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Island woman seeking to help strays
When Martha Grant, 67, sits on her sofa, her four small dogs are never far behind.

In fact, Grant can't move anywhere around her home without her dogs tagging close behind. The canines were adopted from different places - animal service facilities, a breeder and a humane society.

What they have in common is that they all have defects, such as Rags, a black Cockapoo with cataracts whose tongue dangles out of the side of her mouth because all her teeth have been pulled.

Grant provides the necessities they need in life while giving them an additional serving of unconditional love.

"Nothing about you matters to them as long as you love them and take care of them," she said. "Their love is unconditional."

They are not the only dogs happy to see her. The animals at Glynn County Animal Services shower her with the same amount of no-strings-attached love.

For the last two and a half years, for four days a week, Grant has walked the homeless dogs, given them baths and volunteered for any other general tasks that needed to be completed at the animal facility off U.S. 17.

Grant, a retired nurse, can't imagine doing anything else with her spare time.

"It's therapy for me. It gets your mind off everything else," said Grant. "I can't imagine not being there. I really can't."

Since the age of 14, the Iowa native has spent her off-time helping animals of every kind at shelters. While living in Milledgeville, Ga., during the 1970s, Grant and a friend formed the Baldwin County Humane Society, which helped put a stop to practices Grant felt were inhumane at a facility operated by the county.

"We went down there and broke into the pound with bolt cutters and we found a dog frozen to death to the concrete floor," said Grant. "(There was) no food, no warm water, no heat."

She said it was an inadequate shelter.

"(My friend) and I literally hounded the county commissioners, and we got them to give us (authorization) at a store to buy whatever we needed," she said. "We rescued everything from dogs to horses to cats"

Currently, the St. Simons Island resident of 17 years is in the process of forming a new non-profit organization to help stray coastal animals in Glynn County.

The Coastal Animal Rescue Society, or CARS, as she refers to it, has already been incorporated by the state of Georgia but is still working on the final paper work to achieve non-profit status.

Grant, who will be the chairperson of the group, anticipates the organization should be fully operational later this year.

"We want to work on teaching responsible pet ownership, and make owners more aware of the laws," said Grant.

* Coastal People appears Mondays. Contact Martin Rand III at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 324 to suggest a person for a column.

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