The Wake County Animal Center has been under construction forever! Well…not forever…but it seems like it. Construction began back in December and we are nearing completion. This six month, half million dollar renovation is the culmination of many ideas to enhance the Animal Center for the animals that stay with us. So, what do all of these renovations include?
Well, the major project…and I do mean MAJOR…was the rebuilding of a room to accommodate our quarantine dogs. This include dogs that are with us for bite quarantine, on protective custody due to a cruelty case, owner eviction or maybe the owner passed away and we are holding the dog for their family. Dogs also housed in this area are the dogs waiting to be transferred to a rescue partner. We needed to expand the space for these dogs as we only had 30 kennels dedicated to them and we were always overflowing into other areas. We now have 46 kennels with individual drains (great for infectious disease control) and safety measures built in for staff handling quarantine dogs. We also widened the aisles to ease the stress of dogs being moved through the area. The interior of this kennel space had to be knocked down to the ground and rebuilt. It took 3 long months but when it was completed, it was gorgeous. The best part? The dogs that reside in this area are quieter and appear less stressed than in the room they previously lived in.
Our construction also focused on sectioning off areas in our Receiving Room to separate dog intake from cat intake. By separating these areas, cats are no longer held where dogs are and therefore their stress levels at intake are decreased (and for those of who don’t already know this, feline URI increases when their stress increases). All of their intake procedures, including vaccination, scanning for microchips and deworming are now done in their own private room.
The next part of the renovation was the upgrade of our dedicated space for treatment of canine URI. We now have a permanent room of 30 kennels for housing dogs with URI. The doors on these kennels were changed out to include “buffers” to keep the dogs from sneezing on each other across the hall. We also have the ability to walk these dogs during their URI treatment outside since they have a separate entrance and exit away from the rest of our population. Since our vet staff has been so diligent in diagnosing and treating URI, we have not yet had to fill up this room – which means the dogs have had the luxury of double sided kennels!
Finally, probably the most exciting part of the renovation (at least to me!), is the addition of a Behavior Room. We had a courtyard that was not used and we have seen the need for a dedicated space for behavior testing, working with protective custody dogs and a space for our transfer partners to come and assess dogs. We transformed the unused courtyard space into an enclosed Behavior Room. I see this room being used daily, especially as many of our team members are getting certified as SAFER assessors. (This part of the construction will be finalized mid-end of May … so pictures are to follow!)
The remaining parts of the construction project have included new flooring, new paint
(good-bye 80s mismatched color scheme!), upgraded security and other needed repairs. The final touches have yet to be done, but will be coming soon!! (Hint, hint … it includes photography by our very own, Mary Shannon Johnstone, and her Landfill Dogs!)
Thank you to all of our volunteers, fosters, transfer partners and staff who have been so patient, helpful and understanding during this time of transition. Also, to all of our visitors who have seen construction men, half completed doors and heard all of the noise associated with large construction projects, thank you for your patience and for still coming to visit our animals.