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Second chances

Posted: August 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Kennel owner Jill Parnham shares a moment with Labrador Layla at 2nd Home Dog Boarding in Acton. The kennel’s profits all go to animal welfare and rescue organizations. It also houses some rescued dogs, such as Layla.

Though Dusty’s parents are the ones on vacation, he’s not exactly slumming it at 2nd Home Dog Boarding in Acton.

The large yellow lab is laying on a comfy, raised bed as a fan gently sweeps by his kennel, which has a large outdoor yard for him to play in, should the mood arise. Kennel owner Jill Parnham takes Dusty out for an off-leash walk during her nightly rounds, patting him on the head. True to the kennel’s name, Dusty looks right at home.

Better yet, Dusty’s stay at the kennel helps less-fortunate dogs all over the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond. That’s because 2nd Home Dog Boarding donates all its profits to animal welfare and rescue organizations.

“It’s good to give these groups money. Everyone is very grateful,” Parnham said. “I know how hard it is for rescues to raise money — all the bake sales and garage sales and fundraisers it takes.”

She should know. Parnham has been an active dog-rescuer for the past several decades. It started in Pittsburgh, where she and her husband relocated from their native England in 1993.

“I worked at a groomer’s that was next door to a vet’s office. The vet was into rescue, and I jumped in to help,” she said.
By 1997, Parnham and her husband, Kevin, a physicist, had started their own nonprofit, rescuing dogs off city shelters’ death rows and finding them homes.

The Parnhams moved to Acton in 2002, purchasing the property that eventually became 2nd Chance Rescue and Dog Boarding.

“Within two months, we had a dog,” she said. “We started off with a couple of outside runs, and eventually built it up.”
By 2006, the kennels had expanded to 20, including several large outdoor runs with doghouses and eight indoor/outdoor heated and air-conditioned units, and the Parnhams started accepting canine boarders.

Boarding dogs are treated to twice-daily playtime and runs in the ample yards on property. One yard is even fully enclosed with a chain-link roof, for known escape artists, while all are fenced to keep snakes away.

Overnight stays in the indoor/outdoor kennels run $30 a night, $45 for two canine guests in the same kennel, or $55 for three. All 2nd Chance alumni owners receive 50 percent off their bills.

“It was the only way to finance our rescue efforts,” she said. “Weekdays are slow, but holidays and weekends, we’re always busy.”

2nd Chance Rescue took in the seniors and big black dogs that often got overlooked at shelters until early 2010, when, after taking care of a pregnant dog and her 11 pups, Parnham decided she had to seriously limit that end of her operation.

“I’m in my 60s now. It’s exhausting,” she said.

Since channeling her energy into fundraising, Parnham and 2nd Home Dog Boarding have been able to donate to organizations, such as Lab Med, Paws for a Cause, Senior Springer Rescue, Leo’s Pet Assistance Fund, Grand Paws Senior Sanctuary and Pets of the Homeless, while $1,000 was contributed toward surgeries required by 2nd Chance alumni.

“Sweetwater Veterinary in Agua Dulce also helps us out a lot by giving us a discount on our vet bills every month,” Parnham said. “They’re very generous.”

In May of this year, 2nd Home Dog Boarding was able to provide a free spay/neuter event in Acton by utilizing AngelDogs Foundation mobile clinic and paying for each surgery; 42 dogs were fixed in one day. Another free event is scheduled for Nov. 5.

“I think spay/neuter is essential. I don’t know how else we’re going to solve the pet overpopulation crisis, unless we fix and contain our pets,” she said. “I’ve never seen so many dogs roaming around as I have in this desert.”

Not quite able to completely get away from rescue, Parnham continues to provide sanctuary to several older dogs, including Layla, a 7-year old Labrador with cancer and Odin, an 8-year old German Shepherd abandoned in a backyard with broken teeth and an ulcerated cornea. Both will live the rest of their days at 2nd Home.

Jacob, a 10-year old black lab due to be euthanized at a Mojave shelter, is the most recent arrival at 2nd Home. The spunky, barely graying senior was brought to Parnham’s attention by Gina Beaujin, who volunteers at the Acton facility once a week.

After getting his teeth fixed and whatever other medical attention he might need, Jacob will be put up for adoption.

“I’m really keen on labs and springer spaniels, on geriatric and senior dogs,” Parnham said. “Jacob has a lot of life and love left in him. He’d make the right person a great dog.”

For more information on 2nd Home Dog Boarding or on adopting Jacob, visit or call (661) 547-4868.


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