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PAL waives adoption fees in honor of Mother’s Day

in News/Pets

It’s almost Mother’s Day and to celebrate, Palmetto Animal League is waiving adoption fees for adult female cats and dogs through May 11. 

All PAL pets are spayed/neutered, microchipped and up-to-date on vaccinations. 

“If you’re thinking about getting that special mom in your life a furry friend this Mother’s Day, stop by PAL now through Saturday to meet our adorable, adoptable pets,” PAL Marketing Coordinator Lindsay Perry said in a release. 

The PAL Adoption Center, located in Okatie’s Riverwalk Business Park, is open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. This comfortable, upbeat facility serves as a temporary residence for some 200 cats and dogs while they wait to find a loving home.

“We have so many beautiful animals waiting for a caring and committed adopter to come in and make their life complete.” 

Palmetto Animal League is a private, non-profit, no-kill animal rescue organization. When you adopt from PAL, it allows them the space to save even more homeless animals. For more information, visit or call 843-645-1725.

Paws4Vets holds two fundraisers

in Pets

By Molly Ingram

Friday and Saturday, Paws4Vets held both a golf tournament out at the Legends course on Parris Island and then followed that on Saturday with a scavenger hunt in downtown Beaufort for the non-golfing set.

Paws4Vets provides trained assistance dogs for veterans who are suffering from Post-Traumatic-Stress Syndrome or having received severe physical injury in the service of our country. The golf tournament, with more than 80 players, began with the Battery Creek Marine ROTC honor guard presenting colors and the singing of the National Anthem. Miami and Shelly Phillips, organizers for these events then made the presentation of a check for $10,000 to Zachary Whisenhunt of Paws4Vets and then the tournament began.

And so did the rain.

But the rain didn’t seem to deter these stalwart players. Drenched, soaked, and cold, they still managed to come back with some amazing scores. The group gathered to enjoy a “cold one” and bid on some great silent auction items as the pros at the Legends determined the winners. Smiles, jokes, and laughter told me the day was a success despite the weather and the group had come together for a wonderful common cause.

The next morning, in beautiful sunshine, non-golfers and their dogs met at the Arsenal in downtown Beaufort to participate in a scavenger hunt where the clues led you to many local businesses, particularly ones on Bay Street. The fastest team of owner and dog, managed to finish in 12 ½ minutes – not the 90 minutes that Miami and Shelly had anticipated. But no worries, the event just moved ahead. Prizes were awarded and everyone headed off to Saturday chores a little sooner than expected.

At both events, being able to meet and talk with some of the Vets who were there with their dogs added an incredibly meaningful and intense overlay to the events. Paws4Vets does save lives. Paws4Vets makes it possible for some broken men to become a functioning part of society once again. Paws4Vets provides protection from the awful things that can come in the night. Paws4Vets is one of the most inspiring non-profits I have had the privilege of working with. The Island News was proud to be part of these two great events and to help the work that Miami and Shelly are doing to save our veterans.

Top photo: Patrick Wyatt, a disabled U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, reassures his dog “Princess” prior to the start of the scavenger hunt.

The Battery Creek Marine ROTC color guard
The Battery Creek Marine ROTC color guard

Arthritis in dogs can be helped

in Pets

By Dr. Parker T. Barker

You know that I am almost 10 years old and I have to admit I don’t jump up on the bed quite as easily as I used to. Or after taking a nap, it is hard for me to stand up. What is it? The same thing my Mom has, arthritis. Arthritis tends to be a bigger problem in bigger dogs but it can hit any of us pets no matter what size we are.

When you start to notice signs that things are changing for your dog, it is time for a trip to the Vet to make a plan about managing pain. No pet parent wants their four-legged furry one to hurt, so learn the steps you can take to make it better. I recommend a plan or time-line for treatment that doesn’t have any specific dates on it. Each pet will move through a treatment plan at their own pace. One dog might take another five years before serious medication is necessary. Another dog may need that medication right now. Here are nine things to keep in mind when you see your dog slowing down:

1. First on my plan is getting slim. Somebody called me “Porker” the other day instead of Parker and it really PO’d me. The less weight a dog carries, the less load there is for his joints to deal with. High quality food is important. There are now foods that are helpful in weight management and others that have ingredients already in them to help with joints. Read those labels carefully as you don’t want to sacrifice high quality foods for a catchy, cute label.

2. As much as possible, keep your dog warm and dry, since cold and damp conditions can aggravate arthritis. That’s why living where it is almost always warm is a good idea. Get your dog a soft, padded bed and for those with advanced arthritis, put some warm compresses on painful joints on the really bad days.

3. Find a professional dog massage therapist. Seriously. I would recommend the same thing for you if you had joint problems. Their work can increase your pet’s flexibility, circulation and sense of well-being. Your Vet might be able to recommend one.

4. Consider the use of pain medication for your pet. Typically nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly called NSAIDs), may be considered or even disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) can take the pain away. Talk to your Vet before giving your dog any medication.

5. There are many studies about the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for arthritis management. My feeling is that you won’t know if it helps until you try it for a decent amount of time. There really isn’t a downside if you use supplements from a reputable firm. Your vet can recommend some. Both of these supplements can be used to help improve joint mobility and support better joint functioning in dogs – and people too -but there are specific ones for dogs.

6. Now, to show my progressive side, did you know acupuncture isn’t just for people? This painless technique has shown some success for animals suffering from arthritis. Again, give it a shot of other methods don’t seem to be helping. And again, make sure you are going to a reputable acupuncturist.

7. For dogs with very advanced arthritis, surgery may be an option. But talk to your vet about the pro’s and con’s of this kind of surgical procedure. You need to know what you can expect after the surgery.

8. To make your pet’s life easier at home, consider adding steps to get up and down from your bed or sofa, or even a ramp if steps are hard. A ramp can also be hugely helpful for getting in and out of a car. There are also dog harnesses that have a handle on top to help get a dog up or down with less pain. Remember you really don’t want your dog to jump down from things as that produces a huge amount of jolt to their already painful bones and joints.

9. And lastly, exercise is a must, but you have to monitor it so that your dog’s exuberance doesn’t exacerbate his sore joints. Controlled exercise is what he needs. And he needs it every day. Remember, if you are exercising your dog, try and find a place that is easier on his joints like a jogging track or other softer surface to run and play on. Concrete is a very unforgiving surface for your dog’s joints.

So there you have it. Some of us will have to admit that our squirrel chasing days are numbered. Soon it will be too painful to make it fun anymore. I guess I’ll just bug my sister Peanut then. So much easier…

Dr. Parker T. Barker received his doctorate in Squirrel Chasing and Hoovering from the University of Hartford, CT Rescue Center.

Pets of the Week

in Pets

PETS Peanut

Peanut is a beautiful 6 year old girl. She has a lovely personality and enjoys lounging and playing with wand toys. She will be one of the first to greet you at the door. Meet with Peanut today! She is spayed, microchipped and up to date on her vaccinations.

PETS Maury Cowl

Maury is a handsome 3 year old boy. He enjoys going on walks and bike rides. After outside time he is always ready for a good snuggle. Meet with Maury today! He is neutered, microchipped and up to date on vaccinations.

The Palmetto Animal League Adoption Center is open Mon. – Sat. 12 to 7 p.m. Email us at or call 843-645-1725 for more info.

Why should I train my dog?

in Pets

By Dr. Parker T. Barker

Training your dog isn’t a topic of discussion about whether you should or shouldn’t do it. In my opinion, it is an absolute necessity if you want a balanced, happy, confident dog.

The old fashioned methods of training known as the dominance and punishment-based philosophies are now history. No more hitting your dog with a rolled up newspaper to tell him what not to do. Making yourself the “pack leader” in the eyes of your dog doesn’t mean that you are the one to discipline him all the time. Being the “boss” can be achieved by using training methods based on positive reinforcement rather than just fear. The fear approach is doomed to fail from the start because the methods used to establish this dominant status are physically and psychologically damaging to your dog and dangerous for you. Positive training, which rewards and motivates a dog for good behavior, allows you to foster a relationship with your dog based on mutual trust and respect instead of fear and intimidation. Dogs that are taught using positive reinforcement methods are more tolerant, self-controlled and behave much more predictably in different situations.

Honestly, most dogs just want to please their owners, they just need to know what it is you want them to do. Since I’ve moved to South Carolina, I’ve noticed that dogs down here don’t get as much training as they do “up north” whether it is positive or otherwise. But a trained dog is so much happier in so many ways; it is a shame that more dog owners don’t do it more often.

So, why should you train your dog?

Every dog needs to be able to live successfully in their own home. In order to do that, they need “life skills”. You need to teach your dog basic behavior skills like “sit”, “stay”, and “come” which are important but it is much more than that. Dogs also need enough mental stimulation and physical exercise to prevent them from becoming stressed out which often leads to destructive chewing, inappropriate barking, aggressive display towards people and/or other dogs or other unwanted behaviors.

Let me give you an example of the advantages of managing your dog’s environment. Imagine you have a very friendly puppy who loves to meet new people. When someone comes to the door, he typically greets the guest with great enthusiasm and jumps up on them. That jumping part? Not so good. Teach the puppy how to meet someone new without jumping on them. He needs to learn that he can get excited about meeting someone new without jumping. This is called training.

Now imagine a fearful, wary dog in this same situation. When someone comes to the door take pressure off him by putting him behind a baby gate or in her own room as the guest enters. This will help keep stress at bay and your dog emotionally stable.

Increasing your dog’s enjoyment of social interaction will give him the confidence to deal with the pressures of domestic life. Training your dog to have good manners and behave well in different situations not only requires effort, but also consistent commitment to ensure success.

By putting your dog in different situations where he can observe and ‘converse’ at a distance is as important as teaching him to accept physical touch. You need to control the environment. This is particularly important with rescue dogs as you don’t know what happened to them in their early, formative months or years. For example, don’t let people just walk up to your dog without asking permission. If you agree to the request, then suggest that scratching your dog under his chin is preferable to patting him on the head. I hate getting patted on the head. You will see me physically flinch and pull away. Sadly it reminds me of some not so good times in my life when I was a puppy and people would hit me on top of my head. I see that hand coming down and know it is going to hurt. Protect your dog from situations that are going to make them uncomfortable.

If you have the kind of dog that does not interact well with others, put a yellow ribbon on your leash to let people know at a distance that you want to be left alone to enjoy your walk.

Training your dog builds up a language between the two of you that promotes security and comfort. The more time you invest teaching your dog to live successfully in a human world the more you will avoid problem behaviors that come from their lack of understanding.

Unfortunately, many dogs end up being punished for negative behavior that could have been avoided if they had been trained initially. And these negative behaviors are a common reason why dogs are surrendered to the pound or animal control. Many dogs respond well to cues such as “sit” and “stay” in the classroom, but out of the classroom it is a different story. You, the owner, and the rest of the family, all need to be consistent and continually reinforce the training every day. School isn’t a magic place where your puppy goes and comes back “all trained” with no further work on your part. Consistency is the real key to a well-balanced dog that reacts properly in every situation he may find himself in. Problems can usually be fixed if people would take some time to train their dog. Remember, dogs don’t know how you want them to act, you have to teach them!

You’ve no doubt heard the adage, “You can’t teach old dog new tricks.” If you have an older dog, you’ll be relieved to know that, for the most part, this old wives tale is false. Older dogs are perfectly capable of learning. Take me for example, I’m nine years old and I am learning every day. It might take me a little longer because I’m getting stiff and arthritic but I will still try. Hold a treat in front of me and I’ll jump through hoops if that is what it takes to get that theat. Love those treats.

So there you have it. Make the investment in training your dog. It will pay you back 1000% when you have a well behaved, confident, secure dog.

Golf has gone to the dogs – for Veterans!

in Pets

Want to make a real difference in someone’s life? Join at the iconic Legends of Parris Island Golf Course May 20, 2016! It is time to bring your “A” game, four-legged friends and your heart to honor, protect and save our Military Veterans while playing amid the beauty of Legends grand golf course – all at the foot of the US Military Recruitment Training facilities.

The Paws4people Foundation and Paws4vets Golf Tournament provides an amazing golf experience plus an insider’s view of this amazing organization that is dedicated to saving lives through highly trained assistance dogs. Research has shown that many returning service men and women are desperate for a way to cope with the mental, physical and emotional aftermath of combat duty. We have found that vets can turn to the gentle aid of highly trained service dogs to help in the healing process. These four-legged super-friends provide loyalty and companionship along with critical coping skills that help military vets in their moment of need. These dogs faithfully provide a life-changing service to those who have given so much to protect our country. And you can be part of that help.

See first-hand how partnering these dogs with returning vets or with children with disabilities provides life-saving assistance beyond just the unconditional love a dog will bring you. Come meet some of our clients and their dogs who will be at the event.

Contact Shelly or Miami Phillips at 404-597-6000 to sign up to play or to become a sponsor.

Golf not your thing but want to help Vets get service dogs? Bring your whole family and four-legged bow-wow friends for the first ever Dog Scavenger Hunt in downtown Beaufort on Sunday morning May 21st. How? Simply enjoy the beauty of Beaufort, and help your pup sniff out the treasures at participating downtown businesses in a fun-filled morning activity that is open to everyone at no charge. Details to follow!

Pets of the Week

in Pets



Bartello is a handsome 2 year old boy. He enjoys going on walks and bike rides. After outside time he is always ready for a good snuggle. Meet with Bartello today! He is neutered, microchipped and up to date on vaccinations.

Hagan is a very sweet 2 year old boy. He will talk to you before he starts to play and enjoys laser lights, feather toys and playing Peekaboo. Meet with Hagan today! He is neutered, microchipped and up to date on vaccinations.

The Palmetto Animal League Adoption Center is open Mon. – Sat. from 12 to 7 p.m. Email us at or call 843-645-1725 for more info.

Does your dog have what it takes to be a therapy dog?

in Pets

By Dr. Parker T. Barker

Therapy dogs are really wonderful. These dogs, when certified, visit both the young and old in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, re-habilitation facilities, and just about any place you can find a patient of some sort. And research shows, a dog can make a difference for them.

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 7.52.24 PMI am not a therapy dog. I’m not good at staying in one place if there is food somewhere within 200 yards. But I know some therapy dogs and the difference they can make to an individual is truly amazing and enviable. A dog is non-judgmental. They don’t know what awful things have happened to you to get you in this place. They just know they like you and want to be around you especially if it involves a scratch behind the ears. When people see a dog, they usually smile. All of us dogs are cute in our own way. Maybe we remind the patient of their dog long ago or somehow we let a child know they will be OK.

We also give patients or residents something to look forward to – our next visit. The looking forward to is a huge plus for our aging population who may think all they have look forward to is the inevitable. How awful is that?

We have therapy dogs here in Beaufort County. Therapy Dogs International sent me the following note about their upcoming certification. If you think you would like to do this, give them a call to find out more information. You have to know and do specific things, and your dog does too, but it’s not an onerous task (my new word for the day). Give it a go and see. You may open a door to a whole new adventure for both you and your pet.

Does your dog have what it takes to be a therapy dog? Beaufort Chapter No. 229 of Therapy Dogs International will host a therapy dog pre-test clinic at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, at Beaufort County Disabilities and Special Needs Center, 100 Clear Water Way. 

There is no charge or minimum age for the clinic, but you must attend a clinic to be eligible to take the TDI test the following month. Before attending the clinic, please read the test requirements at Dogs are required to wear a flat buckle collar with 6-foot leash. You must present your dog’s up-to-date shot records. 

Four weeks later, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 7, the chapter will hold a TDI test at Bayview Manor, 11 Todd Drive. Space is limited and dogs must be more than one year old to take the test. Please allow 2 hours for the clinic and the test.

Therapy dog-and-handler teams visit hospital, assisted living and nursing homes to bring emotional support to residents. They also participate in the “Tail-Waggin’ Tutor” program, helping children improve their reading skills at local elementary schools, and the YMCA.

To register for the clinic and test, contact Lynn Stratton at or 843-522-0798.

Pets of the Week

in Pets



Sarge is a handsome 11 year old boy. He enjoys outside time, lounging, and going for walks. Come meet with Sarge! He is neutered, microchipped and up to date on his vaccinations.

Kayle is a sweet 1 year 11 month old boy. He enjoys playing hide-and-seek and being petted. Meet with Kayle today! He is neutered, microchipped and up to date on his vaccinations.

The Palmetto Animal League Adoption Center is open Mon. – Sat. from 12 to 7 p.m. Email us at or call 843-645-1725 for more info.

Pets of the Week

in Pets



Onyx is a 5 year old girl. Once you let her warm up to you she is the sweetest. She enjoys relaxing and going for walks. Meet with Onyx today! She is spayed, microchipped and up to date on her vaccinations.

Simba is a very handsome 3 year old boy. He enjoys attention, playing with feather toys and pretending to be a dog. Meet with Simba today! He is neutered, microchipped and up to date on his vaccinations.

The Palmetto Animal League Adoption Center is open Mon. – Sat. from 12 to 7 p.m. Email us at or call 843-645-1725 for more info.

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