In 2008 a small group of animal lovers met and started a group to be named Safe Haven Animal Rescue Program (SHARP). These animal lovers personally saw the effects of a rural county without an animal shelter. Polk County is in the far Southeastern corner of Tennessee. It is a very rural county with most of its 442 sq. miles belonging to the Cherokee National Forest. Unfortunately, the beauty of the mountains and forest has drawn people to drop family pets off to survive on their own. SHARP’s dedicated members knew becoming a 501-3-c would help with fund raising and achieve long-term goals. With our new status achieved, SHARP put together a new mission statement and strategic plan to guide the group forward.

Our group consists of hard working everyday people with the passion to give time and love to every dog taken in. Currently we use a foster-based program to house our dogs. Each dog taken in is given all shots, heartworm checked and spayed or neutered before being offered for adoption.

SHARP dogs are kept with their foster parent and treated like a member of their own family. The foster-based system allows us to give great detail to potential families about each dog’s characteristics and needs. Of course the tears flow when it is time to hand a dog over to a new family, but the tears are always followed up with a smile knowing one more dog has a forever home.

Our organization strives to provide the very best environment to the dogs we take in. To further this goal we attend any and all educational opportunities to further our science based approach to dog rescue. The conferences we have attended are Petco Adoption option seminar; University of Georgia Shelter symposium and we will be attending Pets Friends Conference in Atlanta this summer. There are also many animal rescue educational webinars the group takes part in. SHARP also has several local veterinarians that act as advisors as well as provide excellent medical care.

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