A New Paradigm for Dog Rescue
A rescue is only as good as it lasts. Each year, millions of dogs are taken to animal services and humane societies due in large part to unresolved behavioral and health issues. These same issues contribute to each dog's inability to find a new home and to their eventual euthanasia. Second Chance at Love Humane Society recognizes the flaw in this system and has established a new paradigm, tackling comprehensive and lasting dog rescue that begins before and continues after a dog is adopted:
Rescue: Taking in homeless dogs in need of help, regardless of age, temperament, or health.
Refuge: Providing a permanent, stable sanctuary to the dogs that are simply too old, sick, or scarred to continue cycling through an adoption system. These “Sanctuary Dogs” find health and contentment at their Second Chance home.
Rehabilitation: Physically and psychologically rehabilitating rescue dogs through healthcare, exercise, discipline, and leadership so that they will make balanced, socialized pets.
Permanent Adoption: Strategically placing animals in homes where they will thrive and receive the leadership and care they need.
Behavior Consultations: Inviting pet owners to attend private consultations or group workshops to deal with their dog's behavioral issues before they give up on the dog.
Education and Outreach: Holding seminars on animal behavior to educate pet owners, rescue workers, and volunteers about how to better lead the dogs in their care.
The Second Chance at Love Story
Rescue & Refuge: Second Chance Ranch began with one woman’s undying compassion for the truly helpless—dogs without advocates. Since founding Second Chance in 1994, Cheri Lucas’s mission has grown from rescuing dogs one-by-one on her own, to housing and helping as many as 50 dogs at a time at the spacious, oak-studded shelter on her private property in Templeton. With the help of dedicated volunteers, Second Chance has rescued, rehabilitated and re-homed more than 2,000 dogs. Just as our humane society grew, so did our goals and objectives. We knew that some dogs needed more than just shelter to be saved; scarred and unsocialized, they had no hope of finding a new family and a fulfilled life. They needed help.
Rescue through Rehabilitation: In 1999, Lucas met and began training under Cesar Millan, the famed dog behaviorist of National Geographic’s hit series, The Dog Whisperer, to learn to resolve dog behavior issues that kept many Second Chance dogs from finding permanent homes. The encounter resulted in a complete paradigm shift for Second Chance at Love Humane Society that dramatically expanded the horizons of our work.
Lucas began to understand that Second Chance Humane Society could affect far more dogs than just those at the shelter if we focused on treating the behavior issues that put dogs in shelters to begin with. Second Chance now not only rehabilitates the dogs in our care so that they will become adoptable, but we reach out to pet owners dealing with behavior problems and work to solve those problems before they escalate and lead to abandoning or euthanizing a dog. Our dog behavior work is what separates Second Chance from other humane societies, and our programs have helped resolve behavioral issues for hundreds of dogs on the Central Coast and throughout the country.
Heartbroken families who feel their dog may have run out of options find new hope at Second Chance. We teach desperate owners to find the strength and understanding to turn a dog’s potentially tragic flaws around. Clients leave the ranch with a new-found confidence and empowerment, and their dogs leave with a new leash on life.
We do not measure our success rate by the number of dogs we have rescued and placed, but by the number of dogs we’ve rescued from needing rescue—by rehabilitating them before their issues forced them from their homes into animal shelters.
Second Chance Ranch and Beyond
Second Chance now stands for dog behavior treatment and community outreach as much as for rescue and adoption, and works diligently to spread the message of hope for animals with behavior issues. Through outreach and education in the community and nation at large, we extend our passion beyond the Second Chance Ranch to the thousands of dog owners and hundreds of shelters struggling with a similar issue: how to help save a dog with behavioral problems like fear and aggression.
Lucas offers special Leadership Workshops for employees and volunteers of other humane societies to impart invaluable hands-on training and insight required for those who handle dogs suffering from kennel aggression and other behavioral issues as a result of extended residency at stressful shelter environments.
Second Chance also offers Boot Camp (an intensive behavior program for dogs with serious issues) to dogs owned by private clients as well as those from other humane societies. Many dogs have graduated from Boot Camp fully rehabilitated and ready for adoption into permanent homes.
Second Chance recently created the Board & Behave program, which allows clients to board their dogs at Second Chance while simultaneously giving them a behavior tune-up. This program offers dogs the unique advantage of being socialized with the balanced Second Chance Pack on a daily basis, while still receiving the physical care given by a boarding facility. Each canine guest will have comfortable living quarters within an extra large, oak-tree shaded, outdoor run. They are confident that this program will be extremely popular for clients that want “only the best” for their pets.
Second Chance Stats In 2007, Second Chance hosted 10 workshops, each with 8 dogs and up to 25 people. Every member of the dog’s family is encouraged to attend the workshop at no additional charge. In all, 80 dogs and 250 people benefited from their workshops in 2007.
Founder Cheri Lucas presented to over 1,000 people in 2007. The following is a list of some of the organizations that hosted presentations.
- Dog Behavior Seminar, San Luis Obispo, California
- Odd Fellows Club, San Luis Obispo, California
- International Zoonoses Conference, Denver, Colorado
- Marion Correctional Facility (2 seminars) Marion, Ohio
- Doberman Rescue, Filmore, California
- Humane Society Silicone Valley, Santa Clara, California
- Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, Santa Maria, California
- Bakersfield SPCA (2007 and 2006) Bakersfield, California
- Dog Behavior Seminar, Paso Robles, California
The Second Chance at Love Commitment
Second Chance accepts all dogs, regardless of breed, temperament or age. We are committed to providing a safe, healthy, and happy home to dogs that are too old or sick to be put up for adoption.
Throughout the history of Second Chance, we have never turned away a dog whose owner has passed away. When space allows, we takes dogs from The Department of Animal Services in San Luis Obispo, Lompoc, and Santa Maria, among others. This frees up space at the county animal service facilities and reduces the euthanasia of adoptable and treatable dogs at those facilities. Other humane societies occasionally send dogs to us when the animal requires behavior modification and veterinary care in order to become eligible for a permanent home with a new, adoptive family.
At Second Chance, we recognize that adoption is only successful if it is permanent. Our team of volunteers works to rehabilitate often fearful, stressed, abused, and aggressive dogs back to their natural, balanced state before placing them with responsible families who will provide them with a lifetime of leadership and loving care. Unlike other shelters, we work diligently to assess each dog’s temperament, personality, and behavior issues in order to strategically match the dog with a suitable adoptive family that is prepared and equipped to ensure a lasting rescue. We will, however, always take a dog back if, for any reason, the placement does not work for the adoptive family.
Adoptions are arranged by phone or email appointment and at regular Adopt-a-Pets at the Templeton Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Additionally, we are fortunate to have a network of committed foster families who care for our dogs while they await permanent homes.
Second Chance is committed to the elimination of companion animal overpopulation and to the reduction of homeless animals through effective spay and neuter programs and public education. Every dog adopted from Second Chance has been spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, Heartworm Disease tested, and micro-chipped for permanent identification.
Second Chance at Love Mission:
Rescue dogs from:
a. County Animal Services.
b. Individuals who have found strays.
c. Persons who have passed away or become incapable of caring for their animals due to illness.
Provide outstanding care for:
a. All Second Chance at Love rescue dogs.
b. Dogs on site for behavior rehabilitation belonging to private clients.
c. Sanctuary dogs that will live out their lives at the shelter.
Enhance the human experience by:
a. Placing dogs in loving homes through our website and Adopt-A-Pets.
b. Providing knowledge and tools to families to help ensure the success of the adoption.
c. Offering private consultations, Boot Camp, and Workshops.
d. Hosting public seminars.
Generate revenue by developing our unique business skills:
a. Private consultations, Boot Camp, Board & Behave
b.Workshops & seminars
Help us Grant a Second Chance at Love
Our work is supported entirely by donations, grants, and gifts from caring people and organizations. Our dogs are alive and thriving due to the generosity of people who share our love and concern for the animals that have never had a fair chance. There is much more work to do; we need your help.
During 2008, gifts and grants will allow Second Chance at Love Humane Society to provide the necessary care for the animals at our shelter: proper nutrition, daily exercise, and healthcare (such as spay and neuter operations, vaccinations, flea and tick treatments, Heartworm testing, and all other urgent veterinary care). In addition to maintaining the physical wellness of our dogs, we also work to keep them psychologically sound, stable, and happy. We daily walk the dogs in packs to build and maintain their social skills with other dogs, and provide behavior modification and rehabilitation in order to maximize each dog’s adoptability and social skills with humans.