In Mississippi, one dog became the face of anti-animal cruelty and was a significant factor in getting bills passed in his state. And one animal organization stood behind him, Community Animal Rescue & Adoption in Jackson, Mississippi. This central Mississippi no-kill shelter and rescue is truly a force of change in their city and state. Read more about this rescue in the BestBullySticks.com Rescue Spotlight on Community Animal Rescue & Adoption. 

When & Why did you start?
CARA was started in 2001 by four animal lovers who kept running into each other rescuing dogs and cats in the Jackson, MS metro area. CARA has grown from a backyard operation to become Mississippi’s largest no-kill animal rescue organization. Since 2001, CARA has placed over 6000 animals into loving homes. CARA currently cares for 280 dogs, 130 cats, 4 guinea pigs and 2 rabbits.

CARA is a 501(c)3 non-profit, charitable, and educational corporation organized to rescue and provide care, shelter, food, and treatment for abused, unwanted, and stray animals in central Mississippi. The objectives of CARA are to rescue animals in need, restore them to health through nutrition and veterinary care, when necessary, and facilitate their adoption to qualified individuals. CARA works to reduce overpopulation of stray and unwanted animals by supporting spay/neuter programs (including a low cost spay/neuter program for low income and disadvantaged persons), by ensuring that all animals in its care are spayed or neutered prior to adoption, and by educating the public on responsible pet ownership.

What’s different about your rescue?
The staff and the volunteers do so much with so little to make sure our animals receive exceptional care and unconditional love while they wait for their fur-ever homes.

What is the greatest success story or “win” that your rescue has had?
Here is the story of Francis, as told by Harriet Sims Scott (Francis’ mom): “On a freezing February night in 2011, a wonderful couple found a box carelessly left on the side of the road. When they went to pick it up, they saw inside a puppy that at first they thought was dead. But after looking closer they saw he was barely breathing. They took him home that night and the next morning took him to Community Animal Rescue & Adoption, Inc. (CARA). They took him to a local veterinarian to be checked where it was confirmed he was indeed in a coma. CARA immediately sent out prayer requests on their website and Facebook page for this precious, innocent puppy. They named him Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. He remained in a coma for 4 days and when he woke up he went home with some of the wonderful people at CARA to get 24-hour care. He had a feeding tube, which would remain in for almost 8 weeks. Francis could not stand, much less walk, but one of the CARA supporters who is a “human” physical therapist kindly gave her time and energy to work with Francis. After 2 weeks of therapy, he was able to stand and with several more weeks, he was able to walk and even run around.

His story touched so many people’s hearts and came at the time that Mississippi was trying to pass an Animal Cruelty Law. He became the face of animal cruelty for our state and opened so many people’s eyes to the abuse of animals that he became instrumental in helping pass the bill. Francis and his story not only touched the lives and hearts of Mississippians but people everywhere. He has his own Facebook page (Francis-Following His Paw Prints) with more than 900 members representing over 20 states and Canada.

The wonderful people at CARA wanted nothing more than for Francis to live the life of a normal dog, with a loving family. We brought him home for a weekend visit and he fit perfectly with our family of people and dogs. We were lucky enough to be chosen to adopt this special dog that had become such a celebrity. But to us, he is just Francis, a sweet, loving dog with lots of energy that loves to run and play outside, nap on the sofa, and live the life we would hope all homeless animals could find. Our family would not be complete without him; he has so much love for people because it’s the love of people that saved him. From the beginning his caregivers were amazed at his progress; that he survived. They said it was his will and determination that saved him; that they had never seen such a will to live as this puppy had. He survived all odds and not only has filled a void in our family but has a huge extended family of people that he brought together through hope, love, faith and determination that will forever be connected through him.”  I am attaching a photo of Francis but you can find more photos and a video under the “Adopt” section of the CARA website (www.carams.org).

Another story that may interest you can be found under the Bree’s Bark Park section of the CARA website. Bree is another dog that was brought back from the brink of death and now enjoys a wonderful life. Our new dog park is named after her.

What’s the most rewarding thing about working at your rescue?
By far the most rewarding thing about working or volunteering at CARA is seeing the faces of our babies when they go to their fur-ever homes. On the CARA website (www.carams.org) there is a section called “Happy Tails.” These wonderful adoption stories make it all worthwhile for us at CARA.

What can people do to help your rescue?
It costs $1000 per day to operate CARA. Anyone interested in helping us continue our work at CARA can make an online, tax-deductible, donation at www.carams.org. We are grateful for donations of any amount.