Animal sanctuary owner shares adoption candidates, donation options

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, November 6, 2019


BLOUNT COUNTY, Ala. – Measuring Sandra Shaffer’s compassion for animals would be as hard as keeping track of how many animals she has helped in her 40 years in the rescue community.

She was an animal advocate long before she opened 2nd Chance Animal Sanctuary in 2006, but operating one of only a few no-kill sanctuaries in Alabama has elevated her work to another level—and has taught her lessons she sometimes relearns daily.

“You don’t retire from this type of work,” Shaffer said in a 2016 interview. “This mission is my life.”

Her compassion for the dogs, cats, horses, ducks, donkeys and other critters living on her property is what gets her out of bed every morning. It’s what gives her hope as she makes early-morning rounds to feed and water her four-legged charges day in and day out, in cold rain or sweltering heat. And it’s what compels her to say yes to dogs like Willow, a Boxer mix left stranded on a rural road with her five puppies this year, even when common sense tells her to say no.

If only compassion could fund those extra pounds of dog food she needs, or the damaged fencing she has to replace, or the vet bills she accrues with every trip for vaccinations, medications or treatments.

As Shaffer, 65, recovered from two knee surgeries this past year, she realized how necessary downsizing her operation had become so she could focus on her health.

Along with decreasing her intake at the sanctuary, Shaffer has focused heavily on finding forever homes for her adoption candidates.

All in the family

Willow and her puppies – Coal, Koda, Luca, Raven and Piper – came to 2nd Chance during the July 4th holiday weekend.

Luca, one of Willow’s puppies, is available for adoption at 2nd Chance Animal Sanctuary. (Contributed)

“This momma dog is awesome,” Shaffer said of Willow. “She knows ‘sit,’ ‘down,’ ‘shake,’ she gives me high fives and she is house-trained.”

Coal, one of Willow’s puppies, is available for adoption at 2nd Chance Animal Sanctuary. (Contributed)

Willow is a year-and-a-half old and weighs about 50-60 pounds.

She and her seven-month-old puppies have been spayed and neutered and vaccinated.

Raven, one of Willow’s puppies, is available for adoption at 2nd Chance Animal Sanctuary. (Contributed)

“They all are sweet dogs,” Shaffer says. “I’ve got them ready to go.”

Koda was adopted in October, but the others are still available and can be viewed, along with Shaffer’s other adoption candidates, at

Piper, one of Willow’s puppies, is available for adoption at 2nd Chance Animal Sanctuary. (Contributed)

Since opening 2nd Chance 13 years ago, Shaffer has completed adoptions for about 4,800 dogs and cats, with the oldest adoption being a pair of 11-year-old sisters, Razzle and Dazzle.

To adopt an animal from Shaffer, individuals must submit an application with references from a veterinarian. A home visit is also required.

All animals at 2nd Chance are fully vetted, vaccinated, on heartworm preventive medication, and are spayed or neutered. Most are also microchipped.

Other ways to help

Those who cannot adopt a dog from Shaffer can still further her mission by making a monetary donation to 2nd Chance, either directly or through programs like AmazonSmile and eBay for Charity.

With AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5 percent of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice, according to Those who want to contribute through AmazonSmile can go to, search for and select 2nd Chance Animal Sanctuary (Hayden, AL) as the charity before shopping.

With eBay for Charity, a seller can pick the charity and donation percentage when listing an item, and after the selling and shipping transaction process is complete, PayPal Giving Fund will automatically collect the donation from the seller’s PayPal account, according to PayPal Giving Fund will combine and deliver 100 percent of all donations collected for the selected charity once a month.

Donations, along with corporate sponsorships, help to ensure Shaffer can continue her work and establish the sanctuary as a perpetual haven for animals in need of a home, whether temporary or permanent.

All donations to the sanctuary, a non-profit, are tax-deductible.

Checks can be made to 2nd Chance Animal Sanctuary, P.O. Box 193, Hayden, AL 35079.

Donations also can be made via PayPal at

For more information about the sanctuary or the adoption process, contact Sandra Shaffer at