Look out CofC; there’s a new organization on campus! Cougars For Paws was created this year by CofC students Sam Bledsoe, Celia Fanning, and Elle Cantor with the intention of pairing fellow students with animals from high-kill shelters primarily in SC. So, who are they, and how does it work?
Sam Bledsoe (pictured below), a senior, is a pilot (yes, I did just say she’s a pilot -I’m shook too) and therefore, she gets the super fun job of transporting animals through another organization called Pilots n Paws, which connects pilots with animals in need of transportation. This connection allows her to bring the animals to Charleston to find their new homes! Celia Fanning, a freshman, has her own fluffy pups at home and has also personally fostered through DOG4U. Elle Cantor, also a freshman, has previously fostered through Safe and Sound Santos, which is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating stray dogs from Puerto Rico. But of course, they’re all huge animal lovers.
Like many students, they each struggled with not having any of their animals around when they first came to school. They soon developed the perfect way to bring animals to the CofC community while also helping save lives. With their combined experience in fostering, it was obvious the route they would take to make this dream happen.
The mission of Cougars for Paws is to rescue and rehome as many animals from high-kill shelters as possible. Right now, their main focus is on South Carolina, but they do hope to expand. They also try to rescue animals listed as “free” on Craigslist, especially those that look like they are in exceedingly bad shape. To find animals to rescue, they research the URGENT euthanasia list in all counties in South Carolina and regularly check Craigslist for any new animals. On top of rescuing, they also have a passion for educating the Charleston area on the importance of spay/neuter and caring for animals properly.
How to Get Involved
To join their organization or foster an animal, email them at [email protected] or DM them on Instagram (@CougarsForPaws) and include what you would like to do. If you’re interested in volunteering, they will share their next meeting time with you. Some opportunities for volunteers include passing out flyers to local shops, helping with fundraising ideas, helping gather supplies, and helping take dogs to the vet. If you’re interested in fostering or adopting, they will send you an application immediately. Be sure to follow them on Instagram as well because they often post animals available to foster or adopt. Anyone can foster the animals (as long as the application is approved).
If you’re interested in getting to know some amazing animals that really need you, please reach out to them! These amazing women are bringing something to CofC that no one else is offering and that is so exciting. Plus, we love a female-founded organization!
Check out photos from @CougarsForPaws Instagram