New Kind of Animal Shelter
Adoption center puts a green spin on animal rescue: Inside the innovative LEED-certified no kill shelter
"We spent months researching designs, just traveling the country to see what works and what doesn't," explains executive director Salise Shuttlesworth. "Now, thanks to the architects at Gensler, we're proud to offer the only LEED-certified facility of its kind in the nation."
Shuttlesworth jokes that the Friends for Life adoption center, which was completed in 2012, is a natural extension of the organization itself — an "amalgamation of other successful ideas that people have come up with."
Modestly aside, it's a pretty impressive amalgamation. A high-tech and energy-efficient HVAC system refreshes all interior air 15 times an hour. Small televisions entertain cats with images of butterflies and birds. Adoption rooms are designed to resemble living rooms to help potential adoptees image their new pet in their own homes.
"Our no-kill philosophy is that all animals are perfectly fabulous and adoptable."
There are even small holes drilled through the glass doors of each canine kennel, a simple feature that allows dogs to engage with the environment the most natural way possible, via smell. While certainly a great addition from the dogs perspective, Shuttlesworth says the holes ultimately serve as noise control.
"In shelters with glass doors, we found that dogs would get really frustrated when they saw people. Most would start to bark almost immediately. However, dogs will remain calm and quiet if they can smell. On adoption days, you can look down the hall and see all these noses poking out of each sniff hole."
Anyone visiting the Friends for Life center during the week, will notice something vital missing at the shelter . . . namely, the animals.
"We have more than 100 dogs and just as many cats in our system. They're just in foster care," Shuttlesworth explains, noting that the facility does have dedicated rooms for older cats and those living with feline leukemia during the week.
"The main principle of our no-kill philosophy is that all animals are perfectly fabulous and adoptable. It's easier to connect them with people if they're friendly and socialized, so we have volunteers foster and spend time interacting with the animals."
In honor of Earth Week, when you adopt from Friends for Life shelter (107 E. 22nd) through April 28, you'll receive a half-price adoption fee as well as a free gift basket of eco-friendly pet products from Natural Pawz. Check out the website for details.