Animal Rescue of the Week: Episode 59 – Scarlet Oak Farms

Scarlet Oak Farms Scarlet Oak Farms Scarlet Oak Farms was founded in 2018 by a couple of animal advocates in Ayden, North Carolina after learning the harsh realities of shelter adoptions and that their area was inundated with stray and relinquished animals. By partnering with local shelters, Scarlet Oak Farms formed to rescue as many homeless and stray animals as possible. With their network of volunteer advocates, veterinarians, and donors; Scarlet Oak Farms is able to rescue numerous animals in their area every year.
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“Welcome to the Animal Rescue of the Week podcast, where we feature outstanding organizations from around the country that are helping animals & the people who rescue them. This podcast is proudly sponsored by  Doobert connects animal shelters with volunteers to do animal transport and fostering. Learn more and sign up for free at Let’s meet this week’s featured animal rescue.  Hi, Corey. Hi, Jordan. Welcome to the show. Hey. Hello. How are you guys doing today? Doing great. How are you doing? Well, hanging in there in these crazy times. It’s definitely crazy out there I’ll tell you. So you guys are the founders of Scarlet Oak Farms in North Carolina. Is that correct? That is correct. Perfect. So, can you guys tell me a little bit about your organization and kind of how you guys got started? Did you guys just kind of wake up one morning and say, Hey, we’re gonna open up in animal rescue? Not quite. So we are a 501C3 animal sanctuary. We are an animal welfare organization. The foundation of our work really rests on a dream that animals will no longer be killed in pet shelters nationwide. It really started with our first rescue hound. Her name was Scarlett. Is she the one that’s on your website, by the way? She is. She is. She is the one that started it all. She was our first rescue, back in 2007. She really opened our eyes to how many hound breeds are just saturating, eastern North Carolina. How many are sitting in shelters all over the place? These dogs are in terrible condition. They’re most likely not going to be adopted as a family pet.  And we actually learned that Scarlett was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. And at that point, we knew that we wanted her legacy to live on. And we knew that our rescue mission was not done. We were determined to find a place, to create a place, to be a safe haven for hounds like her, that have nowhere else to go. Typically, they’re deemed, you know, quote-unquote unadoptable. So, you know, we wanted to create a space for them. So one of the things that makes the Scarlet Oak Farm unique is that being an animal sanctuary, we do not adopt out our animals. They live with us for the entirety of their lives. So once we bring him into the sanctuary, they stay here for the rest of their lives. Wow, that is such a touching story. And I’m so happy that you shared that because it definitely shows us why it is that you guys are doing what you’re doing, you know? And that’s the huge benefit of this, You know what I mean?  And one of the questions that kind of pops into my head a little bit is, do you guys focus strictly on hounds, is that kind of like your priority, or do you guys take in all breeds and other animals? No, it’s strictly hounds, and there are reasons for that. Hounds do very well in packs, so they can live together. They openly accept each other. There’s not a lot of territorial behavior or fights, so they can live in open spaces well, they integrate well with each other, making it so that our facility that we have, there are no runs. There are no kennels. They all live in an open space together. And we can do that by having hound breeds altogether. When you start mixing different breeds, you have different personality traits, just like in humans. So we wouldn’t be able to do that and create a lifestyle, this ideal lifestyle that we have for them by mixing breeds together. Oh, okay. I mean, it definitely makes sense. That’s something that I didn’t know about hounds. So that’s pretty intriguing.  So when did you guys actually get started? When did you start your organization? We started, I’d say about two years ago. 2018 in May, I believe, is when we became official. So I told you earlier, I teach for a living. I teach small business entrepreneurship for a living. So, you know I’m in business all day long. I saw this kind of writing on the wall that we were going to bring in more dogs and Jordan was passionate. We knew the outcome for Scarlett and a light bulb kind of went off. And as we were bringing in more dogs, I said, How about we create a, you know, a nonprofit around this, so we can continue to gain more support and rescue more dogs and do this for a living. And so we had Graylynn, our daughter, in 2018 and at the turn of right after we had Graylynn is when we really started putting a strong emphasis on Scarlet Oak Farms. Now Jordan was a stay at home mom. She could put more time and energy into Scarlet Oak Farms and grow this thing. So even though it was created in May of 2018, I’d say a lot of the work has been done in the last year. You know, we started with three dogs that were inside of our house, and over the last year, we’ve grown into rescuing and having an impact. I think Jordan, what we last checked was about 42 animals altogether, and now we have 12 dogs on the farm. So it started two years ago in 2018. But a lot of the hard work building our community, building our board of advisers, you know, stuff like that has been really, really strong in the last year. That is awesome. And firstly, I want to point out your daughter’s name is beautiful and secondly, it’s definitely I love that, you pointed out that you guys got, you know, started in May 2018. But it does take some time to build up, but it definitely seems like you guys are headed in the right direction. You guys got that good, solid foundation. You know what you want to do. You’ve got the passion and the inspiration. And we need more people like you guys in this industry for sure. Thank you. You’re very welcome.  So if you guys focus specifically on hounds, it kind of takes me down this trail of what your community is like. So do you guys have, like, an abundance of hounds in your area? Or how does that look, for some of us who may not be in North Carolina? Yes. Yes. The area is saturated, just like you said, an abundance of hounds. It’s mainly hunting hounds, you’ll find typical, hunting breeds. We have a lot of outdoorsmen and sportsmen here that do use animals, you know, specifically dogs for their sport. And so, you know, when these dogs are no longer being used, they typically end up in shelters or kind of wandering on the side of the road, they get lost from their own pack. So yes, our area, pretty much, I would bet you that the whole eastern side of North Carolina, any shelter you look at, you’re gonna find 1 to 2 hounds listed for adoption.  That’s something that I love to kind of hone in on because each area is different and each area faces different challenges for the animals within it. So that kind of paints us a very direct picture of kind of what that looks like. So how do you go about getting the hounds that you guys take in? Do you guys actually go in, adopt them or rescue them from shelters? Or do you guys pick them up as strays? Or how do they come into your care? I’d say overall from the dogs that we have, it’s kind of been a mixture of both up to this point, and we’ve kind of learned along the way as we go, as well. So we brought a few in, just from people finding out who we are. Obviously the first few that we started with are our own individual dogs that we found on the side of the road. Or unfortunately, were hunting dogs that wandered into our backyard, and that’s kind of helped us with that light bulb going off. Right now, what we really try to do is we realized, in order for us to kind of create our own little footprint or a little mix within the market, we’ve created that hound dog-specific, and we understand, you know, we’re animal loving people just like anybody else. We understand that people will give us a phone call, not understanding that we are a hound dog-specific sanctuary, and they just really are trying to find an outlet for their dogs. So what we really are trying to do now is starting with what type of animal, you know, do you have? We’ve had people call for chickens and pigs, but what we really do now is, Do you have a hound dog? You know, where is it at? What kind of condition is it in? So we could kind of see if it’s an emergency type situation. And then we’ll start asking for pictures, making sure that it is a hound dog. What type of derivative hound dog is it? Then we can go and kind of assess the situation. And once we are 100% sure that it is some type of hound dog breed, as long as we have capacity, which is another issue, because we haven’t grown to the full capacity that we want to be at. But as long as we have capacity and can bring in an animal, that’s when we start the actual acclimation process. Bringing in another animal.  I would actually like, go back on that question a little bit, just to say that, yes, we have brought them in from local community members, but our focus is taking them from the shelter. It eliminates the risk for us, by taking them from the shelter because they have more resources to do some of the initial vetting, that we maybe can’t quite afford. We do have a vet, but she’s not here with us 24/7. So you know, if the dog came in with parvo, I can’t risk that.. We don’t have a segregated area. You can’t put that dog in our general population, that’s where the shelters come in. That’s what’s so beneficial for us to get them. You know they can access that there verses and then we know they’re clear, good to go. Then we can bring them into our facility. That definitely makes sense, because shelters that when the animals come in, they do those, like you said, the first initial vetting, where they give them their shots and everything of that nature. So that’s a good thing that you guys have thought about that because, like you said, you don’t want to bring in one that has parvo and now that’s just spreading like wildfire to the other animals. It’s definitely great, but it is good that you know, you guys do take the phone calls too and take them in if needed. At least you have the vet for those incidents. So that’s good.  I’m gonna be honest. When I saw Scarlet Oak Farms and I kind of read about you guys and checked out your website a little bit, I wasn’t 100% sure that you guys only took in hounds. Also, I can definitely imagine how many calls you actually get. Plus, I know that, when people are trying to either surrender their pets, they find a pet, they kind of just call all the organizations in the area. So it gets a little crazy and overwhelming, but it’s good, and I definitely I’m on board with what you guys were doing, so that’s awesome.  So what would you say is your organization’s biggest challenge? And I know that that question could go many different ways because of this whole COVID-19 pandemic. But if you can share with us what a normal challenge would be, that you guys have faced before the pandemic and then maybe what you guys are currently facing, due to the pandemic. A normal challenge is it’s gonna seem quite simple, but it’s time. It’s really time. Like Corey mentioned earlier within the last year, probably better half of last year, we were able to really put together our board of advisers and start to get some help and support there. But, you know, looking after, now 12 dogs, we have a standard of quality of life that we want to give them. So we spend a lot of time out there taking care of them, but then interacting with them, engaging with them. And then when we come inside, we still have our daily life that we have to take care of. We have a 1.5-year old that we need to tend to. There’s food that needs to be made. By the end of the day we’re exhausted, and it’s gonna please and start all over again. So something, simple things like, you know, actually typing up a standard operating procedure and getting a nice formalized volunteer sign off sheet, versus a piece of paper. And those kinds of little details that’s probably one of our biggest challenges. Just having enough time, to, you know, continuously update the website. We’ve gotten two new dogs that I haven’t been able to put on. All of this is done by right now either Corey or myself. So it’s a lot for two people to be able to take care of the animals and do all of the behind the scenes. It’s like having 12 kids, too? I mean on top of that. Exactly. Exactly. That’s exactly how we feel about it. So that’s our normal struggle. I’ll let Corey kind of touch on the issues of COVID-19.  Like you said, we don’t mind asking or answering the question related to COVID-19 because everybody’s been affected. But we, too, are affected because we run an organization based on not only, but primarily fundraising. So, you know, we have a lot of passive income events that we like throw. And one of our biggest events, that Jordan was talking about previously, that we’re gonna, thankfully be able to do every other year. Completely, got put on hold, and they’re gonna postpone that for about six months. So you know, everything that we wanted to do is put on hold. So that immediately goes to Jordan and I having to manage everything. And you know our events are all volunteer-based. You know, nonprofits are basically done with volunteers coming out, and we love the community on what they’ve done for us now. But with social distancing now, the community can no longer come out and support and, you know, help us give dogs a bath and feed in the morning. And thankfully, we do have a few trusted volunteers, who have been working with us previously. But we even have to social distance with them, and they can only come out and volunteer, you know, once or twice a week, and we try to make sure that we’re not out there at the same time volunteering and trusting that they’re gonna work on the same project that we wanted. I mean, it’s just a lot of things have been thrown into the system with this COVID-19. So we’re just like you touched on before, we’re learning as we go. This has been a two-year process. We’re thankful for everything that we’ve learned. COVID-19 is just another thing in the barrel. That’s just mixing everything around, and we’re learning this process as we go. So it’s definitely nothing that has happened to us at this point, has been an end-all situation. It’s just another barrier that we face. We’re gonna tackle it and move forward, and we’re going to come out better on the other end, and we just we’ve seen that time and time again, through Jordan’s hard work,  hopefully, my hard work and definitely the community in the volunteers’ hard work. So this is just another issue. But thankfully, I think we keep reminding ourself, the whole world is facing this issue. So we just kind of have to ride this thing out together.  Exactly. And, you know, I love that you guys touchpoint on the fact that, you have those barriers, and this probably isn’t the first big one you’ve had to overcome, and it probably, unfortunately, won’t be the last. But it seems like your guys’ heads are in the right spot and you guys were just kind of doing what everybody else is in, kinda riding the waves. And hopefully all of this will kind of end a little bit.  So if you don’t mind me asking, what is the big event that you guys are able to put on? Is that something that you’re willing to share or kind of keep on the low profile? It’s a private event being hosted by some local members in New Bern, North Carolina. They’re putting together. It was a big Easter egg hunt and so there was a silent auction attached to it. Just a fun night of celebrating, socializing, really being able to get our message out to another community and raise awareness for us. So that’s really all it was. But it’s something that this group of ladies puts on every other year. And once they found out about our organization and became passionate about the work that we’re trying to do, you know, they decided to make us the beneficiaries of it moving forward. So that would be a great income to have every other year. That’s awesome. And who knows? Maybe in six months, when all this dies down, maybe they’ll do something for Halloween. There you go. We could have a Trick or Treat kind of. Perfect timing to like a trunk or treat or something that would be kind of one. Everybody loves those. Yeah, perfect. Well, I’m happy to hear that, and it’s awesome because it seems like your community is pretty supportive and on board with the great work that you guys were doing. So that’s a huge benefit. A huge plus to have, everybody needs their community behind them. Yes, absolutely.  So share with me a little bit about your guys’ sanctuary just from our facility aspect. Do you guys have a facility? Is it just your property or, you know, I know that you guys mentioned you guys have, the dogs and everything. But where are they? Are they with you guys? It’s a split. We have approximately 10 acres and about six acres of it is our personal property. The remaining four we’ve donated to Scarlet Oak Farms. So we have five dogs that currently live on the six acres, and they live in our home with us. And then the remaining seven dogs live on the four acres that are fenced in. And, yes, we did get a building, a heated and cooled building, last year for them, it’s all fitted for dogs. We built some custom benches and furniture in there, got a closet for all of our storage. And that kind of stuff, so it’s kind of split half and half. That’s definitely good. And it’s good, that you guys kinda have a near you guys do. You don’t have to go very far. Pretty cool yes. So we’re within earshot of all the dogs that are in the dog house, though there’s ever an issue. We can just literally walk right over there.  So what is usually your maximum amount of hound dogs, that you guys have in your care? As we said before, we’re kind of learning as we go. So you know, we got three in the house, when we first started two years ago, and I said, Well, maybe one more. Six months later, Jordan said, How about one more? So right now, I can’t make a promise to you but we’re at 12. 7 in the other facility this is with me being a little bit more risk visual. I kind of just make sure nothing’s gonna mess anything up so that seven is my comfort zone right now. But we have a lot of room to grow. I will be the first to admit that. The remaining three acres that we have over there for the dogs, I’d say just over half of it is since then, and we’re waiting to do more fundraising so we can bring in. Hopefully, I think we would like to see close to 20 when we’re up to full steam. But right now, we’re at 12. We’ve tried to set a limit there. Once we update the website, I think we are trying to say that 12 right now is our capacity. Especially as we alluded to previously, with COVID-19 going on and with nobody being able to volunteer, not being able to help out with it. Just being Jordan and me, 12 is definitely enough for us to manage just between us, too. So 12 is capacity. Right now, I think, we’re trying to see how it will slowly grow. And I think we bring in another 5 to 7 once we can kind of expand after we can do some more fundraising efforts. Yes. And I totally hear you, 12 between the two of you. Kudos to you guys, cause that’s just crazy.  So what does the future look like for your organization? Do you have any programs planned? I know. Right now it’s a little shady with the whole pandemic going on, so can you kind of share with us a little bit of your thought process around that? Yeah. So we’re working currently on a program for young children, for I would say, late elementary school to middle school, about the behaviors of proper, not only proper animal care but how to approach an animal properly or adult properly. How to interact and engage with a dog, to prevent and eliminate any kind of animal bite. So that’s our current program that we’re in the middle of working on. We’ve received some grant funding to get that off the ground. We’re working on some promotional products around that, as well as the reference material for, the goal is to have local schools in the area. We’ve already talked to a couple of middle schools and got them on board. So once schools are actually back in session, we can do some field trip days out here and get that program rolled out.  But we also have kind of tabled, another idea that I have yet to see implemented by any other rescue and that kind of around new families integrating babies into a home with animals. Not always thinking of the idea of needing to get rid of your animal to bring home your brand new baby. How did the family kind of co-exist with a newborn and with dogs and animals? I mean, when I brought my daughter home, we had five dogs in the house. We had five dogs in our home. Everybody thought I was crazy. Thought Okay, so which one are you gonna find any time for? That was like, none. None of my dogs, just out of you, have added a baby to it. So it’s been a learning process. But I definitely think there’s a lot of opportunity for families to learn coexistence with newborns and animals. You guys were focusing on stuff for youth. And not only just that but I’m gonna be honest. I have never heard of anybody doing the integration between the babies and bringing home babies and animals. I think that is awesome. I think it is something that is very important. Just a little short tidbit about us. My husband grew up and they didn’t have animals. They weren’t big on animals, and I’m totally opposite. So for our children, it was important for me to make sure that you know, they were around animals. And so anyway, that kind of just I’m huge on stuff like that, you know, involving kids and animal welfare and how to care for them. I feel like that is ultimately going to help the future of animals. It’s so important, we could not agree more. That is great. Well, I love those programs. I am actually so excited to kind of just check back in with you guys in the future and see how those are going. I know this pandemic is turning everything kind of upside down, but I’m excited for you guys.  So how can our listeners and people, whether they’re in your area or not, how can they get in touch with you guys or you know, even try to donate or help or volunteer? How can they get in contact with you guys? Our locals can definitely volunteer. All of our information is on our website. You know, we’ve got the typical channels that most other places would have. Or regular businesses would have. You know, you Google us and our website pops up. All of our information is up there, like our telephone number. We’ve got Facebook. We’ve got Instagram. So your typical channels are the easiest. We engage best, we’re millennials. So we engage best through Instagram, you can message as di EMAs, find us there. We’ve got all the donation platform channels. We’ve got your Paypal, Venmo, Amazon Wish List. I’m sure Jordan’s gonna remind me of a few that I possibly may have forgotten. Unfortunately, you know, we have all your donation channels to Go Fund Me, stuff like that. But locals can volunteer, for sure.  We’re open, not right now. But typically, we try to stay open on the weekends because this is run from our property in our backyard. So we definitely like that line of communication reaching out to us, letting us know that you’re an animal lover and we can set you up with a volunteer packet and our volunteer coordinator. Once we’re up and running, he typically heads, you know, integrating a new volunteer, acclimating them the way they need to be acclimated. But, you know, we have all your main channels. We are really excited about the fact that we know we’ve gotten this far from our community. So we are really excited with this opportunity and really take on the pleasure of people communicating with us, following us, engaging with us, following on Instagram and just speaking with us so we know that we’re on the right track and we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re passionate about this, but it’s a building. That community through social platforms is really what we’re looking for. So, yeah, we’re really looking for following good. And I stand behind you guys. I think what you guys are doing is great. I kind of love your values behind it and everything of that nature.  So I definitely think you guys for coming and joining me on the podcast today and telling me more about it. It was a real treat to have you guys and learn about what you’re doing and why you guys were doing it. Do you guys have anything else that you would like to share with us today before we wrap things up? I appreciate you saying that. I mean, it really is a passion project. As I said, I saw the writing on that we were gonna bring in dogs one way or another. I knew it wasn’t going to stop. So, you know, we really decided to do this thing out of a passion amount of a love for these animals. And just the last thing that I think door denied both would want to share is you know the people who have gotten us this far, we really, really, really appreciate the individual volunteers who come out. I hope you don’t mind your name dropping Nick, possibly who’s helped us. An awesome who’s helped us as well. But this is a community who have gotten us this far, and we really wouldn’t be here without him. The entire community Ayden, Greenville Pick County. Everybody has gotten this far. We greatly appreciate the social media we have gotten this far. So I just wanted to make sure that the community was thanked. Absolutely well, thank you guys again. And I literally cannot wait to check back in with you guys in the future and see how things are going. Thank you so much for having us. We really enjoyed it. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a Dooberteer, sign-up for free at  At Doobert we know that together, we can save more animals.”
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