SC CARES: How it all began

We are celebrating our 10th year for SC CARES (a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit) and I cannot tell you how amazed and grateful we are that we’ve continued to help animals of all sorts thanks to the generosity of those we’ve met.

Our donors, sponsors, volunteers are the reason we’ve survived and the animals we’ve grown to love and care for appreciate it more than we could ever understand. So many of the creatures of SC CARES have come from horrible situations, never knowing what it felt like to be loved in such a compassionate and consistent manner. To all of you who have helped make all of this possible, we are forever thankful!

SC CARES became a vision of mine and Skip’s in 2001 after enrolling in wildlife rehabilitation classes in North Carolina. We were typical, average people. I a deputy clerk in the court system, and Skip a business owner of two small businesses. We lived on a lake with a pontoon boat and spent many a weekend on the water with friends. We also owned a beach house in Duck, N.C., and spent some time vacationing there as well.

We had dog companions but that was it for the animals in our lives. While working the hotline for calls on wildlife we continued to receive calls for exotic animals that people no longer wanted or that had been confiscated by animal control. We were at a loss as to where to send these calls, there was nowhere for them to go. As other rehabbers had done, we began to take in the animals that we could to live with us. The more animals we gave home to, the less satisfied we were with visitors and the partying that living on the lake brings. One evening, while sitting on the deck Skip and I were talking about how sad it was that there were no exotic sanctuaries anywhere near us and how we were almost out of room in a 2,800-square-foot house. I said “I wish WE could open a place” and Skip responded with, “well why don’t we!”

At that point the journey began, selling houses, businesses and looking for property. I quit my job of 18 years, cashed in my retirement to pay off as many bills as possible. Our idea was that if we could find some land somewhere near a tourist destination we might find support for the animals. Meantime we were looking into businesses to purchase so that we could ensure some income, which is where Sweeties came into the picture. After five years of searching, we finally found the property in Georgetown that once was a hunting club. It’s a wonderful change that now it’s a sacred place for animals. There was a rustic 700-square-foot cabin which we now call home along with seven rescued hounds. We had taken in 36 animals by this time such as Savannah (a macaw) prairie dogs, Godzuki (an iguana) and many others.

We constructed an 1,800-square-foot Quonset hut for the animals and the vision of SC CARES was born.

Now, 10 years later, we have been able to help so many animals, our counts are usually close to 150 creatures. If you’ve ever visited SC CARES you’ll see all the structures, barns and enclosures that have been built by caring volunteers and donors that helped financially. So we are two ordinary people who saw a need and made a way to make dreams come true, but we couldn’t have done it without you.

If you donated, volunteered, or helped us in any way please give yourself a hug! If you’d like to support the sanctuary visit and help us have another 10 years.

Happy Birthday to SC CARES.