Special Needs Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation just wants to save animals. They take in some of the more dire cases but through a lot of passion, hope and networking, they save a lot of dogs and place them in loving homes. Read the inspiring story of Robin Menard, founder and director of SNARR, and her team’s mission to save animals.
When & Why did you start?
I can't remember a time when I wasn't involved with rescue efforts, whether it was helping my mother gather up stray cats or sneaking into places I shouldn't have been to drag away dogs fought the night before. I have been in law enforcement, and I've worked at animal shelters; I constantly picked up strays, whether they're dogs or cats, goats or pigs, turtles or the occasional possum. So it was a natural evolution to expand my passion into an organization with a national reach.
What's different about your rescue?
Sadly I see a lot of rescues who mainly take in the dogs that are the most likely to be adopted. The cutest ones, or the puppies, or the pure bred, leaving behind the pits that are harder to adopt out , or the ones with disabilities, behavioral issues, congenital disorders, injuries and so on. SNARR mainly focuses on these cases, the ones least likely to pulled by other rescues that have extreme medical issues or deformities or require tone and training before placing them. Our dogs very rarely go straight into foster homes due to these issues and come to me first for rehabilitation before being placed into foster homes awaiting adoption. I also see a lot of rescues who seem to "compete" with each other and think of rescue as more of a Competition. SNARR works hard to stay away from the drama of rescue and focus on the dogs not concerning ourselves with what the others are doing. If we see a dog in a thread that we was interested in pulling be rescued by another rescue we are happy to see it is placed as long as it's a good rescue. Because we rescue, foster and adopt out to approved homes nationwide we have established an awesome team of volunteers located throughout the U.S. that assist in transports over-nighting and so on.
The dogs we take in with extreme medical issues that require life long treatments are not placed up for adoption and instead go into "forever foster homes" where they are cared for and loved by a family as they would in a forever home but we continue to cover all medical cost and care and monitor their progress.
It’s really hard to choose but I'd have to say that honor goes to Hope. She was a fence jumping case, which requires reconnaissance, stealth, situational awareness, and speed -- all in an effort to get an animal in danger out of it. It is at once my favorite type of rescue, and my least favorite, because sometimes, it's just too late.
But I was in time for Hope. I nearly missed finding her at first, stretched out on the ground, too weak to lift her head to ask for help. Even if she could have moved, she was fastened in place with a chain that by now weighed more than she did. Around her neck was a worn and faded collar; a long time ago, it appeared as though a little girl had taken a magic marker and decorated it with a name and decorative curlicues. Those happy times were a very long time ago for Hope. So was her last meal. No food or water in sight, Hope was fading as fast as the day.
There wasn't a need to unfasten her: she was so emaciated, she slipped from a collar that once held her in place -- in this terrible place where she was ignored and starved. I scooped her up and ran. Drove her straight to our vet. In a blink she was hooked up to an IV drip. Upon evaluation, she was judged to be about five years old; for her age and breed, she should have weighed 50-60 lbs. She weighed 21.5 lbs. She was anemic, heartworm positive, and full of hookworms. Still, with all that going against her, she wanted to live. Her internal organs were still working. She gave the vet a weak lick.
Hope needed food and water, basic care and love. She needed HOPE, so that's what I named her. That's what SNARR does -- we give HOPE to the HOPELESS.
Hope has been adopted by a family who adores her, and the feeling is mutual!
What's the most rewarding thing about working at your rescue?
Seeing a dog go from hopeless to a forever home; to see them loved and cherished as they should be. And knowing that, because of SNARR, they have that chance, and they know how to return that love.
What can people do to help your rescue?
Donate -- there is never enough money to do everything we need to do, and we cannot rescue if we cannot afford their care.
We currently have 29 dogs, with conditions such as cancer, Hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), spinal injuries, bone deformities and injuries, heart worms, behavioral issues (making them unplacable until they are finished rehabilitation) , birth defects, aggression issues, severe anxiety issues, and the list goes on ... This is not counting ones coming and going, or ones we are working on taking in.
Our adoption fee is only $200.00, much less than many other rescues, even though our dogs require extensive care before being placed because we do not try to get back what we have put into them, or even come out close to even. We just want to be sure adopters can afford future basic vetting for them once adopted.
Many of our animals are "lifers," meaning even if in long term foster homes SNARR will carry the cost of their medical for the rest of their lives to insure they receive the best possible care they can. The cost to maintain what we do, not only medical but day-to-day care, up keep, kennel work, feeding, and so on, is beyond what some are able to grasp.
Our dogs are also rescued and fostered out nation wide, and because of this we use vets all over the US, that do not always give rescue rates and discounts, because we are not regular clients. We have put thousands and thousands out of our owns pockets, and use to very rarely ask for help, but we are just no longer at a point where we can do that, and really need the help of everyone to continue. If everyone committed to just $1 a week between our pages we would be able to do so much more. You can sign up for a recurring monthly donation through our website snarranimalrescue.org or donate through PayPal using email firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to PO Box 313, Saint Martinville La 70582, payable to SNARR . I struggle with posting all the time for donations because I don't want our page filled with post asking for funds, but reality is it takes the help of everyone to do what we do and without everyone's help, it's just not possible.
Thank you to everyone who has donated whether it be 50 cents or 50 dollars -- You are all greatly appreciated!
And we are so grateful to SNARR for the lifesaving work they commit themselves to every day.