Save a Life: Foster a Pet!

Posted March 29th, 2012 by luckydog

Sharing our home with a Dalmatian for 11 years meant we heard our share of jokes and quips about spots. In those years, we grew to love spots and we so miss seeing spots in the house.

In January, a few weeks after Lucky crossed the Rainbow Bridge, we had spots in the house again. Spots on the couch, in the backyard, on the dog beds. It was so nice seeing spots in the same “spots” where we used to see our spotted angel, Lucky. We miss having spots in the house.

Our spots came to us via a 3-year old Dalmatian who was found as a stray and ended up in a high-kill shelter in NW Georgia. He was rescued by Dalmatian Rescue of South Florida, a rescue organization dedicated to saving Dalmatians all over the southeast and beyond.

Cantor was such a delight to have in the house – a sweet, snuggly Dalmatian who loved everyone and every dog.  He was just a happy guy and we kept trying to figure out how he ended up in a shelter.

Since the rescue organization was out of state, the only way to save Cantor was to line up a foster home in Atlanta before he could be transported to Miami. We knew we had to help – and in return, would get to meet an amazing dog.

Cantor, our foster dog

While it didn’t take long to fall in love with his personality, we knew we couldn’t keep him. And while it was sad seeing the little guy go, we knew he had a bigger mission in life than in our house.

Now we have Riley and Mazloom, 2 dogs we transported from the ESMA shelter in Cairo, Egypt on our recent vacation. We decided to foster both dogs, as we knew we could give them the love they needed to begin adjusting to life in a home.

They have really started to come out of their shells as their personalities emerge.   We are so lucky that we get to be a part of this process – of watching them learn to trust and love. Letting them go will again pull at our heartstrings…but that’s a small price for us to pay so they can find their forever homes.

Our fosters from the ESMA shelter

There is such a huge need for foster homes all over the country. For most rescues, foster homes are the heart and soul. Without foster homes, there would be no rescue. The animals are pulled from high-kill shelters and live in foster homes until they are adopted.

It’s simple arithmetic – the more foster homes available, the more animals that can be saved. Unfortunately, many rescues struggle to find these life-saving homes. Often times, this may be the only obstacle to saving an animal from euthanization.

For us, fostering is extra special as that is how Lucky became such an important part of our life. He had been deemed unadoptable by his rescue group (because he’d been returned twice by two different families). He was a large, older alpha male so his chances of getting out of the high-kill shelter alive were slim.

Until his guardian angel, a rescue volunteer pulled him, seeing his potential. She already had 5 dogs of her own and Lucky, preferring to be the only pet in the home, wasn’t getting along well with her pack. So, she asked us to foster him for a few weeks until he got adopted.

Our 2nd foster, Lucky, found his forever home with us. He was our only "failed foster!"

Well, the moment he jumped in our car he seemed to know he was home. It took us a bit longer to realize that he had found his forever home, but I often wonder what our lives would have been like had I not seen the plea in the local paper seeking foster homes.

What if I had not made that fateful call offering to become fosters. What if Lucky hadn’t made it out alive?   This gorgeous Dalmatian was days away from being euthanized, simply because there was no place for him to go. Boy, did he change our lives. It is our responsibility to continue his legacy.

When people find out we foster, usually the first thing we hear is along the lines of “oh, I could never foster as I’d have to keep everyone”.  Or “I couldn’t give them up.” I will admit, it is hard seeing a foster pet leave after you’ve shared your life with them – whether it’s for just 1 day or for several months. You fall into a rhythm, you get used to having them around – and they become a part of your daily life.

Up for adoption with Southern Animal Rescue

We have had many fosters since Lucky joined our family.  None of them have stayed permanently. I guess in our hearts we knew we had a larger mission.

When our foster dogs get adopted, it is a cause for celebration. Sure, we will miss them – but they just hit the jackpot and are going to their forever homes. Nothing beats that feeling.   We love getting updates from their new families, knowing we made a difference and we are honored we got to be a part of saving their lives.

The simple fact is that Fostering Saves Lives. We look at it as a way to share our lives with a lot more dogs than we would ever be able to have as our own. We are a pit stop on their journey of life. The first few days after a special one leaves, there are voids. I will not deny that we do not miss them. But, there is always another one is waiting in the wings.   We know we cannot keep every foster and that if we did, we could not help any of the thousands waiting in shelters, hoping to make it out alive.

Dogs with Angels Among Us needing foster homes

Personally, my heart lies with fostering those that need a little extra love and attention – the shy ones, the older ones, the larger ones. I like giving the “unadoptables” a chance to learn what love is. That life can be great. I love watching the shy ones come out of their shell. Of learning to trust for the first time. It is such a great feeling to have a scared dog that has hidden for 3 days start to explore the house and seek us out.

Just about every rescue organization is in need of fosters. If you are interested in becoming one, contact your favorite foster and get their information or check one of the groups listed below. There are all types of fosters – short term, long-term, care-for-life and more.

If every rescue organization could get one more foster home signed up, just think how many more animals could be saved by this simple act.

Types of Fosters Needed

  • Foster a military pet so those serving our country can rest assured their beloved pet is being cared for while they are on duty
  • Foster a momma cat or dog and her puppies until they are old enough to be adopted. They cannot survive in a shelter environment
  • Foster an older/senior cat or dog that just needs a comfortable place to live out their golden years or so they know love near the end of their lives
  • Foster a pet for a woman escaping domestic violence until she is able to get back on her feet (Ahimsa House)
  • Foster an animal that has lived its life in a shelter and show it how to live in a home – so he/she is more adoptable (Lifeline Animal Project)
  • Foster an animal that a rescue organization has just pulled from a high-kill shelter and give it a place to call home until it is adopted (Royal Potcake Rescue)
  • Foster a pet that has rescue confirmed and just needs a home for a couple of weeks until transport is arranged (Friends of DeKalb Animals)

I will not deny that fostering an animal can tug on the heartstrings, but the rewards outweigh any sadness. I get to “try out” a dog and find one that perfectly fits our family. I get to prove that the “unadoptable” ones make great pets. I get extra snuggles and kisses. I get to save a life.

One of my favorite quotes is along the lines of “Saving One Dog Won’t Change the World.   But the World Will Change for that One Dog.” This is what rescue and foster is all about. Changing the world, one pet at a time.

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Interested in Fostering?

  • Contact your favorite rescue organization or one of the groups below and let them know you want to be a foster home.
  • While each group has their own procedures, generally a foster application and home visit are all that is needed to become a foster home. Sometimes an orientation is required. Nevertheless, it is usually a simple process.
  • Some organizations will require that you either attend and/or drop off the animal at their adoption events. Other groups only require a meeting with potential adopters on an appointment basis.
  • The rescue groups actively screen potential adoptive homes and cover costs for food, vetting and medical care.

Atlanta Underdog Initiative
Foster: dogs, specifically pit bull type dogs and mastiffs
Website: www.atlantaunderdog.com
Area: Metro Atlanta
Information:  Atlanta Underdog Intiative, or A.UD.I, is a 501 (c) 3 pit bull and mastiff advocacy and rescue group.
While we focus on outreach and education, we rescue dogs when we have a foster home available.

Southern Animal Rescue
Foster:  cats, kittens, dogs and puppies
Website:  www.southernanimalrescue.com
Area: Metro Atlanta
Information:  We’re a big fan of Second Life, Lucky, and all of our wonderful supporters in the Atlanta community. We are always in need of more foster homes, as most rescue groups are right now. We take care of the vetting, etc, and you provide some much-needed love for a rescued pet. Please consider fostering!
Contact: llc831@yahoo.com

Alabama Boston Terrier Rescue
Foster:  dogs; Boston Terriers, Boston Terrier mixes, all ages and disabilities
Website: www.abtr.org
Area: Metro Atlanta
Information: To rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home Boston Terriers.

English Springer Rescue America (ESRA)
Foster: dogs – Springer Spaniels
Website: www.springerrescuegaal.org
Information: The South East chapter is very active in Georgia and we sometimes have to pay to board dogs at a kennel when we run out of foster homes. We take in English springer spaniels and we actively seek/screen adoptive families so the foster families do not need to worry about that. Our website contains links to information about fostering as well as our available dogs.

Angels Among Us Pet Rescue
Foster: dog, puppy, cat, kittens & pregnant momma fosters
Website: www.angelsrescue.org and for a list of babies that need a foster home: http://angelsrescue.org/foster-homes-needed.asp
Contact: info@angelsrescue.org
Area: All of Georgia
Information:  Largest volunteer based pet rescue in the South.  We firmly believe in never leaving family behind (momma & babies, siblings, etc). We have weekly adoption events in the metro area.Here is our info:

German Shepherd Dog Rescue Group of GA
Foster: German Shepehrd Dogs and puppies
Websitewww.gashepherd.org
Contact:  info@gashepherd.org
Area:  Metro Atlanta, and all of GA
Information:  GSDRGA rescues purebred German Shepherds in need and finds forever homes for them. We use foster homes to house the dogs until they go to their forever homes, so foster homes are our biggest need. All dogs are fully vetted prior to adoption.

Royal Potcake Rescue
Foster:  dogs, cats, puppies, kittens
Website:  www.potcake.org
Contact:  potcake_rescue@bellsouth.net
Area:  Metro Atlanta
Information:  Rescue and spay & neuter, Potcakes from the Bahamas. We also rescue many animals in the local Atlanta area.

Friends of DeKalb Animals
Foster:  Primarily dogs & puppies, some cats/kittens
Website:  www.friendsof dekalbanimals.org
Contact:  info@friendsofdekalbanimals.org
Area:  Metro Atlanta, DeKalb County
Information:  Homes needed for temporary and short-term fosters until dogs can be transported to the Northeast USA.  Dogs (and some cats) are rescued from DeKalb County Animal Services.

Lifeline Animal Project
Foster:  Dogs, puppies, cats & kittens
Website:  www.lifelineanimal.org
Contact:  mblair@lifelineanimal.org
Area:  Metro Atlanta
Information:  Foster homes needed from temporary to longer term.  Help care for animals that need extra socialization, don’t adapt well to shelter living or need extra care.

Ahimsa House
Foster:  Dogs, cats, turtles, rabbits…pets of women fleeing domestic violence
Website: www.ahimsahouse.org
Contact:  foster@ahimsahouse.org
Area:  Metro Atlanta & Georgia
Information:  Foster homes needed to care for the pets of women fleeing domestic violence until the women are able to reclaim – usually 30-60 days.

From Egypt to Georgia: The Journey of 3 Dogs

Posted March 24th, 2012 by luckydog

From Egypt to Georgia: The Journey of 3 Dogs

One of the most difficult parts of visiting Egypt is seeing the stray dogs and cats roaming the streets. They are beautiful animals, living in a country that doesn’t value how amazing pets and animals are. The lucky strays are fed by caring people or ignored.   The “balady” dogs (balady means “my country” in Arabic) are beautiful mixed breeds that roam the streets, trying to survive.

My family is well aware of my radar for spotting stray dogs and cats. It’s an uncanny gift, and they know that a break is in order when I spot one. The dogs and cats which aren’t terrified of people are grateful for just a few moments of love (which I happily give). Mostly, I give love because I have it to share. But part of me also wants the Egyptian people to see that these animals demand respect and are not to be abused or ignored. So I found myself again, on the unforgiving Cairo streets, petting some of the most beautiful dogs and cats that millions of people pass by each day without a thought. I wish the locals could see the same beauty I do.   I wish I could save them all.

On my last visit to Cairo in 2009, I had learned about a handful of animal shelters in the area and made it my mission to visit them.  It was heartwarming to see homeless pets in an environment where they had loving, caring people looking after them. In my mind, these people are simply amazing. They give it their all, against cultural norms and with limited resources, to help the most helpless of all creatures.

On that visit, I was lucky to visit the ESMA (The Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals) shelter. Recently founded in 2007 by a group of people who simply could not do nothing any longer, this shelter was simply a haven. I was so impressed with how happy the animals were and with everyone I met – and I knew that I had to visit the shelter again this trip.

It is not an easy place to find. Located off a dusty road in a local village, miles and miles away from downtown Cairo and not far from the Saqqara pyramid where tourists visit every day, it’s an easy place to miss. In fact, we had our tour guide hire us a driver and come with us, knowing even a taxi driver couldn’t find it.  But I knew it was worth it.

On my last trip, I left feeling helpless – wanting to help but not knowing how. On this trip, I vowed to try to do anything in my powers to help them out. When we arrived on the sunny, gorgeous day, it was if we had stepped into an animal oasis. We were immediately greeted by dogs at our feet, jumping up, clambering for attention from these new intruders. They came from every direction, as if it had been broadcast that animal lovers had arrived. We later learned that 450 dogs and 300 cats call this shelter home.

In all of Egypt, a country of 80 million, there are only a handful of animal rescue organizations. They face challenges that are unimaginable. Adoptions are rare and are mostly to wealthy Egyptians or abroad to Europe and the U.S. They rely on donations from animal lovers around the globe and funds are always extremely tight. There are always more animals that need help, that are injured or being abused. It never stops. But amidst all the challenges, these dedicated individuals give up their leisure time, their money, and their hearts to help as many pets as they can.

What strikes me the most is how happy & well-adjusted the majority of the animals seem to be. Tails are wagging. Eyes are smiling. Kisses are given willingly. Purrs are nonstop.  It never ceases to amaze me, considering that many of these animals probably were probably abused in some manner.

As we toured the shelter, I felt like a famous movie star with four-legged paparazzi following my every move.  As I tried to soak in the environment, I asked the shelter manager (who had only been in the job a total of 40 days) if there were any animals that needed extra help or weren’t doing well.

The first one he mentioned was Riley, a gorgeous German Shorthair Pointer who had not adjusted to shelter life. He had lived in a home before and apparently knew what he was missing. He was a gentle soul who was overwhelmed by all the activity and whose eyes spoke such sadness. I asked what it would take to bring him to the US and take him into rescue. I learned the process is surprisingly easy for bringing dogs into the USA. Mission #1 began.

Just before leaving the shelter, we were shown their clinic, where special cases were being treated. Inside, I saw an amazing dog walking on his 2 front legs. Mazloom quickly sprinted by me before retreating to the safety of his crate. I knew a special needs dog like him had little chance in Egypt, but I thought he had a chance back home.  If he passed the certification, Mazloom would make an amazing therapy dog – perhaps for kids or those with amputation/spinal injuries.  I knew I couldn’t leave him behind.  Mission #2 began.

The hardest part of being in animal rescue is knowing you can’t save every deserving animal. But, you realize you have to help the ones you can. People can argue that bringing a dog into the US while 3-4 million are euthanized each year is irresponsible.  In my opinion, rescuing an animal knows no borders and if I have the ability to help an animal, I will do what I can to save a life.

During the next week, there were many calls & texts to the shelter founders to assure them that the dogs would be well taken care of and would be placed in loving homes. Several calls to the airline to ensure we had the proper documentation and space was available for the dogs’ reservation.  Postings on Facebook to our wonderful friends to share the news and try to find rescue commitments. A lot of coordination between all parties ensued as we tried to figure out how to make it happen.

A few days before plans were set to take Mazloom and Riley home with us, the shelter founder called. They were excited we were rescuing Mazloom, but concerned about splitting him up for his best friend, a puppy named Muzo. I agreed to take the 3-month puppy too, knowing how important it was to all.

At midnight on March 18 the 24-hour trip began. We arrived at the Cairo airport where there was quite a bit of attention given to the 2 large crates. It’s not a site seen often, I’m guessing. For the next 20 hours of layovers and flights, my husband Toby and I wondered how they were doing. Did they get on the plane? Were they scared? Were they taken care of in Frankfurt during our 6 hour layover?

We were so happy to see all 3 dogs when we arrived in customs in Atlanta. They all looked a bit scared and tired, but they were fine. And quite the hit. Getting them into the USA was easy, as they had all the proper documentation – and a rabies vaccination. It all worked out.

Watching them take their first tentative steps in our backyard was so rewarding and heartwarming.  Knowing they had hit the jackpot brought a smile to my face.

They get to be dogs. Happy dogs. Lucky dogs.

Mazloom never stops amazing us with his spirit and his ability to balance on his 2 legs. He is a fast little guy who could make an excellent therapy dog with the right guidance. He would do great in a home with a family who understands his special needs and will help him get used to a wheel cart. Many people can’t tell by the way he walks that he’s missing his legs – he is just a happy guy.

Riley is a sweet boy who loves people and just wants to be with us, preferably on a soft sofa or bed. He is a big snuggler and would be best in a quieter home or one with few other animals. (His adoption is pending)

Muzo is all puppy – what more can we say? He’s got the spunk of a feisty 4 month old puppy.

All dogs are up for adoption, and looking for a final chapter in their journey from the land of the Pharaohs to the land of the Peaches.

Now, on to Mission #3 – figuring out how to save even more!

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To learn more about ESMA (Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals), please visit their website at www.esmaegypt.org. If you are interested in making a tax deductible donation, please visit www.animaldiplomacy.org , a 501(c)(3) that supports directly supports ESMA or give it to us at Second Life and we’ll make sure they get it.  The US dollar goes a long way when converted into the Egyptian pound currency and any amount helps.

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Second Life Upscale Resale is an upscale thrift store located in historic downtown Avondale Estates just minutes from the DeKalb Farmers Market, downtown Decatur and I-285 in the metro Atlanta area. We are a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible. We need donations of clothing, housewares and furniture year-round. Our mission is simple – to offer a quality thrift shopping experience that encourages recycling and reuse while supporting animal rescue organizations in their goal to find homes for homeless pets and reduce pet overpopulation. Save Money. Save a Pet’s Life.

Second Life Upscale Resale • 1 N. Clarendon Avenue • Avondale Estates, GA 30002

Phone: 678-974-5671 • www.secondlifeatlanta.org • contactus@secondlifeatlanta.org

Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 11:00 – 6:00, Sunday 12-5, Closed Monday & Tuesday

For more information, check out our website www.secondlifeatlanta.org or follow us on Facebook (Second Life Atlanta) or Twitter (@secondlifeatl).

Saying I’m Sorry

Posted January 27th, 2012 by luckydog

Five weeks ago, we said goodbye to our sweet old Dalmatian, Lucky.  It has been a big adjustment living without him as he brought pure joy to my life for almost 11 years.

I know that time will eventually make it easier, that one day I will think of Lucky and a smile instead of tears will grace my face.  I know someday it may not hurt as much as it does today, or that I will just remember the happy times and not the pain of letting go.  In my mind, I know that this “someday” will eventually come.  I am just waiting for my heart to catch up.

I am so grateful that I got to share Lucky with everyone at Second Life.  He was the best Chief Smile Officer ever, and he added such a whimsy to our store.  I loved seeing the smiles as customers peeked behind the counter to see our spotted pup – the same dog that was deemed “unadoptable” by his rescue group and sent to a kill shelter.  I am so honored I got to prove them wrong and his legacy will live on.

When Lucky crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I was so thankful to be among other animal lovers who understood the pain of losing a beloved pet.  I have been in jobs where the loss of a pet was dismissed by co-workers, by those who just “didn’t get it.”  What a difference it makes to have the support of other animal lovers during this difficult time.

As word spread about Lucky’s passing, the condolences started pouring in from customers.  Since he crossed the Rainbow Bridge during the holidays, it was especially difficult to try to remain festive while grieving.  What I found is many people simply did not know what to say or how to say it.  And while many people meant well, often the comments added to our grief.

Now that a bit of time has passed and I can write without tears, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about  what was hard to hear and what we appreciated as we were in the midst of our grieving for Lucky.

What was hard to hear…

  1. Did you have a good holiday? If the pet’s death happened around any holiday and you knew the loss happened during this time, its better not to ask how the holidays were.  You can assume it was not a happy time.   I actually found this to be a hard question to answer, and it often made me feel worse.  Should I lie and say yes just to be courteous – or should I tell the truth and say no, making the situation more awkward.
  2. Are you going to get another dog? Do not ask if I will be getting a new pet soon.  I am still grieving for my loss and cannot think about opening my heart to another animal at this time.  Everyone grieves at a different pace, and asking if I will be getting a new pet sounds like I am trying to replace the best friend I just lost.
  3. He did not look good last time I saw him. This one was hard to hear.  I was his mom and I knew whether he was in pain and how he was feeling.  I watched for any signs of suffering and up until the very end, he was still a content dog who showed lots of joy at home.  Hearing this made me feel sad and guilty – as if I was not paying attention to him.
  4. He had a good long life. It is never long enough, and whether you lose a pet at a young age or old age, it hurts.   Even though I knew in my heart that we had him for bonus years, it did not help hearing this – it just made me realize that I was not ready to let go.
  5. Time will heal. Many people defaulted to this cliché.   This was one of those statements that, even though my mind knew it, in the moment of grief, my heart was not’ ready to hear.  When one is in the midst of such strong grief, it is simply not believable and it just hurts to think about all the time that will pass without him.

I am not writing this to sound ungrateful to anyone who showed support and care.  We appreciated every condolence and mention of sympathy, and I know I have been guilty of many of these statements myself.  I guess until I was on the receiving end, I never really thought about what I said in these same situations.

So, what did help?  Straightforward and simple was often the most reassuring.

  1. I am sorry for your loss. Lucky was lucky to have you and I know how much you loved him and will miss him.
  2. Comment about Lucky. I am so sorry to hear about Lucky.  He was a sweet dog who always made him smile.  Thank you for sharing him.
  3. Share a special memory. I love hearing special memories people have about my sweet old boy.  It means he made a lasting impression.  It makes me smile to remember how happy he made me and other people.

Even though 5 weeks have passed, not a moment goes by that I do not think of him.  Forgive me if I still get a little teary eyed when I talk about him.  Even though I may look ok, I am still not myself and am still grieving.   Nevertheless, remembering Lucky always makes me smile.

Lucky at Stone Mountain Park

In Loving Memory of Lucky

Posted January 12th, 2012 by luckydog

The Best Chief Smile Officer. Ever.
1995-2011

On December 22, 2011, our beloved Lucky crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. For almost 11 years, he was a part of our family and made us smile every day – and we miss him greatly. He brought such immense joy to our lives and he made such an amazing difference too. He got us started in animal rescue and was our inspiration for opening Second Life. It is our goal to continue honoring his memory by helping homeless pets, like he once was, get a second chance at life.

As our Chief Smile Officer, his only job was to bring smiles to everyone who met him in the store – and he did an amazing job!  His presence is greatly missed everywhere, but his legacy will live on.

For a dog that was deemed “unadoptable” by his “rescue” group because he’d been returned by 2 different families. it was our honor to prove them wrong and give him a great life full of walks, cuddles and love. He definitely made a difference in our lives and brought such joy to everyone who knew him. We miss him more than words can say and thank everyone for their thoughts and support as we learn to live without our sweet old boy. We love you buddy! You were the best Chief Smile Officer ever!

Love and Sweet Potatoes.

Posted March 21st, 2011 by luckydog

Cuddle time with Lucky

Loving a senior dog is easy. Taking care of a senior dog…well, that takes a lot more patience, understanding and loads of laundry. To all of you who care or who have cared for a senior pet…this blog posting is dedicated to you.

At 16 years old, Lucky is an old guy….a senior geriatric dog.   Seeing him struggle with the ailments of old age is one of the hardest things to watch.  I feel so helpless knowing I cannot ease his pain.  I can give him medications, but the arthritis will continue to make his legs weaker.  I can shower him with love after his accidents and his confused eyes plead for forgiveness – but I cannot make them stop.  I can take him on short walks, but I know we will never again spend hours exploring our favorite spots at Stone Mountain Park.

Every morning, I give him a big hug and shower him with kisses.  I fill his love tank up for another day and I tell him I am so happy he is still here. I think about all the extra time spent caring for him – and then I smile, because I am so grateful because I am still lucky enough to wrap my arms around his perfectly spotted body.  Then I head into the kitchen to start mashing a sweet potato for breakfast.

Loving and caring for Lucky is such an honor.  While it means many adjustments to the life we once knew with him, I wouldn’t have it any other way. What does life with my sweet old dog mean?

It means waking up every 2 hours to let him outside so we have fewer accidents in the house.  And, when he doesn’t make it out fast enough, it means cleaning up.

It means cooking big batches of rice, vegetables and meat every 2 weeks.  It means pureeing and freezing the food so he has a homemade stew for every meal. And it means I get to see his big brown eyes smiling as I prepare his food, and his prancing around the kitchen as he waits impatiently to be fed.

It means having a house that will never win an interior decorator award. A house completely dotted with mismatched sheets, towels and throw rugs to protect our furniture and keep his old legs from slipping on tile floors.

It means a lot of changes, adjustments, acceptance and patience…but none of this matters.

What matters is that every morning, when I wake up and see my sweet old boy laying next to me, his stomach slowly rising up and down with each breath, I can be thankful for another day of his love.  For his sloppy kisses.  For feeling his soft velvety fur.   For cuddling on the couch.  For seeing his tail wag. For having my shadow for another day.

I wouldn’t trade every extra sloppy kiss, hug or moment of cuddle time for a better-decorated house or less loads of laundry.

I hope you get the honor of caring for a senior soul.   It is a roller coaster ride many days, with moments of happiness, fear and gratefulness randomly taking over.   I know how lucky I am to still share my life with Lucky – these wonderful moments will forever be etched in my memories, while the minor inconveniences will long be forgotten.

When we decided to take the risk and open Second Life, we had Lucky in our thoughts.  He was our inspiration, the reason why we put our life savings into a venture that had no guarantee of success.  Having the chance to bring Lucky to work with me is a lifelong dream.  But giving other homeless pets a second chance at life, like Lucky’s guardian angel did for him, is our bigger mission.  Every homeless animal should get a chance to grow old with a loving family.  To have his or her love tank filled every day.  Oh, and for the lucky ones, to get lots of sweet potatoes.

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Second Life Thrift Store, Inc. is an upscale thrift store located in historic downtown Avondale Estates just minutes from the DeKalb Farmers Market, downtown Decatur and I-285 in the metro Atlanta area.   We are a registered non-profit in the state of Georgia and have applied for 501(c)(3) status.   Our  mission is simple – to offer a quality thrift shopping experience that encourages recycling and reuse while supporting animal rescue organizations in their goal to find homes for homeless pets and reduce pet overpopulation.  Save Money. Save a Pet’s Life.

Second Life Upscale Resale • 1 N. Clarendon Avenue • Avondale Estates, GA 30002

Phone:  678-974-5671 • www.secondlifeatlanta.org • contactus@secondlifeatlanta.org

Hours: Wednesday – Friday 10:30 – 6:30; Saturday 10-6, Sunday 11-5, Closed Monday & Tuesday

For more information, check out our website www.secondlifeatlanta.org or follow us on Facebook (Second Life Atlanta) or Twitter (@secondlifeatl).

We’re officially open!

Posted January 12th, 2011 by luckydog

Second Life is officially open!  Thanks to everyone who came out to support the thrift store on our opening weekend.  We were  amazed at the response and turnout and had so much fun meeting other animal lovers.  We even had a few four-legged friends in our store, sniffing out bargains!

Saturday, January 8 was a special day for us – as it not only was the opening day for Second Life, it was also the 10-year anniversary of  the day when Lucky joined our family. It was a serendipitous day for our opening and we hope it’s a sign of good luck.

Thank you to everyone for your patience as we worked out the kinks with our cash register, our signs (or lack thereof) and items that we missed pricing.  We are a work in progress as we figure out the best way to accept donations, set pricing and create a great shopping experience.

So, thanks again to everyone who came out and to those of you who shared our information via email, Facebook and Twitter.  We couldn’t have done it without you and hope to see you again in our store, looking for that special something you “can’t life without.”

Help us continue to spread the word so we can all help homeless pets get their second chance at life.

***

We are located just a 1/2 mile from the DeKalb Farmers Market in historic downtown Avondale Estates.  Our store is located at 1 N. Clarendon Avenue, just behind the Tudor style buildings, where we share a parking lot to the left with Avondale Antiques.  We are the large freestanding building with lots of windows.

For more information, check out our website www.secondlifeatlanta.org or follow us on Facebook (Second Life Atlanta) or Twitter (@secondlifeatl).

Save Money.  Save a Pet’s Life.

Donate.  Shop.  Volunteer.

Naming Second Life

Posted January 1st, 2011 by luckydog

Happy New Year to all!

I hope that 2011 brings you happiness and may your dreams and wishes come true.

I know it’s going to be a year of brand new experiences for our family, as our life is about to change in a week when we open our new upscale thrift store, Second Life, on Saturday, January 8.

I don’t think the fact that we are opening a non-profit thrift store in a week has hit me yet – but I am so excited (and honestly, a bit terrified).

The terrifying part is tempered by the amount of support we have already received from people we are just meeting and the fact that several potential customers have already stopped by and asked if we are open yet.

Several people have asked me how we came up with the name, Second Life.  Selecting the name turned ot to be one of the toughest decisions.  It took us several weeks of making lists and tossing around ideas, even surveying friends and family.

A few options with potential made our cut, but as we talked, the real reason for our new journey became clear – to give homeless pets a second chance at life.

The name Second Life popped up and just seemed to work on so many levels.

  • Giving homeless pets a second chance at life by supporting animal rescue organizations.  Our donations will help support their operations and special programs to give even more pets a chance at life.
  • Donating to our store is a form of recycling – gently used clothing, household items and furniture are kept out of the landfill and are given a second life.
  • Starting a new chapter in my career – it is a second life for me.  I have spent 10 years in the corporate world and finally found the courage to follow my passion for the second half of my career.

Our store is located at 1 N. Clarendon Avenue, Avondale Estates, GA, less than 1/2 mile from the DeKalb Farmer’s Market in Decatur. We share a parking lot to the left with Avondale Antiques and are working with the city to get approvals to put up our signs.

For more information, check out our website www.secondlifeatlanta.org or follow us on Facebook (Second Life Atlanta) or Twitter (@secondlifeatl).

Save Money.  Save a Pet’s Life.

Donate.  Shop.  Volunteer.

Happy Holidays to animal lovers everywhere!

Posted December 25th, 2010 by luckydog

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful supporters!  It’s Lucky here, the Chief Smile Officer (C.S.O.) of Second Life, a new upscale thrift store opening in the Atlanta area that will benefit homeless pets.  It is a passion near and dear to my heart, as I used to be one of the millions of homeless animals that are in shelters, waiting for a second chance at life.  I’d love to tell you my story, but I guess that’s a topic for another day.

Today I am writing to wish you a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family.  It is so important to cherish the time with your loved ones, as every day is truly special.  I should know, as I am so thankful to be here sharing another holiday season with my loved ones.

You see,  a year ago in early November, I had a seizure.  The following week was really tough on me, and even tougher for my mom and dad.  I was completely lifeless in the days following the seizure.  I didn’t eat for 3 days (which was a big concern to anyone who knows me, as I absolutely LOVE food) and I didn’t have the energy to do anything but sleep.  I was also doing strange things, like standing outside in the freezing rain at 3 AM.

Since I wasn’t getting any better, my mom took me to my vet.  She ended up leaving without me and I spent 2 nights in doggy ICU at my vet’s office where they nursed me back to health.  Finally, I started eating some tuna and I know my mom was so relieved to get this news.  It was hard seeing my mom and dad so upset as they didn’t know if I’d pull through or not.

I guess there was a reason I wasn’t ready to leave them.  I had to stick around to see them open up Second Life.  They are opening the store in 2 weeks, on January 8, 2011, and we are all so excited.

The upscale thrift store will sell brand name women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, home décor, household items, furniture, small appliances – and just about any item that is in good condition (with a few exceptions, as listed on our website).  We will need a lot of donations for the opening and especially throughout the year, so keep us in mind when you do your spring-cleaning.

The store will raise money for various animal rescue charities in the Atlanta area, including Lifeline Animal Project, Friends of DeKalb Animals, Royal Potcake Rescue and Ahimsa House.  I hope that the thrift store is a big success so even more homeless pets can be helped with more groups.  The more we sell, the more cash donations we can make to animal rescue groups.

Our store is located at 1 N. Clarendon Avenue, Avondale Estates, GA, less than 1/2 mile from the DeKalb Farmer’s Market in Decatur.  For more information, check out our website www.secondlifeatlanta.org or follow us on Facebook (Second Life Atlanta) or Twitter (@secondlifeatl).

Donate.  Shop.  Volunteer.

Save Money.  Save a Pet’s Life.

Atlanta’s newest store helps homeless pets

Posted November 29th, 2010 by luckydog

Hi evyrone.  Wlcm to my nw blg.  We r n for an advntre nd hpe u can join us.

I guess having me (Lucky) actually do the typing isn’t the best idea, as my paws are too big for the keyboard…so I’ll have to turn these duties over to someone with opposable thumbs.  In this case my mom.  But they wanted you to know that I am their inspiration for this journey they are on and this blog.  I feel so loved.

Welcome to my blog!  I am new to this whole blogging thing so the site doesn’t quite match my vision, but I didn’t want to wait any longer, as it might take a while to figure out how to make it pretty, and I have so much to say.

I am so excited to have you join us on this new adventure as we open up Second Life, an upscale thrift store in the Atlanta area that will benefit homeless pets.   The proceeds from sales in our store will be turned into cash donations for animal rescue groups so more adorable, deserving homeless pets can find their forever homes just like me.  In order to give you a little background on the store, I will let my mom tell it to you in her own words.

It is because of Lucky, our 15-year old Dalmatian, that we find ourselves taking a risk and following our passion and we couldn’t be more excited!  He was our second foster dog almost 10 years ago and we immediately fell in love with him.  From the moment he jumped in our car and sat looking straight ahead like a person, we were in love.  We want to spread the word that rescued pets are the best!

Throughout the years, we have been volunteers off-and-on for various animal rescue groups, but it never felt like enough.  A chance visit to a newly opened boutique thrift store (that benefited animal charities) in my hometown last summer got the wheels spinning. After spending many years in the corporate world, I decided it was time to follow my passion – helping homeless pets find forever homes.  And since I already loved bargain shopping, it seemed like a perfect fit on what the next adventure in my life could be.

So here we are today – so excited (and a bit overwhelmed and terrified).  But the response from our family, friends and those in the animal rescue community has been amazing and we couldn’t do it without everyone.   We are so grateful and thankful for the support (and hope they’ll heed our call for volunteers to help us get ready for the grand opening).

Our vision is to be more than just a resale store – we plan to be very community oriented and have space to hold fun pet-related events in our store.  Down the road we’d love to offer pet adoptions, pet CPR certification classes, “Doga” classes, and other fun events that people can share with their pets.  We’d love to be open before the holidays but there is so much to do…so it might be early January 2011 before the doors officially open.

For us to be successful in helping animal charities, we need your gently used stuff for our store!  We’ll be selling clothing, home decorations, furniture, shoes, jewelry…just about anything if it’s in good shape.

Doesn’t my mom make it sound so wonderful?  Well, that’s it for now.  I’ll be posting updates and pictures as we convert the empty walls into a fabulous boutique-style upscale resale store.   I hope you’ll join us on our journey!

For more kibbles of information about our store and how to donate, visit www.secondlifeatlanta.org or email us at contactus@secondlifeatlanta.org.