Let me take you back to a life literally from riches to rags. Sandra had a successful interior design firm located in Broward County sharing space in a 100,000 sq ft showroom. Then in 2003 she married a local veterinarian, Dr. Mickey Axelband. After spending time in his animal hospital to do the interior renovations she started helping out in the kennel and front reception desk. After all, she grew up in Pennsylvania with dogs ,cats and show horses from grade school through high school, so small animals were second nature in her life. The more she hung out at the hospital the more she noticed a strange occurrence, humans abandoning their animal companions at the hospital. Some were left in cardboard boxes by the front & back doors and some tied up all night so they could be found in the morning when the staff arrived.
She will never forget one Sunday night (As she worked every Saturday & Sunday). She arrived to the hospital only to find a dog wrapped in duct tape and tied to the front door with a note,”Duct tape works for everything.”Homeless animals seemed to appear everywhere from the front door at the hospital, on the side of the road in need of medical attention. It was a steady stream each week from Delray Animal Care & Control (which is no longer in operation), even people willing their animal to her after they died. It became very overwhelming not to mention costly. But, every time she raised money, she gave it away to other rescue organization groups.
Sandra held an event for “The Humane Society of the United States” where they raised approximately $2500.00. Another time they held a car wash for Eve from Paws for Help. And another huge event held at the animal hospital was for the Peggy Adams saving helpless, homeless animals.
She would often stay all night by herself in the animal hospital such as when a dog or cat would have a major surgery, for hurricane boarding or on major holidays when they were filled to capacity. (She didn’t want them to be alone and scared). It would be just Sandra totally responsible for all their lives.
It was scary, terrifying, tiresome but yet exciting. It almost all came to an end in 2008 when her husband announced that he is selling the animal hospital.(partly because the cost and pressure from her & her rescues & partly he wanted to take a different path in life). Then a year after the sale he picked up and left her. But as the saying goes if there is a will there is a way.
She moved her rescue operation to her house as her could not afford a separate facility. She decided that if she is going to do this she was going to do it all the way!! So, she filled out all the necessary paperwork for the State of Florida to become a Non profit. She filled the paperwork for the Florida Dept of Agriculture and lastly the Federal paperwork for the 501 (c) 3. Accompanying all this paperwork with the costly filing fees that she didn’t have, but somehow raised. Finally after the back and forth paperwork from the government ,8 months later she received the official status that Dezzy’s Second Chance Animal Rescue, Inc became a 501 (c) 3. With the new status they could hold their own adoption events which they do on weekends inside the Boca Town Center, Delray Green Market & Petco. They also hold an annual giant estate/garage/bake sale in July.
Annually, each December, they hold an amazing event at the historic Sundy House in Delray Beach” Bake for the Rescues”. She works harder than she ever has in her life. Nothing in her past prepared her for what lied ahead. A typical day starts @ 5:00 am and ends when she passes out on the floor each night. Her routine includes walking the rescues, feeding, giving medications, doing laundry, loading and unloading the dishwasher, sweeping & mopping floors, cleaning up the yard, bathing, reviewing adoption applications, answering emails & phone calls, going out on home checks for potential adopters, doing doggie play times & working with any rescues with a behavioral issue. Also, she takes care of her own 2 cats.
With at least 30 rescues in a group, like children, they can get into a scuffle, which happens VERY rarely but can and has happened. That is why she is missing a few fingers. (Which is another story in itself. One finger reattached, one finger a partial amputation and another permanently in a bent position after surgery. While in the hospital during the finger amputation surgery she contracted MRSA, a contagious staph bacteria that is potentially dangerous. (Whoever said hospitals are sterile.)
She no longer drives a Bentley & a Maserati. They are both long gone. She now drives a banged up Ford van 130,000 miles on it. She doesn’t worry which Jimmy Choo shoes she will be wearing to which society event. She worries where & when the next adoption event will be. Nor, does she worry which emerald or diamond piece of jewelry she will be wearing because it has all been sold off to pay for the rescue’s food & medical needs. If she could only stress to the general public if they would spay & neuter their animal, we as a society would not be in this position. Nor, would she be daily slaving to care for all these rescues. But, it is what it is, and for here and now, she is a dog rescuer. That is what she does and whatever the consequences to her health, happiness & personal life it is the price she has chosen to pay to help these wonderful creatures. She needs them as much as they need her!.