As Christmas draws near, the sounds of the season are everywhere. For many people, that might include bells ringing and people singing.

At Palmetto Animal League, the sounds of the season are a little different. We are welcomed each day by the jingle of tags on dog collars and the soft purring of dozens of cats, all hoping they’ll have a home by Christmas.

One of those cats is Meranda, who, as of this writing, has been at PAL for a staggering 1,557 days. Meranda’s owner surrendered her to PAL when she was just 6 months old and she has been with us ever since. Now, at almost 5 years old, Meranda is a beautiful Southern belle with lots of spunk.

“We used to call her the front desk SWAT patrol,” said PAL adoption specialist Sally Dawkins. “But now she’s known as the ‘sweet’ patrol. Meranda takes time to warm up, but if you sit down and pat your lap, she will come snuggle.”

The PAL Adoption Center, tucked away in Okatie’s Riverwalk Business Park, serves as a beacon of hope for kittens found in dumpsters, dogs left on the side of the road, bright-eyed puppies still nursing and, yes, spunky little lasses like Meranda, because these are lives worth saving.

While we give them compassionate care, they know a shelter is not a real home.

“PAL’s No Kill Adoption Center provides a safe, home-like environment, but there is absolutely no substitute for the warmth and comfort of a loving family,” said PAL president Amy Campanini.

You can change the life of a homeless pet this holiday season during Palmetto Animal League’s “Season of Second Chances.” We are waiving adoption fees for cats, kittens and adult dogs Dec. 1 through New Year’s Day.

With more than 200 animals to spend time with, our knowledgeable staff members are dedicated to helping you find your next great love. Our pets are spayed or neutered, microchipped and up to date on vaccinations.

“Meranda loves a warm blanket and a snuggly lap,” said Dawkins. “I can just see her cuddled up with someone on the couch next to the fireplace, and after more than four years at PAL, she deserves that.”

Can’t adopt? You can still make a difference and share holiday cheer with pets in need. PAL is working with Meals on Wheels to give Christmas to the pets of local families in need. Just drop off pet food, toys, treats, pet beds or cozy blankets at PAL and we’ll make sure your holiday gifts get to those animals who need them most.

Lindsay Perry is the marketing coordinator for Palmetto Animal League.