Shelter dogs Moose, Rachel Louise and Yoda are a center of attention these days in the bright lights of the Charleston Ballet Theatre's production of "The Nutcracker."

The theater has created a special segment for the canines it calls "The Muttcracker."

Although the trio have found new homes, many more of their friends need help this holiday season.

In response, Cam Wills of Tri-County Spinal Care Centers is making it possible to adopt an adult dog or cat at no cost today. He is donating up to $20,000 to the cause.

"I'm giving $50 per adult animal. This is a passion of mine," he said.

Those who adopt at one of nine locations in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties will have the option of making a donation.

The goal is to find homes for 400 animals, he said.

"The real heroes are the people who run the shelters. I'm just trying to help them do what they do," Wills said.

Animals will be available for adoption today at the matinee performance of "The Nutcracker" at North Charleston Performing Arts Center.

Moose, a Shih Tzu, was homeless when he was cast in the show. He faced another night back at the animal shelter after making his debut, but Kyle Barnette came to his rescue.

"I just fell in love with Moose and brought him home," said Barnette, administrative director for the ballet. He also owns Yoda, a small mixed-breed.

Rachel Louise, a Shih Tzu, was born to a dog rescued from a Tennessee puppy mill.

"She just looks very happy up there. It's amazing how they just go with the flow," said owner Annie Sitton.

The Charleston Animal Society on Remount Road is one of the locations where adult dogs and cats will be offered today with the usual adoption fee waived.

"We would love for you to make a donation," said Kay Hyman, spokeswoman for the organization.

She said the problem of homeless animals is never-ending. The Animal Society on Thursday took in 18 dogs from a neglect case, she said.


Fee-free adoptions for adult dogs and cats will be at the following locations today:

Charleston Animal Society

2455 Remount Road

North Charleston

Frances R. Willis SPCA

136 Four Paws Lane


Doc Williams Adoption Center

502 Cypress Gardens Road

Moncks Corner

Doc Williams SPCA

109 St. James Ave.

Goose Creek


5900 Rivers Ave.

North Charleston

Wonder Works

624 Longpoint Road

Mount Pleasant

Old Navy

1600 Palmetto Grande Drive

Mount Pleasant

Pet Helpers

1447 Folly Road


"The Nutcracker"

3 p.m. matinee

North Charleston Performing Arts

Center, West Montague Avenue