Managing Director & Co-founder, Paws, Prayers, and Promises
Dana Mayer believes in following your passion and loving what you do—which she does every day as the managing director and co-founder of Polk County’s Paws, Prayers, and Promises.
The foster-based organization, founded in 2015, “believes in building bridges for pets and their people in our community through humane education, assistance with special cases, adoptions, community awareness, and fostering of animals for people facing the ends of their lives until forever homes can be found. We have no facility, no cages, no kennels, no chains. We do have folks who generously volunteer their time, homes, and hearts in order to help.”
In 2016 alone, 550 animals received assistance from Paws, Prayers, and Promises, not including those they assisted with food. The organization is 100 percent staffed by volunteers. This includes Mayer, who takes no salary.
“All of the money goes directly into supporting our work,” says Mayer. “That is very satisfying, even if a bit personally limiting.”
Mayer was born in Alabama and grew up in Greenville, South Carolina. She graduated with a degree in biology from Furman and did postgraduate work at Western Carolina University. She subsequently worked at Foothills Humane Society for 10 years as rescue coordinator, foster coordinator, and director of the Po’Kitties TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program, which she co-founded in 2007.
“All of the money goes directly into supporting our work. That is very satisfying, even if a bit personally limiting.”
“Over the years, we saw a lot of animals falling through the cracks—one shelter or one rescue cannot do it all,” she says. “We try to do what others in the community cannot or will not do.”
The most challenging part of her job is educating people. “We try to make it easy for folks to spay/neuter and care properly for their pets, and some days it is like smacking one’s head against the proverbial wall.”
Mayer laughs when asked what she enjoys doing in her spare time. “What spare time?” she asks. “I field calls, texts, and emails seven days a week. Animals in trouble have no concept of ‘business hours,’ so spare time is definitely at a minimum. I enjoy walking the dogs, and we have two therapy dogs who visit various places—schools, nursing homes, Special Olympics, etc. While that probably counts as ‘work,’ it never feels like it.”
Mayer names her mother as her key life influence. “There have been many influential people in my life, but I think the most influential was my Mom. She encouraged me to rescue, to save, and to love and respect animals and the natural world. She was a true inspiration, and I miss her every day.”
For Mayer, it’s all about the animals—her inspiration and reward for the work that she does. “I love to see an animal who was homeless, injured, and terrified transformed into a dearly beloved family member. I love to release a feral cat, newly spayed/neutered and now with a rabies vaccine, back into its home territory, knowing it will be fed and cared for. There really is no greater feeling.”
Helping the animals and their people,
in our community.
$81,650 (2017 budget)
Number served annually
2016 was our first full year and we were able to help about 550 animals, not including all the animals and owners that we help with food.
how do you get funding?
Our funding comes from grants and from the incredibly generous people in our community. We are also supported in a multitude of ways by our partner, P3 Consignments, which is an upscale consignment shop in downtown Landrum, South Carolina.
Year nonprofit was founded?
We serve Polk County, North Carolina, and Upper Spartanburg County, South Carolina (consisting of Landrum, Campobello, and Gowensville).
List of board members with titles
Henry Ellwood Peabody III
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