The Heart Beat Goes On
The Heart Beat Goes On campaign is designed to find rescue for heartworm positive dogs on in rural SC shelters and raise funds for their treatment. We are an all volunteer group, we do not represent the county shelters. These dogs are from open admission county shelters and MUST get OUT immediately!!! It is simply a matter of space. If no one steps up to treat their heartworm disease and save them ..... the shelter walls are the last sight they will see.. NOTE: If you see a dog you wish to adopt as an individual, let us know, we will facilitate adoption.
On August 19, 2013, we pulled the first heartworm positive dog from death row in Aiken County SC. HW+ dogs at Aiken County were not allowed on the adoption floor. Unless a rescue happened to see a HW+ dogs when they were pulling other dogs from 'intake', they were quietly put to sleep, with no chance at finding a rescue. But on August 19, 2013, Shelter Animals Advocates was asked by the shelter to try and FIND a rescue for Jasper, a lovely spaniel mix... and the HeartBeat Goes On was born ... we quickly realized that there were rescues who would take the HW+ dogs, but only if we helped raise treatment funds ... as we were not a 501c3 rescue at that time, we went under the 'umbrella' of Middle Mutts to raise funds and network the dogs and by the end of 2013 had saved 18 HW+ dogs. In mid 2014, Middle Mutts ended its partnership with all but a few shelters so we started our own FaceBook page and email list to network the dogs and joined Palmetto Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) a newly formed 501c3 in Aiken County as an independent program to be able to continue to raise the funding for treatment and in Nov.2015 incorporated Shelter Animals Advocates as a public charity in South Carolina.
Realizing that rescues in many other states could not 'import' HW+ dogs for treatment, we set up arrangements with boarding facilities and veterinarians to be able to economically spay-neuter and treat our HeartBeat dogs here in SC before transporting to rescues , and by the end of 2014 had found rescues and raised enough funds to save 223 more dogs! In August 2014, Aiken County placed Maggie, the FIRST HW+ dog on the adoption floor, with a program to provide 6 months HW prevention meds for slow kill HW treatment for low positive dogs adopted locally ... Maggie did not find a home and we then networked her, raised her funding for 'fast kill' treatment and transported her to a rescue. We have continued to do this with the low HW+dogs on the floor, if they do not find a home within the 30 days the county gives them, we take them into the HeartBeat program with the many others who do not 'make the cut', raise their funds and find rescues.
We monitor all of our dogs progress after they leave our program, and if a rescue 'bails' on a dog (or closes down) or has difficulty placing it, we find other rescues By December 2015, we have saved 465 HW+ dogs ... and in June 2015, facing up to the difficulty of finding rescues who will accept pit bulls in particular, we started our own adoption program and have so far rescued, treated and found homes for 26 dogs... so called 'unadoptable dogs' that no other rescue would take on.
It hasn't been an easy 2 years, with many twists and turns on the path, with one roadblock after another to overcome ... but with the help of local on the ground supporters (fosters, transporters), sponsors and networkers on FaceBook from all across the world, shelter staff, organizations that help with fundraising for our dogs such as Raising Aid for Dogs at Risk and Andy's Safe Haven, our local team that helps raise funds through yard sales, and online fundraising we have saved a total of 465 HW+ dogs since Jasper , our first HeartBeat dog ... dogs that would otherwise be in plastic bags in the landfill.
2016 Update: As of Dec. 31, 2016 we have saved 915 dogs, 644 heartworm positive.
As we begin 2017, we are expanding our reach to help heartworm positive dogs in other rural SC shelters.