Ahead of the annual Clear the Shelters event this weekend, a participating non-profit in southern Vermont hopes prospective pet adopters will consider a series of questions as they prepare to visit their area shelters.
The Second Chance Animal Center in Shaftsbury encourages people to ask themselves the following questions:
- Can we make the time to properly take care of an animal and help enrich its life, with plenty of time for exercise, grooming, training, and other needs?
- Is our household high-energy or low-key, and what type of pet best fits that lifestyle?
- Do we have disposable income sufficient to cover vet bills, boarding, food, and other costs that may arise down the road—including potential emergencies?
Andy and Donna Chambers asked themselves all those questions before adopting a hound mix named Maddie this summer.
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Second Chance told the Chambers that Maddie’s previous owners neglected her by keeping her tied up outside, rarely—if ever—letting her indoors, and failing to feed her properly.
“It’s like she knows how she had it and she likes the change, and she appreciates it,” Donna Chambers said of Maddie. “We appreciate her. And it feels really good to do it.”
The Chambers are both retired, so have time to devote to Maddie, who had no real training at all—until now.
“I knew we were going to spend lots and lots of hours,” Andy Chambers said.
That’s where Second Chance offers dog parents a special bonus.
The shelter has a trainer who works with adopters on ways to correct certain behaviors. In Maddie’s case, jumping on the couch appears to be a problem to address.
That trainer even makes home visits, explained Cathi Comar, the executive director of the Second Chance Animal Center.
“All at our cost,” Comar noted. “So that our behaviorist can see if the training’s going well, what maybe needs to be changed, and just to ensure that the dog actually stays in the home. In the end, that’s our goal is for all of our animals to stay in their forever homes.”
Comar and her team will get a new place to work on that goal this fall.
The Second Chance Animal Center is moving into a more than 10,000 square-foot headquarters in Arlington, Vermont, to better serve its large coverage area: Vermont’s Bennington County and parts of nearby New York and western Massachusetts.
Comar said the new facility will allow for expanded surgical operations, create new opportunities for visits and classes for members of the community, and will allow for an even better quality of care for shelter animals.
The focus of the expansion, Comar indicated, is to help even more animals like Maddie to get a “Second Chance.”