Honoring the values of our founders, Mary Ida and Wilbur Young, and continuing the Absorbine® legacy of compassion for horses and animals, in 2017 we’re sending all employees out to volunteer at an animal welfare charity of their choice. It wasn’t very hard to pitch this initiative – “You say we have to take a day off to go on an Absorbine® volunteer days adventure at an animal rescue? Well twist our arms!!”
“Some people think that if a person can’t afford to have a pet, then they shouldn’t have one. We don’t believe that. That’s why we focus on surrender prevention.” — Lindsay Doray, Second Chance Rescue.
When a few of us from W.F. Young offered to volunteer for a day at Second Chance in East Brookfield, MA, we thought we’d be helping out a fairly typical foster and rescue facility for dogs and cats who need forever homes. What we found out is that this gem in Worcester County, MA goes far beyond “just” rescuing fur kids in need by offering innovative programs and services throughout central Massachusetts.
The East Brookfield no-kill shelter was founded in 1999 by Sheryl Blancato, a former Animal Control Officer who was looking to place strays in loving homes. As the shelter grew, they soon brought in a Vet to be able to provide spay/neuter services. They began to learn that one of the most common reasons pets are surrendered by families is because of high medical costs. In an effort to help prevent this, Second Chance opened a Wellness & Education Center in nearby North Brookfield as a full service veterinary clinic, open to the general public as well as providing subsidized rates for care for those that qualify. The response was tremendous, and they now average spay/neuter services for approximately 5,000 pets each year. The North Brookfield location also houses a Pet Food Pantry, which provides assistance to more than 9 food pantries across Central MA, helping residents in need to feed their pets.
From there, Second Chance opened two more Community Vet Clinics in Springfield, MA and Worcester, MA, offering subsidized Vet services on a sliding scale in underserved communities. Their goal is to provide medical care to every animal that needs help, regardless of their owner’s financial position. The Wellness Centers also offer weekly vaccine clinics and pet training. This organization is working to change the focus of animal welfare from the passive “sitting in our shelters waiting for the homeless animal to come to us” to the proactive approach of going out into the communities to find those pets who most need help and keep them with their loving families – which is the core of their commitment to surrender prevention.
In the spring of 2015, Lindsay Doray of Second Chance started Project Good Dog by partnering with the Worcester County Sheriff’s office and three facilities within the Department of Corrections. This program pairs behaviorally needy shelter dogs with inmates who provide them with 24/7 care and training for approximately 6 – 12 weeks. They work with the dogs on socialization, basic obedience, housebreaking, and sometimes even teach them a trick or two. The programs give the inmates a positive focus, and the dogs become more adoptable. A win-win (or should we say wag-wag) situation!
By the numbers:
- In the past few months, Second Chance took in 99 dogs and cats from Florida (clearing out shelters before the hurricane).
- They average 1200 adoptions each year.
- The average stay at the shelter is only 7 – 12 days before adoption. Some however have longer stays, for a year or more. No pet is ever euthanized for space.
- Everything Second Chance does – all of the care and services, are funded 100% by grants and donations.
After hearing their story and getting a tour of the East Brookfield facility, we were in awe and ready to get to work. We soon found out that our focus for the day was Mission: Food Shed.
They had been the recipients of many dog and cat food donations over time, but due to being so busy with all of their rescues and services, they had not had a chance to clean out, sort and organize all that they had. Oh, my! With Lindsay literally rolling up her sleeves to dive in with us, we cleaned out the shed, checked every expiration date on every product, sorted and categorized what was there.
And yes, scared off more than a few mice!
In the end, we had filled a van full of products to go to the Pet Food Pantry, and had re-filled the shed shelves with product sorted by pet type (cat or dog), and in order of expiration dates to encourage use in appropriate order. To avoid waste, recently expired dry food was set aside to feed feral/wild animals in the area.
At the end of the day, the folks at Second Chance were very appreciative of their spiffy newly organized shed, and we felt a bit sore, very dirty, but happy to have helped and proud to have been productive! Before leaving for the day, we donated several cases of Ultrashield® Flea & Tick Collars and The Missing Link® superfood supplements, especially the Probiotic formulas, to help stressed pups get the nutrients they need as they emBARK on their new lives.
Fur kids and their families throughout Central Massachusetts are lucky to have Second Chance in their lives. Because Every Pet Deserves a Second Chance.