! Thank you for all of your help this year.

Together we made a huge difference!


Starla Raiborn
Executive Director
November/December Adoptions

We are happy to announce that in the month of November, 2015, 101 animals were adopted and went to their new forever homes.

In the month of December, 152 animals were adopted and found their new forever homes.  

We thank you so much for choosing adoption and our shelter!
 In Memory of Kato
   a story by Rick and Ruth Bramblett
It's always hard to say good-bye to our beloved pets. Losing them tears our hearts out and leaves a hole that never truly heals.
Through our years of volunteering, Rick and I see firsthand the joy of animals reunited with their families, while others find their loving forever home. The smiles and excitement of any animal during their "freedom ride" can't be beaten. Sadly, not all animals entering the shelter can be saved. Some are too sick and others too severely injured. Having to let them go is never easy.
Kato came into our lives as he sat quietly with his head bowed low in his dog run. He was such a sad looking fellow. Kato was an eight month old Cane Corso mix with a pretty misty, grey coat and a hint of orange brindle.

We learned more about Kato and the hip dysplasia he had in both of his hips. Without surgery, his prognosis wasn't good. By then, we were smitten with Kato, like we are with all the shelter animals. We were prepared to fund a portion of his surgery as well as go forward with a fundraiser for the rest.

In the meantime, we took Kato out several times each day for easy walks so he could keep moving. During the day and at shelter closing time, we made sure he had a big fluffy bed of blankets and comforters. Kato was no longer sad and quiet when he saw us coming down the dog run aisles. He was sitting, waiting and woofing for his turn to enjoy some time outside. We waited and hoped for good news about surgery for his hip dysplasia. However, good news did not come.
On the evening of March 20, 2015, we were told of the agonizing decision to end his pain. Surgery was no guarantee of future good health, and while it was a blow to our hearts, we knew losing Kato was always a possibility. Rick and I brought Kato to the surgery area of the shelter where the veterinarian, vet tech and shelter manger were all waiting. Kato was surrounded by an army of love. We all gave him his favorite treats, rubbed his head and then it was time.
We were with him when the vet gave Kato the injection, and the vet tech held him gently. By then, tears fell quietly from my checks onto his soft velvety head. As the injection began to work, he was lovingly lowered to the floor with his head in my lap. Rick stroked his side and I continued to talk to Kato telling him he would soon cross the Rainbow Bridge where he would run pain free. I also told Kato that we all loved him and that he was a dear sweet boy.
The veterinarian checked Kato's heart. As it started to beat slower and slower, I continued to gently stroke Kato and recited him a verse from Amazing Grace.
                   "Through many dangers, toils and snares,
                     I have already come,
                     'Tis grace has brought me safe this far
                     And grace will lead me home."
Our eyes met for an instant, and then Kato was gone. I doubt there was a dry eye in the room.
Kato's story is being told to honor his life and all of the animals' lives that are way too short. Please join Rick and me in our efforts to raise money for HSCC's Honey's Fund to specifically help very sick and injured animals like Kato. Honey's Fund was born in 2009 to raise money for Honey, a dog that came to the shelter in need of medical attention for severe pelvic fractures where expenses exceeded normal shelter medicine vetting costs. Honey's Fund is always in great need. Rick and I have the lofty goal of raising $4,000 for Honey's Fund, but together we can make it a reality, we are donating the first $500 to Honey's Fund, so please join us in giving to such a worthy cause. I'm sure if Kato could, he would thank each and every one of you.
As life ebbed away from Kato, I told him I knew we would meet again one day. With a gentle kiss to his head, I whispered, "Go home with grace dear boy. May grace lead you home."
In loving memory of Kato and all of the animals that leave us way too soon,
January Pets of the Month - Speckles and Oreo

Speckles American Bulldog Mix.
Speckles is a two-year old American bulldog mix, at our shelter looking for her forever home.   Recently, Speckles gave blood to another dog at the shelter and saved her life. What a hero! 

Speckles is in a foster home where she is house trained and crate trained. She is also learning other commands and knows how to sit. Every now and then she also likes to sneak in a few wet, sloppy kisses. Speckles enjoys her toys, treats, exercise, and is good with leash walking. She rides well in the car, and is good with other well-balanced dogs with proper introduction.
Speckles donating blood and saving a life!


Oreo's New Year's resolution- to find a forever home. This sweet young guy is about as perfect as  a cat can be. He is quiet, loves people, loves attention, gets along well with other cats, and is waiting for you come visit and fall in love with him. 

Please contact the Humane Society of Charles County at 301-645-8181 if you would like to meet either of these two wonderful pets and make them a family member!


  May your New Year be full of joy, happiness and the love of furever friends.