Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Starting Over Animal Refuge Inc

22,299 pageviews

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

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

305 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.

1 Ann_127

Client Served

Rating: 5

They thankfully took in 19 of the puppies that our 2 dogs had back in January had found them all great homes

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Such sweet animals- Melissa knows what she is talking about and you can tell she loves each one of those animals. Rescued our sweet baby now named Oakley from Starting Over Animal Refuge.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We just adopted the sweetest puppy from here and everyone was very friendly and informative. The puppies that we could see looked well cared for and happy. We are VERY pleased with our little baby and were pleasantly surprised that she is everything we were hoping for and more! We will definitely recommend S.O.A.R. to our friends and family in the future!

2 Samantha79

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted Rilee from starting over about 5 months ago. I am a first timer at the whole process and Melissa helped me find the perfect puppy. She explained everything and made me feel comfortable with the rescue before I adopted. Rilee is my best friend, I can't imagine what my life would be like with out her.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of being a volunteer for Starting Over Animal Refuge. I have never met anyone as passionate for animals then this young lady. She dedicates her life in saving animals. The ones that come in that is under weight and not social, by the time Melissa gets done rehabilitating them. They are back to normal weight, wagging there tail and actually will come to you. These animals know when they meet her they will have a future. I have personally adopted 2 dogs and 2 horses from Melissa. Not only do you walk away with wonderful pets but you gain a friend.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Me and my Vicki adopted Boomer from Starting Over yesterday and have to admit we are very impressed with the service we got and also the genuine love that this organization shows to its Dogs Melissa does an excellent job in ensuring that both Dog and Human get to know each other and get used to each other . I would definitely recommend SOAR to anyone .

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Melissa does an excellent job and is always helping! Her whole life revolves around helping these animals, this is what she does 24/7..... with never ending love & dedication. I have helped and volunteered several times at her rescue farm and can only give her the best reviews. If you are reading this and feel you want to do something positive, call a rescue group and volunteer... only then will you truly understand how much people like Melissa really do.

1 Selena2

Client Served

Rating: 5

A couple months ago my spouse and I were looking to add a member to our family and we came across a picture of a puppy named axel from starting over animal refuge and we fell in love with him immediately! That same week we were able to go see him even though we got there after hours and we adopted him that same night! The owners of this organization were kind and worked with us to make sure we got to take our puppy home. Now five months later he's become an irreplaceable part of my family and I cannot thank the people from starting over animal refuge inc enough!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Adopted a puppy from Starting Over in January 2014. Melissa was wonderful to deal with and was patient with us as my husband and I asked a zillion questions, visited the rescue multiple times to decide which puppy was best, and even made a special after-hours appointment for me to pick up my pup as my work schedule was not normal at the time.

The kennels were immaculate every time I came to visit & the puppies were being well cared for.

You can really tell that Melissa puts her heart and soul into her rescue.

Donor

Rating: 5

What a wonderful group!!!! They give such love & care to their animals, & give so much info to adopting families. Our daughter & her friend had such a great time playing with their horses, puppies & the baby piggy.
We're so thrilled with our puppy! Just can't recommend this place enough.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My wife and I recently adopted a puppy from this organization. The property was beautiful. The kennels were all clean. All the dogs were very healthy looking and were happy. The woman that runs this organization was very nice and not pushy at all. She let me spend time with the puppies before deciding to adopt. I will be recommending Starting Over Animal Refuge to my friends and family in the future.

Brought my puppy in to my vet the day after adoption to get checked out. Vet gave the all clear and said she is healthy and good to go.

1 Beth161

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I helped transport a rescue recently & we also adopted our sweet little Roxy girl from SOAR. Melissa puts her heart & soul into saving animals & does a great job. Her facility is clean & well taken care of. Her adoption fees a more than fair considering all that goes into running this rescue.

Client Served

Rating: 3

All pets looked healthy, nice clean kennels, owner was caring of all animals.. price was a bit steep for an american mutt, (was told we were paying for a pure breed dog.)BUT, We love her the same, no matter what.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Helped save lives by transporting in 2015.
This facility was impressive. Very clean, quarantine areas were separate. You can tell the staff kept up with procedures and cleaning regimens. They really love all the rescues they get in over there! Highly Recommend!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted my dog Stig from SOAR almost 5 years ago and was the best thing I ever did. He is wonderful and was in perfect health. She cares about were her animals go and that they receive the best homes possible. She required updates and proof of health for 3 years, which I was happy to do. I don't think the adoption fee was unreasonable considering all the amazing work she does and that cost money. I continue to follow her and donate to her rescue efforts when I can. I would adopt from her again.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This rescue is all heart and soul! Clean, another males are well taken care of and happy!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our beautiful baby girl Roxy from Melissa. She is a wonderful caring good hearted woman who would do anything for the animals in her care. Her ranch is well maintained and clean. I would recommend her to anyone looking to add a furry one to their family! Will adopt again from Melissa when we are ready for another furry family member!! -Jenna Ballard-NeSmith

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a wonderful and easy experience. I wish I could adopt more!! Two dogs and three little girls keep us plenty busy!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I recently adopted 2 puppies from Melissa. The puppies were in good health and well-cared for. I think she's doing a fantastic job of rescuing these pups and finding good homes for them!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted a puppy from SOARS/Melissa going on 4 yrs ago. It was obvious right away how much she cared for the animals in her care, how happy and content they were. Healthy and well fed. Her ability to deal with and take care of dogs of all ages is truly amazing. She has save so many lives and given them hope, happiness and forever homes.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Very honest person! Wonderful experience! She takes wonderful care of all her animals!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Going on a year ago I got my horse from Melissa as a suggestion from a friend who gots both her horses (who are amazing) from her. I love my girl and could not be happier. I highly recommend Melissa to anyone, she knows what she's doing hands down!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I adopted my dog from starting over ranch 2 and half years ago, the owner melissa was very professional and knowledgeable, her facility is very well kept up and my dog simba was fixed, dewormed, had all his shots, was microchipped and on flea and heartworm meds. She still keeps up with me to this day. I am so grateful i found her facility and my bestfriend simba.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great place ,I went with a friend of mine. I was expecting to see abunch of skinny rescue horses and a crappy place like most Rescue places I have been to,damn her horses were fat ,shiny, and darn friendly!We went out in a couple pastures and petted and visited the horses.My friends daughter bought a beautiful mare,with the money she saved working and helping me out on weekends. Melissa is cool,I liked her right away ,very knowledgeable too.I did see some of her dogs too ,very nice.I would recommend her highly if you were looking for a horse or dog. Bev Schipp

Jennifer518

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Melissa stepped up to help a Shepherd noone else would help. Excellent and very professional!

Damian3

Client Served

Rating: 4

Melissa and starting over are great. Her first focus is all about the animals. She works hard to place them all in best homes. We love our rescue Lexus we adopted from her after transporting numerous dogs back from Texas.

Heather241

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love this rescue.... Looked at a GSD not long ago. Both Melissa and i agreed it was too much dog for me. We are still looking as the right dog is needed for my type of service dog work.
I also do rescue myself and Melissa bailed me out when an emergency came up. I was glad to pass on the pups I had to her. I knew she would find GREAT HOMES not good homes. And its not about money with her, its about the animal finding a life long home.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This rescue truly cares for the animals it takes on. Melissa has taken dogs all the way from Texas and other areas and has adopted them out healthy and happy.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Best dog rescue I have ever seen. Melissa Candow, the owner, is a true animal lover and a saint for all she does for her animals. I adopted two puppies, Brownie & Sheriff. I can't imagine our family without them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a great rescue! Melissa has a big heart and her dogs are always cared for.

Jeff119

Client Served

Rating: 5

Joey, (now named Jax) was part of a litter of 2mo old GSD puppies and when I saw his photo online I was immediately interested. Melissa was friendly and professional over the phone, gave me excellent directions and I didn't hesitate, making the 2+hr drive from coastal Pinellas County the next day.

I wasn't sure what to expect, having only dealt with SPCA, Pinellas Animal Services, etc. I was pleasantly surprised it was actually a ranch, (I assumed it was just in the name). The puppies were well cared for, healthy and absolutely beautiful. As soon as I handled Joey I knew I was taking him home, he was a doll with a great personality.

I was there over an hour and I can attest to how hard Melissa works to take care of the animals in her care. I was impressed at her dedication to be a jack-of-all-trades to handle so much all by herself. That takes guts, a ton of energy and a serious amount of know-how. Unlike some "rescue" services that have all their animals "fostered" Melissa's animals are physically there and that was one of the things that I preferred in my search.

I have had dogs all my life, never living more than a few weeks without one, sometimes having more than one at a time. I have professionally trained certified police dogs and am an excellent judge of canine character as well as people with "dog sense." Melissa has a gift with dogs - and despite the trials and tribulations of her position, she loves what she does and helps find scores of animals new loving homes. I have referred friends to her, and will continue to do so.

Puppy: Jax on the day he came home - 8 weeks old. Adult: Jax on his 1st birthday, Feb 2016.



Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted 2 puppies from Starting Over on 1/30/2016. They are very healthy,we'll fed and beloved puppies by Melissa & volunteers that there would be no difference than ones we see at breeders. We're so impressed this place is kept so clean and each one of animals are well taken care of. We recommend Starting Over and look no further for your next furbabies.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted a golden mix puppy from SOAR in October 2014 and it was a great experience. We had been turned down by another breed specific rescue because we did not have the right kind of fence. Melissa was less concerned with the type of fence we had and more concerned with whether our new pet was going to be a family member and well cared for. She helped me decide which of the puppies would be best fit for our family and it turned out to be a perfect choice. I have followed her on FB since the adoption and I have been nothing short of amazed at some of the rescues and transformations.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been following this Rescue for years -- ever since I moved to Florida (3 years ago) I'm not quite ready to get a pet yet down here in Florida, but when I am ready I will drive all the way to Ocala to adopt from this Rescue. They are incredibly amazing!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have adopted and volunteered at Starting Over. A truly amazing place, nothing but healthy, happy animals. Melissa puts everything she has into her rescue and it truly shows. Would recommend adopting from Starting Over with out a doubt. So greatful to be involved with this organization. It is truly one of a kind.

1 Angie73

Client Served

Rating: 5

We saw the litter of puppies online and I texted Melissa (President) late Saturday night, not expecting a response till the next day. She replied within the hour and was great about communication throughout the next day. Once we arrived to pick up our puppy, they were in a well kept outdoor kennel. The puppies were happy and clean. We instantly picked our dog and fell in love with him. He has a great temperament, especially around children. He received a clean bill of health from the vet and is simply wonderful. I couldn't have asked for a better adoption experience!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Got to ride with Mel and help take care of some of the puppies and dogs that came thru the rescue and every dog and horse was treated with the utmost care and attention. She runs the rescue with her heart and soul and pours everything she has into these dogs to help find them the best possible homes.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Melissa Candow runs this Rescue with a determination, dedication, and a heart bigger than the Universe. I have been a part of her transport operations thru other Rescues and have seen her Ranch and witnessed the miracles she does, with very little help. She is a one-woman powerhouse and refuses to give up on the animals in Her care. She takes the ones no one else will ...the difficult, the dying, the unwanted, and she nurses them personally, trains them professionally, and takes over-precautions in who she adopts her animals out too - each one is special to her. Her Ranch is clean, her animals are cared for with great love and a wealth of medical training. Starting Over Animal Refuge gets Five Stars. IF I could give more I would!