NIOC Georgia Sailor leads pet rescue efforts
Since 2012, Petty Officer 2nd Class Casey Goodwin, stationed at Navy Information Operations Command Georgia, and her team have rescued countless abandoned dogs through her organization, Ruff Rescues Inc. throughout a portion of the southeast region of the United States.
Many dogs end up in shelters or abandoned in unfavorable places because of circumstances beyond their control. These dogs were victims of a death in the family, illness, divorce, or a move that did not include them. Some were displaced due to the new pet parent’s inability to train them or a behavior problem.
Goodwin began her rescue mission with a local Central Savannah River Area shelter in 2011. She decided to venture on her own early in 2012 before undertaking an individual augmentation assignment to Afghanistan. While there, she created the foundation for her company by applying for a rescue license and becoming a nonprofit organization.
“I wanted to directly impact the rescues without redirecting funds,” proclaimed Goodwin.
After a few legal proceedings and countless nights learning the Department of Agriculture’s guidelines for running a rescue mission, Goodwin became the CEO of Ruff Rescues Incorporated. Her business plan made sense, all adoption fees would go towards the care of the rescues, and everything else would be earned through fundraising.
Sailors, Airmen, and Soldiers make up her list of volunteers actively involved in the program. Through their efforts they have rescued dogs from 20 counties in Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. An average of thirty dogs is rescued by Ruff Rescues Inc. monthly. Additionally, before an adoption is an option, Ruff Rescues Inc. ensures the dogs are in good health. Recently the organization raised $5,000 for the surgery of one of their rescues. These adoptions are held every Saturday at Petsmart on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway.
Sadly, many of their rescues are found on the side of the road or in dumpsters. Goodwin opens her home to these abandoned dogs, sometimes taking on the cost to rehabilitate and nurse them back to health until a foster home is available. At any given time, Goodwin and her husband, Staff Sgt. William Goodwin Jr., house five to 10 rescues. Therefore a foster family is always a welcome addition to this organization.
“We always need fosters. No experience is necessary, just a love of animals,” explained Goodwin.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Mary Hillis has volunteered with Ruff Rescues since the beginning of 2013, after adopting her Lab/Pit mix, Lucky.
“I love volunteering for them because they are a group of the most selfless people I have ever met,” said Hillis. “Seeing a dog go from being starved and abused to being adopted by a loving forever home is one of the best feelings in the world.”
Petty Officer 1st Class Jerome Hand recently adopted a rescue from Ruff Rescues.
“Not only did I get an amazing dog, I received a voucher for spaying and microchipping through Dogwood Park Veterinary. These guys are doing a wonderful thing,” Hand exclaimed.
“ Ruff Rescues is a non- profit corporation run by active duty military members whose only concern is improving the welfare of animals in the CSRA. Additionally, we want to raise awareness about the Pit Bull and improving the overall perception of the breed by rehabilitation education and training,” said Goodwin.
Ruff Rescues Inc. is an organization that has made its mark in the CSRA. One of the most rewarding aspects of rescuing a dog is the simple fact that you are saving a life. Thanks to the efforts of dedicated Sailors like Goodwin and her volunteers, they have given these rescues the opportunities to find love in a forever home.
For more information on Ruff Rescues Inc. adoptions and fostering opportunities, go to RuffRescues.com or to the organization’s Facebook page.