If you have spent time in the kennel at our Adoption Center recently, you know that we have outgrown the space and that it’s no longer optimal for our dogs, staff, or volunteers. Our No-Kill mission has rooted itself deeply into our community, positively impacting the way our neighbors think about and care for animals. As a result, the type of animals we’re helping has shifted. We’re still helping easily-adoptable animals, of course. But more and more, we’re seeing animals who need long term rehabilitation for medical or behavioral challenges.
As our Adoption Center Manager, Audrey, wrote in an article about the necessity of the Sanctuary, “Now, we are in a place to say yes to [animals with special needs]. Now, we have the infrastructure, skill set, talent, and community resources to make those animals whole.”
She continues, “[the] length of stay has increased for many dogs while we work to rehabilitate them, and we need a better facility to give them the specialized care they need.”
The Dogs Village and Dog Park we’re building at the Sanctuary will be a dream come true for the dogs in our care. Here’s how:
Full On-Site Medical Clinic: We have a tiny medical room at the adoption center, but our space and resources are very limited. Therefore, we outsource most of our medical needs to local veterinarians. At the Sanctuary, we will have our very own Medical Center, which will include a full-time veterinarian! This means that our dogs will have access to quicker medical care. Without having to outsource care, we estimate that we’ll be able to cut our veterinary costs in half! Since we typically spend up to $60,000 each month on medical bills, that’s a huge deal!
Kennel Layout: Our current kennel resides in the back of a retrofitted warehouse. We have adapted it to fit our needs, but it’s not ideal for our dogs, staff, volunteers, or visitors. Audrey says “Right now we’re challenged with having dogs face each other. When the warehouse was converted, the runs were designed for space, traffic flow. Having runs that face each other is very stressful for the dogs, and our staff and volunteers have to add on a lot of work to prevent that stress.” At the Sanctuary’s Dogs Village, no dog runs will face each other, which will dramatically reduce stress levels. The new layout will also keep visitors on a predictable path and will lower the overall amount of face-to-face time dogs get with each other.
Quiet Environment: Our current adoption center is made out of concrete, so every bark echos through the building. Can you imagine living in an environment that is never quiet? Our new buildings are being constructed with materials that will absorb sounds rather than deflect them back into the kennel. Our dogs will also enjoy a quieter environment for walks, away from the traffic, motorcycles, and trains of our current location.
Indoor/Outdoor Access: In our current location, only a handful of our dogs are able to freely access the outdoors from their runs. At the Sanctuary, every dog will have free access to a private outdoor area in addition to their indoor runs. Audrey says “The dogs will have the ability to be inside or outside at their choosing. It seems like a little thing, but it’s a really nice choice that will greatly improve their day to day lives.”
On-Site Hiking Trails: The Outward Hounds Hiking Club gets dogs out of the shelter and into the woods several times a week, and we have seen amazing results! The dogs who hike are calmer, happier, and are better able to show their true personalities to potential adopters. At the Sanctuary, we’ll have hiking trails weaving in and out of the forested part of the land. This means that more dogs (and people!) will be able to experience the benefits of hiking. Adam, our Behavior and Enrichment Manager, says “I think having the hiking trails on the property is going to be so great for our dogs. Around the current Adoption Center there is a lot of traffic and commotion. It’s not always the safest or least stressful for the dogs, or the people walking them. Having quiet trails will make the walks more enjoyable for both the dogs and the volunteers or potential adopters. It will also help the dogs destress on the walks rather than be continuously stimulated. They’ll be able to go out and just enjoy the smells and enjoy being outside.”
Dog Park: The Sanctuary’s Dogs Village will include a Dog Park! Our Behavior Team does a lot of enrichment work with our dogs in the play yard beside the Adoption Center, but without the current distractions of a busy street, dogs will be able to focus better to learn new skills quicker, which will make it easier to move dogs to their forever homes.
“One of the big reasons dogs don’t show well in our current building is because of the environment,” Audrey says. “It’s a cycle. It stresses the dog out, then the dog exhibits problem behavior. Then a potential adopter comes to see them and they’re showing all of these behaviors because they’re overstimulated. Dogs are being overlooked for behaviors that they likely wouldn’t continue in a calmer environment. So having the appropriate environment for the dogs will absolutely make it easier for them to be adopted.”
The Sanctuary will be a place of comfort and enrichment for every animal who visits — whether they’re a highly-adoptable animal who stays for one day, or an animal who needs six months of rehabilitation. Click here to learn more about how the Sanctuary will benefit the animals and people in our community and beyond.