Pets and People Executive Director Amy Brooks Young said the rescue organization is waiting for final approval from the city and hopes to break ground on its new rescue facility on Feb. 1, with a tentative completion date in the summer.
“Realistically, we think it will be July 1,” Young said. “We know that with any kind of construction, we have to consider in weather (and other factors).”
The rescue organization’s plans are for a 4,300-square-foot shelter that will house 40 dogs and 40 cats.
“One of the main things we’re excited about is we will have more room to have foster animals come and be at the shelter for potential adopters to stop by and see them,” Young said.
That’s important because it will let potential adopters come to the shelter to meet the available animals, Young said, while also keeping the animals in foster homes. It will operate similar to a doggy daycare, where foster parents drop the pets off during shelter hours and pick them up on the way home.
“Foster homes are the best option for animals, because they’re living in a home with people, they’re often interacting with kids or other animals, and we get to know them much better when they’re in a foster situation,” Young said.
By learning each adoptable pet’s personality, volunteers can better help families find the perfect pet.
Young said the rescue’s also excited to be able to have two “real-life” adoption rooms, each set up like a typical living room, for adopters to meet their potential pets.
“That way when someone comes to adopt or comes to meet an animal, they’ll go into a real-life room and see how the animal really interacts with you in that setting, or as a family,” Young said. “Shelters can be very intimidating to an animal, or hype it up.”
As an example, Young said that the room where potential adopters currently meet dogs is located near a room that houses cats.
Many of the dogs, she said, get overly excited and sometimes misbehave when they see, hear or smell the cats nearby.
Right now, Pets and People shares space with Yukon Animal Control. But with the new city animal shelter nearly completed, Young said Pets and People recognized the need for the nonprofit to have its own rescue center, specially built to suit its needs.
“We’ve been in this space for a long time, so we know what we need,” Young said.
Despite having separate facilities, Young said the partnership between the rescue and the city will not end.
She said the rescue has been allocated 20 spaces for dogs and 20 spaces for cats, and she wants to use those spaces for rescue animals ready for immediate adoption.
And while the old shelter will be demolished once it’s no longer in use by the city or the rescue, Young said the dog runs that are there now will remain in place.
In the event of an emergency or national disaster, those runs could be used to house displaced animals.
In 2019, Young said, Pets and People helped 1,059 cats and dogs, and helped place an additional 150 animals in breed-specific rescues.
“The need is incredible,” Young said.