We are a fledgling rescue group in the making that was completely devastated by hurricane Florence. The last time we saw our property was September 15th. During the storm, a tree crashed through our recently completed indoor kennel. Last month we received our rescue's EIN number and we're waiting for official 501c3 status from the IRS, a process that could take six months. Though we have been taking in Cane Corso dogs for deployed service members since 2012, we have never accepted a single charitable contribution. As long as my wife and I could find space and time we have never told anyone no or asked for a dime. As former service members ourselves, it was our dream to take in Cane Corso dogs for service members getting deployed or assigned to places their dogs could not go. We understand the bond between man and dog and wanted to take one less burden off of the men and women sacrificing everything to defend our country. Now we need help.
In 2012 I left the federal government to focus on helping dogs and the breed we loved. It is very difficult to find boarding for large mastiff breeds and especially long term boarding. Most of the time the dogs are surrendered to shelters as no family member will take them or they are euthanized when service members have no other options. I left Arizona to come back to NC and we situated ourselves between Camp Lejeune Marine Base and Fort Bragg Army Base. Our first place was five acres and we quickly outgrew it. Just after hurricane Matthew in 2016 we moved to Currie NC for a larger, 15 acre property. We cleared the land and began fixing up the farm house built in the 50s and in March, installed a 20x30 kennel building. Sinking all of money into this dream we literally had three more panels to install inside when we had to evacuate last Saturday.
Nine days have passed and it is likely to be another week before we can get back to our farm. We left with the dogs and whatever we could grab in our hands as the waters rose. Today I was updated by a friend that he rode 15 miles in a boat before getting to our house and found water waste deep inside. This means our kennel building is under water in addition to being crushed by the tree that fell on it before we could get out. Our outbuildings and all of the contents inside have been destroyed. Our medical supplies for the dogs, our stores of dog food, their dog toys, their dog beds,
our pump, ours and the dog's home, all lost. This was the highest property in our small community. Because flood insurance was not required and no one thought this was possible, we did not have flood insurance.
We made a commitment to men and women in uniform that they would not need to worry about their dogs while they are gone. Now I am worried for all of us. When dogs come to us it is their last resort. We do what no one else will. We understand the breed and dogs are in our blood. My grandfather had a large kennel where he trained field champions, my dad grew up training and handling dogs and so did I. We have trained and rehabbed dozens of dogs since getting started, never charging anyone a penny, because we were their last resort. We have picked up and placed strays and we have donated to other local rescues. At this time we are incredibly lost and we need help. I will wear the same wet clothes and shoes every day if it means these dogs will be safe and comfortable. The funds will go to rebuilding their lives and safety.
We are temporarily housed in an unfinished building. Finding space for 24 dogs in an area ravaged by one of the US's worst natural disasters was not easy and we were incredibly fortunate to find this. But it cannot last forever. The owners are ready to resume construction and cannot while we are here. If they say we have to leave, I am unsure where we will go. I am unsure where we can go. Many roads have been completely destroyed. Our only option is back to the farm once the water recedes. Though current costs are mounting and credit cards are nearing their limits, the cost to start back over will be tremendous. Our friends and community have offered manpower. We are seeking enough money to get the dogs back to where they were before the storm.
Any contribution is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your support.