The founder of the Lebanon nonprofit organization, 70-year-old Donna McGregor, described Dreamland as her own dream she’s had since she was a little girl, and she wanted 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.”
The event was an opportunity for visitors to see Dreamland, and it was also an opportunity for former littermates adopted by different people to return.
“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.”
Heidi McCarthy brought her dog, Parker, to the event. Parker was rescued by McGregor before McCarthy adopted him.
“Parker remembered the angels who rescued him and saved his life,” said McCarthy. “He ran right up to Donna, who burst into happy tears. He was so happy to visit his friends, baby goats, Cisco the Mustang. He loved splashing in the puddles by the barn and fields he used to roam.”
The event featured a silent auction, a 33-foot bouncy obstacle course, a carousel, door prizes, live music, a bake sale, face painting, a professional photographer and more.
Loving Hands Designs offered pet accessories, and 25 percent of the sales went to Dreamland.
McGregor has 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 kings 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.”
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.