Last year, we announced our plans to build an addition on to the existing shelter. It will be an adoption center, and the animals accepted into the program will be kept until they are adopted or transferred to another shelter or group.
The center will have ten additional dog runs, a puppy room, a cat colony room, a kitten colony room, a room for other small animals, office areas, and a room that will, in the future, become a spay/neuter room. We will still be an open-admission shelter, which means that we will not turn away any animal. That, in turn, means that we will still have to euthanize. However, this adoption center will give us another way to help the animals that we know we can find homes for.
A local architect, Michael Maurakis, has drawn the plans for this expansion. His plans were submitted to the city, and a couple of changes were requested. Mr. Maurakis made those changes, and now we are waiting for final approval from the city. When we receive this, we will open the bidding process. If the bids are what we believe they will be, we will be able to begin building this exciting expansion.
When we began negotiating with the city in the early 1980s to take over operation of the shelter, the facility consisted of only nine dog runs and a small office area. We paid for, and built, 28 additional dog runs, a small cat room, and small kitchen area. In 1989, the State Veterinarian required the city to build a larger cat room, a treatment room, and dog and cat isolation areas. The next expansion took place in 2007 when we built, and paid for, an additional 28 dog runs.
In 1984, we only had one employee and relied heavily on volunteers to help clean and take care of the animals. By 1989, it became apparent that we needed a shelter staff to be able to keep up with the rising number of animals. We now have a shelter manager, assistant manager, a part-time secretary, and two part-time kennel attendants. Other shelters throughout Virginia that receive even fewer animals that we do have staffs that are triple or in quadruple in numbers.
As we contemplate the adoption center, we realize that we are going to need to rely on volunteers to “fill in the gaps.” We have a strong core of people who come to the shelter to play with the cats and walk the dogs, and we are very grateful to them. We hope that, eventually, volunteers will be willing to help us clean the adoption center areas.
The E. Stuart James Grant Adoption Center will make a wonderful addition to this area, and we are thrilled with the plans for it.
(Do you want to help with the adoption center? We have lots of volunteer opportunities, including shelter volunteers and fundraising volunteers. In order to volunteer at the shelter, you must attend a brief volunteer orientation. The next one will be held on Wednesday, March 30th, at 4:00 at the shelter.)