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Second Chances rescues horses and people
AndreaDoolittle 5
Second Chances Equine Rescue founder Andrea Doolittle talks about her organization during the Feb. 2 meeting of the Rotary Club of Hinesville at LaQuinta Inn and Suites in Flemington. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

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For more information on Second Chances Equine Rescue, call 912-385-8512 or email

After serving in the Air Force and spending 20 years outside the country, Andrea Doolittle returned home to Gum Branch and reignited a passion she carried within throughout the years.

Speaking at the Rotary Club of Hinesville on Feb. 2, Doolittle talked about her love of horses, her rescue organization and using the animals to help veterans and others heal.

Doolittle was introduced by Andrew Standard who said, much like himself, “She was born on Fort Stewart back in the little old wooden hospital with the squeaky floors.”

Standard said Doolittle grew up a military brat, joined the Air Force and once back home, she founded Second Chances Equine Rescue.

“Horses have always been a passion, and helping them is huge to me,” Doolittle said noting that Second Chances Equine Rescue is the only horse rescue in an 80-mile radius. “We get them in, and most of them come to us in horrible condition. We try to get them as healthy as we can and either extend their lives and keep them steady until they pass or we try and get them healthy enough to adopt out and find them new homes.”

She said there are many dog, cat and other animal rescues throughout the state.

“But there is very little horse information out there, and there are a lot of horses in Georgia. So it is an underserved area,” she said.

Doolittle said Second Chances has rescued more than 100 horses since it opened in 2013.

“We currently have 19 on the property and all but three of them are now healthy, happy and home, and that is huge for us,” she said. “One of our most recent cases came in. … At the end of the June, she weighed 250 pounds, and she is still underweight now in February at 950 pounds. The 700 pounds that she has gained tells you what horrible condition she came from, and she is still underweight. We found out she has cancer and that is what is preventing her from growing and blooming. It has been such a lovely thing for us to watch her grow and get her pep and a little bit of attitude back.”

Doolittle said the rescue has seven horses out of the 19 that are currently adoptable. The rest, she added, will stay at Second Chances for the remainder of their lives.

Doolittle said she volunteered at horse barns whenever and wherever possible during her time abroad.

“I volunteered and I volunteered at barns that did equine therapy,” she said. “I kept seeing so many ways how horses helped to heal humans or help them grow. The process is amazing, and I don’t know how to explain it. … But the changes that you see with people when they spend the time … it’s a soothing process to brush a horse. … Horses are these in-your-face, thousand-pound animals that you have to pay attention to. … You have to engage.”

She said from the moment she founded Second Chances, she knew it would blossom into an opportunity of helping others in need.

“Our logo is a second chance at life for the horses and people we serve,” she said. “It was supposed to be a rescue, but we want to give back. We want to give to the community, and we want to give to the soldiers … whoever it is that we can help with those horses.”

Doolittle said that during her research, she discovered there was no equine program in the area that would benefit veterans and active military personnel.

“There is a program outside Savannah for autistic children and adults, and it’s a lovely program and it works,” she said. “But there is nothing out there for veterans or active duty.”

She said she came across information from a national organization called Operation Horses for Heroes, a nonprofit based in Illinois.

Partnering with Operation Horses for Heroes and securing clinicians certified in equine therapy, Doolittle said they managed to put together the first of what she hopes will be many veterans clinics, scheduled for Feb. 18-21.

The clinic will take place at the Second Chances Equine Rescue barn at 7663 Highway 196 W. in Gum Branch.

“When we put the word out there, we got nine out of the 10 participants in five days. ... There is that much of a need,” she said. “Half of them are still active duty. We have two people coming from out of town, and they are driving from Florida and Pennsylvania.”

Doolittle said equine therapy can help with post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments that military personnel suffer after returning from long-term or repetitive deployments.

“To work towards self-discovery, reintegration, stress reduction and communication,” she said. “We use the horses ... not to fix because there is no fix — but to help, and that helps with everything else. Once you solve one little part, you can move on to the next and then to the next and so on.”

She said she wanted to share the upcoming event to foster knowledge and support for the soldiers coming to participate. She added that the clinic needs help with donations for water, juice and sports drinks as well as sponsor support to make the event successful.

“Horses help people, which in turn helps the horses,” Doolittle said. “They will heal each other, and that is an amazing thing to do.”

For more information, call 912-385-8512 or email

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