LYNDHURST-Sometimes change is good. For the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center, this change is well awaited. They’ve worked hard to remodel the dog kennels and add an expansion. The remodel is positive for the animals and people, staff members said.
From the back of the building, to the front lobby, SVASC will be completely remodeled. This includes the employee work space, cat area, dog kennels and an expansion to add more space.
“All of the funding for the expansion remodel is already covered through Augusta County, Staunton, Waynesboro,” Director Lindsey Huffman said. “It is just basically a much needed upgrade that we’ve been anticipating for quite some time.”
The dog kennel area had a slippery floor, chipped paint and wires poking out.
“The kennels haven’t been remodeled since we started operating as the pound in 2011,” Moriah Good of SVASC said. “That’s a pretty long time to have a lot of animals come through and use the same space over and over again. [The updates are] tor safety and also appearance.”
The middle kennels were stripped down and redone. The floors went from a blue-grey to brown with a nonslip coating. In addition, the walls are freshly painted, the dogs got new beds and the water bowls are moved off the floor and onto the crate.
“We’re able to keep the water bowls filled a lot easier and also it gives the dogs more space in the kennel because the pails are up on the door rather than on the floor,” Good said. “A lot of dogs will accidently spill their water bowls if it’s on the floor. It guarantees that they’ll always have what they need when they need it.”
“We are also getting some repairs done to the doors the gates and the latches and hinges and a lot of things that just have deteriorated since we’ve been open,” she said. “Those are all thing that we’ll just have to continue to do over time but it’s nice to have them fixed at this point. It’s like starting over fresh.”
Currently, the dogs are divided into three sections: the middle, stray hold and isolation. While the middle has been remodeled, stray and isolation are the next step.
Dogs that use SVASC as their temporary home seem to be happy with the changes. While they waited their new kennels, they were separated and faced a wall. Since they moved back they’re full of barks and energy as they faced other furry faces.
“I think it’s a pretty exciting shift for them. It’s been maybe a month that they’ve been looking at walls instead of dogs. Now they’re all feeding off of each other’s energy,” Good laughed.
The expansion in the back is almost completed. Huffman worked to set up rooms, bring in items and finalize the space.
“The expansion is going to have multipurpose. We’re going to have two new cat areas, six kennels for quarantine and court case holds and a small dog and puppy area which will help us utilize our cage space more efficiently,” Huffman said.
While there is an end in sight for this project, they won’t stop there. Next is the front lobby and cat area.
“The need coming up is while we’re moving everybody around we’re going to need foster homes for dogs and cats. If we can reduce the number that we have housed at the shelter it’s going to make things a lot less complicated,” Huffman explained. “We’re definitely going to try to utilize some foster homes. Some adoptions would be awesome too.”
Good and Huffman looked forward to making the animals lives more comfortable with the remodels. They both thanked the community for their patience during the changes.
“It makes our lives easier as well as makes the dogs life more comfortable,” Huffman said. “We thank everyone who has donated and thank everyone for understanding while we’ve been going through this process. Things have been a little crazy, a little hectic. Everyone has been understanding and awesome.”
“People have been really understanding and just really worked with us and not giving us a hard time about the disorganization and craziness,” Good agreed. “It’s been really wonderful to have the community support while we’re doing this.”
Michelle Mitchell is a reporter and photographer for the News Virginian. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter at @MichelleTNV.