Shelter Spotlight – Animal Advocates of Barnwell County

by Elysian Magazine

Who we are:

Animal Advocates is a nonprofit organization in South Carolina led by President Vikki Scott and dedicated board members, a diverse group of people with the common goal of making a difference in the lives of the cats and dogs. Since 2006, proceeds from their thrift store, the Pick of the Litter Shoppe, have allowed Animal Advocates to provide the following:

  • A no-cost/low-cost spay and neuter program, based on available funds, for people in Barnwell County who cannot afford the surgery for their pets
  • Financial support for our Friends for Life Foster and Adoption Center and ACI program
  • Community outreach activities

The local county shelter often had a euthanasia rate as high as 98%, and Animal Advocates board members decided the best answer was to build a facility that would bring these helpless dogs and cats from the shelter and into a safe haven. While being fostered there, these pets receive the medical attention they need and deserve, before being adopted into loving forever homes.

Animal Advocates opened the Friends for Life Center in 2013 and formed a unique partnership with Allendale Correctional Institution (ACI). Since its inception, the MeowMates/MuttMates program at ACI has grown from an original two cats to where they are today, with 50 animals being housed, fostered, and trained by a select group of inmates affectionately referred to as Pet Dads. To date, more than 500 dogs and cats have been fostered at ACI.

Check out their website at or join them on Facebook.


What we need most right now:

Animal Advocates’ primary needs are funds for medical expenses, such as orthopedic surgeries and heartworm treatment for heartworm-positive dogs, as well as funds to expand the quarantine wing of their Friends for Life Center, to have a larger, safer intake area.

Our favorite rescue story:

Adoption through Millie’s Eyes …

I never had a home. I lived on the streets. I ate from trash cans. People yelled at me, kicked me, and threw things at me. One day I was picked up by animal control and taken to the Barnwell County Animal Shelter.

Everyone who walked by me said I was ugly and laughed at me. I was ashamed and hurt. For once I was glad that I had long bushy hair over my eyes so no one could see my fears. I knew I would never be adopted like all of the cute pups, and I had been at the shelter long enough to know what happens to the animals that don’t get adopted. They are taken into “the room” and they never return to their pen again.

Volunteers were at the shelter on the day unwanted animals were to be euthanized. One of the women came to my pen. My time was up. I didn’t fight to get away. I knew my fate.

I was lifted up into a tub, expecting the inevitable. But instead, warm water and shampoo were poured over me. I was in shock. I had never known what warm water felt like – only the cold rain or the spray of a water hose when someone was trying to scare me away. The woman gently dried me with towels. She then placed me in the front seat of her car where I immediately emptied my bladder. I knew I would be hit for my bad manners, but the woman told me it was OK as she cleaned up the puddle.

I was driven to Tara’s Grooming, where I was given a bubble bath, dried, brushed, and given a haircut. When all of the hair had been clipped from my face, the women finally saw my eyes and said they had never seen a dog with such long eyelashes! A lovely scarf was then tied around my neck and I was carried to the car again.

Before we drove away, the woman looked into my eyes and told me I was beautiful and that I had a home with her. I was adopted! Every single day for the last eight years “my lady” has told me that I am beautiful. And you know what? I finally believe it!

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy