Coastal Pet Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless, abused and neglected dogs and cats in Savannah and surrounding areas. Founded in February 2003, Coastal Pet Rescue changes the lives of homeless pets in Chatham, Bryan and Effingham Counties through its foster home program and small capacity shelter, Camp Pawsawhile Retreat. Lisa Scarbrough, Director and Founder, shares a little about her experience with the animals and what she loves about Savannah.
Please tell us what a typical day at Coastal Pet Rescue looks like?
At Coastal Pet Rescue, there is no “typical” day. Our mornings at the shelter start out with our care shifts, getting the animals fed, walked, exercised, making sure their housing is completely clean. My mornings as director are a bit different. I may be running over to an animal shelter to pick up new intakes, doing a drop off or pick up at the vet, grabbing supplies the shelter needs on my way in (I have at least an hour commute if there are no other stops to the shelter), all while returning phone calls.
In the afternoons, we have meet and greets for pets for adoptions. On Tuesdays, I load up our shelter van to take our surgeries up to our vet partner, Animal Hospital at Rice Hope, to get them spayed and neutered so they can get adopted. We dub it the “crazy train” as there’s up to 10 animals that hitch rides on there.
In between care shifts, I check voicemails, return calls and answer emails. Volunteers and I also tend to maintenance needs around the shelter: mending fences, fixing fans, taking out trash, general landscaping and cleaning. We are also blessed to have volunteers who will come extra times to give a little more love to our animals that need additional socialization and care, and others who take our canines out for field trips and days at the pool.
What do you love about Savannah?
I love the acceptance Savannah has for our nonprofit community. Barely a day goes by that I don’t see some event or activity in support of one of our many nonprofits. We have so many wonderful agencies provided much needed services to our community, and we’re grateful for those who can show their support.
Do you have a heartwarming story that stands out to share?
With over 400 animals a year through our program, it’s hard sometimes to pick just one. Each pet brings their own unique story to build upon the chapters of Coastal Pet Rescue. We revel in saving the senior pets who lost their owners, making matches for veterans and special needs individuals who need a companion to love them unconditionally, and the animals who come so non trusting because of past experiences but finally come out of their shells because of the incredible devotion of dedicated volunteers.
What is the part of your job that gives you the most satisfaction?
I started Coastal Pet Rescue because at that point in my life, I was having a hard time finding a reason to get up in the mornings. These animals have rescued me just as much as I rescued them, and we get to see that in the lives of the volunteers and adopters, too. It is not always an easy job to do, and can take a very emotional toll. Our volunteers are some of the strongest and most resilient people I know, and the transformation of our rescued pets reflect that.
What can the Savannah community do to lend support to Coastal Pet Rescue?
We lost all our events this year that provide the financial support for CPR. We would love to have more businesses to partner with us, work together on fundraisers and promoting our pets for adoption. We also always need volunteers for our shelter and foster homes as well as transporting pets to vet visits and other smaller tasks.
If you could only spend one night in Savannah…what would you do?
Just walk. Photography is my hobby, and there are so many amazing sights to be seen that you miss them when you drive through. Take a stroll, listen to the sounds, smell the air (Lord knows you can catch almost any flavor you like from our restaurants), admire our architecture, and don’t miss ice cream at Leopold’s!