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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

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 10 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

299 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

10 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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you for bringing Fenway into our lives.

Fenway is an 8 week old Golden Retriever mix , and is happy, healthy, playful, and we just adore him.

The process to adopt him was very easy and you answered all of our questions even after we brought our fur baby home.

Thank you so much!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Melissa is wonderful! We stumbled across a puppy on the website from her in 2015. Having Deuce in our life has brought so much joy and love. Now just recently I was scrolling through Facebook and saw puppy pictures posted by Melissa. My husband anf I fell in love again and we now have Alita. She has only been with us for about a week, but we couldn't live without her. Thank you for both our little lights and loves!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We adopted our lil bit from Melissa for a second time. She is a wonderful care giver when it comes to animals in need. She is always intentive to make sure that the animal she is handing over is safe and secure in her new home. I forsee us returning again in the future for another addition to our family.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family and I had been hunting the perfect fir babies to join our family for months! We finally found them at Starting Over Animal Refuge! We adopted a male- whom we named Dozer and a female- we named Lola and both have been amazing additions to our family! I have an 8yr old and 8month old and they both LOVE Dozer and Lola and the puppies love them! Both puppies do amazing with my two children! We can’t imagine what it would be like without them, especially now that we have had them for 6 months!

Melissa at Starting Over Animal Refuge was amazing! She answered all our questions and addressed a few concerns that I had. She knows her fur babies well and was able to help my family and I find the perfect fit for our family! She didn’t just let us meet and take the puppies, she made sure that the puppies also seemed to like us and that we would be a good fit for them! Which was the best part because it shows she cares about them and wants them to go to a good home and be happy!!

I would absolutely recommend Starting Over Animal Refuge based on the experience my family and I had!

Previous Stories
5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starting Over Animal Refuge in Ocala was amazing! My family and I have been hunting for the perfect Canine addition to our family and we found 2! Melissa was so nice and so helpful and the best part, she was not pushy! This made the process easy and made my family and I more confident in our newest family additions. The adoption fee was definitely good when compared to so many places we had found. We could immediately tell that Melissa wanted to make sure that the puppies were a good fit for our family but also that our family was a good fit for them and that they would be happy with us. It was a great experience and I defiantly recommend Starting Over Animal Refuge in Ocala if you’re looking to add a rescue to your family!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

A month ago I adopted my first ever puppy from Melissa. I was able to pick my puppy up same day and at a very affordable price after looking around for months with no avail. My puppy Ellie is the best thing to happen to me I absolutely adore her and it’s all thanks to Melissa!! And I think she’s just as happy to be spoilt rotten :)

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted a 8 week old german shephard/golden retriever/australian shephard (yeap he is a mix puppy) from Starting Over Animal Refuge. The adoption process was easy no issues along the way. We adopted Ace last week and well worth the 2 hr drive. He is the cutest and smartest puppy. Training is a process as expected with a pup-- we know he will learn quick as he is smart dog with great genes. We recommend this animal shelter as they go by their word and reputation. Thank you Starting Over--> Ace is a great addition to our family! We are truly blessed and happy to have him!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted a 8 week old golden retriever mix puppy from starting over animal Refuge. The adoption process was easy. She explained and gave me the dewormer medication to give to my puppy (titan). I adopted last Tuesday October 27,2020. I drove two hours to pick my little one up and it was worth it. She takes you on a little pathway to get to the puppies. You have some cats that follow and meow as you walk which is adorable there really friendly and want pets from you. Then you get to where the puppies are and there in nice size kennels and there all playing, jumping around with a big size bowl with food . She also introduced us to the other pups she has and the horses. The whole experience was great. I definitely recommend them. She answered all my questions and concerns. She was very patient with me and my 2 year old son. Now we enjoy our new addition to the family!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had lost our older fur baby months ago and felt we were ready to add a new love to our pack. This amazing group introduced us to Tonka after giving him a huge amount of medical treatment and loving care. Their mission is genuine and while friendly, very careful and professional. I appreciate that care, so you know that they are fostering and adopting out responsibly. Much better than so called societies. Thank you, Starting Over, for helping us add to our loving family.

1 Amanda Marie V.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted a beautiful 8 week old puppy. They saved the pups from New Orleans during the hurricane.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sweet Melissa! An angel here on earth! This beautiful lady has dedicated herself to rescuing and adopting out soo many pets! She was wonderful to deal with. Open all Labor Day weekend long!

We lost our 11 year old rescued Irish Wolfhound, Clancy, 3 months ago and we were still heartbroken. I received an email from adopt-a-pet for a few of the puppies available out of a litter of 12 rescued from Louisiana.
I called on Sunday morning and Melissa answered right away. She was working diligently on adopting out 3 full litters of puppies. She texted me this precious picture of this male puppy and she interviewed me over the phone.
I spoke to my husband and showed him the photo. We drove the hour and a half to Ocala and met Melissa. We had already paid the $100 deposit on PayPal. She lead us to the kennels and introduced us to the puppy she had sent us the photo of. He was so sweet! We both held him, named him Finn and filled out the adoption paperwork. We paid Melissa the remainder of the adoption fee and we were on our way home.

It's now been almost 2 weeks and we are so in love with this beautiful boy! Finn is going to be a wonderful companion to us both!

Thank you, Melissa for your kindness and all the love you give these pets!!

2 Sue S.10

Client Served

Rating: 5

We just recently lost our great dog Jax and our hearts were broken. I decided to find another pup immediately, to some that is wrong. But because of that fact, we found Starting Over Animal Rescue through the internet. I had no idea they existed. I contacted her about 3 different dogs I saw and they were adopted. I said thanks any way and she told me she had 2 more puppies that were health checked and released by the vet. They were black lab pups who lost their home due to the hurricane that hit Louisiana. The whole transaction was based on trust. There was a non refundable $100.00 deposit and you saw the dog virtually because of the virus. She had to trust that we were going to give the pup a forever home. We drove 5 hours total to and from to get there. It’s not a fancy place but perfect for the animals. One of the workers told us about the different rescues she has done. She is all about rescuing. After a walk through a path under shady trees followed by her nosey but very friendly cats which were in great shape we were brought to the area where is the puppies were being housed in nice sized kennels. There were horses walking around a nice green pasture. The movie she sent me was of the 2 puppies playing in their water dish which I showed everyone at work. It was hard to chose which pup so we let the pup chose us because either way the other one was also going to be adopted that day. He chose us. The one who was pouncing in the water! They gave him a bath as we were signing the paperwork and gave them the rest of the adoption fee, they gave him another puppy shot and sent him home with worming medicine. She took a family group shot and we drove off with a black lab pup we named “Cooper". He fell asleep on the trip home in my daughter's and her boyfriend's arms. This was a great finish to a horrible week. Absolutely in love with this pup. I cant understand why people will spend thousands when there is so many “Coopers" out there. I send blessings on Melissa, her help, the ranch and the animals. This was so much more pleasant than a trip to the humane society. She takes this very seriously and you really feel great doing this!

2

Client Served

Rating: 4

The initial experience was extremely sketchy, requiring a $100 non-refundable deposit in order to even see the puppy in person via Paypal. However, after some back and forth texting I decided to trust her and things went smoothly from there after a brief call. I took the 2-hour drive up to Ocala to see my Husky mix (His name is Midas) and immediately fell in love. I was supplied with a brief overview of his vaccine history (I believe she administered them personally) and medicine to continue his deworming treatment. I have had Midas for just over 2 weeks now and he is a very smart, loving, and caring puppy. He is learning his tricks quickly and adjusting to his new home. We took him to the vet for a wellness check as well and he is in good health. Despite how shady the whole initial transaction process seemed, she is a kind and respectful person when you can meet her in person. If what you want is a cute puppy, that is what you'll get.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted a puppy from Starting Over Animal Refuge and am so grateful to them. The adoption process was a breeze and it is evident my puppy was cared for and loved before I took him home. If I ever decide to take in another puppy I would 100% chose to do it through Starting Over Animal Refuge.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’m forever grateful that I found this rescue! Melissa was kind and answered all my questions. I searched for months to find the perfect pup to join my family and I’m so thankful we found the one. She’s a sweet, loving, gentle, and calm puppy and I’m so glad I found her. I highly recommend this rescue. I will definitely recommend them to all of my friends and family!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Absolutely wonderful experience! We had been looking to adopt a dog for a few months when we found this place! Responses were prompt, and we were able to add the perfect member to our family! An hour and a half drive from were we lived but absolutely worth every minute. The time was taken to figure out who was the right fit for our current family and pets, and it was spot on.

1 Stacy T.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a great experience with Starting Over Animal Refuge. As we saw puppies of interest, we reached out and usually received a prompt response. We drove 2 hours to meet a pup and she was sure to put him on hold until we were sure he would be a good fit. We were able to hold him, put him down and watch his personality, love on him and take all the time we needed.

Remy has been a perfect fit for our family. From 9 lbs. to almost 30 lbs. now, with more to grow. He’s smart, sweet and super handsome!

1 Lindsey W.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I lost my 12 year old pup last year and decided that it was perfect timing to adopt a new dog during covid since I was out of work for 2 months. I adopted Kona and it was the best decision ever. She's awesome! The owner of the rescue was very professional, especially during this weird time. She followed all of the protocol for the covid-19. We are so happy to have to Kona as part of our family. She's perfect! I highly recommend this rescue!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We had a great experience with SOAR. Melissa was wonderful and very knowledgeable. We adopted our teacup Maltese on Christmas, 2019. The puppy is healthy and a great dog! We would definitely recommend this rescue to anyone looking to adopt a new family member.

2 Hanna M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

No one else id recommend!! Bought a puppy from a “ breeder “ and right off the bat the poor puppy had Parvo & then pneumonia... Starting over saved her life. Eternally grateful. She is now a happy pup.

4

Client Served

Rating: 1

I sold her a litter of puppies off craigslist she immediately put them as rescued puppies...nope...that's a lie. She's a puppy flipper...nothing rescue about her, she's selling puppies for $400 that never saw a vet etc. Puppy flipper...plain and simple.
There is a Facebook page warning of her by real rescues.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My boyfriend and I adopted this amazing and handsome little man, Rusty a couple days ago. He was taken care of so well and brought back to the picture of health. I sadly did not have the pleasure of going with him to pick up Rusty, however he said that the facility was amazing and it seemed like a loving place. Thank you for taking such great care of our new baby so that we could make him part of our family, we could not be happier!!!

2 Lauren K.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a wonderful experience with Starting Over Animal Rescue through which we met our forever friend Harper! The kind people at SOAR made it easy for us to take Harper home the same day we met her. Although we fell in love with Harper immediately, we were given time to meet her and make sure she would be a good fit for our home and lifestyle, and us for her. We would gladly drive the 2+ hours to Ocala to go through SOAR again.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a great experience recently with Starting Over Animal Refuge! We drove from the Orlando area to meet the pup we saw online, and the rescue did not disappoint. Melissa was very attentive and allowed us to take the pup out to meet him and ensure he would be the right fit for our family. She allowed us to take our time with him and also provided a lot of information and tips for caring for our new puppy. Overall a great experience and would highly recommend if you are looking for a pup!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

So I just happened to have to put my dog down the day before thanksgiving. All thanksgiving day my family was telling me get another pup. Honestly I didnt think I was ready but I just happened upon Adopt a Pet. I found this shelter with all these puppies and I coulndnt not check it out. We got there and Mel was just awesome. She's very knowledgeable and really cares about her animals. She's also available whenever questions come up. All in all Starting over Animal Refuge is an awesome rescue and Ill be recommending this shelter to everybody.

2 Richard O.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Fell in love with this little girl at first sight. Sad someone gave her up but she has a second chance now thanks to facilities like this. She lives on 5 acres now with a big brother.

2 Don H.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I drove to Ocala from Tampa Bay to pick up my new puppy from Melissa.
Every thing she said about the pup was fair and accurate. She does a wonderful job of finding homes for the abandoned animals. 5 stars, keep up the good work.....
Donald and Shelly

2 kristindg

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’m here with an update on our pup. We got our puppy on Christmas Day delivered by SOAR and she is still as sweet as she was when we visited her on the farm. We are so happy with our puppy and she’s living her best life. I read past reviews about people who had to treat their puppies for worms and other illnesses and we too had to do that but for me it’s par for the course in rescuing a puppy. We had hundreds of dollars in vet bills also but I expected this when I wanted a puppy specifically from a rescue. Our pup had not been on SOAR property very long when I visited the first time. It’s amazing how many pups are turned over to Melissa from irresponsible owners. When I arrived on site the area where my pup was had been recently cleaned and hosed down and smelled of bleach so I feel she tries to keep a clean environment. The environment some of these dogs are rescued from are not the best I would imagine.
My kids had the best time on Christmas morning with their new puppy and she’s still a blessing to our family. She’s so good with all children and gets compliments all the time on how pretty and happy she is. We recommend this place to friends all the time.

Previous Stories
4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found SOAR through adopt a pet.com. I found a couple pictures online of some adorable puppies and there seem to be a variety. The ranch was about an hour and a half from my house. I called and made an appointment to come see the puppies and Melissa was prompt to answer and respond to my communication. I drove to the ranch and there was plenty of space for all the puppies. They all had food and water available and it seemed most of them had just been bathed. The facility was quite clean. The young lady Britney who was tending to all the puppies seemed to spend a lot of time with them and was knowledgeable on where the came from. Our particular puppy (and the litter) was relinquished by the owners. One group of puppies we looked at was just brought in from a high kill shelter. I was pleased with the transaction and my puppy. My puppy did have worms when Melissa received her but she dewormed her and gave her her first round of vaccines. Melissa requires you to see a vet within 72 hours and our check up went well. She had some residual worms but we got her medicated. This is to be expected when puppies are retrieved from neglectful owners or found dogs. We had our puppy delivered b SOAR to our house 1.5 hours away) on Christmas Eve and she’s very happy and so is our family. Our previous dog is warming up to her slowly. I think it’s great what she’s doing for these dogs and not everybody can save dozens of dogs at a time so I am grateful for places like this who have big hearts for animals.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We recently lost our 9 y/o rescue and our 4 y/o rescue needed a new friend. We found our new pup at Starting Over Animal Refuge. The ranch provided a great venue to meet our new family member. He's been home with us for a week and is doing great! I definitely recommend contacting them if you're looking for a new furry friend at a great rescue.

3 Lynette R.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

FOUND OUR SERVICE DOG!

I cant believe how wonderful this place is for animals that have no place to go. They are SO WELL looked after.

We were so fortunate to have found our for ever fur baby here. Arlo is an absolutely precious young man.

Melissa just KNEW he would be perfect for us. When I expressed that we were looking for a dog to train as a service dog for our son with AUTISM, she just knew she had the right dog for us.

So we took the almost 2 hour drive to meet Arlo and SHE WAS SO RIGHT!!! He is so perfect and wonderful. She really understands the animals she has and finds the purrrfect match for both people and pet.

Arlo was minutes from being euthanized .... AND WAS SAVED by STARTING OVER ANIMAL RESCUE!!!!

If it weren't you guys, this wonderful gentle as can be soul, would not be with us today. And THAT would be an absolute tradegy!!!

My son has been REALLLY struggling and Arlo is the answer to our preyers.

Thank you SO MUCH!

I highly recomend !!!!

2 Krissie T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My sister had gotten her dog from Melissa almost 2 years ago so she had told me to go with her and Starting Over Animal Refuge. I went 3 weeks ago and got a little boy. He ended up having some congenital issues and sadly passed away. I called Melissa back and told her and she offered another puppy when I was ready (I was really devastated). I went back today and got a little girl this time. Melissa knows what she is doing and is more than willing to help find the right fit for your family and lifestyle. I would recommend her a thousand times before ever giving money to a breeder!

1 Cherie Steele R.

Client Served

Rating: 4

One year ago we found our Addison through this organization. We fell in love with the adorable, healthy puppy we picked. Now one year old, she is a healthy 77 pound bundle of love. We were so lucky to find Melissa and her nonprofit group.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found Melisa while desperately searching for parvo survivors. I thought it would be the only way to get another dog without having to put another at risk or waiting a whole year after my recent county adoption nightmare. She assured us her puppies were 100% protected and that if she wasn't sure she would not ever let us on her property. My family is so grateful to her for helping us find this sweet boy. My chronically ill son is so happy to have a new best friend to comfort him. Update: Just got home from Pete's 1st check up and Dr. said that besides minor issue that a lot of puppies get no matter where you get them from , he is very pleased with how healthy he is. Continued with medication Melissa had him on and first time I've walked out of vet paying so little. I feel so blessed that I found her, she is very knowledgeable and a true animal lover.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've recently adopted a little puppy from Starting Over and he has been nothing but a pure joy. He was so well taken care of and clearly was happy in his care during his time at Starting Over. I would absolutely suggest this refuge to friends and family if they are looking to give a pup a new home.

2 Leroy Robinson J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Adopted this guy from them and it was a fast and smooth experience. They even held him for me for a day because I wasn’t quite ready when I met Tank. They’re great people to work with and I would definitely use them again.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted Riley a 5 month old Border Collie/Australian Kelpie mix and could not be happier. She has been such a delight. She was not house broken but learned very quickly, and caught on to obedience training faster than any dog I've ever had. My interactions with the owner have been nothing but great, she seemed to want to make sure the animals go to the right homes and that they're cared for. I have already recommended this organization to some friends looking to adopt!

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

DO NOT make the mistake I made trusting this Rescue Organization. This is my story. Approximately 2 weeks ago I adopted a beautiful puppy (Catahooula, Lab, Australian Shepherd mix) for a $400 donation. On the Contract Agreement it stated that he had been tested and tested positive for Hook Worms, Tape Worms, Round Worms and Giardia. It also listed medications, i.e. Panacur, Drontal Plus, and Metrenidazole. I, not being knowledgeable, at the time, with this situation and the owner of the Rescue Organization not explaining the seriousness of the puppy's situation. Rather than trying to explain to the vet, I provided the puppy contract to the vet at his Wellness Puppy visit. Which was required within 72 hours of adoption per contract agreement. Vet prescribed Strongid, because of what was on the contract which we later realized was clear as mud. Handwritten and not easily deciphered. Well, puppy continued to have loose stool. Rescue Organization owner suggested I give puppy a concoction of pumpkin, white rice, yogurt and chicken, which I did and didn't help. So I contacted vet and asked if he could be retested on 7/11 because his stool was still not right. It was done and it came back positive for Round Worm, Giardia, and Coxicida. I asked the vet the cause and I was advised that it came from drinking feces contaminated water. Which while in my care he gets fresh water every day and he is only outside to do his business. In my care he has never had access to feces contaminated water. So now that the puppy was on 3 prescriptions to get healthy and he has to be kept away from my other animals so they don't get anything. I decided I would reach out to the owner of the rescue organization and let her know what was going on. Instead of her being helpful, kind, and understanding. She was very nasty, defensive, and basically refused to take any responsibility for selling me a sick puppy. I asked her to meet me half way and refund me half of my donation ($200) to cover the vet visits and med costs to get him healthy and she refused. Instead she was threatening. Glad I have my puppy, but if I would have been fully aware and the Rescue Organization Owner would have been more transparent with what the puppy had, I would NOT have subjected my other fur babies or myself to Giardia or Coxicida. Now I love my puppy and am stuck rectifying it, costing me my extra time and unexpected financial expense.
Respectfully..

2 Josh D.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Adopted a beautiful dog from here, the care given to the animals and the kindness of the caretakers was clear from the start! My wife and I were very happy happy with our experience and are loving our new family member!

1 Keyton Blase F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We took a trip to look at the different puppies to adopt and were greeted by a friendly group of people who took good care of their animals. We adopted a very smart aussie/heeler mix and we are very happy with her and the experience with this animal rescue.

2 Michael S.10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I adopted a dog from this facility. I am very pleased with Zoey.I was met at facility at agreed time.All animals were well taken care of.answered all questions I had it was a great experience all the way around.If I was thinking of another dog I would definitely check here first. Michael Slaughter

1 Erica S.6

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our dog from SOAR 2/13/2016. The process was so easy! They were flexible with when we could see the dogs. We originally went there to look at a different dog, but fell in love with Chewy. Chewy has been the most amazing dog anyone could ask for. When we decide to get another dog, SOAR will definitely be our first place to check. I cannot thank them enough for making Chewy a part of our life!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Found mix Husky/lab pup to adopt
Impressed with care for pups
Came from Orlando because I felt they were responsible group
Toni Greene

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a great experience adopting Tucker! We had another friend even though she did not adopt from here recommend them to us and we’re so happy she did! They were great when I called on Sunday morning and asked if we could come by to check out the puppies. We fell in love at first sight! Our vet was very happy with the care he had received before being adopted. I will definitely recommend this rescue to others!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After mourning our 16 & 21 yr old fur babies for about 4 years we decided to make the plunge. We went to adopt a dog. Melissa was great! Very patient with us. She talked with us and listed to our concerns. The place was well kept. She let us visit and I just couldn’t leave with out our little Delilah. She’s growing so fast! Thank you all so much!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a great experience adopting the newest member of our family from Starting Over Animal Refuge. We were a little hesitant when we arrived but once Melissa took us to the back it was awesome. She had several liters of puppies that had been surrendered. The little guy that we fell in love with had arrived there with parvo and Melissa had nursed him and his litter mates back to health. We took him to the vet the day after we adopted him and he was given a clean bill of health. I would definitely recommend Starting Over Animal Refuge to anyone and will definitely go back there if we decide to bring another fur baby home. Thank you!

1 Misty H.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We adopted our sweet little addition to our family 3 weeks ago. The the center was very clean, spacious, and well-organized. We could tell that the center really cared for their animals. We were greeted by some well-behaved fur-friends at the gate. We couldn't be happier with him. He is a healthy sweet puppy.

Aussieme

Client Served

Rating: 5

Do you want to see first hand where the puppy or dog is you adopt is kept? Instead of meeting at a store front or a pet store . Do you want to have a large selection of happy healthy puppies to choose from? If so this is the rescue to choose . This rescue ranch is beautiful! When you first pull up you’re left confused . It’s like a pot of gold in the middle of a neighborhood. You’ll be walked through a windy path dressed in trees and vines that opens up to what looks like heaven to animals . Beautiful fat shiny horses and friendly well behaved dogs that will meet and greet you with wagging tails . They don’t have a lot of adults because they focus on pediatric rescue and the puppies are kept in very well kept and clean kennels with nice designed floors . There’s room for improvement as everything else but the love time and amount of costs this rescue puts into the animals can be seen at first sight . They’ll take their time with you. Let you visit . Try to match you with the right puppy for your home . Don’t go expecting to get the puppy you seen online . So many more are there that are never listed so just let the puppy do the choosing and let them guide you . It’s the best experience! There’s a few negative reviews but treat them with respect and they will do the same . Lots of knowledge . Proper licensing . Good luck adopting . You know where your Adoption fee goes to when you visit .

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I called twice, and then I texted to get some information about this agreement I read about in her bad reviews. I was concerned that what she wanted may be over the top. My first text asked if she provided a hard copy of the vet records and vaccines and where I could find a copy of the adoption agreement. The owner answers: "Everything can be viewed when coming to the ranch." I explained I live two hours away and did not want to waste 4 hours driving and again asked her for the vet information. I then added I had read the good and bad reviews, explained I am not an uninformed puppy parent. If she was unable to email me the full contract so I can read and share her vet information, I believe she is shady. In my opinion, anyone selling animals should be able to provide a vet for references and a copy of the contract. I do not think this is an unreasonable request. Bottom line is I wanted to read the agreement and determine if I find her requirements are agreeable to me. If not, then I'd move on and find someone else. She then stated her credentials and told me she did not like the way I was coming at her. She called me rude and did not want me adopting from her ranch. Then said I was the first and only one who has ever asked for a vet reference. Then she said I was more than welcome to come to the ranch and view the 250 good reviews or just go to Orlando. Then she said she did not think there would be a single rescue or humane society willing to allow me to adopt. I explained, again, I am looking for answers, she did not answer my questions and I am doing my due diligence before making a purchase and supporting her. I also explain I did not care about the good and bad reviews, only my experience with her. So far in the conversation, this owner has refused to answer my two initial questions. 1. What is her vet's name. I want to verify she takes her animals to a vet. 2. What exactly does her contract say. If I had disagreed, then I would not buy from her. I respect the fact she runs this business. She does not appreciate and recognize the fact I am a consumer wanting information. I explained I am a direct person and a responsible puppy parent. After a few more messages, she finally summarized what is on her contract. I told her again, I want the entire contract, not her summary. Still, she did not provide a link or was willing to provide unless I visit the ranch. I explained that if I agreed to her terms, I would print it out. Then she said I am not having you sign my contract without meeting me and approving me. I explained to her, the contract is not valid unless we both sign. Then she said "I am a LICENSED organization and my corporate name is my signature and the contract does not need to be signed." She called me arrogant, said she could not send a copy because she did not have one downloaded, which was the first time she mentioned it. She called me a troll, accused me of possibly harassing her vet. She finally admitted to giving all the shots to the puppies herself. She continued to be rude. You should always ensure whatever person you are buying from is legitimate and willing to share information. This woman was not. I wanted the vet info to verify she has one and a copy of the contract to see if what she demands is acceptable. She was rude, hostile, and a bully. I would never support a non-profit like this one. Had she been upfront when I asked those questions, this rating would be a five star, not a one. Stop taking questions personally. Be transparent and share the information. I really wish this would have turned out different. This woman has a large chip on her shoulder and I see why others can see why they think she is crazy and warning others to stay far away. However, I would never judge her based on what others say. I am completely basing my opinion on my experience with her. I really wanted her to share the info I needed. Unfortunately, she would not.

**Additional comments: I did NOT call, all communication was via text. How do you have a rude and demanding tone in a text?! This woman was neither professional or calm. She refused to answer basic questions and was combative. Simply, she was a bully.

Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa296 06/23/2019

I could post the “entire” conversation leading me to my frustrated response but I’ll be more classy then that. This person called me and immediately in a rude demanding tone demanded for my vets information and veterinary documents on my animals along with a copy of my adoption contract. No presentation on whom she was or why she was calling . Immediately she made me on edge but I remained composure and asked why she called with these demands if she had adopted and was concerned about a puppy . She stated no and that she MIGHT want to adopt but seeing my 6 out of 250 bad reviews she finds me shady and wants all my legal and medical proof that I’m a “legit” organization and that the puppies receive their proper vaccines . I’m a shelter . Just as humane societies and animal services . Licensed by the state of Florida which makes my contracts

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted my little fur baby from starting over animal rescue. As soon as I saw her online I knew she was the one. I am absolutely obsessed with her.at the rescue the cages were very well kept and all of the dogs seemed happy and healthy. Melissa seemed very passionate about her rescue and we stayed there talking to her for hours!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was such a fun experience. There were so many different dogs with such different personalities. We went expecting to fall in love With one dog and ended up falling in love with another. Scout has been such a wonderful addition to our family. I would definitely recommend this refuge to others who want to find their forever fur baby.

1 Beth Blackmon V.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starting over ranch is an awesome place to find an amazing new family member! My husband and I couldn't be happier with our recent adoption! She fits our family perfectly! Melissa's knowledge of animals is amazing! To fit the right dog with the right family!

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

Melissa took the time to help and offer advice. Brittany was very knowledgable and patient. Thank you.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Very personal and fun. Don’t get discouraged by the fascade of the place. The back is where it gets fun. It was hard to pick a puppy. They are all beautiful, including the adults.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

An amazing place, with amazing people. We came to adopt a puppy and were overwhelmed by how many there were, and how well taken care of all the animals are with such a big place to roam and play. The owner was so helpful and sweet, and obviously cares so much about all her animals and rescues. Definitely come here to adopt a puppy!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have been looking for a puppy for a while and drove an hour and a half to get to the rescue. Melissa and Brittany were very accommodating to us and our timing for arrival since it was Friday afternoon traffic.
My 4 year old was full of questions and they were patient and kind to my daughter and very attentive to the animals. Melissa even gave my daughter a ride on the horse which she is still so excited about.
We left with a beautiful puppy that same day. Since the litter had only arrived to the rescue that day we were warned that she would have worms which they administered a dewormer to her while we were there and gave her a bath. From what I have been told, It is not uncommon for puppies to have worms. We took her to the vet and addressed the worms and fleas and she has already become our best friend. We are so grateful that we were able to adopt this beautiful pup from this organization and would do it again in the future.

1 Adam S.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been looking for a puppy for a while now and stumbled upon this rescue through adopt-a-pet. I went to the rescue on Wednesday and left with a new bestfriend, Grizzly. The rescue was amazing and Melissa was phenomenal in helping me. I would 100% recommend this refuge as the spot to find your new best friend too.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Rescued my 8 week old puppy DEXTER from SOAR. Enclosures were well kept & clean. All the animals seemed happy & healthy. My Dexter is a little sweetie pie. It's been 2 weeks and he is already a mama's boy.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our handsome puppy in August 2018. I was very impressed with Melissa and Brittany's flexibility in working with our timing to get our pup adopted as we could only come later in the day and needed to waited a week before picking him up (unique circumstances). I was very impressed with her knowledge of, love for, and ability to care for these pups and dogs the way she does. I would adopt from her again.

I was also glad to see that she had separate enclosements for each age/size of dogs. Each kennel had a concrete flooring and also some soft ground for them to play on. And, they were visibly well fed and watered. It is a beautiful place for these pups as it is also a refuge for horses and has a beautiful green pasture directly across from the dogs.

Our pup did have worms when he was examined by the vet, but this was not Melissa's fault. Melissa gave our pup his first de-worming medicine in front of us, and she gave him his first round of vaccines that week while she had him. The fact that he had worms did not anger me because most pups are born with some form of worms and must be treated. It was likely he would have them since he was so young and had only been with Melissa a week; that's not nearly long enough for her to administer the needed number of treatments in order to get rid of the worms completely. Therefore, the presence of worms was due to our timing in adopting him.

1 Amy Branz C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted Riley from Starting Over Animal Refuge on 12/31/2018. Melissa was very prompt in answering the phone and all questions I had. My kids and I drove an hour and a half and met our newest family member. The puppies we all well taken care of and seemed very happy while waiting to find the forever homes. She has followed up with us to make sure Riley is adjusting and doing well since brining her home. If you’re looking for your newest family member contact Melissa.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted this beautiful boy on 11/11/18. Melissa was great. She accommodated us at the last minute, scheduled our appointment and then was very patient while we met all the puppies, and made our decision.
We were impressed by how clean her facilities are and how well these puppies are cared for. We named our boy Duke and are so grateful for Melissa and Starting Over Animal Refuge.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I worked at starting over and adopted from there and loved it and adopted the best dog I’d ever had! Definitely recommend adopting from starting over!!

15

Client Served

Rating: 1

I just wanted to bring to your attention that this "organization" is a scam.
Starting Over Animal Refuge Inc.
This woman is a puppy flipper. She purchases puppies in bulk off of Craigslist and re sells them individually for a mark up. She claims that she is a non-profit and yet she charges $400 cash only as an "adoption" fee. She has a very convincing story of where the puppies come from, but in reality she has no idea. She claims that the puppies come 100% vaccinated and that is a lie. When I brought my puppy to the vet they said that he was NEVER administered any vaccines and that he tested positive for tapeworms, hookworms and roundworms which was not brought to my attention at the time of the adoption. When my veterinarian contacted the "shelter" owner to send over proof of vaccinations, the owner became irate and started yelling at the Vet.
I do not believe that she has the right intentions for her animals and she is scamming those of us who want to provide good homes for these puppies.
I specifically this site because I did not want to get my dog from a breeder. I have been waiting for almost 2 years for the perfect puppy to show up in my email and when I found him and "adopted" him I find out that I was scammed out of $400 and another $82 for veterinary costs.
I would strongly advise you look into this "rescue" and take down any animals she has up for adoption in the mean time so that no one else can be taken advantage of.

18

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

This is not a bona fide rescue I do not understand how they have nonprofit status.

I tried to buy a dog off of Craigslist from a woman who was selling Anatolian Shepherd cross with English lab puppies. She informed me that the puppies were all sold to one person who said they were for mobility assistance dogs.

I figured maybe that person would sell me one of the puppies. I found out that this so-called rescue had purchased the whole litter under the claim they were for mobility assistance prospects But now they are selling them as 8 week old rescue puppies.

When I try to buy the puppy from the original owner it was $50 now they want $400 for the exact same puppy a week later who has not even seen a vet is not spayed or neutered like you would expect to be from a rescue. People are out to make money I get that, but these people are giving rescues a bad name and should be shut down.



2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Adopted our furbaby (Willow - lab/shepherd mix) a few days ago and she just had her 1st puppy checkup. Vet was impressed with how healthy she is- no issues. She's a happy puppy just full of energy.


Thank you Melissa

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Just adopted my Anatolian x lab - happy little girl - picked her up shortly after Melissa rescued them. Full of worms but not due to Melissa; she wouldn't release the puppy until she'd gotten her shots and parasite meds. Melissa's adoption process is no nonsense and simple. Her fees are not much different from other rescues, and she has a much better selection. Would definitely adopt from her again and/or recommend her. My daughter got her puppy from Melissa the week before me. We live in Orlando (almost 2 hours from Melissa) and she was worth the 3 trips we took up there.