Founded in 1985, M’Shoogy’s is an emergency animal rescue and no-kill sanctuary located on 22 acres in the rural northwest Missouri town of Savannah, 60 miles north of Kansas City.
M’Shoogy is a play on the Yiddish term meshuga meaning “crazy.” This rescue haven started after Gary and Lisa Silverglat moved to the country to raise Lisa’s children. In no time, they had acquired dozens of stray dogs. The Silverglats were determined to save the dogs and find them homes.
Because their farmland was essentially bare when purchased, except for an old brick home, Gary and Lisa built rows of kennels to accommodate the animals along with some buildings for supplies. They planted trees and built natural rock retaining walls from boulders they gathered on-site, making the habitat as nice as possible for the animals and for the public who come to adopt animals.
Today, M’Shoogy’s is also devoted to wildlife. The facility is licensed by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Most wildlife that comes to M’Shoogy’s are rehabilitated and released back into their natural habitat. However, some wild animals can’t be released because they have become too dependent on humans and would not survive on their own. In those instances, the animal lives out its life at M’Shoogy’s, cared for in the special wildlife area of the sanctuary.
All the animals are given names, and each dog has at least one buddy to share its 10-by-20-foot kennel. These buddies also share tragic stories of abuse, neglect and abandonment. Fortunately, most of the animals have nothing but unconditional love to offer anyone who allows them into their lives.
The Silverglats are on-call 24 hours, seven days a week and handle 80 to 100 calls per day, including those from law enforcement/animal control agencies who report animals roaming on highways, injured animals, animals abandoned when their owners relocate and orphaned animals. Attending to these calls is a daily activity for the Silverglats, who often travel long distances just to rescue an animal in need, no matter the time of day or night.
By 1989, the Silverglats were housing and caring for approximately 600 dogs, as well as another 150 critters, both domestic and wild, making M’Shoogy’s one of the largest animal rescues in the country. The entire Silverglat family worked daily to care for the animals during the early years. Gary and Lisa also ran successful retail businesses in St. Joseph, Missouri. Once the children were grown and out of the house, Gary and Lisa hired a few employees to help keep up with the daily chores of cleaning kennels, feeding and watering, because the work is not manageable for just two people.
Angels Vet was established in 2002 as the rescue’s low-cost clinic offering spay/neuter surgeries, general veterinary care, medications and other products to the general public. Angels sterilized 10,000 animals in 2006. All profits realized by the clinic benefit the animals at M’Shoogy’s.
M’Shoogy’s has been funded almost entirely by the Silverglats. Gary estimates that he and Lisa have spent approximately $7 million of their own money caring for animals. They have been forced to cut back on the number of animals because of their dwindling financial resources. This means that on average 30 animals per day are turned away.
Currently, with 250 dogs and another 150 critters, the annual budget for general care alone is $300,000. Gary and Lisa receive less than a tenth of this amount yearly in donations. At this rate, M’Shoogy’s will not be able to continue indefinitely. The Silverglats hope money will start coming in from outside sources so that needy animals will be able to continue to find refuge at M’Shoogy’s.
Dogs and cats can be adopted for a nominal fee. To learn more about M’Shoogy’s and what you can do to help, please visit www.MShoogys.org or call 816-324-5824. M’Shoogy’s is a nonprofit charitable organization, so all donations are tax deductible.