February 2021

Noah’s Arks Rescue: Saving the Dogs No One Else Will Save

Author: Tim Wood

They are not the “puppy in the window.” They are the abused, tortured and discarded. The so-called “lost causes” that are on the verge of being euthanized.

Jennifer Smith has been fighting for these animals since growing up on a farm in Mississippi. She has fought to save these animals for more than 20 years in the Lowcountry. At first, it was to raise money for emergency medical care for the animals that shelters had given up on.

Smith and her volunteers at the not-for-profit Noah’s Arks Rescue have saved thousands of animals and raised enough funds to launch a rehab facility at Hazard Creek Village in Ridgeland. “We take the worst of the worst, where the cost of caring for them is too high for most,” Smith said. “Whether it’s cancer, a gunshot, severe burns, an ear cut off by a machete, paws cut off—it doesn’t matter. Every animal deserves equal love and humane treatment.”

The facility can house up to 32 dogs at a time. Smith works with shelters and vets from Savannah to Charleston, with most of her rescues going to Port Royal Vet Hospital. Each animal starts at veterinary ICUs. Half the animals live long enough to be fully rehabbed and adopted out to thoroughly vetted forever homes.

“There is a lot of sadness but so much hope and happiness,” Smith said. “There are more dogs on the street and fewer donations during COVID, but our work goes on.”

The rescue name is intentional. Endless arks are needed to answer the hundreds of emails Smith receives each day from shelters across the U.S.

Noah’s Arks has found a unique way to help fund donations. Smith and her crew opened Fetch Mkt., a luxury boutique next to the rehab facility where 100 percent of profits go to saving dogs. The store is staffed by Noah’s Arks volunteers and sells an array of bath and body products, designer clothes, jewelry, gifts and art. The beauty of the products offered is in stark contrast to the pictures of the injured animals being treated.

“These dogs, they put on a smile no matter what. They just want to love and be loved,” Smith said. “We curate our products with the mission in mind and are fortunate to work with amazing creators who support our purpose.”

Smith chronicles the path to recovery of each dog and the emotions that each dog stirs in her heart on the rescue’s website. The photos are often graphic and heartbreaking, but they illustrate the urgency of the call to action for donors.

“What they have endured, I would have died 50 million times,” Smith said. “We work to heal them, but these dogs do more healing to human hearts than we could ever provide. They just need a chance. Even when they’ve given up, we fight for them when they won’t fight for themselves.”

Noah’s Arks’ costs easily surpass $1 million per year. Expenses rise with each day the pandemic continues. Smith said that while donations are always needed, she is equally in search of people willing to give homes to her rehabbed heroes. “They are so loving, so joyful, so ready to give that love to the humans who will be their hero.”

For information on adoptions, donations or to buy Fetch Mkt. products, go to noahs-arks.net or email Smith at noahsarksrescue@mac.com

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