Featured Adoptable: Princess


Meet Princess! This amazingly sweet girl is an eight-month-old Labrador/Retriever mix.

Unfortunately, Princess’ family went through a few things, and she has found herself at the shelter. She is a lover of all people, children, and other dogs! We are sure she would be great around cats as well!

Princess walks well on a leash and seems to know a few basic commands. She is also crate trained and was an inside/outside dog at her previous home. We believe that house training her will be a breeze!

Her most favorite thing is to carry around her kiddie pool in her mouth and to lay on her back for belly rubs! She is up to date on shots, spayed, micro-chipped, and crate trained. She is excitedly waiting for her new forever family!

You can learn more about Princess here and learn more about our adoption process here.

Now Available: Summer 2019 Paw Prints

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We're pleased to share that the Summer 2019 edition of our Paw Prints newsletter is now available for download.

This edition features a focus on some of our adoptables, a community service recap and several of our recent adoption success stories. There is also information about traveling with your pet and a list of the quarter’s memorials and donors.

You can download the newsletter here and view previous editions here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Rob Stelz

A member of the CCA team for the last three years, Rob Stelz focuses his time on working with the dogs in our care and helping to work on behavior to improve their adoptability. At the end of the post he features one of his volunteer “pets” – pups on whom he has focused his time recently.


How did you find out about CCA and why did you want to volunteer here?
I found out about CCA from my neighbor, Renee Franklin. At the time she was the Director of Operations at CCA and had mentioned volunteering several times. I adopted my dog Gunner from CCA about five years ago so I was familiar with the organization.

 As a CCA volunteer, what is your role?
My primary role at CCA is to spend time with doggies. I often try to concentrate on the more challenging dogs in terms of behavior and do what I can to help with their development and adoptability. Some of the dogs that arrive at CCA have been in bad situations, because of which they sometimes have a fear of people or other animals. I try to make a ‘friend’ connection with a dog so they will trust me and be more open to training. From there it is just a lot of repetition. Our goals for adoptability are being able to properly walk on a leash, no biting/jumping on people, and adherence to basic commands like sit, stay, and release.

I also assist with general duties around the property. I help with hedge trimming, keeping the woods trail clear for walking, and pest control. I also get to work on fun projects like building dog houses. And all of us at CCA participate in the adoption events like Bark in the Park and at Petco.

How do you feel being a CCA volunteer?
Volunteering at CCA is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life. I’ll admit that my involvement is somewhat selfish in nature; I am there for my gratification, for what makes me happy. Which is to share love and happiness with kind, like-minded beings. I get that from both the dogs and the other volunteers I work with at CCA. I also recognize the need for citizens to give back to their community in one way or another.

What is your favorite CCA moment?
This one is pretty easy for me :-) My favorite CCA moment was the day I saw Chester at Bark in the Park.

Chester was born at CCA and had been there for nearly five years when I arrived. From the day I met him, I could not understand why this wonderful dog did not have a home. He did lack manners and pulled relentlessly when on a leash. However, along with many other volunteers, I worked with Chester for a long time. Eventually, we employed skills we learned from Off-Leash Training, and, within a few weeks, Chester was walking right by his handler’s side at all times!

I brought him home and used that time to teach him how to act. I worked with him for many months to foster his ability to make personal connections. When I saw him with his new owner, just as happy as any other dog there, it immediately brought tears of joy and the deepest gratitude for Chester’s owner. It was without a doubt the proudest moment of my involvement since coming to CCA!

Why would you encourage others to volunteer?
I would encourage those who love dogs or cats to consider CCA as a place to volunteer because, first and foremost, it is a no-kill shelter. CCA is 100% donation funded and about 95% volunteer run. When I leave CCA every week I feel good. I feel…to some degree cleansed, even though I usually leave pretty filthy :-)

I would encourage others to volunteer for the same reason I did: to make you feel better about yourself and your community. The result of that commitment to yourself facilitates the need our society has for services like this.

Why would you encourage someone to adopt a pet from us?
I would encourage anyone who loves animals to adopt a pet from CCA. You can be assured that an animal that has spent time at CCA has been exposed to love, kindness, and affection. You can be sure any animal adopted from CCA has been examined and treated for any and all known species afflictions by caring veterinarians that have donated a good part of their time to help CCA.

You recently adopted a CCA pup yourself! Tell us about Maverick.
Maverick is a rugged, young golden lab mix with a ton of energy. After working with Maverick at the shelter, and consistently wondering “why is he still here?!” my family and I decided to adopt him. His official name is now Maverick St. Patrick Stelz.

Rob and John with Maverick

Rob and John with Maverick

John and Maverick

John and Maverick

He and my little boy are bestest of buddies, especially during mealtimes when Maverick is sure to be at the side of the high chair for every meal. Johnny is very generous with his food and Maverick has become a master of gently extracting the clumsily offered treats from John’s hand.

After a week with us, my wife observed that Maverick had not stopped wagging since he got here! His tail has seldom been still ever since. He is a wonderful dog and a wonderful friend! He has been the perfect addition to our family and we have all fallen in love with him!

If you could share anything else about your volunteer experience at CCA, what would it be?
I would love to take an opportunity to feature one of the dogs I’ve worked with at CCA who I would love to see meet his forever families!

Teddy! I LOVE Teddy!! He is a five-year-old chow mix, and I describe him with the full knowledge that it is impolite to call attention to the imperfections of others. With that said…Teddy is a complete and total goofball! 😊

In all seriousness, Teddy has been diagnosed as having some neurological issues. This affects his balance and seems to also affect his attention span. He is very quick to be “onto the next thing” so training has been challenging. However, he has learned sit, stay, and loose leash walk. We know he is trainable, but he will need consistent reinforcement to maintain good behavior. However, it is important to note that his afflictions DO NOT stop him from trying to be Wonder Dog!

Teddy showing his goofy side

Teddy showing his goofy side

Teddy is a high-energy, sparkplug who is happy to be the life of any party he attends. He is an “up in your business” type of dog, meaning he will be a GREAT yard watch dog! Teddy is not a leader; he is a follower, and he would make a great addition to a small pack of two or three dogs with a strong, tolerant pack leader.

I’ve had Teddy at my house for a couple of week-long spans and he has done great! He seems to be instinctively house broken, and has never had even one accident in my house! If you can get the energy out of him during the day, he is a great couch cuddler! Teddy is my challenge dog of the month. He would be a great friend for years to come in the right environment!

Psst: read more about Teddy here!

Success Story: Nitro

Earlier this year, a five-year old black lab mix was found walking the streets, so thin that rescuers could see his ribs. He came to CCA where he found nourishment and love as he waited for his forever family. He was in luck this June when Lauren Mathews and her husband, who learned about CCA from a friend, came to us looking for an emotional support dog. Nitro, now known as Archie, is enjoying all the love he is receiving from his new family. Thank you, Mathews family, for sharing your story!


How did you find out about CCA and Nitro?
I heard about CCA through my friend Shannon who sponsors the Paws for a Cause event. She spoke to me about CCA multiple times before, so I knew that's where I would be going when it was finally time for me to adopt a dog. When my therapist suggested that an emotional support animal would be crucial for me and would help me in many ways, I set out to see if I could find the right pup for me. I found Nitro by looking online, and something sparked in my mind that I wanted to meet him.

What drew you to him in the first place?
What drew me to Nitro (Archie) was his sweet demeanor, his gentleness, and the look in his eyes that told me he wanted someone to give his love and trust to. He was also extremely ADORABLE!! It was love at first sight.


Do you have any other animals? If so, how did it go bringing him into your home?
Prior to adopting Archie, I did not have any other animals of my own, but my in laws had two dogs, and introducing them was incredibly easy. He was so easy going that they got along almost immediately. It did take time for him to adjust to living in our apartment, though, and it took him a few days to know that this was his new home and that he was safe, could trust us, and that he could make himself comfortable.

What is your favorite story/experience with Archie since you’ve had him?
My favorite experience with him was the first time he cuddled with me on the couch, and the first time he trusted me enough to take a treat from my hand. I knew gaining his trust was going to take time, and I felt so happy when I saw the look in his eyes that he trusted me!

Do you have anything to share about your adoption experience with CCA?
I loved my adoption experience with CCA. I had never dealt with rescuing a dog before, but I felt so comfortable working with the CCA team. The line of communication was so open, and they were willing to answer any questions I had during the process. The CCA team even continues to answer questions I have now, after I brought him home! I am SO grateful for CCA and their amazing team.

Is there anything else about Archie that you would like to share?
He is an incredible dog. He loves his people, and brings such a calming presence to mine and my husband’s life. While he was very shy in the beginning, so many silly aspects of his personality are beginning to show, and I can't wait to see what more comes along.

Success Story: Merlot

Early last year, the Rhyne family spent months looking for a second dog to join their family and existing pup, nine-year-old Tucky. As soon as they met Merlot – now named Cisco - at the shelter, they knew she was the one, even though they never expected to adopt a puppy! Today, now known as Cisco, she is living her best life with her new family, and has a special bond with her human brother. Thank you so much to the Rhyne family for sharing your story!


How did you find out about CCA and Merlot?

Early last year, I was a new-ish stay-at-home mom, and one night for some “me” time, I randomly decided to visit Petsmart to look at the dogs up for adoption. While I didn’t come home with a new addition that night, my search for a second dog began then.

It was important to us to adopt a dog that would be comfortable both with our existing dog, Tucky, as well as our 19-month-old son. I had been looking for three months and had filled out quite a few applications and met several dogs but wasn’t convinced that any of them were the “one.” I saw a dog from CCA on PetFinder and reached out to learn more. From there, CCA’s Adoptions Director, Renee, suggested several CCA pups that might be a good match for our family. Merlot was one of them.


What drew you to Merlot in the first place?
After looking for dogs that were two to five years old, we never expected to get a puppy. However, four-month-old Merlot was one of the pups Renee suggested might be a good match for my family. After meeting her, my heart and mind started racing!

I shared with my husband my thoughts on her and how I thought she was the one. He affectionately calls me “the dog lady” and he trusted me completely in my selection because of my experience managing a boarding kennel and having some background in training and such. So, it was on! We arranged a time for Renee to bring her to us and conduct the home visit, and before we knew it, she was here in our home where she belongs!

We ended up calling her about 10 different names at first because we wanted to get to know her before settling on one. We decided to name named her Cisco after the buckskin horse in Dances with Wolves. She has the same coloring and is devoted to us already just like Cisco the horse who keeps returning home each time he is taken from his master.

Do you have any other animals? If so, how did it go bringing her into your home?
We also have an older dog, a mix named Tucky who I adopted 10 years ago. She and Cisco get along amazing! My sister and brother in law have a beagle, and Cisco and him quickly became best friends. She has yet to meet a dog that isn't her friend!

What is your favorite story/experience with Cisco since you’ve had her?
This is a hard one...there are many! I will share one of my favorites…

I was in our carport sweeping while my two-year old was riding his balance bike (he practically lives on it). I hadn't seen him in a couple of minutes, so I instinctively went to go make sure he was ok. I walked around the back of the house and saw him sitting on the hill with his bike beside him and his arm draped across Cisco's back. She was laying beside him contentedly and both of them were just sweetly looking out over the hill. It was so cute! I tried my best to get a picture before the moment was gone.


Do you have anything to share about your adoption experience with CCA?
I was so happy with everything to do with CCA. I took my son with me to look at dogs and met with a volunteer. I felt no pressure to adopt and everyone I interacted with was so helpful. The shelter was clean and there wasn’t a million dogs. Renee was very helpful and available for my many questions along the way, and it is clear that she cares about the animals even after they are placed in their forever homes. I have shared pictures with her now, nearly a year later!


Is there anything else about Cisco that you would like to share?
There are so many things about her that I love. One of the most amazing things about her is how very sweet and tolerant she is with young children and their shenanigans! She isn't scared or insecure. My son plays with her and walks her around the yard on a leash, and she never pulls on him. She is also amazing off leash! She stays with us no matter what is going on around us. She is the perfect hiking dog! Her energy level is ideal as well. She is happy to play and happy to sleep in her bed!

Thank you Concerned Citizens for helping us find our next family member! My husband keeps saying I outdid myself...and he is right!


Featured Adoptable: Teddy

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Meet Teddy! This fun-loving boy is a three-four-year-old Shepherd mix. Around the shelter, Teddy’s nickname is “The Puppy Whisperer” because all of the puppies always love playing with him. The feeling is mutual as he really enjoys playing with them too! If they get a little out of hand, he is the first one to step between them and make them go to their corner :)

Teddy is very unique in the sense that he has a neurological issue where he has a tilted head and doesn’t walk in a straight line. But, boy that doesn’t keep him down at all!

Teddy has gone home with one our volunteers, Rob, a few times, and he said Teddy is a perfect gentleman in the house. He doesn’t have any accidents and he doesn’t get into things.

Teddy would do great with a family that has older children and he is so excited to find a forever home! Wouldn’t you want to look at this sweet face all the time?! He is up to date on shots, neutered, and micro-chipped.

You can learn more about Teddy here and learn more about our adoption process here.

Teddy relaxing on the couch with Rob and his little boy.

Teddy relaxing on the couch with Rob and his little boy.

Volunteer Spotlight: Derek & Kylee Manet


Members of the CCA team for the last eight years, Derek and Kylee Manet are two of our most dedicated volunteers who help in a variety of capacities from dog walking to event support and adoptions. They even moved away for a brief period and returned to South Carolina, in part, because they missed CCA. Their long history with our organization makes them truly invaluable to the Board, other volunteers, and most importantly, the animals.


How did you find out about CCA and why did you want to volunteer here?
We were still relatively new to South Carolina and wanted to find an animal shelter where we could volunteer together. A friend of a friend basically introduced us to CCA.  Kylee went out on a Sunday to check it out and complete the new volunteer orientation, and came back very excited about the organization and the shelter environment. We’ve been volunteering at CCA ever since!


 As a CCA volunteer, what is your role?
Priority #1 is spending time with the dogs and cats - walking dogs on a weekly basis, showing them attention, and working on some basic training that we’ve learned through various sources.  We help with the adoption process, including helping potential adopters have their first meetings with animals, home visits, reference checks, and taking animals to their new homes. Outside of the shelter, we attend and help with adoption events, both large (Bark in the Park) and small (weekends at Petco).  We have also fostered a couple of dogs for brief periods, support CCA’s social media presence, and update adoption websites (Kylee).

How do you feel being a CCA volunteer?
Above all else, being a volunteer is rewarding. It gives us purpose in knowing that we’re helping abandoned and otherwise unwanted animals be cared for and hopefully find forever homes. 

Derek: It is also sometimes sad, because you see the potential that some of the animals have and how they should already be in a home, but they have quirks that make them harder to adopt out.  It’s hard seeing them at the shelter for long stretches, and sometimes even years, but it is also comforting at the same time knowing that they could be out roaming the streets and be in a much worse situation.

What is your favorite CCA moment?
After eight years, it is hard to pinpoint one single moment, but something that we are always shooting for is seeing a veteran animal – one that has been at the shelter for a long time –  find a home. For those of you who might be familiar with them, two examples come to mind – Lucky and Dolly. During our earlier years volunteering, a dog named Einstein was adopted as a puppy but returned to the shelter because he was deemed “too aggressive.” When he found his new home with a guy who welcomed him with open arms, it made our day! Before we left the new owner’s house, Einstein was already up on his bed. He just looked like he belonged, and his new owner agreed that was his new spot. 

Why would you encourage others to volunteer?
We would encourage others to volunteer mostly because it is rewarding. Volunteering gives us a sense of accomplishment and being needed, which is nice.

Why would you encourage someone to adopt a pet from us?
We don’t think there is any way to legitimately measure it, but we think a shelter dog appreciates it more. We have learned the personalities of each animal at the shelter, so we are diligent about making sure that they will be in the right home when they leave our shelter. 

 Derek: I would also advocate for adopting from other shelters if there isn’t an animal at CCA that is right for you. I think there is a really good community of rescues and shelters throughout the Upstate that have the same mission of finding animals homes.  It’s not a competition, so if an animal gets adopted from Animal Care or Carolina Loving Hounds, etc., we are still happy to see one more dog or cat find the right home! 

Success Story: Hugo

Hugo - now Fonzie - with his new mom, Michelle

Hugo - now Fonzie - with his new mom, Michelle

In April, the Michelle O’Connor set out to drive more than nine hours to meet Hugo at the CCA shelter. A former CCA volunteer and Board member, Michelle knew the pup would be worth the drive. The below story is from Hugo’s new family, who named him Fonzie. Thank you so much, Michelle, for sharing!


On Saturday, April 6, we drove over 600 miles – a nine-hours drive – from Baltimore, MD to Simpsonville SC to meet Hugo at CCA’s shelter. Why? I saw Hugo online and his pics just melted my heart. I had to meet him!


So, how did I end up driving from Maryland all the way to Simpsonville to meet a pup? Well, I used to live in SC and was both a CCA volunteer and Board member, so I already knew what a wonderful organization CCA is and how much care and compassion they have for their animals. When I wanted to adopt, there’s nowhere else I'd go.


When we arrived at the shelter and Renee brought Hugo outside, I immediately knew it was a match. We spent some time making sure he was comfortable with us, and then we hopped back in the car for the nine-hour drive back home. After over 600 miles and many stops, we made it back to Maryland around 4:00 am on Sunday. Hugo’s personality really lit up the ride home. He was such a cool little pup who made us so happy, we decide to call him “Fonzie” aka Arthur Fonzarelli from Happy Days!

One of the most comical stories I can share about Fonzie is when we opened our pool about a week after we brought him home. The cover was taken off, and, as is typical, the pool was all green and black algae. Well, Fearless Fonzie jumped right into the center of the pool! I was fully clothed, but without a second to spare, jumped right in after him. I assumed he could not swim, and I was right! We both got out of the freezing cold water covered in algae and headed right in the house for his first bath! On the bright side, at least he’s not afraid of water! (I did subsequently buy him a doggie life vest for his future swimming adventures.)

Fonzie is great in the car and has become a real traveler! He’s been to seven different states so far: SC, NC, VA, MD, DE, PA & WV. A few weeks ago, we took Fonzie to Ocean City, MD. He loved taking walks on the boardwalk and watching all of the people and doggies, too! He has such a pleasant personality for a dog who started with a trouble past.

Fonzie’s “sister” Layla is a senior Weimaraner who was also rescued/adopted from SC many years ago. Now that Fonzie has been part of our family for a while, I can tell you those 1,200 miles were a trip very well worth it. Not only do we love Fonzie, but we love CCA and how pleasant they were to work with.

Thank you CCA!


Just One Candle

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President of the CCA Board of Directors Susan Lyerly shares a blog post about how she became involved with CCA and what being a part of our team means to her.

It’s hard to believe that lighting just one candle in August of 1994 led to my involvement with CCA. There was a Candlelight Vigil held in what is now Falls Park that was sponsored by CCA for all the stray cats and dogs that NEVER found their loving home. As I lit my candle, I decided to learn more about CCA and become a volunteer. 

One visit to the shelter led to becoming more than just a Sunday volunteer. I ended up volunteering to be part of the Board (these positions are volunteer), and I have been active in every part of CCA over the years, including  volunteer coordination, adoptions team, spay/neuter program, visiting nursing homes or schools with one of the shelter dogs to promote humane education, assisting in a TNR venture, and even being a caretaker for the CCA cats and dogs when the resident caretaker was on vacation for one or two weeks at a time. 

My house has been the home for many of the cats and dogs that have been temporary shelter residents.  Three or four of them were older or had terminal illnesses, so I wanted to give them a home before they crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

CCA strives to help with the ever increasing needs of the community through the programs we offer.  To meet these needs, we always welcome and need dedicated volunteers! Some days are more difficult than others as we shed tears over a puppy that didn’t make it or a dog that needed so much medical attention we weren’t sure if it would make it through the treatments. However, the tears of joy shed when a cat or dog is placed in a loving home make it all worthwhile. 

I may have lit that candle so many years ago, but that small flame still burns brightly. Consider lighting a candle of your own and join me in helping the animals. They are God’s creature too, and they need our help!

Hugo - a now adopted former CCA puppy - enjoying the cat bed during a visit to Susan’s house

Hugo - a now adopted former CCA puppy - enjoying the cat bed during a visit to Susan’s house

Featured (Soon-to-Be) Adoptable: Dixon

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Please say hello to Dixon!

Dixon is a four-month old Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, with some of the softest fur we’ve ever felt. He loves all people and so badly wants to play with a friend! He loves treats and knows exactly how to wow you with his puppy dog eyes! At the shelter when you walk up to him, he will almost always lay down on his back to get some belly rubs!

DIxon is currently under the weather thanks to worms and is not quite ready for adoption until the vet clears his health. However, we suspect he will be ready to meet his furever family soon! If you’re interested, you can fill out an application here.

You can also learn about our adoption process and see all of our available dogs and cats here.