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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

304 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

11 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.

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.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I just adopted my puppy from Melissa and I have absolutely nothing but great things to say about the experience. All the puppies I saw were in great health and were extremely friendly. Melissa is very knowledgeable about canines and, clearly, took very good care of her rescues. Even after the adoption, I felt comfortable asking her about my puppy. These photos were taken the day I brought him home. We were so happy with the whole process that my mom went back and adopted another puppy from Melissa!

1 Taylor B.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is not only and Amazing Aminal Refuge but its run by one dynamite person.
When you show up and see all the animals its spotless, like no joke! If she sees one of the dogs pooping while showing you around shes on top of it cleaning it up. You can tell the amount of pride and passion she has for what she does. You can also tell she spends a lot of time with all her animals... literally the animals swiper... she calls or walks over and they all flock to her. These animals are well taken care of and for. If your in the search for a new furry family member I highly recommend getting one from her rescue.

16

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Beware this is no rescue this is a Puppy flipper...you will see my puppies $400 each.

She came to buy my litter of puppies $500 for 7..Im not greedy..she sells them $400 each NO SPAY NO NEUTERING etc...said for mobility assistance dogs, she shorted me $100 drove off when told her she owes $100 more! Shes a THIEF a CROOK steer clear!

So I looked her up shes a puppy flipper my puppies didnt need RESCUING I put them for sale $50 and $100..
Anatolianxmaremma x English Lab. I dont breed dogs, mistake breeding by 9 month old male who is now neutered.

She threatened to report me for neglect and here are the puppies with my daughter few weeks ago.

She robbed me drove off after telling her she owed me $100 more then calls me a narcissist and threatens me lol

Steer clear of this fraudulent rescue...shes no more than a puppy flipper. I didnt research her until she kept texting me acting like a nut case...

FOLLOW YOUR GUT DONT DEAL WITH THIS FAKE RESCUE. She shorted me $100 hauled ass like a thief and now wants to say my dogs are neglected lol

She mentioned shes no puppy flipper..what do you call selling puppies for $400 with no spaying neutering upon "sale"..rescues push nuetering spaying...not this one

Review from Guidestar

Marsha22

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I visited Starting Over and met Melissa. She has endless love and energy for family and animals. The amount of time and patience that she spends taking care of and cleaning after the animals is endless. I spent over 4 hours there and she did over 8 hours worth of work. I got tired just watching her go from one pen to another, one dog to another. LOL In my book----she is the best.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THIS PAGE FOR A LONG TIME. A LOT OF LOVE AND CARE GOES INTO THE CARE THAT THE ANIMALS GET. LOT OF POSITIVE RESPONSES FROM ADOPTERS.

2 Lindsay S.6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We adopted our catahoula mix puppy, Gemma, in June. We could not have had a better experience, I would highly reccomend! Gemma had a perfect first vet visit and is a healthy 7 months old this week. Thank you for the opportunity to adopt such a sweet pup!

14

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Questionable that this place is a 'rescue' let alone 'responsible' rescue. What kind of rescue adopts, or probably more accurately sells, dogs that are not microchipped, not spayed/neutered, and have 5 different parasites? They probably don't want the dogs they sell to be tracked back to them when the dogs end up in a kill-facility. And, don't fix the dogs? Great way to add to the overpopulation.

There are plenty of great responsible rescues out there that actually care about and vet the dogs before they are adopted out. Stay away from this place if you want a healthy dog. Likely a puppy mill.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Starting Over Animal Refuge is a great place to find your new pet. We called Melissa and she arranged for us to be able to come look at all her pets that day. The girl who assisted us was very friendly. It was interesting to hear the different stories of each pet. We could tell they were being well cared for. We adopted a precious 9 week old husky mix. She is so sweet. We just love her. We highly recommend this organization for anyone looking for a new pet. Thanks again for all the help and love you give to those pets in need of a second chance and forever home!

Karen Clemens K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted a beautiful boxer/ catahoula mix puppy. She is strong, healthy and smart. Starting Over Animal Refuge is a great place to find the perfect addition to your family. The animals are all treated with love and care.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted a 10 week old 1/2 Lab and 1/2 Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. I called Melissa and let her know that I was looking for a dog that I can take to my classroom everyday. I also want to train him to be a therapy dog for children's hospitals and elderly centers. She said that she had a couple that would meet my needs. I ended up adopting Toby my precious baby that same day. The kennels were very clean. Melissa was super nice and very helpful. I took her recommended puppy and he is an amazing puppy. He is really calm considering he is a puppy. He gets along with my other dog and cats. Melissa's recommendation was spot on. He does have intestinal worms, but most puppies do. I would recommend SOAR for your next adoption!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The owner Melissa was super nice and answered all our questions.
Melissa whent out of her way to answer questions even after the adoption was finalized and continued to support the transition to adjust to wonderful “hope” are new four legged friend!!!!

Thank you so much Melissa you have made this experience a joy!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great experience for us. We adopted Ryder on May 9th. He saw the vet two days later and the vet was impressed at his health especially after hearing he had several types of worms and coccidia when he was given to the rescue. He has continued to thrive these last few weeks and acclimated quickly to the baby and the other dogs in our family. He saw the vet again today for his third set of vaccines and he's in perfect health.

Melissa took time with us and also gave us space and time to play with him while we were there making the decision. ALL of the animals that we saw on her property looked and acted healthy and the puppies were all active and in large CLEAN kennels with plenty of space, water, and shelter. We saw no cages and the few adult dogs she had were out in the yard running around. I would not hesitate to recommend Starting Over Animal Refuge and would definitely consider future adoptions from her.

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!

1

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

4

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 .

7 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.

4 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.

4

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 .

4

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!

11

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.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I'm sorry but I have been watching this "rescue" operate for a while and I have to speak out. I want to support, but this really is not how a rescue should work. First of all, she only "rescues" puppies. Cute puppies. Puppies under 4 months old. Occasionally purebred adult dogs, mostly German Shepherds. She charges like $400 for the adoption fee. why? What am I missing? She doesn't even cover the spay/neuter. She gives them vaccines and worms them. Average like $25 investment per pup. Maybe more, definitely not $400. The rescue I foster for charges $150 per puppy, all vaccines, worming, flea meds and spay/neuter included. She says the adoption fees help cover the cost of the adult dogs she has, but she doesn't really rescue very many of them. So I don't really see what the rest of the money is going to. 2nd of all, she has the puppies for like 24 hours before adopting them out. No quarantine period...I've seen a few posts where puppies have been ill and even died at their new homes. She has no helpers. No foster homes. It's a one man operation, very odd for a rescue. And if you try to offer her help or advice on social media she gets very defensive. One of the things she does that bugs me the most is she BUYS a lot of the litters of puppies off Craigslist. She believes it is helping but no reputable rescue would purchase puppies from backyard breeders. That just encourages them to breed more.... She has a SNAP program which is great (turn over the litter and she will spay the mom), but purchasing these puppies defeats the entire purpose of putting backyard breeders out of business. She hardly ever pulls dogs from shelters. Why is that? Those are the dogs that really need help. the ones on death row, or old, sick ones... Right now she's saying she really needs a high def camera in order to get these puppies adopted before she has 20 more come in on Monday....why would you agree to take more puppies before you have the room? What if these puppies you have get sick and need to be kept longer? She does do some good, and her heart might be in the right place but from the outside this looks more like a puppy flipping operation than a rescue.

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..

Mary449

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband found Starting Over when "window shopping" for a lab puppy. When we went to Melissa's farm and home, she showed me the most precious puppy. I fell in love immediately! We bought our puppy home and it has been the best addition to our family! It isn't a lab.....it is a beautiful hound mix that we called Saylor Suzie Q! We want another puppy and I would go to Melissa for another one in a heartbeat! She is wonderful!!!

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted a puppy from Melissa!!!! What a wonderful place, a wonderful person and a wonderful puppy we rescued!!! We want to adopt another puppy from here! Melissa is professional and loves what she does!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My boyfriend and I adopted Foster (formerly Rhiley) two weeks ago from Starting Over! We researched several other organizations before deciding that Starting Over was the right decision. Melissa is passionate about the animals she rescues and is genuinely looking out for their well-being.

The adoption process was seamless and we were given plenty of time to see if Foster was the pup for us. We instantly fell in love with him and brought him home that night! He's a happy pup and has grown so much in the two weeks we've had him. Thank you Melissa!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our Hazel a week ago and she has completed our family wonderfully. Thank you Melissa for your work to help all of these puppies find their forever homes :)

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Adopted my beautiful dog Coco a little over a year ago when my daughter fell in love with her. Melissa was very helpful and we are so thankful to have Coco in our lives.

3 Jessica339

Client Served

Rating: 5

The puppy we adopted is not only the most adorable, but the sweetest, loving smart puppy we could have ever imagined. Melissa was so wonderful and so passionate about the care of the dogs. Highly recommend!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted this adorable puppy from SOAR. Harley is a great addition to our family. Thank you Melissa for helping us with our new family member.

IndyandMarion

Client Served

Rating: 5

When we saw Ocean online, we immediately started calling SOAR to get in contact with the owner of the group (Melissa). Two hours later I was heading to the location to see the puppy in person. It was absolutely love at first nip of the finger. Facetiming the family, we agreed she was going to her forever home. The location is nice and open, enough room for potential adopters to run around with the puppy they were looking at. Melissa gave everyone (there were three other couples there) ample time with the puppies to make sure they were the "right fit". The process for signing papers was extremely easy!

A very nice woman, with a wonderful set up for a rescue, and my family now has a forever home for Ocean. (Attached is a shot I took of Ocean getting acclimated to her new backyard)

Thanks again!
-Chris

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Today we brought home our new baby girl. Her name is Sadie. So pleased with our experience. Thankful for such an amazing organization like S.O.A.R.

1 djra4

Client Served

Rating: 5

We met & took 'Jasper' HOME with us on December 21, 2016...He INSTANTLY picked US upon our arrival! We didn't even bother looking at or engaging with any of the other at least 5 puppies that were there that day. I could write a best selling novel already about our story since he has joined our family. I still can not wrap my head around the fact that he was adopted & returned after 3 short weeks with a family before we met him! Their loss! He apparently was waiting for us! Jasper & Jenny have nothing but pure LOVE for one another & anyone they come in contact with! I already had my 'mama's girl' and now I have my 'mama's boy'. Thank you!

3/16/17- Just wanted to leave an update...Jasper continues to thrive & is growing like a weed! As seen in recent picture he has outgrown Jenny by quite some bit already! Jasper & Jenny are like 'soul mates'. They have such an incredible loving bond & commitment to one another. Jasper has been neutered already & according to our Vet he will grow to be anywhere from about 70lbs to as much as 100lbs! AH! We were so use to feeding just little Jenny. 15lbs of dog food would last near 2 months. 15lbs of dog food barely lasts a week now with Jasper here. LOL In the just shy of 3 months since Jasper joined our family he continues to amaze us & make us smile & laugh every minute of every day. He is for sure the family 'clown'. One of his favorite teething toys has been 1 Gallon empty Motts Apple Juice containers. They are VERY loud & easy for him to throw high up in the air. He loves pushing the bottles around on the floor with his nose & feet as if he is playing soccer with them too! He already sits on command & is totally housebroken. He is NOT a crate trained/crate dog at all! He goes to the kitchen door & rings the wind chime hanging on the door handle when he needs to piddle or poop. If we don't move fast enough for him he will let us know by barking/yelping/howling to get us to speed it up. He is a total pro at playing fetch! He patiently sits until we throw a toy & immediately brings toys back to us. He sleeps in a big king sized bed with myself & Jenny...plenty of room for us all. No worries about how big he gets, there is plenty of room for all 3 of us! He's a big couch potato! Loves to spend the day on the couch with me & Jenny in between playing fetch for hours at a time daily in the living room. He is also quite the little smartie pants as well. He has figured out how to work the door handles in the house. We do not have any door knobs, they are all door handles. He knows how to stand up & put his paws on them to pull/push them open when he wants in! If I mistakenly close a door & he can not see me he simply opens the doors & comes right in on his own! He is a total gentle giant during meals. He sits nicely a few feet away from the kitchen table or will lay down & wait patiently to see if he is due a plate of his own. Of course he only gets his own plate when I make chicken & either bake some or boil some for him & Jenny. He also prefers to be 'fork fed' when he gets any table foods. He eats very nicely off a fork.
We can not wait to get the boy into the pool for him to swim once the weather warms up!

Thank you again Melissa! Jasper & Jenny thank you too!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

There are not enough positive adjectives that describe this lady, Melissa is awesome. We are truly blessed to have found her as we now have lonna cause of her and what she does for these animals. She truly is a hero in my book. If we ever need to adopt we will always come back to SOAR!! Great place, great communication and wonderful wonderful feeling of knowing what you are supporting. Thanks Melissa you are the Best!! Jolee Scarborough

Client Served

Rating: 5

I first met Melissa when my husband rescued 3 puppies from the woods in absolutely awful condition. He brought them home and we attempted to rehabilitate them and find homes for them, unfortunately having 4 dogs and 2 cats and a kid in the house was to much for us at. Thankfully i found Melissa, she messaged me and told me she could help me out and take all 3! She absolutely saved those dogs lives, without her they would have been put down. When I went to her rescue to drop them off her facilities were absolutely top notch! They were so clean. Before she took the puppies into the kennels she gave each one a flea and tick bath immediately and sat for over and hour picking impossible ticks off of them for the safety of the other puppies she had there. I have never seen a rescue facility ran that neat and organized before! I recommend anyone looking for a puppy to get them from Melissa! She's and absolutely amazing person and so many innocent animals wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I searched for a few months for the perfect pup for me. Just having relocated to Florida from New York without any family or friends, I needed a best friend. After finding Luna (now renamed Java) on petfinder.com, Melissa was very prompt to accommodate a time later that day in which I could come see the puppy. It was an instant companionship and I couldn't be any happier! I could tell Melissa puts great care and compassion into caring for each and everyone of those animals. I can't wait to get a house of my own soon and contact her for another pup! The hour and half drive was 100% worth it!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Archer is literally a blessing. This baby has so much love to give it's incredible . I am so happy soar was there to rescue him and bring him into my life! He's such a cuddle buddy and definitely a mama's boy. I can't wait for the rest of the years we get to spend together. Thank you so much!

1 Macy O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted my Dalmatian/ hound from Starting Over & she is the best thing to ever happen to me and my family. We just love her to pieces. Melissa is amazing & we stay in contact. I don't know what I would do without my Nova baby!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is awesome. I was having the worst luck getting scammed and treated unprofessionally by several other rescue groups but Melissa and this organization were by far the most enjoyable to work with. I drove 2 hours to Ocala where I got to take home one of the best pups. I got there to her little farm and noticed how healthy all the animals looked. Even the horses and was very surprised on how clean all of the pups were kept. Not one flea or tick on the little guys. I highly reccomend this organization to anyone and is definitely worth the drive.

Thanks Melissa

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our bullmastiff boxer mixes from SOAR two weeks ago. Originally we went for one and came back with two. Even though Melissa was very busy the day we called interested she made room for me to come see pups. So happy that we have found them. Would definitely adopt again from Starting over animal refuge.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

On 12/10/16, we adopted a real cutie from SOAR. Thank you Melissa for helping Cookie join our family! John, Diana and Jessica Carson