FORT MILL TOWNSHIP --
While Santa is busy in the North Pole checking his list twice, some of his helpers are here, trying to make it a brighter Christmas for animals in need.
The Baxter Veterinary Clinic has an Angel Tree in the lobby with ornaments representing various wishes, from basic care to spay/neuter. Each donation most range from $10 to $25 will help local rescue groups provide what the dogs and cats need while waiting for a forever home.
This is the second consecutive year Baxter Veterinary Clinic, located on Hwy. 160 West near Birds of a Feather, has set up the tree. Last year, it raised $1,000, according to Sonja Dougan, a staff member at the practice.
We just wanted to think of a way to help local rescue groups in the area that are taking care of pets in need, Dougan said.
Although most of the animals dont have serious health issues, some do require more advanced and costly care. Treating heartworm, for example, can run several hundred dollars.
Some of the health care issues are routine, like vaccinations, but sometimes the animals rescued from the [kill] shelter have to be treated for Parvo and other diseases, Dougan said.
A lot of the time these pets were strays and exposed to a lot of things without anyone knowing about it and its important that they are treated as soon as possible. We want them all to find their forever home, but we want them to be healthy when they get to their forever home.
Kristen Marris of Fort Mill, who recently founded Ruff Life Animal Rescue, said the Angel Tree will help us continue to take on the more serious cases, which not every rescue group is able to do, as well as save many more lives.
Since organizing in October, Ruff Life has rescued 22 dogs rescued from kill shelters and found adoptive families for 10 of them. Marris had a relationship with Baxter Veterinary Clinic prior to starting the group.
I use Baxter Veterinary for my personal animals and the rescue I was working with previously Halfway There, also in the Angel Tree program also uses [them], Marris said, adding that the practice doesnt shy away from the serious cases some of the rescues present.
We work to help people keep their dogs and that is why Baxter Veterinary has chosen us and they are great to us, which is why we use them, she said.
Like many other rescue groups, the goal of Ruff Life, Marris said, is no longer having to rescue.
Recently organized, the group has non-profit incorporation status from South Carolina but is looking for an attorney and/or accountant to help it apply for federal 501(c)(3) charity status.
The Baxter Veterinary Clinics elves have used their influence to arrange for a visit from Santa 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Take pictures with Santa for $10 with a portion of the proceeds going to the rescue groups the clinic supports. The Baxter Veterinary Clinic is at 1642 Hwy.160 West, Suite 104, Fort Mill. Reach them at 547-8387.