Friends of Animals showcases haven for homeless pets
February 12, 2010
Starting in a few months, visitors at the Furburbia Adoption Center might see a few more tails wagging.
That’s because Friends of Animals Utah (FOA) is putting the finishing touches on its Rescue and Rehab Ranch, and the homeless animals that spend their days looking for homes at Furburbia will soon spend their nights at a brand new state-of-the-art facility in Brown’s Canyon.
Today, Feb. 13, community supporters are invited to get a sneak peek at the ranch during a snowshoe tour from noon to 3 p.m. Visitors will have an opportunity to explore the property, check out the interior construction, and enjoy hot chocolate and s’mores with fellow animal lovers.
According to executive director Cathy King, FOA hopes to start occupying the space with animals in May and plans to host a grand opening celebration June 6.
"We’re very, very close to being able to open the doors," she says. The building is moving into the drywall phase, which is the final step of the interior build-out. "From there, it’s just a matter of putting in fencing for kennels and washers and dryers and all the things that we need to truly operate," she says.
FOA first started fundraising for a new facility in 2006. At that point, "It was really just an idea," King says. Now their dream is mere months away from becoming a reality. "It’s been kind of a long road, but we’re almost there and it’s very exciting," she says.
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The Rescue and Rehab Ranch will provide a place for dogs, cats and horses to stay while they are in the process of finding homes. "The whole purpose is to take animals out there, rehab them if need be, deal with health problems, and then re-home them as soon as possible. We really aren’t going to be a sanctuary," King explains.
Animals will go through an observation phase at the ranch before they are put up for adoption. "A lot of times when we take dogs out of shelters, we kind of need that holding period to make sure they’re very healthy and make sure they don’t have any bad habits that need to be corrected," says King.
Each night, instead of being transferred to a boarding facility in Salt Lake City, the animals at Furburbia will be taken to the ranch. "By the time they get to Furburbia [the next morning], they will have been fed, exercised and they’ll be ready to find a new home," King says.
The facility will also enable FOA to bring in animals from different rescue groups and rotate dogs so they don’t spend every day in a cage at Furburbia. It’s equipped to provide for up to 85 dogs and 60 cats at once, although King says the average occupancy will be much lower.
The building is 15,000 square feet and is situated on a little over 100 acres. There are two caretaker apartments so that staff members will be available 24 hours a day.
Among the features of the ranch are indoor and outdoor kennels for dogs, condo spaces for cats, special therapy rooms, veterinary treatment rooms, a spay/neuter clinic, stables and paddocks for horses and livestock, and plentiful hiking and walking trails.
The dogs will be able to socialize in large indoor or outdoor play areas depending on the weather, and the cats will have their own "Kitty Korner" for exercising and interacting with potential owners.
King says FOA has been in contact with White Pine Veterinary Clinic, Park City Animal Clinic and Silver Creek Animal Clinic, and veterinarians from each have offered volunteer at the spay/neuter clinic to help provide low-cost services to adoptive families.
One of the features King is most excited about is the Education, Training and Healing Center, which will provide classrooms for ongoing curriculum and training programs as well as a comfortable space where children and adults can participate in therapeutic bonding and interaction with the animals.
"We’ll be using it right out of the chute to grow our education programs," she says. The space will be designed to facilitate animal-human therapy, including working with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and children from domestic violence situations. "It’s exciting because not only does it mean that can we help more animals, but we can help a lot more people, too," King says.
More than anything else, the FOA staff is excited to see the looks on the animals’ faces when they are introduced to their new home. "It’s very conducive to the animals being happy, and happy animals are much easier to re-home than sad animals," King says.
The snowshoe tour on Saturday is free and open to the public. Well-socialized and reasonably behaved dogs and children are welcome. For directions to the facility, please email Cathy King at email@example.com.
There are several opportunities for supporters to donate to FOA, including naming different parts of the new facility and purchasing engraved brick pavers for the walkways. The website also includes a wish list of items needed at the ranch. King notes that FOA will continue to remain dependent on foster homes for puppies and dogs that need to be kept away from other animals. For more information about fostering or donating to FOA, visit http://www.foautah.org .