EAST BROOKFIELD — As 2020 drew to a close, Second Chance Animal Services staff were hard at work helping pets in need, unaware of the milestone they had just achieved. The nonprofit has helped over 250,000 pets since it began as a small shelter on the founder’s porch.
CEO Sheryl Blancato founded Second Chance in 1999 to help find homes for homeless pets she encountered as an animal-control officer. In the years that followed, Second Chance built a shelter program to help homeless pets, then turned its attention to the true problem: how to prevent pet homelessness by keeping pets with the families that love them. The organization created a nonprofit veterinary hospital system for Central and Western Mass. to provide access to veterinary care in the communities that needed it most.
As an early pioneer in access to veterinary care, Second Chance found a way to help more pets. This innovative spirit served the nonprofit well, preparing it to face the challenges of 2020.
“We are so grateful to reach the milestone in a year like no other,” Blancato said. “We helped over 40,000 pets in 2020, matching the prior year’s achievement. I am so proud of our staff for reaching this accomplishment despite all the challenges the year brought. When COVID hit, fear turned to determination, which turned to innovation. We couldn’t stop helping pets.”
Second Chance paused some programs briefly last spring, while maintaining critical services for pets. Staff created new ways to safely resume these programs, discovering improved ways to help pets that are now permanent.
Blancato is grateful to all who offered support in the early days of the outbreak. “We cherished every note of encouragement as our emergency caseload exploded at all our hospital locations. They provided a much-needed boost at the end of a long day helping pets.”