A Note from Smokey

Dear Santa’s Friends,

This past year has been ruff. In September 2021, I was sent to live at Hope’s 2nd Chance after my mom’s partner attacked my mom. She called the police and he then also attacked them. My mom had to move because she could not afford the house anymore so she moved in with a group of people (way too many people in a small space) who then neglected and also abused me. Finally, she found H2C and sent me here until she found more stable housing.

I returned to my family last year right before Christmas! But, I was sent back to H2C in April. My mom was kicked out of where she was living and where she was headed next would not allow me to join her. After about a month of her looking for new housing she realized that she would not be able to find an affordable place for her to stay that allowed an “aggressive” breed like pit bulls.

So, I have been staying at H2C ever since looking for my new family. During this time I have witnessed the huge impact H2C has had on many new foster friends. I have seen many dogs and cats come and go while their moms looked for a safe place. Within 6 months, there have been 16 pets spending time here. A couple cute girls were only here for 17 days, but one of my old lady friends was here for 200 days. I hear that she is very happy back with her mom now.

Some of my foster friends had even worse stories than me! Many have told me of their moms and siblings and how strong and amazing they are. I know it takes a lot of strength and bravery and is very difficult to leave.

I have been quite lonely lately as I am the only one in the kennels. I have heard my favoritest human, Haley, talk about not having enough money to help more moms and pets right now because vet and food bills are so high. She is stressed because she still gets many calls from people needing help but she has to turn them away. Because H2C is so special and there is nothing like it anywhere else in Michigan, she has no place to refer people to and this makes us both very upset.

Although I may act tuff I am too sensitive to stay in a shelter and people that do not know dogs well are somewhat scared of me. I am also not good at first impressions. Don’t get me wrong, the people at H2C are great but I want to cuddle, be an 80 pound lap dog, and have all of the attention I can get. Please, all I want for Christmas is a loving home where there is no abuse. That’s all any of us want…

Also, if you have some extra magic left in you this year I would like to help H2C care for more pets so others can be safe from abuse like me. You can either visit the website at: or mail a check to Hope’s 2nd Chance Animal Sanctuary, PO Box 37 Saranac, MI 48881. Funding is very much needed to open back up.

Thank you for reading my letter. I’ll make sure to leave out carrots for the reindeer!

Love Smokey

Smokey staring at the camera after enjoying time outside.

PS from Haley: If you or someone you know is interested in giving Smokey a home please email me with any questions ([email protected]). We do not adopt out through H2C so we have partnered with the Humane Society of West Michigan for the adoption process. Although we are still housing Smokey because of his sensitive nature and love for me and H2C volunteers. He would really love a home for the holidays.

Valentine’s Day

On a day focused on love, I figured I would share this post I have been brewing on for a while:

The last year of caring for domestic violence survivors pets has taught me new love.

❤️A love for the pets I care for every day, for days to months of their too-short of lives. I provide basic needs, fun, and attention to pets that are only mine for a short while. I worry for them as if they were my very own because in that time, they are. I cannot control their past or future, but I can love them and care for them as much as possible in the time they are with me.

❤️A love and fear for them every time I see a symptom of the abuse they have had. The love I try to show them just by not raising my voice, or moving too quickly, or having a man take care of certain ones, because I know that those little things can bring back bad memories for these poor animals.

❤️A love that the pets provide me because at that moment I am the only mom they know. The excitement when they see me, tails wagging, jumping on me, licking me every chance they have shows me that no matter what hate they have been through, they have not lost their capacity to love humans.

❤️A love that makes it all worth while for me. A love for the volunteers when I see their mix of sadness and happiness as I tell them a pet they have been playing with is going home.

❤️A love for the survivors which is the most complicated love I can feel. From the first tear-filled phone call to the last goodbye, I am with them in sometimes the worst part of their lives. They decide to trust me, a total stranger, with their fur baby. And for that I am so thankful because it means the animal is out of harm, even if just for a little while. I feel a love for these survivors and children knowing what they are going through, hearing their story, and wishing they knew a healthy love I know they deserve. Always holding a mix of trying to understand what they are going through, but knowing I never will, and hoping that I say and do the right things to make their situation just a little bit better.

As each animal leaves, they take a little bit of my heart with them but leave a little bit with me. I think about each of them often, even as I have new ones coming in.

***This photo is of me bringing a dog back to his owner after a few months of caring for him. Even though he was not easy and loved to poop in his kennel, I really loved how sweet he was. I also unfortunately had a pretty good idea that the survivor would eventually be going back to her abuser, a pretty common thing. So as I was happy to bring him to his mom, I felt a loss and sadness as well. I cry each time I drop an animal off and I hope that never changes.***

The First Month

Wow! It has already been a month since I started full-time as the Executive Director of Hope’s 2nd Chance Animal Sanctuary. What a wonderful month it has been; I absolutely love working on this mission and growing the organization!

Here is some of what I have done with my first month:

  • Applied for multiple grants totaling $91,230 to support my salary, veterinary care and pet supplies and food.
  • Created a store for continuous funding through selling shirts, bags, and mugs. View here.
  • Set up AmazonSmile for donation and our Amazon Charity List so donors can purchase items to support our foster program effort that are then sent directly to us.
  • With the help of a wonderful friend, created this new website that allows more capabilities to support H2C.
  • Created policies for H2C, including personnel, intake, and care policies.
  • Picked up over $300 worth of cans for donation.
  • Continuously met and communicated with other organizations, businesses, supporters, and potential supporters.

This month has showed us more than ever before how much our organization is needed. Check out this WZZM13 story and this story from a local survivor: