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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 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

221 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4 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

We just got our little pup, Kona, from Starting Over Animal Refuge. She is the sweetest, most loveable little pup. She is great with kids and other dogs. She seemed very socialized from being at the refuge with the other animals. Melissa was great and let us take as long as we wanted with each dog so that we could really get to know their personalities which helped us make the best decision for us. We just took Kona to the vet and they gave her a clean bill of health. She is a great addition to our little family. She’s already added so much joy after the 3 short days that she’s been with us. Thanks again, you guys rock and are doing amazing things for these animals!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family wanted to adopt a puppy and thankfully we found Melissa. She has a beautiful and super clean home and ranch. She made my husband and I feel very welcome, and was patient in helping me find a puppy with a sweet personality. You can tell how much she loves all her animals by how well trained and cared for they are. They are not crated/caged, but rather kept together in large pens, with a large dog house for shelter. Plenty of room to run. My puppy was checked out by our vet on the second day and had no health issues. I highly recommend Melissa and her rescue.

Client Served

Rating: 4

Got an amazing loving German Shepherd/lab retriever puppy from here about a month ago with my boyfriend and we are absolutely in love! Unfortunately he had hookworms upon his first vet appointment and we couldn’t get an appointment within the first 3 days as our local vet was booked up, but it wasn’t a harsh issue to solve. He came very happy and healthy otherwise and is getting us outside and more active every day. The horse ranch we visited in Oviedo was gorgeous and all the pups looked happy. We couldn’t be happier. Thank you so much!

Dawn C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Got the best lil girl in the world! Love my healthy happy lil puppy!!! Great rescue, honest , knowledgeable and accommodating! I can’t thank them enough for all the joy my lil Ella has brought to us

Client Served

Rating: 5

We love our pup Sazi and could not be happier. Melissa made time at the end of the day for us and was patient as we selected our puppy. We are so glad to have found this shelter and such a wonderful addition to our home!

Francine Marie S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was extremely impressed by the way Melissa takes care of all of the rescue dogs and horses I saw at her 10 acre farm. She wears her heart on her sleeve and I am super thankful for what she does. My three sons and I found our new puppy and Melissa online and we drove over an hour to get him. He is wonderful!! Thank you Melissa for what you do and for sharing your story with us. It's an invaluable service and we are most thankful!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

we had contacted 2 other recuse first non of them e-mailed me back to say anything one was fl lab rescue the other coon hound rescue even with more then 2 emails nothing. Then I texted starting over animal refuge and melisa texted me back with in 15 min. we set up a date and time to meet the dogs what a wonderful place and between her and her daughter they where fantastic and totally went over board to make sure we had the time we wanted with what ever puppy we wanted to see. she gave us all the info we needed about the puppies. they gave our new family member a bath before we took her home. Let me say if you want someone that cares some much and some one that will give you all the time you need this is the place for you. make sure you call her first or last to see the difference. we now have a beautiful lab and A.shepherd the new love of our life

1

Client Served

Rating: 2

Near the end of 2017, we adopted a puppy from this shelter. We told them we wanted a large dog, over 100lbs fully grown and a mastiff mix as we knew that breed would suit our lifestyle. The shelter reassured us that the puppy was a Brazilian mastiff and lab mix. Despite the fact that their ad said the adoption was $400, they told us the price now was $500. We happily paid it despite the fact that there was nowhere to sit comfortably and get to know the dogs other than the ground. When we took our puppy to the vet, we learned he had a heart murmur and was overrun with parasites (not surprising given that the puppies were all in the same pen and ate out of one communal bowl). We had a DNA test ran and learned that our puppy was neither a mastiff nor a lab and his mix of breeds are all high-energy which we expressly didn’t want and will likely only be approximately 60lbs fully grown. I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised given that only a week after we adopted, the shelter posted a picture of our puppy to advertise being up for adoption as a cane corso mix. Fortunately, our puppy has found a loving home with us regardless of the lies this shelter told us, but we will never support this shelter and discourage others from adopting from them.

Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa302 03/26/2018

I'm sorry you were not happy with your adoption. Experience unfortunately we cannot satisfy each and every adopter as much as we try. Our adoption fee is $400 so I apologize if one of my interns at the time was mistaken that probably should of been brought to their attention or my attention so apologies for that. As far as breeds we do animal rescue and cannot guaruantee their size or their breeds. Mastiff mixes can range of all sizes and DNA tests are not accurate both human and animals. (My sister owns lab companies) . Parasites are common and we start them on a deworming program this is discussed at time of adoption and you have the option to not adopt when this is explained. I guarantee on your contract it reads your puppy had 3 types of parasites . We are often successful in one Round of treatment but all puppies are different. It's not guaranteed. Acute Heart murmurs are subjected for adoption refunds without returning puppy but I'm sorry we were never called on the matter .

3 Randy Lee M.

Donor

Rating: 1

I am very dissappointed in Melissa the owner. personally. I am not a receiver, but someone who had cur mix puppies on cl to go to good homes. I had several callers, but Melissa was the most persistent. I had conversations with her several times, and most every time it ended up an aggravation. ...................
I had ended up unfortunately with two pregnant females, who are on long tie outs in my yard, I came home from work to find a male from down the road in my yard, well long story short; 63 days later, two beautiful sets of puppies, 8 from each. They we're born12/12/17, in the winter. I am a carpenter, so I build two very secure and insulated dog houses for them and their Mothers, fearing the cold weather. ((My dogs live on 5 fenced in acres outside)
On the coldest nights I personally slept outside in my tent with double sleeping bags with both Mothers and puppies. (Cozy)!
These puppies by 8 weeks all know their names, and each has their own personalities.
Melissa wanted all 16, and pretty much at one time said or nothing? She said she could help if Idonated the whole litter, and get the Mom spayed.
I told her that other families with children, and a couple of close friends, had already spoke for some. She basically made it sound like no one except her could take care of the puppies right and assure proper
treatment but her, at the same time being very dramatic, and demeaning.
My dogs had puppies, I did everything I to help wean the little sweeties, and give them all kinds of love, so they in return would be acceptant of people, and happy to be loved on. It worked. I knew the right thing to do was to wean them and find them homes asap, which is what I did. I am a very sober and selective person, so I ask everyone who called about their home situation because the requirement was to a permanent, loving, home only.
I talked to Melissa several times, and it even got into our life situations a little bit, I to a certain extent, did feel that her process, would assure a proper home for my babies, who I even bottle fed at times. Contrary to my feelings of her persistence, and arrogance. I think I at one time called her Narcisistic. .but it was about a happy, long futture for my little friends, and I was promise to be updated on their progress.
I had to change my mind on the amount I would allow her to have a couple of times, because of calls I missed and returned of families that wanted a life friend. I thought they were my puppies? one was even to a Judge, but she got mad and critisized any one but her who got a puppy. It seemed like it was taking from her pocket?
I ended up letting her have a litter of eight, the rest were spoken for. She was so upset, but sent a girl and her boyfriend in a sedan with a small cage in the back seat to pick them up( they were very nice, but it seemed a bit less than professional, and actually bothered me a bit I almost would have rather taken them to her in the back of my SUV.
Well, it was about happy futures for them, so I looked beyond that, and let them go? (Sigh)
I then sent her a text letting her know she had eight on the way, and two ran an hid, otherwise she would have had more, (because believe me, she wanted all 16, and was very dramatic about it.)
She then sent me a text and called me a liar, and litterally told me that "No wonder you are alone"! Whoa...ok?
I tried to explain that is all she could have, which by the way was a whole litter, so she lied, just saying.
Then text me again telling me that she will never contact me again, and for me to please never contact her, and finished with " I am just glad I was able to save these 8 from you"! Again....Whoa!
After she knew they were on the way to her, and I am the one who was responsible enough to post them, and try to be strict at finding them forever homes, who needed to know that each decision felt good in my heart. Now, Thanks to Melissa, I have to live with being "Not too sure, and kind of bummed at me for it? I gave them love every day, but I am not home alot, so because I loved them I set them free to be happier.
That was tough enough,
I just lost my dog of 10 years a month ago, and I had had, his father since he was a puppy, and his Mother as well, those puppies were like my family already.
I thought I was helping out by donating them to a great cause?
It was conditional that I would be notified when they were adopted
I had even been offered money by others and turned it down, because it seemed like I would be doing the right thing for them to send them to her?
I can only pray that my friends share in the love and happiness they deserve. " Lord bless my little friend"
Amen


Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa302 03/26/2018

This is Melissa president of starting over animal refuge inc . The only reason why I was upset is that you have 7 adult dogs you acquired that had a previous litter that you ended up keeping 7 puppies now 1yrs old. All in which are not fixed. I was trying to spay as many dogs of yours as I could and you went from keeping 1 puppy to keeping 7 puppies and you did not have homes for them. That's a fabricated truth. I sent my intern in a 4 door Avalon the size of a caddilac . Plenty of comfortable room in a safe vehicle to transport puppies . My intern also drove 3.5hrs and every hour you were sending less and less puppies . Ilyou went from thanking me and praising me to calling me a narcissist completely unprovoked from one text to the next. You acted unstable displaying severe PTSD and anxiety about letting your puppies go and I even held my intern back and had her pull over and almost made her abort the rescue mission completely just 10 minutes from your home in fear you were unstable.

3

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

4

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.

3 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 :)

1

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!

3

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

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Got my mastiff yesterday starting over ranch is awesome!

2 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
1

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.

1 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 .