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Pets Large & Small

Second Chance Funds - Providing needed medical care to homeless animals

Jennifer Vanderau
Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter

(6/2016) We’ve been collecting money for our Second Chance Fund since I’ve been at the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter – almost 15 years (can you believe it?). It’s a special fund set aside for animals who come into the shelter in need of medical attention or surgery that’s outside of the norm.

We dip into the fund on a relatively regular basis and we’re so glad we have it when we need it.

Our recent fundraiser is May helped build that fund and have raised almost $4,000 to be added to it.

Being an open admissions animal shelter, we see four-legged souls come into us in bad shape. Almost two years ago, a lab mix puppy was left in the outside run overnight with no information. When we discovered him the next morning, we knew something was wrong with his leg.

Turned out the elbow was broken and he was unable to use it. We debated with the vets – amputation or surgery. Thanks to the Second Chance Fund, we opted for the surgery and he is now a healthy, energetic boy who loves his forever home and his mom and dad.

Just a few months ago, a cat came into the shelter with broken paw. Due to the extent of the injury, his left leg had to be removed. It certainly doesn’t stop him, though, from being a sweet, quiet boy who loves to just hang out with people.

Lucky spent his time recovering in a foster home and he is now looking for his forever home. Once people see that gorgeous face and the fact that his injury doesn’t stop him, we know someone will fall hard.

Thanks to the Second Chance Fund, Lucky got the surgery he needed.

Then there’s poor little Andy. He’s a 7-year-old Shih Tzu who came into us in such bad shape you almost couldn’t tell he was even a dog. Hair matted all over the place – you couldn’t see his eyes because of it. And he was dangerously thin. We were worried he wouldn’t last the night.

We named him Raggedy Andy and that was being kind. He looked far worse than that.

Once we got him shaved up, we realized because of the mess of hair over his eyes, one of them was infected to the point where the vet said it couldn’t be saved. He had it removed thanks to the Second Chance Fund.

Now he’s an opinionated little stinker who barks to go outside, barks to be picked up, barks for his food, and sometimes I think he barks just for the sake of barking. We think he might be a little hard of hearing, but that doesn’t stop him from trotting around in the yard or making his voice heard.

He went to Petsmart this weekend for their National Adoption Weekend and everyone just loved him. He likes to be held on his back like a baby and trust me, our volunteers didn’t have to have their arms twisted to do that.

Andy’s up for adoption and while he may not be the most attractive Shih Tzu out there, he has a lot of heart and a whole lot of spunk and resilience and we’re hoping someone will see all that and want to take a chance on him.

Years ago, we had a pup come in with a fracture in his left hip that was darn near a compound fracture, but the bone wasn’t actually out of the skin. The x-rays would make you wince, trust me. The bone was snapped in half and was misaligned.

I still get shivers when I remember it.

We named him Cicero and he went into foster care and thanks to the Second Chance Fund, we were able to get him the surgery he needed. He’s since been adopted into a wonderful family who shares photos with the foster mama all the time.

Then there was Eve. In February 2013, an emaciated pitbull was dropped off at one of the local vets. She was so thin and cold, her temperature wouldn’t register on the scale – it was too low. To see photos of the early days is stomach turning. The pup was literally bones covered in skin.

The story, thanks to Facebook, had people from all over the country – and the world – asking about Eve’s condition and we would update them weekly.

Through efforts of a foster parent and the vet, we got Eve turned around and she has since been adopted into a wonderful family, where she will never want for love or food again.

The Second Chance Fund saved Eve.

At CVAS we are definitely about second chances – sometimes third and fourth ones, too. Having money in our Second Chance Fund for animals who come to us in need of serious medicine or surgery is such a blessing.

We want to save as many four-legged souls who come through our doors as we can and the Second Chance Fund really helps us do that.

If you would like to donate, please log onto or call the shelter at (717) 263-5791 and help us make sure there will be money in the Second Chance Fund for the next sweet baby who needs it.

One of our foster parents said it best. The pup he rescued got "a second chance because of the Second Chance."

Help us give more second chances today.


Jennifer Vanderau is the Director of Communications for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter in Chambersburg, Pa., and can be reached at The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at (717) 263-5791 or visit the website

Read other articles by Jennifer Vanderau