Savannah's Coastal Pet Rescue celebrates 15 years in operation with two events this weekend — one that's family-friendly, and another that's most definitely for the over-21 crowd.
On April 28, CPR will take over Grayson Stadium with activities for pets and humans, live music from The Mandrakes and a reunion area for adopters and fosters. The $20 entry fee, a donation to the shelter, also gets patrons unlimited food and soft drinks.
On both April 27 and 28 at The Jinx, a "Musicals for Mutts" benefit show will feature the Savannah Sweet Tease Burlesque Revue stripping down to showtunes to help raise funds for rescued animals. Part of the night’s admission price will go to CPR, along with all the proceeds from a raffle.
The burlesque pairing started when Sweet Tease co-founder Rebel Belle (Wendy Denney) adopted a dog from Coastal Pet Rescue last year. She met foster and adoption coordinator Jenn Taylor and together they hatched a plan to raise funds for the nonprofit.
Over the last 15 years, Coastal Pet Rescue has grown from a shelter taking in about 50 animals a year to over 500 last year. They’ve saved more than 1,500 dogs and cats since opening their doors. CPR’s mission is to save as many animals as they can from euthanasia. Expanding out of Chatham County, they now take rescues from Bryan, Effingham and Liberty counties.
This year alone, they’ve rescued over 160 animals — 143 of which have been adopted — putting them on track to surpass 600 total this year. The all-volunteer nonprofit, founded by Lisa Scarbrough, not only saves animals, but also has implemented several programs through the years to educate the community, including a new program focused on helping the homeless with their pets.
“Our goal is to rescue who can be rescued,” Taylor said. “We know we can’t save them all. The more volunteers we have, the more money we have, the more space we have, the more dogs we can save.”
The rescue shelter has over 90 volunteers who help throughout the year. While they do make money on adoptions, the cost of taking in so many animals a year keeps growing. The shelter does a host of fundraisers throughout the year to keep money filtering in, including the popular Wag-O-Ween in October.
Each dog or cat that comes through the shelter receives vet care, flea and heartworm treatment, a microchip and is spayed or neutered. Along with food, the costs can grow tremendously.
“We take everyone,” Taylor said. “I have a mangy pit bull at home that had to have $150 of vet care. We have to do the fundraisers to fund all of that. Plus, we have to feed all the dogs. We do a lot of fundraisers. We work really hard. We use a lot of social media. Word of mouth is huge.”
CPR continues to grow, and so does its space. Nestled just off Truman Parkway near Lake Mayer Park, CPR transformed an old hunting camp into the shelter’s grounds. One of the shelter's main kennels is in need of heating and air. Proceeds from the burlesque show will go to that specific fund.