Shelter spotlight: Girard LifeSaver

Girard LifeSaver was the second-place winner of our 2016 Change a Pet’s Life Contest. You can learn more about the contest here.

Girard LifeSaver in Girard, Ga.

Samantha Holton has been rescuing animals throughout her entire life. As a child, she frequently brought home stray and injured dogs and cats, along with the occasional raccoon or possum needing help.

This desire to help led her to found Girard LifeSaver ten years ago in the rural town of Girard, Ga., in a county with no animal control office. Girard LifeSaver is one of only two pet rescues in Burke County, a county the size of Rhode Island.

The need can be overwhelming, but Girard LifeSaver partners with rescues in northern states to help adoptable dogs move out of Georgia and into less dog-dense areas where they have better chances of finding homes. The rescue will also adopt out dogs to homes within driving distance of the physical shelter. Last year, Girard LifeSaver was able to adopt out close to 300 dogs, and the rescue hopes to surpass that number this year.

Girard LifeSaver frequently takes in dogs that are in the worst possible shape, including Braveheart, the second-place winner of our 2016 Change a Pet’s Life Contest.

Braveheart when he was first found and now

Braveheart was found as a stray dog, hairless, bleeding and covered in Sarcoptic mange. He was heartworm positive and had such severe damage to his front legs that he could not put weight on one of them. Had he not been rescued, he would have died.

He has slowly been recovering but still needs surgery on both front ankles, as well as heartworm treatment. To learn more about his story, please watch the video below, produced by Girard LifeSaver.

On top of rescuing some of the neediest dogs in the county, Girard LifeSaver lobbies for various animal-related causes, including mandatory spay/neuter, dog licensing fees and anti-chaining laws.

According to Samantha, the best way people can help Girard LifeSaver is to sponsor the spaying/neutering of a dog or cat through the rescue. The rescue is also always in need of dog food donations, foster homes and transport volunteers.

To learn more about Girard LifeSaver, visit its website here. If you are interested in adopting one of the 60 dogs currently looking for a home, please contact Samantha at or call (706) 871-8273 to set up an appointment to visit.

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There are 2 comments

  • Thank You Erin and 1-800 Pet Meds for featuring Girard Lifesaver this month. We were honored to have been second place winner in the contest. Braveheart continues to improve and will be seeing yet another veterinarian this week for more tests and x-rays. We will be sure to keep you posted and thank you to all who helped him win by voting for our precious boy!

  • Erin Gleeson says:

    Samantha, we’re so glad to hear he’s improving! He seems like such a sweet boy, despite everything he’s been through.

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