For nearly 10 years, Scott Bennett, president of Southern Comfort Rescue, has been bringing abused, neglected, and homeless dogs from rural Georgia to New Jersey, where they are adopted and placed in loving forever-homes. Driving a large bus outfitted with more than two dozen crates, he makes the 1,700 mile round trip “Freedom Ride” every month to connect area dog-lovers with pups in need. Last year, SoCo placed more than 400 dogs in New Jersey homes.
Now, the well-loved rescue has lost its home and is at risk of closing its doors. The rented property in Wheeler County Georgia, which houses dogs until they have been rehabilitated and vetted before coming to New Jersey, is being sold.
“We just got this devastating news. Our rescue is in real peril,” said Bennett.
Just as SoCo’s volunteers have helped dogs find a new and permanent home, they are now turning to the community for help with a new home for the rescue. The organization has launched a capital campaign dubbed Rescue Our Rescue, to raise $100,000 towards the cost by October. A grant from the Atlanta Humane Society will help to cover some of the necessary renovations.
SoCo Rescue operates without government funding, with income only through modest adoption fees and donations.
Although the dogs come from an impoverished area in Georgia, New Jersey is SoCo’s second home. All adoption events take place in Mercer County, with thousands of alumni, adopters, volunteers, and supporters in the Mercer/Bucks area. Throughout Mercer County, local businesses and organizations have partnered with SoCo over the years. The Lawrence-based All Good Dogs®, which provides doggie day care, boarding, grooming, training and other services at two locations, opens its doors every month for SoCo to connect adopters with their dogs in New Jersey. Local eateries including Hopewell Valley Vineyards, Osteria Procaccini and Pennington Pizza, have all donated to SoCo. Hopewell Veterinary Group and West Trenton Animal Hospital, have provided discounted care SoCo foster dogs. Local youth-based organizations and volunteer groups, including Girl Scouts, Titans Youth Run Club, and others have sponsored fundraisers to support the rescue. Tickner’s, Rise®, and Fresh Pet have donated dog food.
“We are so grateful for the kindness and support we have received here in Mercer County, but we have never faced such a giant task as raising funds for a new home,” said Bennett. “It is a huge endeavor for a small rescue but we have come too far to let this stop us. We found the right property, but we can’t do it without help. This is the last piece we need to permanently secure the future of the SoCo Rescue, and continue our mission of saving dogs,” he concluded.
To donate, get involved or learn more about adopting a dog, please:
- Paypal: SoCoRescue8@gmail.com
- Checks: Mail to Southern Comfort Animal Rescue, 1484 N. Highway 19, Glenwood, GA 30428
- Venmo: @SoCo-Rescue (Scott Bennett, 4 Digit Code 0145)
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