A room for cats

There are about 25 cats at the shelter now, waiting for their forever homes.

Kind Keeper Animal Rescue is a second chance for dogs and cats that are homeless or at high risk of being euthanized.

The no-kill, private, 501c3 shelter at 1500 LD Drive in North Myrtle Beach has been rescuing dogs and cats since 2014 when Belinda Mairowicz saw the need and started the facility.

In 2016, KKAR found homes for 70 dogs and 30 cats. In 2017, 199 dogs and 60 cats were adopted through the shelter, and in 2018, 252 dogs and 73 cats found their forever homes.

Between January and March of 2019, 119 animals came and went.

Most of the animals come to KKAR from county shelters where, because of over-population, newborns, pregnant animals, older animals and sick animals are often at high risk to be euthanized.

The shelter also accepts animals that are being surrendered by their owners.

“We take them in, get them healthy and up-to-par to get them re-homed,” Mairowicz said.

The shelter is funded entirely by adoption fees and donations, and is run by volunteers. It is not affiliated with any state, county or local government agency.

Right now, there are about 38 dogs and 25 cats waiting for families to love them, and as KKAR is a 10-kennel facility, that’s a lot.

One of them is Windy, a 3-year-old pit mix who was attacked by two other dogs. Windy has already had three skin grafts to help heal an infected leg, but is now up and walking and doing well.

Puppies find homes fairly quickly, but their mothers are usually in the shelter about six to eight months. At least three of those months are spent having heartworm treatments.

What the shelter needs most from the community is regular donations, its founder said.

“In order for us to help more, we need regular monthly donations so that we know what we have coming in.

“We have to base what we do on finances, and if we had more finances, we could do more,” she said.

The shelter is open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – noon.

Call the shelter at 843-427-4288 or email to kindkeeper@yahoo.com.

In addition to the 10 large kennels for dogs, the shelter has two whelping rooms for mothers and puppies, an intake room, a community room for the cats, a medical treatment room, a grooming room, six fenced play yards and one covered play porch for puppies.

The shelter’s goals are to move to a larger facility, to create a pet food bank to help budget-stressed local pet owners keep their pets in their homes, and to open a low-cost animal clinic.

That clinic would, Mairowicz said, help the community with immunizations and with spaying and neutering.

That, she said, “would reduce the over-population of homeless animals and improve the health quality of pets that are already in homes.”

The shelter is looking for grants and sponsors to help with these goals.

Mairowicz believes every dog has a special person, and when that person comes in, the connection between the dog and the new owner is obvious.

Some dogs take longer to find their forever homes, such as one that just left the shelter after a year and a half.

“All the volunteers were here, and everyone cried as they said goodbye. It was a great day,” she said.

Mairowicz said working with the animals is definitely worth all that’s involved in getting them healthy, happy and adopted.

“When you get a dog that comes in scared to death, and in a week or two that dog is sitting on your lap, it’s very rewarding,” she said.

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