On Saturday, September 26th, our staff had the esteemed pleasure of visiting the Southern Cross Animal Rescue (SCAR) shelter in Northeast Jones County. SCAR, as they’re commonly referred to, is primarily a “worst-case” rescue that takes animals into their care who have been abused, abandoned, emaciated, or otherwise mistreated. Their rescue efforts include a hording case that involved over 30 diseased cats, a suspected dog fighter with nearly 20 dogs in his possession, and countless animals who have been injured and abandoned in Jones County. Currently there are over 100 cats and dogs in shelter and foster care. These animals receive all necessary veterinary care and rehabilitation, plus a whole lot of interaction and love from the staff. Skin disease, infection, broken bones and broken spirits are just a few of the ailments that this staff combats every minute of every day.
During our workday, we helped the shelter volunteers and board members with duties around the facility. We bathed and walked dogs, cleaned kennels and cat houses, made kennel enrichment toys, cleaned the facility, and washed linens. We worked closely with the amazing staff of the shelter, primarily the shelter manager Amanda, and learned of the journeys of each animal. Some of the shelter animals have had a hard time, while others have endured truly horrific circumstances. Each animal, no matter their background, is given the best they can get and constant exposure through adoption events and social media in hopes of finding the best home they could ever have. Some of the current shelter favorites include Mr. J and Harley (a pair of beautiful black and white kittens), Dolly (a bull dog mix who loves cuddles and will do anything for a belly rub), and Noah (a hunky bull dog mix who’s got a fun personality and has a big heart!)
Karen, the Sawmill Branch Manager, stated of her shelter experience, “I
worked with the cats. I was really impressed with the housing that they had for these animals. They could be outside in the heat or they could come inside and be cool, they had toys to climb on and balls to play with and scratching posts. It was amazingly clean as well, and the areas for the dogs were just as impressive. These animals are well taken care of.” (Karen even adopted her sweet cat, Mike, from SCAR!)
Kim, a teller at Congress Street branch and a former animal shelter manager from the local area, stated “I loved bathing and getting to visit with all of the sweet furbabies. I was thoroughly impressed by the temperament of all the dogs we interacted with that day. They were all so friendly and loving. I also really enjoyed speaking with some of the staff and board members. I think it is absolutely fantastic that they participate in so many workshops to learn new/different/better ways to enrich the lives of these animals that are in their care, even if only (hopefully) for a short while.” Since Kim has extensive knowledge of shelter life and animal rescue, her help and skill in animal handling was a huge asset to the shelter crew.
Scott, a member of our back-office staff, noted “I was impressed with the care/knowledge of the SCAR staff. Some of the animals were sick and they had a method for caring for the sick animals while not contaminating the healthy. They really wanted to make a difference and they are doing the best they can on a tight budget. The facility seemed pretty well organized and run with a passion to help. [It] Certainly opened my eyes to how much need there is for donations and volunteer help just at this one location.”
Mecklyn, a Member Service Representative, has spent time with SCAR in the past and only had great things to say about her experience that day. “Working with SCAR really has opened my eyes to how cruel humans can be to those precious animals, who just want someone to love and care for them. I really enjoyed Emmie. She was so sweet and enjoyed walking and playing in the yard. All she wanted was a little time and attention and I could see the difference this made in her. My son loves animals and he walked and played with almost every one of them. He probably would have stayed all day tending to those fur babies! We intend to go volunteer more often and try to help all these sweet volunteers, who take time out of their lives to care for these animals 24/7. It was a life changing experience for us and we were honored to be able to go help with those precious animals.”
Suzanne, Branch Manager at Congress Street, noted “I did not expect the amount of work that this organization needs on a daily basis. They are very large with a little amount of volunteer help.” We are already planning another volunteer day, and our team has expressed great interest in continuing to donate whatever they can to this great organization.
It certainly was a humbling experience for the 22 employees (and several of
their friends and family members) who volunteered that day. We all brought back some great memories from the animals and people we met. We deeply appreciate the work that SCAR does in Jones County and hold the staff and volunteers of this great organization in the highest regard. We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Amanda, Savannah, Angie, and Stacy for being so kind and patient with us as we learned “the ropes” of shelter work. Central Sunbelt FCU is proud to work with such a wholesome part this great community. We are already planning another volunteer day, and our team has expressed great interest in continuing to donate whatever they can to this great organization.
SCAR was founded in 2013 by a group of dedicated local women with a strong desire to better their community. They’ve been a relentless force ever since! As with any true non-profit animal rescue or shelter, they operate 100% off donated funds and supplies, their Board of Directors is strictly volunteer, and they use very limited paid staffing to ensure that the animals are top priority. Donations can be made at the shelter during business hours (see their webpage for hours of operation, www.scarofms.org), using PayPal (links are available on the SCAR Facebook page), by purchase through Amazon Smile (www.smile.amazon.com, and search for Southern Cross Animal Rescue), and by mail to PO Box 2007, Laurel, MS 39442.