February 2016

A Picture is Worth… 1,000 Pets!

Author: Kent Thune

Have you ever looked at a picture of a cat or dog and instantly fallen in love? If so, you have something in common with most human beings on the planet. And if for some reason you need evidence of this “love-at-first-sight” phenomenon to believe it, you can find it on Hilton Head Island.

“It is amazing the determination some people have to adopt from the Hilton Head Humane Association,” said Bonnie Powell, business development and donor relations manager at Hilton Head Humane. “We have had many animals adopted by people who live in other states. These people made the decision to adopt the animals from just seeing a single picture on our website or on Facebook. This shows that pictures are worth 1,000 words and our pictures of the shelter animals can really speak to their future owners.”

Some people have come from as far as California, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Virginia to adopt pets from Hilton Head Humane, all from just seeing a picture and a brief description of a cat or dog that needs a good home. In reflection of one such long distance pet adoption, Laura Tipton, the adoption facilitator at Hilton Head Humane, said, “Desiree was viewed on Facebook by a gentleman in Oregon. From that image, he made the decision to adopt her and had her shipped to his home in Oregon. He still sends us Christmas cards every year.”

But the Hilton Head Humane Association does much more good work than find homes for animals. Their mission statement captures, in words, what they do every day: “To improve the lives of homeless dogs and cats while also working to substantially lower the numbers of animals reproduced or relinquished.”

Over the past year, 3,000 abandoned, injured, abused animals and feral cats have been cared for by the Hilton Head Humane Association, meaning most of their time and energy is spent caring for the animals by providing food, shelter, medical attention, and love for them until adoptive homes are found. Also, all shelter animals receive microchips and, as a service to all residents with companion animals, microchips are available at reduced prices. In addition, an education and outreach program exists that includes visits to retirement and life-care homes. And humane education talks are provided to schools, summer camps, clubs and civic organizations.

They are also active in spaying and neutering dogs and cats in the Lowcountry. Hilton Head Humane’s Spay/Neuter Alliance & Clinic, or SNAC, services and provides free transportation to 10 counties in South Carolina including Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties, and more in Georgia.

Located in Ridgeland, South Carolina, SNAC is modeled after and mentored by the Humane Alliance Spay Neuter Clinic in Asheville, North Carolina. SNAC is the first high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinic in the region. With as many as six million pets euthanized each year, their ultimate goal is to halt euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals, and to decrease the pet overpopulation. You can reach SNAC and make an appointment by calling (843) 645-2500.

It is important to note that Hilton Head Humane is a “no-kill shelter.” Therefore, no animals are ever euthanized unless absolutely necessary. The organization, which is dedicated to providing a safe haven for the abandoned dogs and cats of the Lowcountry, is funded entirely by membership dues, private donations, and generous bequests. Hilton Head Humane needs help from people all around the Beaufort county area and beyond to help them help the animals.

“We always appreciate money donations, but we can also use donations of blankets, toys, food, treats, and litter,” Powell said. And the donations can qualify for tax deductions, because the Hilton Head Humane Association is a 501©(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization.

Another way to give to the shelter is to shop at their thrift store, The Litter Box, which is located on Hilton Head Island at 46 Old Wild Horse Road, just 200 yards off of HWY 278, between Spanish Wells/Wild Horse and Squire Pope Roads. You can reach The Litter Box by phone at (843) 842-MEOW (6369). What could be better than finding a treasure, paying next to nothing for it, and helping animals while you’re at it? If you need to clear your closet, attic or garage of your unneeded stuff, drop it off at The Litter Box, which may qualify as a tax-deductible donation.

You can also help the animals by volunteering your time, either to work at The Litter Box, assist evacuation efforts during hurricane season, or help with any number of outreach programs, fundraising, or other special events and needs around the shelter. To volunteer, please contact Brittany Bennington at kennelsupervisor@hhhumane.org.

Yet another way to help the animals in a meaningful way is to buy a memorial brick for a beloved pet or any loved one that has passed away. The bricks are $50 and are added to Hilton Head Humane’s brick courtyard for everyone to see.

So now that you have greater knowledge and better appreciation for all the good work that Hilton Head Humane Association does for the people and animals of the Lowcountry, let’s return to the first point about adopting these cute, loving, priceless lives. In 2015, Hilton Head Humane put 1,000 pets into loving homes, many of them inspired and initiated by online photos and social media. So rather than saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” in this case it may be more appropriate to say, “A picture is worth a thousand adoptions!”

For a bit of perspective, the story you are now reading contains approximately 1,000 words. Might it be that these thousand words are worth at least one adoption? Only you can decide. Take the first step now and contact Hilton Head Humane or visit them online to see your next pet… 

Hilton Head Humane Association is located at 10 Humane Way, Hilton Head Island. The shelter is open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. You can reach them by phone at (843) 681-8686. For more information, to make a donation, or to see pictures worth thousands of words, visit online at hhhumane.org.

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