Offering dogs second chances

Espelage operates A 2nd Chance Pet Adoptions

By McKenzie Caldwell - [email protected]

A 2nd Chance Pet Adoptions has been rescuing Highland County dogs since around 2010, but founder Mary Jane Espelage said that many Hillsboro residents still haven’t heard of her rescue.

Espelage started volunteering at the Highland County Dog Pound around 2006. She said she frequently fostered dogs for the pound until a dispute with the then-dog warden, after which she opened A 2nd Chance.

Espelage grew up in Cheviot, a suburb of Cincinnati. Her parents never let her have pets while she lived with them, but as soon as she got a place of her own, she got a dog, and she’s had at least one ever since.

”Animals are much easier to get along with than people. Dogs are very faithful,” Espelage said. “There are so many dogs that people are throwing away. It’s better to have a place for them to go rather than have someone find a lonely street and throw them out in the woods like some people do.”

Now nearly 81 years old, Espelage, who’s been teaching for nearly 60 years, works as a math instructor at Southern State Community College while running the rescue.

”I would like to not have to teach and just run the rescue,” Espelage said, “but I have to make sure there’s money for the dogs.”

Espelage and the dogs of A 2nd Chance Pet Adoptions always welcome volunteers and donations. Though she told The Times-Gazette that, due to how far the rescue is from the Hillsboro city limits, volunteering regularly isn’t always possible, she can certainly use the help.

”I am definitely getting old,” Espelage said. “It would be nice if some young people could help us, but we’re so far away from town that most people don’t want to come up here.”

Espelage said the Highland County Humane Society is donating dog food to her rescue, but A 2nd Chance can always use dog food and treats. During this time of year, blankets and new dog beds are especially appreciated.

Espelage currently has 20 dogs available for adoption, including three Australian Shepherd and Labrador Retriever-mix puppies.

“I would like to find a nice home for all the dogs,” Espelage said. “Some of them have been here for such a long time. All the dogs are very nice dogs. There are a couple who can be a little bossy with some of the other dogs, but with people, they all seem to be very nice dogs.”

For more information about the adoptable dogs at A 2nd Chance Pet Adoptions, find them on and To stay up-to-date with the rescue, follow the “A 2nd Chance Pet Adoptions” Facebook page.

A 2nd Chance Pet Adoptions is located at 1765 Zion Lane, south of Belfast. Those who wish to make monetary donations should mail a check or donate through PayPal. Espelage’s email is [email protected] She can also be reached at 937-764-0406.

Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.

Espelage operates A 2nd Chance Pet Adoptions

By McKenzie Caldwell

[email protected]