The founder of the Lebanon nonprofit organization, 70-year-old Donna McGregor, rescued and cared for animals for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until 2012 that she officially founded Dreamland Animal Rescue and Sanctuary.
“All my life, since I was a little kid, I always rescued animals,” said McGregor. “Even before I knew what I was doing, I was rescuing animals. I have a picture that I take to adoption events and it’s, I think I was about 7 years old, and it was of the most recent dog I had drug home, and I was having a fit. So, people will ask me, ‘Well, how long have you been doing this?’ And I’ll show them that picture from 1950-something.”
McGregor still takes in all kinds of different animals, but her focus has shifted to dogs recently after she noticed a need for it. She recalled taking in a stray dog as one of the first things she did when she moved to Lebanon in 2006.
“I think my very first rescue [in Lebanon] was in Hartsville in front of Fred’s Pharmacy,” she said. “There was a poor little dog that was all hot and ready to die, and I picked him up, named him Homer, and he lived here for a long time until he finally passed away.”
According to McGregor, she’s adopted out about 700 dogs since she started the organization, and she said that’s a big reason she wanted to do an open house event.
“We used to specialize in momma dogs and their puppies,” said McGregor. “So, a lot of the people who have adopted have adopted litter mates, and I’ve had a lot of people over the years say, ‘Oh, I’d love to have my dog get back with its litter mates.’ So, that’s how this kind of started, and then it just got bigger.”
McGregor currently has several activities and vendors planned for the event, including a silent auction, door prizes, live music, a 33-foot inflatable obstacle course, a carousel, a balloon artist and more.
The event is free, but McGregor asked all visitors, including vendors, bring something from the organization’s wish list, which includes paper towels, Clorox wipes, bleach, liquid laundry detergent, 33 gallon and 13 gallon garbage bags and Purina One chicken and rice food.
She also said there are no chairs, so visitors should bring their own blankets or chairs.
McGregor described Dreamland as just that, her own dream she’s had since she was a little girl, and now she wants to share her passion with as many people as possible.
“I’ve been working my butt off for a lot of years,” said McGregor. “I’m 70, and I want Dreamland to be known before I die. I told somebody the other day, this is not an open house. This is my memorial service that I’ve always wanted, except I get to plan it. And I’m serious about that. I don’t want all that hoopla after I go; I want it now. So, if you want to bring flowers to the service, go ahead.”
McGregor said there’s always a need for volunteer help at Dreamland, especially in the mornings and afternoons. Anyone interested in helping out should email [email protected] with references.