It was quite a week at A Second Chance Animal Shelter!
On June 24th, Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s Freedom Ride 100 made a tour-stop at the shelter. When they left, it was with some new friendships among the shelter staff, a few great videos (check out Facebook.com/ASCAS.Manning for a sampling), and some extra company for their ride back to Florida: 27 ASCAS shelter dogs would be making the trip as a 1st step in finding their own new home!
As Clarendon County’s only animal shelter, ASCAS finds homes for up to 1000 dogs and cats each year. However, even in our COVID-19 driven world, few get adopted locally. So rescue partners like H.A.R.T., Last Chance, Second Chance Animal Rescue and Big Dog Ranch Rescue (BDR) are of great importance, providing a link between the shelter and new, permanent homes.
BDR has been a shelter rescue partner for many years. Two years ago, as Hurricane Florence bore down on the area, they transported a van-load of ASCAS dogs to the safety of their well-equipped home base. When they recently contacted Leslie Billups, the shelter’s Rescue Coordinator, and proposed making ASCAS one of only 4 South Carolina stops on their Freedom Ride 100, her answer was an enthusiastic “YES!”
Billups then began the task of reviewing available shelter dogs with BDR’s placement specialists, determining which would be a good fit for their rehabilitation and adoption programs. With extensive resources, BDR will take not only healthy animals, but some with infirmities that most rescue groups or individual adopters would likely turn away. Among them: a facial gunshot wound victim, a puppy brought to the shelter after being hit by a car, one that is deaf, plus those testing positive for heartworms. At ASCAS, they received vet exams at a local clinic, x-rays, stiches, medications and tender care. But under BDR’s guardianship, each would be evaluated and provided additional extended rehabilitation, continuing the long process started here to get them adoption-ready.
In the end, 26 dogs made the list – that is, until BDR’s resident trainer met Iggy, a beautiful pure-bred shepherd and the shelter’s longest term resident at 2 years. But Iggy’s aggressiveness towards some people had placed him in the “un-adoptable” category until now. Using his special training skills and perhaps some magic, he soon had Iggy walking calmly around the parking area, obeying basic commands. His evaluation? Iggy was definitely worth the time and work to conquer his old habits, and prepare for life with a family. There were tears of joy on the faces of shelter staff and a collective “Hoo-Ray!” as Iggy jumped aboard the travel van as the 1st step in his new adventure. So, not 26, but 27 dogs!
After the visiting BDR team toured the ASCAS facility, commenting that it was one of the best, in their extensive experience, for cleanliness and care of all the dogs in residence, it was time to “load ‘em up!”
By this time, with a light rain falling, the dogs were led, 1-by-1, from their kennel and shown to their “travel quarters” for the trip to the BDR Ranch in Florida. Medical and history records were exchanged along with promises from the BDR staff to keep everyone apprised of how each and every dog was doing. As shelter staff, volunteers and board members watched with sad eyes but happy smiles and waved their good-byes, the Big Dog Ranch van lumbered down the shelter drive: destination Florida!
End of story? Well, not this week! Billups had been relentlessly working with some of the shelter’s other rescue partners, and hit pay dirt a few days ago. H.A.R.T. (Homeless Animal Rescue Team) from VA, Last Chance Rescue (NY State) and Second Chance Animal Rescue (Martha’s Vineyard) all would be stopping at the shelter by week’s end, picking up an additional select group of dogs…and cats, which few rescue partners will take! So, in this week alone, ASCAS paved the way for 35 dogs and 9 cats, previously abandoned or homeless, to find their forever families.
So what happens next at the shelter? Sherri Arment, the shelter Office Manager, had a ready answer. First of all, the shelter is far from empty, so there are plenty of dogs and cats still needing daily care and attention. And with a waiting list of dogs and cats looking for their spot at the shelter, it won’t be long before all those empty kennels are filled, and the shelter’s mission begins once again…“to shelter & protect the unwanted and abandoned animals of Clarendon County…”.
Readers who wish to donate supplies, make monetary contributions or volunteer are invited to visit the shelter at Facebook.Com/Ascas.Manning, WWW.ASecondChanceAnimalShelter.Com, or by calling (803-473-7075).
About Big Dog Ranch Rescue
Big Dog Ranch Rescue is the largest cage-free, no-kill dog rescue in the United States and is located in Loxahatchee, FL. Big Dog Ranch Rescue was founded on the idea that every dog deserves to live and, most importantly, to live a full and happy life.
Lauree Simmons, BDR’s founder and president has this to say: “…BDR has saved more than 37,000 dogs to date, and united countless families with their new, forever friends. Rescue is a 24/7 calling: we won’t rest until we end dog homelessness forever…”.
Simmons conceived of the Freedom Ride 100 as her way to save 100 dogs by the 4th of July: she is on the way to far exceed her goal. In addition to the stop at ASCAS, Simmons and her team visited shelters in Horry, Lexington & Kershaw counties, and will make other stops in Georgia and N. Florida before heading home. Her van/travel kennel will make repeated round trips to the ranch, dropping off dogs and returning for more.
You can learn about or donate to Big Dog Ranch Rescue by visiting them at www.BDR.ORG or Facebook.Com/BigDogRescueRanch or