Doggie Doors, Kitty Catios and So Much More

by Aaron Wilson

It’s out with the old and in with the new at the recently opened, $3.7 million Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center. This is definitely not your mother’s dog pound, and it’s more definitely not the cramped, dingy accommodations of yesteryear’s ancient low-slung building.

This bright, friendly, warm, spacious environment was designed by the architectural firm Thompson & Litton, based in Southwest Virginia, along with Shelter Planners of America, which specializes in innovative animal shelters. Friends of Animal Care and Control, a non-profit group of local NRV volunteers, contributed ideas as well. From ground-breaking in December of 2015 to grand opening the end of April, 2017, the thoughtful plans on a five-acre parcel in front of the old building took shape.

“The number of dogs almost more than doubled to 68, and for the first time, cat accommodations are available,” states Eileen Mahan, director and former animal control officer. Doggie suites include a slightly raised bed with a blanket, door to the outside and automatic water bowls. Light tan painted concrete floors and masonry walls contribute to ease of cleaning, but the state-of-the-art, push button cleaning mechanism with hoses plumbed to a master control room facilitates the process. Factor in non-bleach-based cleansers, and this is one safe, clean, odor-free space.

A private bathing/grooming room, visiting quarters, surgical suite for the future, quarantine area and two wings separating dogs for adoption from those yet being processed are part of the 12,300 interior square feet. A meeting room (available for rent) with a butler’s pantry and outside entrance can be completely secure from the main building. The reception and waiting area is bright and welcoming. Volunteers have lockers, and administrative staff occupies offices and has a break room and kitchen.

Two large cat lodging rooms sport boxes and beds, cubbies and climbing posts enjoyed by cats and kittens of all ages which have been surrendered. “Feral and stray cats are not taken in here,” Mahan relates. “Adoption cat condos are all plastic with special air filtration in adjacent litter rooms, and kitty catios (think: patios) offer space for fresh air, sunshine and time in the great outdoors.”

“One thing we always want people to understand is that no amount of help is too small – from donating a cat toy picked up at a dollar store, spending an hour playing with a cat or walking a dog, dropping off a bag of Purina brand dry food or even a package of paper towels,” explains Mahan. “About half of the operating budget is contingent upon donations and grants.”

While attractive for its red shingles, lower rock exterior and horizontal siding, the new Animal Care and Adoption Center is not anywhere that a pup or kitty wants to call home. Nearly 200 vetted volunteers work the front desk, help with cleaning and laundry and walk, brush and spend time with the animals while each one eagerly awaits his or her owner [previous or new] to arrive, spring them out and take them home. If you have space in your heart and home for a pet, check out these special ones first.

Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center
Mon-Fri., 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sat-Sun., 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
480 Cinnabar Road, Christiansburg

Friends of Animal Care and Control

By Joanne M. Anderson
Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center

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