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Second Chance Rescue needs help

August 29, 1999

Second chanceBy BRYN MICKLE / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




INWOOD, W.Va. - Mara Spade has spent almost seven years helping dogs find new homes through her home-based pet adoption agency.

Those years of charity could be coming to an end if Spade doesn't get some help of her own.

"It's gotten so big I can't afford it anymore," Spade said.

Increasing costs and a backlog of veterinary bills will force Spade to stop accepting new dogs into her Second Chance Rescue Inc. program unless she gets enough donations to keep the program afloat, Spade said.

Spade, who currently has more than 30 dogs at her home waiting to find new owners, has already exhausted her $10,000 budget with four months left before the end of the year.

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Relying on $3,000 in charitable donations and $7,000 from her own checking account, the 54-year-old therapist takes dogs from the Jefferson County animal pound and tries to find them new homes at no cost for their new owners.

All of the animals she adopts are first spayed or neutered, then given the necessary shots, Spade said.

A Shepherdstown company gives Spade the 80 pounds of dog food she needs to keep the dogs fed each day, but the cost of caring for the dogs still adds up, she said.

Her primary adoption criterion is that the prospective owner genuinely wants to care for the dog, Spade said.

"I don't pick people out, they come to me," she said.

The result has been a lot of happy pets, a lot of happy owners and about $1,500 in unpaid veterinarian bills, Spade said.

Spade's foray into the adoption profession began with a starving Doberman she found on W.Va. 45 more than six years ago.

Amazed he was still alive despite having lost so much weight, Spade nursed him back to health and eventually found him a new home in Frederick, Md.

One dog led to another, and now she finds herself sometimes with as many as 70 dogs at her 4-acre property off Sulphur Spring Road in Inwood.

"You always get started with one," Spade said.

Spade's front yard has been reduced to dirt and pebbles and guests in her home must fight for couch space with lounging beagles, huskies and Rottweilers.

The average stay for a dog at Spade's is about a month, although some dogs stay longer.

While no laws preventing her from keeping so many dogs at her home, Spade's work has raised the hackles of nearby homeowners who have complained about the barking.

The positives, however, far outweigh the negatives that can crop up, Spade said.

"It's a lot of work feeding and caring for them, but all of that is superseded by the fact you are saving a life," Spade said.

A Sept. 18 fund-raiser for Spade's cause will be held at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of Pikeside Bowl in Martinsburg.

The planned yard sale and bake sale has already drawn strong support, she said, adding she's hoping the event will provide enough money for her to continue at least temporarily.

Donations for Second Chance Rescue, Inc. can be sent to Route 2, Box 314-N, Inwood, WV 25428. More information can be obtained by calling 304-229-7285.

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