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North Hills Monthly

Ensuring Wings, Homes and Healthy Futures

Oct 01, 2016 02:05PM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

Animal Friends - Ensuring Wings, Homes and Healthy Futures

By David Swisher, Animal Friends’ President & Chief Executive Officer

I love adoption announcements here at Animal Friends. That beep comes over the intercom and the adoption counselor starts with “It’s a great day for <insert name of animal here> who has just found her loving home….” For me, that intercom beep is like the tinkling of a bell in that old Christmas favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life, except our angels are getting their wings in the form of homes–and their own little pieces of heaven.

We check in with our adopters to see how things are going. We hear great stories of the bonds that are being formed and see videos of their silly antics. And, yes, we help them through the inevitable struggles...and the occasional chewed couch. But we also hear about the need for access to affordable wellness care. Routine care (excluding food and treats) can cost hundreds of dollars each year. If a pet gets sick or injured, it can easily turn into thousands. 

The easy solution would be to just take the pet back. If the adopter can’t afford it, then maybe they shouldn’t have a pet. But is that in the best interest of the pet–or the person–to break that critical, heartfelt bond? To cycle the pet back through the sheltering system? It can’t be. And I know we can do better.

That’s just one of the reasons I’m so proud of our commitment to build the Howard Ash Animal Wellness Center at Animal Friends. Providing affordable spay/neuter, wellness care and food for financially strapped pet owners not only helps people, it also ensures that the pets stay healthy and right where they belong–in their homes. And it allows Animal Friends to focus on the thousands of stray, homeless or abused animals that really need us.  

Progress on the Howard Ash Animal Wellness Center has been great over the past 60 days. The roof is on. The parking lots are complete. The center is taking shape and thanks to the diligent work of Burchick Construction, we are still on track for a grand opening in spring 2017!  

Keep your eyes open for more updates, details and even opportunities to see our progress in person over the coming months. And of course you will be hearing about how you can support this important project.

After all, it’s not good enough to help our residents get their wings…er…homes. We have to make sure that they keep them.