4/9/2009 10:47:00 PM Yesterday's dream is tomorrow's reality
Sandra Trautman Verde Valley Humane Society
I have to say that on March 20, 2009 an absolutely magnificent event happened regarding the future of the animals in the Verde Valley.
At 10:30 sharp that morning, mayor Diane Joens and I turned the first shovel of dirt for the groundbreaking of our new Adoption Center.
Were you there? Did you have fun? So many of you had tears running down your faces and I totally understood why. It was a very emotional day for so many of us.
The need for a larger facility at the Verde Valley Humane Society has been recognized for many years. Now it is really happening.
The age-old question has always been "how can we come up with that amount of money?" Yes funds have been allocated over the years but not close to what was needed.
Each year that the question is asked, the prices continue to soar. What if additional years passed without anything being done?
Our old facility is antiquated and has inadequate space for the amount of animals that pour through our doors each year. Can you imagine euthanizing an animal because there is no available cage for him?
Can you imagine what it feels like in your heart to pet, love and feed someone for three months and then have to euthanize them?
Let me tell you that no matter times you experience it, you will never forget it. Each of the animals has their own little personalities, just like people.
No matter how much you try to love them without really bonding, it is absolutely impossible. You will take them into your heart as your own.
What is it that you remember? The way his entire body wiggles when you get close to his cage? Is it the way he hides behind your leg when he's frightened?
Maybe it could be the way her "auto-purr" kicks in as soon as you touch her velvety fur?
There will be something that draws you to the animals, even if the reason is that they have no one and no home to permanently call their own.
You think you don't cry because it happens this way? Oh trust me, you cry. At times you cry hard, wishing you had acres at home so no one would have to die due to a lack of space.
Space isn't the only issue when it comes to needing an additional facility. Many of the animals have to endure the horrific heat and freezing cold of the different seasons since they are forced to live outside.
Many animals come in that are sick. At times the animals could be saved if only there was an isolation area to keep them from contaminating the rest of the animals.
Visitors come in to VVHS and comment on how clean we keep the facility, but also speak about how things could be better for the animals and the staff.
Some people feel it's scary since it's old and not very well lit in the building. Trust me, it's not scary in here, our animals receive the best care possible and love us immensely. It's just not aesthetically appealing to the human eye.
Are you wondering what happened to make the VVHS board of directors unanimously vote on Jan. 15, 2009 to begin construction of Phase I of our new Adoption Center?
Let me go back to how it began and I believe you will understand everything a little better. The choice to build wasn't an easy one; it took many months of consideration.
One day many years ago a magnificent animal loving couple walked into the shelter. They looked at all of the animals, inside and out.
They also brought treats for everyone and also went inside each and every kennel to pay special attention to each of the animals.
Once they visited everyone they came in to my office and we had a conversation about what the animals needed. They said they wanted to help the animals all that they could.
The couple left and I wondered if I would ever see them again. Many people have said the same thing in the past but nothing ever materialized. For some reason I had a good feeling in my heart about this couple.
A few weeks later the couple came back and it was like Christmas for everyone. It was fantastic, we were all so excited. It seemed as if the animals knew it was their day!
This time the couple brought new beds, toys, dog treats, cat treats, and blankets, dog pillows and everything else you can imagine that gave us the ability to spoil our shelter animals just a little bit.
Once the visit was over the couple who continue to want to remain anonymous came back into my office.
They explained that they would like to donate $500,000 to help us build a new facility. Of course VVHS would have to raise the rest of the money needed.
Recently this generous couple explained that their offer wouldn't last forever and I believe rightfully so. They have been so patient, kind and generous.
That's how the decision to build came about. If we lost the $500,000 it would take many more years before a new facility could even be considered.
Over the years everyone affiliated with VVHS has tried to bring in the needed funds. There has been a designated building fund set aside for years, but not nearly enough.
In the past several years fundraisers and grant writers were hired. A PR person was brought on board and various foundations have been approached.
What has worked best for VVHS is our small fundraising committee. These women should be commended for the work they have done and the results that have transpired.
For years now the architect has been paid in full, along with soil testing and recently the impact fees. Full steam ahead, we are moving on.
Due to the rising costs the building has changed and will completed in Phases. This is the only choice we had in order to move forward.
We are beginning with Phase I and we are hoping that enough money will be donated to finish Phase I and II in their entirety.
Before I explain what will be in Phase I, you need to understand that it will be a totally functional building that is fully contained.
Due to the design of the building, we are able to have a little more than half of our 8,000-squre-foot facility in the first Phase.
Inside you will find a large, well-lit customer friendly lobby/reception area. "Get Acquainted/Meet Your Pet" rooms furnished in homelike settings. No more standing outside in the elements.
Since the building is a rectangular shape this half of the building will thankfully contain all of the administrative offices also.
Remember folks, this building will not be fancy but it will be more than conducive to the needs of the animals that will be spend time with us.
You will also find the meeting/educational room, holding area for new animals, community cat play area, VVHS shopping area, 65 cat cages, 19 dog kennels inside and out, and a roughed in clinic and restroom facilities.
There will also be animal care prep rooms with a temporary laundry area inside. To complete this Phase of the new Adoption Center you will be able to enjoy the first half of the outdoor courtyard.
Everyone at VVHS is very excited to see Noble Heritage Builders with their crew working diligently each day.
Doug Noble has worked very hard with us trying to cut costs while building a quality facility.
We have chosen different building materials, roughed in a couple of areas but the building will still be "for the animals and about the animals," just as it always has been.
Phase II will contain 21 additional dog kennels, a grooming area, staff lounge, laundry facility, storeroom, staff restroom facility and an area for nursing canines.
Phase III will be renovated for the use of Animal Control. Animals will be held in this facility until their five day waiting period is over.
At that time they will be taken to the new Adoption Center to wait for their "forever homes."
What do we need to finish Phase I? Approximately $215,000 additional funds will be required to complete Phase I. Can it happen?
"Yesterday's Dream" with your help, "Tomorrow's Reality" Yes it can and it will happen.
A very kind man sent me a saying that I would like to share with you. It hangs above my desk and I read it daily.
"Behold the turtle; he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out." This quote is by James Bryant Conant.
Next week I will share many ways that you may want to help us reach our goal. There will be engraved pavers, trees, benches, dog kennels, cat cages, and all types of other areas that you can donate to in memory or in honor of.
I hope all of you will be a part of saving lives of these innocent animals in the Verde Valley. Together, we can do it!
Our $10.00 Crusade continues. If you would like to donate please send your contribution to VVHS Building Fund, P.O. Box 1429 Cottonwood, AZ 86326.