Describing the events of the last 25 years is actually very difficult. Giving a brief account, a list of names and dates would be so dull that that no-one would bother to read it. A full account would be book-length and no-one would have time to read it.
In a quarter of a century, there have been so many individuals and changes that it is impossible to give all of them the recognition they deserve; but there are some constants that have not changed!
The rigid belief that no healthy animal should be killed because it is cheaper to kill it than to keep it alive.
The conviction that, given time, a good home will be found for animals in our care and that, until it is found, we will provide a secure and comfortable home.
The last, and most important, constant, is the loyalty and dedication of our supporters who give unstintingly their time and money so that we may all realise our shared belief that animals deserve a second chance at life.
The Society was born out of an eviction order and necessity. A couple who lived nearby us were being evicted from their home which housed many cats and dogs.
My wife, Sue, was asked to help with the dogs because of her connection with the breed club rescue section. We arrived at the house and collected the dogs to take them to a boarding kennel.
Sue was then asked, by a representative of the other society, if she could take the cats as well. She replied that she had been told that this society (which had three vans on the premises) would be responsible for the cats.
She was told, “If we take them they will be put down and there are kittens in there”. The dogs were rushed to the kennels and Sue and I returned home with more than 30 cats in carrying cages.
The rest of the day was spent clearing out the garage and shed, each of which was larger than the room the cats had been living in. The next day was spent sorting out the cats, discovering that I was useless at telling the sex of long haired Persians, and building a 30 foot run in the garden. I have a strong aversion to any animal being kept in conditions where it never feels the sun on its back or is denied fresh air.
Only when the problem of temporary housing had been solved was there time to consider their future. Sue’s approach was that homes would be found for them so there was no problem. I was concerned with the practicalities and expense of feeding,
vet’s bills, waste disposal and keeping them permanently confined. Sue said that other rescue societies would help. I pointed out that the reason we had the cats was because they wouldn’t! Sue said, “then we’ll start our own rescue” and that’s what she did.
Starting from nothing she raised money and members and doubled both every year.
The biggest expense was boarding kennels and Sue’s ambition was that Second Chance would have its own. She suffered a massive and fatal, cerebral haemorrhage in March 1988.
My memories of the following weeks are quite vague but I remember, and will to my dying day, leaving her funeral service and looking at the floral tributes.
One of them showed the Second Chance logo and carried a simple message from the members. “Thank you from the animals.”
Those of you who have been to Mansbridge will have seen for yourselves the range of kennels and catteries, built to the highest standards. The kennels have gone through many a change over the years. Currently, we have spacious kennels that look out onto open green areas. They all have both indoor (heated) and outdoor areas, with a bed, toys and water. The dogs are walked at least once a day by our wonderful dog walkers who give up their time to ensure these animals have a good life while they are with us. Our dogs are walked Monday-Friday mornings only, if you are interested in helping please call us and someone will get back to you.
The catteries have gone through improvements over the years. We now have a cattery with both indoor and outdoor areas for the cats to run free in. It is a large area with lots of sofas, toys and places to climb up and sleep in. We also have separate catteries for kittens, and cats that have just come into rescue. This is to ensure that they are all well, healthy and vaccinated before joining our main cattery. We have several volunteers who focus on giving our cats cuddles and brushes.
The work continues, the animals are rescued and re-homed; we have no Death Row where the condemned await execution. We are realists and know that this costs a lot of money.
But it is you, our supporters, who provide the money and to each and every one of you I say, with heart-felt sincerity,
Thank you from the animals.