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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

300 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 Billie Jo R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family went to SOAR looking for a specific puppy and left with a different puppy that was more suited for my family's lifestyle thanks to Melissa's knowledge steering me in the right direct, im so glad she did because Ramsie is so sweet and perfect for our family. Thank you

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We were adding to our family and was searching for a place that would assist us with that. Melissa's ranch was an amazing adventure as it allowed us to add the most amazing pet to our family. She was very patient, showed us the ranch, let us play with whatever puppy we would like in order to pick the best fitted one. Your knowledge of all the animals was extremely helpful as well as she cared so much enough to keep in touch to check the progress of how our pet was fitting in. I would recommend starting over ranch to anyone looking for the perfect pet. Melissa is kind, hard-working, and extremely compassionate for what she does. We couldn't be more blessed than what we were by going to starting over ranch and bringing home our beautiful family member

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Five years ago, my husband and sought out a Great Dane. I recall the website referring to Alarm and Daisy as Large Danes. When we arrived on site, my husband noticed a dog of similar color, and said that's not large, needless to say it was a lab mix. We were greeted by Melissa, and she walked us into a horse pen as the Danes were too big for her large runners with adequate room. I know dogs and runners and chances are her runners were "large" enough, but Melissa made sure the Danes were together and had plenty of space.

Alarm and Daisy were litter mates, and although we were looking for one, and the offer was made to split the two, we decided the Danes should stay together, and adopted them both! Melissa was fair in price to cover minimal fees for caring for the Danes, and has kept in contact with us over the years to check up on the Danes.

Alarm and Daisy have found a loving home. We've taken many trips to the dog park, a trip to the beach, the visit Nana and Papa and visit with their dog friends. Their favorite thing to do is sleep on their Queen mattress in the living room watching us. Alarm faithfully sleeps next to us and took to my husband quickly, where Daisy loves to be with me. We couldn't imagine our lives without them and thank Melissa for making it a smooth adoption. I personally love the fact that she keeps track of the animals she adopts.

Penny36

Client Served

Rating: 5

Was looking for a puppy to adopt when I came across a photo of a sweet dog named Reno. I called and spoke to Melissa she was very friendly and took the time to tell me about the puppies you could hear the love and compassion in her voice. I was very excited so I drove from Sanford to Ocala. When I got there I was amazed how well she took care of all the animals and the cages the puppies had plenty of space to play. They were all gorgeous and well taken care. I got to hold Reno and play with him she wanted to make sure this was the puppy for me. It was nice to see someone have so much compassion for what they do. I would recommend Starting Over Animal Refuge to my friends and family.

1 Stephanie238

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband, 2 kids and I drove from Orlando,FL to Ocala because of all the positive reviews and testimonies we heard about this non profit. When we got to the ranch, we found the owner taking care of one of her horses. I could see the love and compassion she had for her animals. We were looking for the right pup, and she helped us figure out which would be the best fit for our family and it came down to two different dogs. So she let us take both out and play with them. We chose the one that was a little more scared and timid but still very very sweet! The owner told us if we have any concerns please contact her . The first few days we had some questions and she helped us to teach our new pup how to submit, which is so amazing because the adoption was over, technically she didn't have to respond to us at all or care enough but she took time out of her very busy schedule to help us over the phone and me sending videos to help with our girl. She's been absolutely perfect ever since. I've never met a sweeter dog than her. My girls are obsessed with her and she's so so so gentle, she loves to cuddle and she thinks she's a lap dog! Haha. She still gets a little nervous, and sometimes shy, but I think it's just her personality. Our life is so much greater with this pup in our lives. The owner Melissa is one of the sweetest people we had ever met. I've never met anyone who genuinely cares for her animals and clients as much as she does. We are expecting our 3rd child in February and I cannot WAIT till this baby turns 2 because we are coming back to adopt a brother or sister for our dog! I would recommend this place to ANYONE and EVERYONE!

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Stephanie. Sunday night I called and asked to look at some puppies. I came with my husband, and my 2 toddlers and it was such a beautiful experience . The owners of this rescue truly care about their animals. my husband and I were going back and forth about 2 different puppies. We got information on both, and both of them would fit in well with our family. They let us Individualy play with both puppies for as long as we wanted. They didn't rush us or seem upset in any way. They understood it was a big decision and respected us taking our time. They were so loving, so caring, and very sweet with each animal they had on their ranch. It was obvious they only do this for the love they have for animals. We finally chose the "right" dog for our family. She's beautiful, she's incredibly sweet, very smart and already has good manners. They started her on an amazing diet with great healthy food for her and we are continuing to give her this diet. I've been to many shelters and rescues looking for the "right" dog for our family and this place was absolutely perfect! I knew within 5 minutes that I was going to adopt a dog here. Later on in a couple years when I decide to add another pup to our family I will ONLY go here. Definitely adopt from here they are absolutely amazing people!!!!!

JJ L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Melissa was very nice. We adopted an 8 week old puppy. All puppies had plenty of room to play. I'm thankful for the Starting Over Animal Refuge for bringing our beautiful Kali into the family.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted Zorro when He was 3 months old. He is my buddy and very special to me. I am so glad I found this non profit rescue online. I recommend this organization to anyone wanting to adopt a puppy. They were very caring to the animals there and kept in touch to check on puppies in their new home.
Allison

2 Rebecca193

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I rescued our first "baby" shortly after we married. She gave us 16 wonderful years. After nearly a year since the passing of our first "baby", we decided to rescue in her memory. We couldn't be happier to have his little man join our family! Thank you Melissa!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had been looking for a Labrador Retriever for our daughter for her 8th birthday and Christmas (we recently lost our 13 year old Brittany Spaniel). After receiving a newsletter from Petfinder on a Wednesday, we found Starting Over Animal Refuge. We read all of the reviews and based on all of the positive reviews we contacted Melissa. We drove 2 hours from Parrish, Florida up to Ocala on that very Friday afternoon to see all of the puppies available. Once there, Melissa just knew which puppy we needed to see and call ours. She showed us a female border collie and labrador mix and that was it. We knew she was ours. We signed the papers and drove home with our new addition, Luna. She is awesome and we are already in love 2 days later! You could tell Melissa loved what she did and loved all of the puppies. She was very knowledgeable and passionate about animals. We have been calling her the animal whisperer at home since then!

3 Alicia69

Client Served

Rating: 5

My boyfriend, (who is currently in Iraq) and I have been searching for months for the perfect puppy to add to our family. Once we found her on the Starting Over page, we knew she was the one. My boyfriend called from Iraq to get all the information and Melissa was very helpful. The next day he sent me on an hour and a half drive to go get our new family member! She was perfect! Bella, who we renamed to Kora is a very smart, chill, kind and extremely lovable pup. She fits in perfectly with our family! We are so grateful for everything Melissa and her family did to save Kora and help get her into our home. Thank you!!!!
Here are some pictures of our Kora! She will be meeting Daddy for the first time this weekend, when he comes home.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our puppy when she was 8 weeks old, now she is 5 months old and such a huge part of our family. We knew we wanted to adopt a fur friend for our 2 year old daughter and we are so lucky to have found Starting Over Animal Refuge. The bond that they instantly had was so incredible, and it has only grown since that day 3 months ago. Our daughter is an only child but now she has a lifelong best friend named Minnie. My husband is currently awaiting a double lung transplant so we knew that our daughter would need someone stable and comforting in her life for when he has is surgery. We couldn't imagine our life without Minnie, she has impacted our life in such a positive way. We need more causes like Starting Over Animal Refuge in this world. Melissa is completely dedicated and devoted to her rescues and that is made abundantly clear when you are there to adopt.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Over the last 6 months I've been searching for the perfect dog to add to my family. When I arrived at the rescue I was pleasantly surprised by everything I saw. The kennels were clean, and you could tell they were constantly maintained. The staff was very nice and quite knowledgeable on any question I had. I was given an open invitation to meet any and all dogs i wished so i could have the best opportunity to meet my new companion. Once I met Zeke I knew I was done searching. Since returning home with my new little man we went to the vet, and he was given a clean bill of health (not that there was any doubt). His behavior since coming home with me is something I'd like to thank Starting Over Animal Refuge for; you can tell he was socialized with people (children included), and other animals. This has made it so much easier for me to let him meet the rest of my family and their little ones too. When the decision comes back around for myself or for anther family member to adopt they are who I will mention first.

3 Jeremy39

Client Served

Rating: 5

We drove up to Ocala from Orlando on Friday afternoon after communicating with them throughout the week about dogs that were available. We arrived and were taken down to the kennel to see the puppies that were available. She was well informed on the dogs and took the time to get to know our family and answer our questions. we took 3 puppies out to play with, then moved to the next kennel to understand all of our options. We went back to the first set of puppies and decided to take one of the little girls home with us. We had our first vet appointment today and all is well with her in regards to her health. We look forward to spending more time with the newest member of our family and would recommend anyone considering a rescue to take the trip to Ocala to see these puppies.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Contacted About a mastiff mix puppy and she said to come on out! We were delighted to see the puppy in a very nice adoption environment. We knew we would definitely adopt from here! Animals look well taken Care of,plenty of food and water and nicely set pens. Was surprised at how quiet the property was with 18 new puppies she just got delivered!! Will definitely recommend to others. We are going to be happy with our selection

1 Katy G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our sweet little girl from here and had an amazing experience. Melissa went above and beyond to answer all of our questions. Overall an amazing experience!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I really wanted a fur baby and we found the perfect one at Starting Over. They were so helpful, making sure to answer any and all questions we had about our puppy. It was so great to find all the puppies so well taken care of and happy. We love our little fur baby!

2

Client Served

Rating: 4

My family adopted our fur baby from Melissa a few months back. He very quickly became such a wonderful addition to our family. We had a good experience at the facility and all the pups were well cared for. Our little man was healthy and happy when we brought him home and has remained so.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Adopted a great dog. The refuge was very clean and all of the animals well cared for. I would recommend the organization to anyone.

3 Marcella S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family and I drove to Ocala from Orlando to adopt a puppy. We were very pleased when we arrived because the property was so clean and well organized. The kennels were very maintained for the dogs. It was very obvious the owners knew what they were doing. We would recommend this experience to anyone else!

2 Rebecca190

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had an absolutely amazing experience adopting our beautiful Storm! My fiance and I were hesitant about adopting a puppy, and Melissa encouraged us to consider an adult dog. We are SO GLAD she did! She introduced us to Storm, and it was love at first sight! Storm had been through a lot - she was found on the side of the road with her puppies in Texas. Despite all that, we could tell that she was being well taken care of at Starting Over! She needed patience and love, but we were more than happy to give that to her. Since taking her home with us, she has transformed from a fearful, anxious dog into the most perfect, happy, joyful, friendly girl we could have ever hoped for. Thank you Melissa and everyone else at Starting Over for saving Storm and giving her a chance at happiness with us. I can't thank you enough for bringing her into our lives and for all that you do to save the lives of so many dogs!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This place is awesome! Facility is great and the animals are clean and well cared for. Would recommend this caring animal shelter to anyone that can open their hearts to one of the beautiful animals that are up for adoption!!!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

A friend recommended that I call Melissa concerning a horse she had. Melissa was very knowledgeable and was careful to make sure the horse would be going to a good home. You can tell she loves animals and has their interests first.She was completely honest about the horse. It was a pleasure to work with Melissa. Having had the horse for a while i have found that Foxy is exactly what Melissa said she was going to be. I am really enjoying getting to know Foxy better and looking forward to many rides on the trails. I would definitely recommend Melissa to anyone looking for a new forever friend, dog or horse.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Melissa is one of the best people I know yes she has a lot going on right now with personal issues but she still takes time out of her day to take care of these animals.She helped me with 3 of my puppies. If I had to choose any place to surrender my dogs it would be here thank you Melissa for all that you do for these animals you are an amazing person and one of my inspirations.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Had a great experience coming here and meeting a family who genuinely cares about taking care of animals. The adoption process was swift and meeting our little family member was worth the drive.
Positive environment that actually gives animals some outdoor room.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

my name is brenda Lynn and today my best friend took me to a wonderful place Starting over animal refuge. Melissa was awesome , I told her on Sept 23 rd I lost my heart when Danior my 11 year old chow mix succomed to cancer. My sadness knew no bounds . A little about myself I am a groomer of over 30 yrs and a past vet tech. The loss of a loved pet isnt easy they are your heart soul and family. I went to see the refuges pups and one from the begining said take me all the other pups were full of color between coat patterns or eyes but the one who looked must like a boxer pup stood up reached me first liked me first and wouldnt leave me be or let me look her over I waited till last to see what else she would do to get me and when i lifted her up and instant tongue bath started my heart was found again mi corrazone or CORA as she is now named she had to come home with me. And the healing begins. Melissa thank you . And hope the towls blankets bleach and grooming supplies help your wonderful outreach. To those looking for a forever life member come here they will match you up or as with me the blessed animals will make themselves known to you, and to those who think 300 to 350 is alot for a mixed pup there is alot that goes into feeding vetting and caring for litters if its to much you dont need to get a dog they are a life commitment , and to those who bashed Melissa quit please she is a giving person who like all of us has had tramas in live some recent and reguardles she was there for me to heal my loss and start my life anew with Cora

2 Chloe D.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The story of Dr Tink. 8 weeks old, now going on 4 years old. IT ALL STARTED WITH A TINK. Without Starting Over there would have been no Dr Tink.

1 Annie55

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted a gorgeous lab mix puppy from Melissa. I flew him from Ocala to Fort Lauderdale. The whole experience was very pleasant and fast. Took him to the vet, he was clean, no worms, no kennel cough. He's a very obedient, sweet dog. I would adopt from her again.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

There is so much to say about this rescue.... I don't even know where to start. She doesn't just rescue animals, she rescues people too and most of the time doesn't realize it. By being real and not hiding behind anything, she shows people true strength. She gives hope to people in their darkest hours.

She takes in litters of puppies and helps people get the parents fixed, so that there won't be any more. She takes in adults that noone else will touch.

When it comes time to find them homes, she makes sure it is the perfect match. She spends the time to watch the interaction of the person and animal to ensure that they are compatible.

She is truly a 1 of a kind rescue!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

melissa has helped me so much! between her beautiful horses and dogs i fell in love and when i have a question she's always there to answer! she has a beautiful property, I've never seen someone so dedicated to helping animals and helping them find their forever homes!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Starting over is not really a horse rescue but melissa does take in horses from time to time and that is how I got my girl Morgan. I adopted her from melissa i believe its been what two and a half years now? It was such a pleasure doing business with her. The horse I adopted is so beautiful and a perfect match for me. I plan to one day adopt a dog when I am ready. And i will be going back to Starting Over.

1 Elizabeth230

Client Served

Rating: 5

Me and my boyfriend adopted a German shepherd mix about a year and a half ago. Melissa was very nice and friendly over the pgone and when we went there. She was very professional and explained the what was expected of us. The little guy we adopted changed our life completely. We love him so much and couldn't be more thankful to Melissa. We are thinking about adopting another puppy and we sure are going to go to her again.

1 Monique O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Adopted my best friend (Rosco) from Starting Over Animal Refuge back in April. Thank you so much for everything you do! ❤

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Wow! What a joke! This organization wouldn't have to beg for positive reviews on Facebook, if they were actually doing a good job. They charge an admission to look at puppies/horses to "adopt. Ridiculous adoption fees. This lady is completely crazy and lives for the drama that she brings on herself. Even went so low as to claim she had puppies get stolen for more attention! But guess what? She hasn't mentioned those puppies in quite some time. That should tell you something. Stay away! Donate or adopt from someone else! There are tons of reviews all over the internet of this woman and her organization!

Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa296 10/05/2016

Why haven't you heard anything about those stolen puppies because I found most of them and I stopped pursuing it because my brother in law took his life on our farm and my 17yr old daughter found him and my husband and I stayed by his body in total shock and traumatized by what we witnessed. Now stop harrassing me because it won't take much to have them search your account find your IP and report you for cyber bullying. This is ridiculous and it's cruel.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Excellent care of animals. Her animals are all well-cared for, loved, and she is a wonderful person to deal with. I have nothing to say but the best about this refuge and rescue.

I truly believe that there is ONE person who is constantly putting bad reviews here and is a cyberbully so I wouldn't pay any attention to those. If you read them, they have pretty much the same language, wording, and spelling

6

Client Served

Rating: 1

Really wishing that I could give zero stars. She is very unprofessional. Curses and belittles people that don't agree with her. Charges a fortune for mutt puppies and claims it's an "adoption" fee. Nothing more than a glorified puppy and horse flipper. Please beware! Please do your research! Weed through the positive reviews, made by the same people over and over again, and find the bad ones. That's where you'll find the truth. Donate elsewhere!

Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa296 10/05/2016

you are very reputitious in what you say. if you read the very few compared to negative reviews we can all tell that you're one in the same and you're cyber stalking me. Saying my family gets what they deserve through all the trauma we have experienced as of late with the loss of our family member and finding him and all the ourtrageous accusations you claim on me while we are trying to grieve just shows how cruel of a person you truly are and unfortunetly people like yourself exist that want to punish the good in others. You expose your own self. I have over 100 GREAT reviews from actual clients who have experienced my organization and me as a person first hand. You can't fabricate that. You're a wolf in sheep clothing on my facebook and you my friend is a coward. If you truly believe everything you say sign your true name on here show people you stand by your claims. I don't belittle people. I trust people too much. I forgive too easily . I don't find the fault in people's stars. I believe in people. You on the other hand make it your life effort to cause further pain and suffering to those who are already going through the most unbearable time of their lives. You will not shut me down. your efforts go in vain. I am and always will be a better person then you are capable of being.

2 Maria146

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have adopted three dogs from Starting Over and couldn't be more pleased with our experience. When you adopt from Starting Over you are able to visit with these beautiful pups and see which one is right for you. Melissa is amazing with animal behavior and answering any and all questions you have during the adoption process. She takes her time with these animals and with you and you don't feel rushed or unsure.
My family and I highly recommend Starting Over. You will find a forever friend there I'm sure. We have found three so far. :)

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have adopted three of my boys from SOAR/Melissa and I have nothing but praise for this lady and this organization. Immediately upon arriving on the property you know these animals are well cared for and loved on. Plenty of time is allowed to get to know all about the animals available and which one may be suitable for you. I have a full house right now but you can bet that if the future opens a space for another fur child in my home, I will be visiting SOAR/Melissa again.

Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa296 10/05/2016

All my spotted freckled beauties! thankyou for providing a safe and loving forever home for some of my furbabies.

2 Jennifer589

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Melissa is a wonderful person. She gives animals a second chance at a happy ending. She is an exceptional animal behaviorist. I envy her skill with horses. She goes above and beyond for the rescue and rehabilitation of many different animals. Animal rescue is one of the hardest jobs to do because of the out-pour of negativity. Melissa is a strong woman putting the needs of animals and others above herself. This is a great rescue and I 100% support their ethics.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Nice place ,I have been there with my friend to visit. I figured it would be like other rescue places I have visited. I was very impressed. Melissa is very open and honest,she is very comfortable to be around. I would have to say if your looking to adopt a critter ,contact her and talk to her .

7

Donor

Rating: 2

I guess Im going to start off by saying Starting Over is out trying to do the right thing. I stumbled across this organization a few years ago when looking for a rescue horse. I never adopted from here because I didnt have the 2k+ for one. Ended up adopting from another rescue group. But I still followed on social media and even donated to the care of some of the horses. I think the work is sloppy. The social media page is always full of drama. Personal drama at that. I know more about whats going on in her personal life then any public person should. I think having two seperate accounts would be a good idea. One for the rescue and one for personal. Less people would start things and bash the rescue if this were to happen. Less people saying its a pitty party. Also she tends to slander and bash people who do not agree with her or if she takes what they say the wrong way. Not super professional (especially the cursing). I understand shes protecting and standing up for what is hers but theres different ways to go about it. I believe she has the heart of gold but lets people get to her. The more people see that the more people come at her. Keep your head held high and dont stoop to their level and acknowledge them. The one thing I never quite understood was the pricing. But I dont have a rescue and I dont foot out expenses for care. So maybe the pricing is correct but some disagree. Another thing I didnt get was she rescued a beautiful stallion and turned him around. But she never gelded him and bred him! What rescue does that? How can you talk about spay and neuter for dogs and then be breeding your "rescue" horse. Over breeding of horses is also a big thing. So many ending up in kill pens. Thats maybe the only thing I disagree with. I feel they are doing a hard job and trying their best to make a difference but need to clean up their act a little. Hopefully she wont take this constructive criticism the wrong way. Two separate accounts for social media. Keep personal away from the public interested in the rescue and less ill minded people will bash this group.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have adopted to dogs from starting over. One just a few weeks old that was taken in when they were surrendered from out of state. The other was a 7 month old female who was dumped back. I've visited the farm on several occasions and it's always been clean and the dogs happy healthy and showing it was a happy productive environment. Melissa has always been helpful and she has taken in some dogs most would have and did give up on. Rescue work of any kind is a hard thing to do

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

WOW...I drove the 4 hours from West Palm Beach to Ocala, not knowing what to expect. However fully committed to the cute puppy in her posting(catahoulax / am. bulldog / mastiff mix) Magnum). I have been looking for a few weeks , checking petfinder.com every night when I get of work( I work nights). I called a number, thinking I would just leave a message to let the shelter know I wanted to adopt Magnum.(if you move slow you lose the dog) However at 2:30am Melissa answered srry about that. even at late hour she still found time to give me some of her time(many tks). I think there were 7 or 8 puppies to pic from. But Magnum was the one for me. However , one of the 2 girls would keep coming over to my side. So after much thought and fear. I adopted her as well. They are best buds. I am so glad I took a chance on adopting 2 puppies. From the start Mellissa was great. All the puppies were well fed look great and were very happy and healthy. The adoption process went smoothly. I would happily drive the 4 hours again. TY Mellissa Sincerely Mark and Andrea.

Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

You were so awesome to meet. Your smile can light up the world. Keep shining and I know those babies are loved to no end

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Melissa is a wonderful person, and SOAR is a great organization. I have been looking for months for a service dog. I called about a German shepherd who happened to be recently adopted, but Melissa went out of her way to help me. Happily Melissa let me know about the adopted puppy's sister who is absolutely the best dog. Despite being 10 weeks old, she is attentive, mellow, smart, and well trained. She transitioned easily in my home and learned to go to stay, sit, and go-to-your-crate in two days of 15 minute training sessions twice a day. She is also house broken and only has occasional accidents. I took her to the vet for the first time today and all of the doctors and staff fell in love with her. She is in perfect health. I can't recommend S.O.A.R. enough. As soon as I adopted my puppy, my life has changed for the better. All of the dogs and kittens that I saw and interacted with were happy, playful, and friendly. The horses in their pastures looked beautiful and healthy and had a lot of space.

Comments ( 1 )

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

Hearing your story hit so close to home for me. Remember anytime you need someone that's walked that same path just call me up. I am not just the rescue anymore . we are now extended family. Welcome to my world . It's called "survivors" . That my friend is what you are. That little pup is going to change your world in more ways you can ever comprehend. Btw Sachi my service dog is home now and she is coming back to her old self again too. Sometimes the road after trauma can be hard to tread but always remember. One foot in front of the other and just keep swimming.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have known Melissa for 10 years and have watched, witnessed and have adopted animals from her myself. My lastest being my pup Teddington. A few months back i was on faceboom looking at the new pups that had just arrived and one pup in particular popped up and i startes to cry. I had lost my bestfriend of 13 years only 3 short years ago. Seeing this picture was like seeing Blaze all over again. They looked so much alike it made my heart sink. I had sent a picture of Blaze with a pic of Teddy to Melissa and she was also overwhelmed with the resemblance. She told me to come and get him. I kept turning her down. I didnt think i was ready for another pup. So finally i couldnt get him out of my head and went to visit the pups. I know from being with Melissa that just because you like a puppy doesnt mean it will be a match for you. So i didnt go with my hopes high. Once i got there and Teddy was let out to greet it was a perfect match. He latched on to me and was ready to go home. He hasnt changed a bit. Hes more of my best friend and still is my little shadow every where i go. Thank you Melissa for always doing whats right for these little guys and girls and taking the time to make sure its a perfect match. I will always be thankful for my little man.

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

You are not just my friend through these animals you have become my family and my sister friend. Animals are a healing spirit and they brought me the most beautiful person I could ever ask for with the most beautiful family! Thankyou for being so positive in my world. Sometimes paths are meant to cross and while I think I'm helping them they are actually helping me. Love you to the moon and the stars and your beautiful family!

4 Amanda251

Client Served

Rating: 4

We adopted an 8 week lab mix from SOAR. Unfortunately we were late to our appointment, but Melissa worked her schedule around us and we were able to look at the puppies and eventually adopt one. It was quick and painless. He is the sweetest puppy, super smart, and fits perfectly with our family and our other dog (they were instant best friends!) He came with his initial shots and was dewormed. You will need to get a vet checkup of the dog after adopting it. When we took him to the vet, he did have worms & a bacterial infection, and put him on meds. He is otherwise very healthy and beautiful! We're very happy.

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

So sorry he had a bacteria infection unfortunately sometimes it's the nature of the beast in the world of rescue. Thankfully he had the perfect parents to kick that bacteria in the butt and will hopefully never be back again!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Ive adopted a few horses from Melissa, I don't think I've ever met someone with such a big heart and ability to rescue horses and rehab them so beautifully! She has a true gift!

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

Oh those beasts I love so much. Even though I'm not a horse rescue doesn't mean some arent worth saving and protecting. Thankyou for loving our beasts

2 Mary452

Client Served

Rating: 4

We got a puppy from Melissa July 30, 2016 and she kept him for an extra 2 weeks till we could come and get him. She was amazing with him, At 7 weeks old he was already sitting on command and is continuing on his way to becoming a service animal. She was caring to us and our little guy. Thank you so much for everything!

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

Enjoyed that lil man so much! Ty for adopting

Terri75

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We adopted a puppy from Melissa a few weeks ago. She went above and beyond to help us. We were going on vacation so she and her husband watched the puppy for us until we got back and could come get her. We have 3 young boys and our puppy fits in perfectly with our family. She was kind and compassionate. And if we decide to adopt another one, we will definitely be contacting her!

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

Oh must post updates !

Writer

Client Served

Rating: 5

Melissa allowed me to adopt two of her off the track rescue horses about 4 years ago. I am a returning client, and always will be. She was very helpful, insightful, and honest about what she knew about their history, and their foundation. I am blessed to have been able to adopt my geldings from this organization. Thank you again Melissa!

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

You have been my most devoted horse client ever . You make sure I feel like Jacob is always in my life. From literally hundreds of good morning pics of him and Louie too Jacob was the horse who stole my heart and had my soul . Knowing my mission in life to save so many animals and not wanting to waiver this I knew you could love him like I did and turn him into the champion I couldn't because my life is too demanding. SO thankyou for being that person who is so compassionate to not just her fur babies but to the people around her also. Never judging and always loving. you are my inspiration. Keep living the dream girlfriend. I have such a huge family in all of you and that keeps me going!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are truly blessed to have Max in our lives! We contacted Melissa about adopting another puppy however, that lucky puppy was adopted that day. The next day Melissa contacted us that she had been training Max to be a service dog and inquired if we would be interested in adopting her. After learning that I work at a behavioral health facility Melissa knew Max’s training would better the lives of many! Max is an amazing puppy, quick learner and has the perfect temperament to continue on into a therapy training program so she (yes, Max is a girl!) may go work give “puppy therapy” to employees and children who need a little more in their day. (sleeping under my mom's desk and resting at home after work).

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

Oh Dear Max, I'm going to write you a letter because you belong to the family of my service dog Sachi and having you here through the most traumatic time of my life and my families was a simple saving grace . I put my heart and soul into you in just weeks to make you the best you could be to go off and share that with those in need. You will always be remembered of the Little shepherd that could. Thankyou for being so gentle and loyal to my lil one Chloe. Whom you adored and I'm sure misses her so. Your journey has just begun. You will be a legend in so many lives. You will soften so many hearts and your soul will live on beyond your years. Tell your masters to make sure you're honored in the sense of making a difference in this cruel but beautiful world. You were meant for all things great because you were born all things amazing. you're Max. you're unforgettable and sometimes my favorite hellos are my hardest goodbyes but I must go on one by one....because I am just your temporary home.

3 Kandi

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have not adopted a puppy or dog from Starting Over Refuge, but have followed her for several years now. She has put so much love, sweat, tears and work into making life better for animals that would not normally find good homes. She is passionate about the animals she has saved. If, as one reviewer stated, she were a flipper, I think she would be charging far more than the $50.00 she charges for adoptions and wouldnt be putting so much of her own money into the care, vetting, and maintainence that goes into providing a temporary (or even permanent) home for these babies. She goes out of her way to make sure that the animals are socialized, loved and nurtured. She hurts when they hurt and she loves when they are found the perfect forever home. Flippers dont care about that..they care about the money. I have never seen a fundraiser for anything that was not needed and I think if you live the the FL area and are looking for the perfect pup...start there at Starting Over.

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

She hurts when they hurt and she loved when they are. Those words touched me. You define me so perfectly in that aspect.

4 flatsskipper

Client Served

Rating: 5

I wound up at Starting Over Animal Refuge quite by accident. On a Saturday we had contacted Melissa and Starting Over Animal Refuge regarding a specific pup much to our disappointment the dog we had wanted had been adopted, and we had missed out. The following Sunday we visited another rescue, and we adopted a different puppy that unfortunately fell ill the next day with Parvo.

During the week, while contacting the animal hospital, I accidentally dialed Melissa's number, and she immediately picked up. Coincidentally, we had named our puppy the same as one of her missing animals and when I told her that Luna was in the hospital she was thinking I was referring to one of her puppies.

She was incredibly kind on the phone and genuinely concerned for the well-being of our puppy. Melissa spent about 15 minutes discussing Parvo with me including prevention and how to help an animal recover. I was overwhelmed by the kindness in her voice. It was what I needed in the middle of a taxing week with the new puppy in a pet hospital. Upon concluding our conversation, Melissa asked that I follow up with her and let her know how our dog fared.

On Friday after consulting with the vet, it was determined that the best course of action was to put the pup down. She simply was not getting any better.

I phoned Melissa to let her know and one again she was incredibly kind. Melissa offered her sympathy and condolences; her sincerity nearly bought me to tears. Once again, I reminded her that we had contacted her regarding a particular puppy to which she replied, "you know I have his brother."

Arriving home Friday night to a somber wife and daughter, I relayed Melissa's comments regarding Thunderpaws brother Bobo. The family immediately spring and action and plans were made to visit Starting Over Animal Refuge first thing Saturday morning. I reached out to Melissa to let her know we would be there as soon as she would allow us. She kindly stated that she would hold Bobo and look forward to meeting us tomorrow.

We arrived promptly at 9 AM Saturday and were greeted by a front yard full of happy puppies beautiful German Shepherds, Itty-Bitty add another yellow ball of fluff, all seemed happy and eager to see people. Melissa came out introduced herself and gave us all hugs, and we knew we were making a new friend.

We then drove down to the kennels where I was surprised to see the number of quarantined and sick pups being cared for and treated by Melissa. She had an entire litter of puppies that I can't imagine the amount of work that was going to have to go into saving them. They were suffering from Parvo and some Mange, which she explained, but I can't recall. The amount of work that would have to go into saving these pups, only to see them all go, just takes a special person with a special heart.

We took Bobo out and to a pasture and immediately fell in love. We knew we were taking him! We thought we were going to have to come and pick him up the following week. But he had received all of the necessary treatments to go home with us on Saturday. We had our new puppy. We changed his name to Ares, the God of War, a name he is indeed growing into and we love our pup.

I would certainly recommend adopting from Starting Over Animal Refuge. The love and care that Melissa puts into these puppies and dogs is truly a testament to the kind of person she is. We wish her nothing but the best and thank her for bringing Aries into our lives.

A quick note is that Luna was not put down that Friday afternoon and miraculously
survived. Now Aries has a new sister; we are absolutely in love with our pack

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

This my friend and now my extended family was no accident. This was devine intervention from a higher power. God lead you to me because he needed me to hear your tremendously passionate heart . He guided you to me because your family needed hope that the world isn't all cruel and unkind. It isn't all unjust. He lifted both of us up that day. He knew how hard I was about to fall so he needed angels like you around me. To say this to me before the most traumatic day of my families life. You are the voice I hear when I want to think of humanity and what the world should sound like. Your tears of greatfulness. Your arms around me saying thankyou for giving us a little light after something very dark gave me comfort in my days to come even though I was numb. Even though the pain became unbearable here I am at 2am reading these reviews and there you are with your kind words spoken and your arms of greatness. SO please let me thank you for being just as wonderful as all should be and being kind. We need more people like you and your family here in this world. We would be a much better place .

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We just adopted an 8 week old Yellow Lab from S.O.A.R. and it was a great experience. We visited the ranch to select our new pup and Melissa allowed us as much time as we needed. The process was painless and we now have a new forever puppy that we absolutely adore. I would recommend S.O.A.R. to anyone that is looking to adopt a pet.

Sincerely,

Toby's Parents

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

It was a pleasure having you both here. You chose quite the picture perfect face! I will be hoping for an update when he's a little older :)

Shawn33

Donor

Rating: 5

We didn't know where to go at first to help our puppies. Then we found out about animal refuge inc. And our worries were gone. Melissa keeps a nice place for animals. She gets to know each animal and has nice place for animals.

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Melissa296 10/04/2016

While I was helping your puppies they helped me. The circle of giving is never ending. glad I could help protect those fur babies and hope you enjoyed the journey!

1 Laura310

Client Served

Rating: 5

We got our rescue pup, Patti, over a year ago & we LOVE her! She is a great member of our little pack & loves her big brother, also a rescue. We had a great experience with Melissa & highly recommend her organization. It's wonderful to see all the improvements. She is very passionate about what she does and I admire what she is able to accomplish in savings animals like our Patti!

Crystal93

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Melissa obviously loves the animals at her ranch, they are so well taken care of and she makes sure the right animals go with the right people. She is truly a blessing to have in the animal rescue world.

Sharon180

Client Served

Rating: 1

I got my Bastain, from starting over animal rescue...what a great person Melissa is...And the ranch is very spacious an clean

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Client Served

Rating: 1

Thank you SOAR for helping me find a awesome furbaby

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Melissa and her so called "rescue" are frauds. It isn't what she claims it to be. This person is the queen of GoFundme's, FundRazr, not only for her "rescue" but for personal situations. Even Zootoo has given her bad reviews. To which she begs for people to give her good reviews on this medium. She is a glorified dog flipper with a bad reputation in the dog rescue arena. She and her family are grifters. They profit from a shell game that plays on the guilt of humans over animal suffering. Melissa is always the victim. If you disagree or question her, she will post your personal conversations on her Facebook page to her detriment. I invite you to do your research before doing any kind of business with her.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I got a puppy in January from Melissa Candow... he is the most loving adorable beagle mix. SOAR is a excellent organization that shows true love and concern for their animals. Very friendly and loving. Thank you so much for my baby Jax!!!

Renee79

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great rescue that truly cares about the health and happiness of the animals. My family and I adopted our puppy in January and feel so blessed to have had the opportunity. He has completed our family thanks to Melissa at Starting Over!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have known Melissa for some time now . During the early years of our friendship I was looking for a horse, she said I've got one he just needs broke. I took him,he was a chestnut gelding who was quiet and shy. To date he is my big happy dependable trustworthy fur baby. Yes been hauled ,clipped,shown,swimming, and so much more. If not for Melissa I wouldn't have my "love horse". Thank you Melissa for having the gift to match animal to human for the lifelong love they will share.

Astrid P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We got our puppy form starting over last month, and we couldn't be happier!!! Melissa was lovely!!!! I even put her on the phone with my vet the nex day because I was lost and the puppy ate the contract and info on the way home lol. I remember She was rescuing a horse the day I was there around 9:30pm they are just amazing !!! And our puppy is very happy now it was absolutely worthy to drive from Orlando to Ocala for him!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been an animal lover all of my life. My family and I looked high and low for months to adopt. We finally found the most caring, loving and honest animal rescue, Starting Over Animal Refuge. When we arrived we met Melissa the owner. She was so caring about not only her animals that she cares for but my family and my other pets. She wasn't pushy and rude like some of the other adoption sites we had visited. She was compassionate and wanted to make sure our pet was right for my family and we were right for her. She matched us up beyond perfectly. She healed my daughter that had been through the loss of a few pets due to old age. They are amazing! We will only adopt from Starting Over!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had a horse I needed to re home that had tons of special needs. Melissa opened her farm to that mare and immediately had the vet out. She has since found a home for her that can accommodate her allergies and training issues. I would adopt a puppy from her in a heartbeat if I had the room!