You – To the Rescue

Pete the cat and volunteer Kristina Lebron

The Holidays are a purr-fect time to adopt

Writer: Johnn Cave | Winter 2021 

What makes for a joyous holiday season? Some say it’s the time spent with loved ones, others enjoy festivities, and many just appreciate the time off work. Considering this, many people have found the holiday season to be ideal for adopting or fostering a new pet.
Getting adopted into a new home can be stressful and new pets benefit greatly from a calm and consistent environment. Not only will spending the holiday season with your new pet make it easier to bond with them, it helps alleviate the potential growing pains of training and transitioning from a shelter.
For many, shelters are the best option to find a pet. By adopting from a shelter, you know your future furry family member has received quality care from experienced staff and dedicated volunteers. You could also be opening up a spot for another lost or abandoned animal that needs care. Southern Maryland offers a robust network of shelters that care for and put animals up for adoption and fostering.

St. Mary’s County:
St. Mary’s Animal Welfare League (SMAWL) is a non-profit organization working to help homeless, abused, or neglected animals in Southern Maryland. Located in Callaway, SMAWL’s main headquarters houses The Cat Castle where people enjoy meeting and playing with the cats available for adoption. The Cat Castle is open Saturdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and also holds adoption events at the Petco in California most Saturdays. SMAWL also has a number of dogs for adoption that are available to meet by appointment.
In addition to adoption services, SMAWL also holds a low-cost Rabies, Distemper, and Microchip clinics. For the holidays, SMAWL will attend Christmas on the Square in Leonardtown as well as continuing to host adoption events throughout winter months.
St. Mary’s County Feral Cat Rescue is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to reducing the feral and stray cat population in St. Mary’s County without euthanasia. What is unique about Feral Cat Rescue is their Trap, Neuter, Return method for maintaining feral cat populations. Community members identifying feral cat populations can email Feral Cat Rescue for help with trapping the cats, having them spayed/neutered, and then returning them to their homes. Community members continue to maintain these cats by providing food and water daily along with veterinarian care when needed.
Feral Cat Rescue vets over 400 cats and fosters more than 120 annually. Under their adoption program, kittens and domestic cats are temporarily placed with foster families until permanently adopted into good homes. Feral Cat Rescue holds adoption events at the Petco in California Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Bobby Jones and Chloe

Charles County:
Tri-County Animal Shelter is a municipal shelter for Charles and St. Mary’s counties that receives more than 5,000 dogs, cats, and other small animals per year. The shelter, in tandem with Animal Control divisions in both counties, rescues lost, stray, and unwanted animals that are housed at their main site located in Hughesville. Efforts are made to return animals to their families, place animals with rescue organizations, and find loving homes for the others. In addition to adoptions, the Tri-County Shelter has incorporated a foster program where individuals can foster animals too young to be adopted or not thriving in the shelter setting.
If you’re interested in adopting, fostering, or volunteering at the Tri-County Shelter, you can get a sneak peek at the adorable cats up for adoption via the Cat Cam on their website. For those interested in adopting during the holidays, Tri-County Shelter’s Home 4 the Holidays adoption promotion runs Nov. 30th through December 30th where adoption fees are lowered $125 for dogs and $25 for cats.
Calvert County:
Calvert Animal Welfare League (CAWL) is an all-volunteer, nonprofit pet shelter. The organization was started in 1992 by Carol Crane, who wanted to create a shelter that could not only take in unwanted dogs and cats, but also include humane educational programming. By 2004, CAWL had raised enough funds to open the Calvert Animal Welfare Adoption and Education Center, the only one of its kind in Prince Frederick, where it holds adoption events and offers educational resources.
Currently, due to the ongoing pandemic, CAWL is open Saturdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for adoptions and also have the Second Chance Thrift Store open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. where all proceeds go towards supporting their animals. This winter, CAWL will be hosting its annual Holiday Open House – a great opportunity to get to know the organization as well as enjoy seeing the animals, shopping at the thrift store, eating food from the bake sale, and even taking a pet picture with Santa!

Courtesy of Amanda Sylvia

The Humane Society of Calvert County is nonprofit organization run by an all-volunteer board of directors, a dedicated staff, and other local volunteers who help with the daily care of the animals. The Humane Society of Calvert County started humbly with a group of individuals from Calvert County that started fostering dogs and cats in their own homes and adopting them out until able to find a permanent facility.
Today, this organization operates with that same dedication following their mission as a no-euthanize facility, taking in dogs who need special surgeries or extra care from the community. If you are looking to adopt, it’s planning a number of events this winter, the largest being a pet adoption event involving Prince Frederick Chrysler that will sponsor the adoption fee of dogs.
Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter is an open-admission shelter operated by the Animal Shelter Division under the Calvert County Department of Public Safety. The Linda L. Kelley Shelter is rather new, opening in 2018 as Calvert’s first open admission shelter. The shelter is also unique in that is has one of the most eclectic animal populations in the tri-county area due to open admissions. They routinely have cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, pot belly pigs, and sometimes more exotic type animals like chinchillas, turtles, peacocks, tarantulas, parrots, ferrets, leopard geckos, and hedgehogs.
Currently, the shelter operates by appointment only where potential pet adopters must complete a pre-screening before meeting animals outside of their kennel or cage. The shelter also has relatively low pet adopt fees of $75 for dogs, $40 for cats, $15 for livestock, and $10 for any other small animal. This adoption fee provides for the spay/neuter, rabies vaccine, and any other vaccination required. The shelter offers a Santa Paws event where you can get pet photos with Santa on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. •