Meet Our Founders

Second Life was started by a husband & wife who wanted to combine their passion for helping homeless animals and their love of finding bargains into a retail concept.  Their goal was to create a community-focused resale store that would raise money to help animal rescue groups continue to save more lives, while also educating about adopting rescues and shelters animals.

Tanya Mahrous Tobias was motivated to open Second Life after a chance visit a similar store in her hometown of Lincoln, NE.  Knowing she wanted her next career to be one that helped homeless pets, and being an avid bargain shopper, she was quickly inspired.  She has been active in animal rescue in Atlanta for many years and has a soft spot for older pets and those with “special needs” who need extra love.

tanya-toby-and-lucky-stone-mountain-2009Toby Tobias is Tanya’s husband and her biggest supporter.  He has always been an animal lover, but it wasn’t until Tanya persuaded him to foster a Dalmatian named Lucky that his world changed.

While fostering Lucky, he learned of the huge need for foster homes and the rewards of giving animals a safe haven before they are adopted into their forever homes.  Active in animal rescue with Tanya, he has a soft spot for large dogs, especially black male dogs, who are the least likely to be adopted.

They were inspired to open Second Life by their adopted Dalmatian, Lucky.  As one of their first foster dogs, they instantly fell in love – and the once “unadoptable” dog inspired a new career and passion to help others adopt deserving pets.  His legacy continues to inspire them to help homeless pets.

We are thankful we were able to share Lucky with our early supporters for the first 11 months after we opened, and we love it when our long-term customers remember our spotted boy.  We often joke that he kept us in business in the early days when the store was less full and animal lovers were still learning about us.  No one could resist him as he peeked out the window.

Read all about our inspiration, Lucky, on Chief Smile Officers page.

riley-toby-and-tanya-2014Our second Chief Smile Officer was Riley. He left us in late October 2021 due to cancer, but he did a great job spreading the message that rescue dogs make amazing pets.

He roamed the store looking for ear scratches and love (and of course treats!). And he let me dress him up in any silly costume.  He is missed greatly. 

Meet Riley in our store and on our Chief Smile Officers page!

We also shared our home with Gordy, a big oaf of a teddy bear with a (forever) broken front paw.

Oscar came to us as a foster dog, a few weeks after he passed. Oscar was on “last call” as he’d been at Gwinnett County Animal Shelter for 6 months with no interest. We adopted him in 2022, and while he is not a good candiate for Chief Smile OFficer at the store…he makes us smile at home.

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog! – Sydney Jeanne Seward