The Cougar Volunteer Spirit is Alive and Well in Charleston

This blog is a project by public relations students at the College of Charleston. Since its inception in 2004, the Cougar Volunteer Spirit has showcased dozens of students who give of their time, effort and hearts to helping those in need. They don't do it for recognition like this, but their stories need to be shared because of their admirable qualities of character and caring. "Be the change you want to see in the world," Mahatma Ghandi said. That's the Cougar Volunteer Spirit that roars through these pages. Click on the side photos to see the articles. See photos of the students who wrote the pieces at the end. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Student Saving Puppies, One Week At A Time
By Brett N. Skirkanich

Volunteer Anslee Johnson with current foster 'pup'

Each Saturday College of Charlestons senior Anslee Johnson finds herself in both tears of joy and tears of happiness, saying goodbye to one child and welcoming a new one. The difference with her and most mothers? Her children are all puppies! A volunteer since the beginning of 2011, Anslee has committed herself and her time to Palmetto Paws Animal Rescue. Each week she shares her home with some of Charleston’s finest and youngest of furry friends. She has always had a love for animals and this is just another opportunity to show it. Besides animals, Anslee also enjoys traveling and learning about new cultures. She spent her Christmas vacation in Dubai with the College’s business program, and plans to travel to France this summer to continue her studies in art and the language itself. In the fall Anslee will return to Charleston for school as well as Palmetto Paws.

A Closer Look at Our Volunteer...
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Graduation: December 2011
Major: International Business and French

Previous Volunteer Work: I used to volunteer with Friendship Trays, a food delivery program providing for the elderly and disabled.

Today’s Volunteer work: This year I got involved with Palmetto Paws Animal Rescue. It’s amazing! I provide temporary care for dogs and puppies. Each Saturday I receive a new dog or puppy to foster. During the week I prepare the animal for adoption into a permanent home. This helps prevent overcrowding in our animal shelters as well as gives the dog or puppy love and attention. Hopefully when I return the following Saturday a family is ready to adpot. So far I have fostered four dogs; Gia (1yr mutt), Rebel (1 ½ yr dachshund), Kingston ( 3 months shepherd terrier mix) and Charlotte (3 month pitt/shepherd mix.)

How has this experience been so far? : I totally got hooked fostering the first time. I love being able to come home and play with them after class.The puppies are a lot of fun but tons more work!!! The older dogs are much more relaxed and easy to take care of. At the same time its very sad knowing their chance of adoption is much smaller.

What has been the hardest part? Saying goodbye! I cried when my first dog, Gia, got adopted but now I am used to giving them up after a week. I’m happy to see them get adopted into a loving family and to know they will finally live in a stable home. Although it’s hard to let go, I’m excited to know I played a part in their adjustment into this new life.

What has been the most positive part of this service? Fostering is a much more productive use of my time. It helps in decreasing stress and increases positive feelings and mental health. It also enables me to forge bonds with members of the community and increases my social network. I have gained a great sense of responsibility. It has also given me the chance to have a dog/puppy without the full commitment. Whether its because I’m traveling soon, or just having a busy week ahead, its a way to love a pet, during a time I may not be able to really have my own. Fostering is a win-win situation.

What would your friends and family have to say? I have always loved animals so I think it would come as no surprise. In fact, I know they’re happy I found the perfect outlet to help with something I love.

What would be your advice to someone who is debating doing volunteer
work? Do it! Get involved in your community! You’re both giving back, and keeping busy in a positive way. College is a hectic time, but this helps maintain a good schedule besides just academics. It’s a great experience where you can just simply be you, and enjoy.

Do you think this experience will leave a long lasting impression on you?
How so? Yes, absolutely! I will always remember the experience and love the people I have met, I want to stay involved after college and maybe start my own rescue/foster service when I am older.

As a graduating senior, what advice do you offer to an incoming CofC
freshman? Listen to your parents and get involved with something you love!

Thank you Anslee for your time and sharing your experience at Palmetto Paws!
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