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Starting Over Animal Refuge Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Mission: Canine rescue, rehabilitation and adoptions. all adults are saved from high kill shelters off of Deathrow. Our puppies come from all over but mostly stem from our very popular S.N.A.P program that offers a free spay on momma dogs that belong to the general public when they surrender their entire litter to our program. This gives puppies a chance to get the RIGHT start in life and be able to protect them for life. Helping decrease the numbers of unwanted pets in the US

Target demographics: Save hundreds of unwanted animals a year from death row , Craigslist and off some of the cruelest streets in the United States

Direct beneficiaries per year: Krewe de rescue , Dallas RRR (our dowdy ferry rd mission) we have worked with South Bark on rehabbing aggressive dogs and several shelters across the southern states

Geographic areas served: Ocala FL on a serene 30 acre ranch open to healing the broken and changing lives

Programs: Adoptions , rehabilitation and our famous S.N.A.P program that provides free spaying and neutering for owners who turn over their entire litter of puppies to help stop the cycle of unwanted animals and protect those puppies for life with lifelong contracts and monitored forever homes

Community Stories

212 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3 Kristy26

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Melissa reached out to me about a month ago she offered me a service dog fo she offered me a service dog free of charge. My daughter which is 9 years old was being bullied in school everyda my daughter which is 9 years old was being bullied in school every day and was coming home crying and sad and didn't understand why she was being bullied. Melissa message me and said that she had a service dog that she would like me to take for my daughter to help her get through the emotional state she was in. Just her reaching out I'm in a lot to the family. Right now we are unable to have another dog so we were not able to accept her offer. But I would like to thank her for reaching out in a time of need. I have seen her rescue hundreds of puppies and get them adopted out adult dogs also. She goes above and beyond for her rescue.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This past weekend I adopted a puppy from Starting Over Refuge and I couldn't be happier! Melissa was very sweet and helpful during the whole process. The refuge is a beautiful farm and you can tell that these people really care about the animals they have. Would recommend to anyone. My puppy (Jax) was very healthy overall minus a few worms which are very normal for pups, and we are already so in love

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are so blessed to find “Mr.Champ”our first puppy at SOAR. I was quite nervous adopting but Melissa was able to answer my many questions and assured me it will be ok.

Alyssa M.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We got our Mille almost 3 weeks ago and we could not imagine life without her now! I would highly recommend finding your life companion here :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

Melissa was very flexible in her schedule to let us meet our future puppy at her ranch. You can tell she cares very much for all her animals and has exceptional training skills with the dogs. We enjoyed our visit and our new family member. Thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Its been almost 4yrs since i got my lil baby from melissa at SOAR. My husband and i couldn't thank melissa enough, she made it so easy and informative. We will certainly go through SOAR if we go looking for another fur baby!! Melissa and SOAR are amazing

Client Served

Rating: 5

Got my mastiff yesterday starting over ranch is awesome!

Jay_42

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

we have adopted 2 puppies from Melissa and could not be happier. she has the knowledge and expertise to handle any situation, and she has become a very good friend over the past few years. if you ever need a dog or horse she is the one to come see.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I adopted a puppy from Melissa about 4 years ago and you can not ask for a more professional or friendly person on the planet. she puts her heart and soul in saving all the animals she can.

Amy R.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Melissa and her staff were excellent. I am really praying for them to have funding to build a bigger shelter to help even more animals.
My daughter and I have been looking for a Golden Retriever mix puppy for almost four years and had been in contact with Melissa several times. The stars finally aligned and we adopted a little girl last week. What a blessing !! Thank you to Melissa for all your help.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

We decided to get a dog at a spur of the moment descision & it was the best decision going to Melissa! We have had him for almost 5 months! Our Dexter is truly one of a kind & I couldn’t be happier with my sweet baby boy!

1 Yvette O.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Anyone who loves animals also knows the level of commitment that goes into ensuring the continuity of care. They get sick in the middle of the night unexpectedly, they have accidents, they need love, and they need veterinary care. Ours are our babies. Animals depend on us to protect, and provide for their needs. Melissa is completely dedicated to the care of those animals in need. Often times she will utilize her own funds. Please help with any donation you are able to afford. You can volunteer your time, provide veterinary services, medical supplies, feed, or money, or even adoption. Please take a look at the wonderful work that is done here.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This place is so incredible she intercepts puppies for horrible situations! She gives them vaccines better then the vets! She is seriously amazing and I’d adopt from her any and every time I am looking! She is seriously a incredible rescue and puts time and work into her dogs to insure they are healthy and happy! And by adopting your helping her save more puppies that can ultimately end up dead from parasites or from going off to become bait dogs!

Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa302 10/19/2017

I really wish you stayed who you are and what puppy you adopted so I can make a personal phone call to you and offer your entire adoption fee back because now I fear you may attempt to get rid of this puppy who's a lab mix that's born and bred to be a mentally and physically active dog which would of never been interpreted otherwise not even by my new interns. Most puppies period require 2 miles of activity a day and still have energy unless you adopt a Bassett hound. As far as finding my place GPS and WAZE Brings you to my 10 acre ranch just 1/2 mile and 3 turns off of I-75. Only one that lacks ability to listen and follow directions gets lost coming here . Obviously and I'm not going to apologize for being rude in this case you have a habit of not listening or following direction. You also did zero research on the breed you were trying to adopt . With that said I ask everyone what their lifestyle is and explain the breeds temperament or ask if they did their reasearch .

2

Client Served

Rating: 1

DO NOT GET A PUPPY/DOG FROM HER, were so the puppy's come from?? It's VERY hard to find her home!! Thought I was getting a lab , no I didn't I ended having a dog that still wanted to run/play after a 2mile walk!

Rachel H.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our sweet Penny from SOAR. Melissa was so awesome and accommodating, even though she had fallen ill from a cold. She knew our pups personality from the start, and knew she was better suited for a family with out kids (since she was slightly timid and became overstimulated easily). She even offered to see Penny if she developed any medical problems. Penny has been the biggest blessing to our lives. She is the sweetest dog I've ever had. She always has a smile on her face. Thank you Melissa for caring so much for these pups!

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

I'm sorry but I have to speak out on this place...I have tried to support it. But I'm continually disappointed in how it is run. First of all, they purchase puppies from backyard breeders on craigslist, Fb, etc. A reputable rescue would never do that. All that does is increase the demand & encourage them to breed again! Second of all, the adoption fees are outrageous. I could understand if a lot was put into the dogs, but she often has them less than 24-48 hours (most rescues quarantine at least 2 weeks...how is 2 days enough time at all), gives them a couple shots and then sells them. She doesn't pay for the spay/neuter. So what exactly is the fee covering? There is also no consistency in adoption fees. It seems like she throws a price on them based on how cute they are. What kind of rescue does that? She currently has pyrenees mix puppies for adoption for $500!! and then you see she also has some "australian shepherd/catahoula" puppies for $350 and $360. seriously why is one sibling $10 more expensive than the other..? Anyway, I would love to be wrong but it seems to me like shes just buying puppies and then re-selling them for more money. She does not pull from shelters and she almost strictly takes puppies, aside from the occasional purebred adult. $500 x 6 puppies and she's making a total of 3k in a matter of a couple of days off of those Pyr pups...I'm sorry and I would love to be proved wrong I'm just having trouble believing this rescue has the best intentions when they jack up the price for cuter puppies and do not quarantine or include spay/neuter in an already very high adoption fee. I would love to see her rescue dogs that are really in need...maybe dogs on death row at the shelter? or seniors...it just appears from my perspective she only rescues the very desirable and easily adoptable dogs/puppies.

Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa302 09/04/2017

Thankyou for your opinion and you're questions are very normal . I don't highlight the adults I do save and I do save seniors and problem dogs . I currently have sailor moon who is a 6 yr old amstaff bully and she's semi aggressive in nature making her very hard to place . She's been here now for 9 months . We also have Annie a senior shepherd who is 10 yrs old and we have had her here for over a year going on two years yet to find even a foster home . We have Lilly a dominant boxer mix . Who we are housing for a girl that was part of our teen outreach program and then we have a lab who is 3yrs old and waiting to be spayed and microchipped . So yes we do take in adults but have to be very selective now being I am about to go through a child custody battle . I yes believe it or not I have to consider my family and life positions as well. I have not been steady to save everyone I want to save .

Client Served

Rating: 5

When we discovered our puppy online, there was no doubt that this would be the one coming home with us. After the 2 hours drive to Melissa's ranch, we were not disappointed: The dogs looked just like on the pictures - healthy, clean and well-kept. We were allowed plenty of time to meet different puppies from the litter, so we could find our best match.
Paperwork was done efficiently and straight forward.
Melissa is doing an exceptional job out there, dedicating her life to the animals an keeping the place in good shape.
We will highly recommend this organization to friends and family choosing to give an animal the chance to start over!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We found our baby boy (Mastiff and American Bulldog) and named him Remington, at the Starting Over Animal Refuge, Inc in Ocala, Florida. We cannot say enough wonderful things about the owner, Melissa!
She took so many telephone calls from me leading up to our coming to visit her amazingly peaceful ranch!
Melissa was so patient with us, allowing us all the time that we needed to make this very important choice.
All of the animals were taken care of so great by Melissa, it was hard to choose just one puppy! All of the puppies were fed and happy and excited to great their new visitors - each of their individual personalities shown through! It is truly amazing how passionate, professional and loving Melissa is to every single little animal on her farm! She has devoted her life to caring for animals - I would highly recommend this rescue farm to everyone! We are loving spoiling our new addition to our family!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family and I took the two hour drive from Winter Haven to Ocala once we fell in love with the Mastiff puppies that Melissa and the Rescue had. When we arrived, Melissa took us back and we walked right over to where the Mastiff puppies were and immediately chose our baby girl Nala. Melissa gathered our information and informed us about her shots and demorming process that the puppy had already been given. We agree to all of the request in order to adopt our sweet girl and we took her home that day. All the animals at the rescue we very sweet and kind and you can absolutely tell they are love unconditionally. Thank you Melissa for our sweet baby girl.

Client Served

Rating: 5

On December 14th we drove from Orlando to Ocala to try to find a forever friend who would fit in with our other dogs and our active life. We arrived and were given the opportunity to spend as much time as we wanted with the dogs. This was a relief as many adoption sites are set up so it is almost a competition to get the dog you may or may not fit with. I would love to say that we picked Oakley but it would be more apt to say that he picked us. The dogs at Starting Over are in nice large areas and we were a bit away from the area he was in but he made enough noise that he got our attention! We spent a lot of time interacting with him and Melissa was very honest with us about the intestinal parasites that he had and was receiving treatments for (this is the reason he was away from the other puppies). Well, a few doses of medicine later we have a happy healthy puppy who enjoys playing with our other dogs, hiking and playing in waterfalls! I could not have asked for a better experience or a better addition to our family. Not a day goes by that he doesn't make me smile!

Client Served

Rating: 5

This rescue ranch is awesome. The owner is beyond caring for the puppies and is very knowledgeable on the breads, medicine, etc for your new fur baby. We adopted this cutie and named her Stella. We are so very happy and lucky to have come across this rescue ranch as we found an amazing new member of our family! Thanks again for being such a kind caring person! You are very special and what you do for these animals is just amazing!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found Melissa and SOAR on Petfinder.com, as I was looking to adopt/rescue a Labrador (I'm a previous Lab owner)
I contacted her on March 4, and the following day my son and I drove 4 hours to Ocala. When we arrived, there were puppies in various kennels and 19 horses in a pasture! Melissa has chosen to dedicate her life to helping animals, and she's passionate about it ..
After discussing a few of the puppies with Melissa, I chose Bella (Lab/Aussie Shepherd mix) for 2 reasons:
(1) Melissa told me she was very calm (as compared to her 7 brothers and sisters)
(2) Bella had a corneal ulcer (one of her brothers had scratched her eye the day before).. She needed to be adopted quickly and see a Vet...
Now, 6 weeks later... Great puppy....Very smart.. Extremely social with people.... Everyone that meets her can't believe how "chilled" she is for a puppy (Melissa was right).. For this reason, she's a pleasure to take everywhere..

I recommend Melissa and would adopt another puppy from her again ...I also admire her for the tremendous effort it takes to care for so many animals.. Pics below at 8, 12, and 14 weeks..