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Living Love Thrift Store celebrates ‘forever home’ in pet rescue mission

Sandra Santee, manager of Living Love Animal Rescue Thrift Store, invites the community to the shop's 'grand re-opening' Aug. 13 from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at its new location, 905 Third St. in Marble Falls. The celebration showcases the store’s expanded space and stock but also features other activities, including 10-year-old Catalina Masters selling lemonade with all her profits going to Living Love Animal Rescue, which helps find forever homes for dogs and cats. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

MARBLE FALLS — Since starting Living Love Animal Rescue almost 15 years ago, Sandra Santee has seen a few changes for the organization, which finds forever homes for dogs and cats. As the manager of Living Love Thrift Store, she's probably felt like the shop was always looking for its own "forever home."

"We started with garage sales then storage buildings," Santee said. "Then we opened a shop, one in Marble Falls and then another in Cottonwood Shores."

Three years seemed to be the length of time in one spot, even at the Marble Falls location on Main Street. But this summer, facing a need for more space, Living Love Thrift Store picked up and moved to a new location at 905 Third St. It's about a block away, but Santee sees the move as making a world of difference for the dogs, cats, puppies and kittens the animal rescue takes in and works to adopt out.

"This gives us a lot more room," Santee said as she walked around the shop.

The showroom gives additional space for displaying items, including a bevy of collectibles such as crystal glassware.

"It's going to do so much for our dogs and cats," she said.

Proceeds from the thrift store, which is operated by volunteers, go to Living Love Animal Rescue, which operates a facility outside of Marble Falls. The rescue only takes dogs and cats from animal control agencies, so it's not a drop-off facility.

Living Love has several acres with new dog runs, an air-conditioned cattery and more to help with its mission. The organization depends on the thrift store and donations to cover operating expenses.

"The thrift store is so important to what we do," said Claire Edwards, executive director of Living Love.

To celebrate the move and maybe draw new customers and supporters, Santee and others are holding a grand re-opening of Living Love Thrift Store from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 13. The day includes plenty of activities and fun as well as a chance to check out the merchandise.

Plus, 10-year-old Catalina Masters will be selling lemonade with all the proceeds going to Living Love. Catalina has been selling lemonade throughout the summer and donating the income to the shelter.

As Santee continued showing off the new store, she pointed out the larger workroom in the back where volunteers can sort through donated items and regular customers can even sneak back and look at things before the merchandise hits the shelves. The new store also includes a nice loading area out back.

"It's just a great move for us," Santee said.

Since opening the store in the new location this summer, Santee has noticed an increase in traffic. Some are the loyal customers and donors while others are new faces to the shop.

"I think this (location) will help introduce the store to more people. And that's something we can always use more of," she said.

Along with more customers, Edwards added the thrift store and rescue facility could use more volunteers.

Living Love Animal Rescue Thrift Store is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Call (830) 798-6106 or (830) 637-9289 for more information.

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