Thanks to Rescue U, humane society animals get new digs

Ruby Ender, daughter of HSWM Executive Director Trudy Ender, shows off one of the tunnels on the new agility course at the facility. (Photos by Mary Ullmer)

We tend to joke that there are two seasons in Michigan, winter and construction. It’s clearly construction season, and not just on the roads.

The Humane Society of West Michigan announced recently it had received a $20,000 grant from Petfinder Foundation’s Rescue U for renovations. HSWM has had student volunteers from Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Grand Rapids Community College and Kettering University (in Flint) at its facility all week to perform the renovations.

A ramp and stairs with a platform (background) also are part of the agility course.

Among the upgrades and new additions to HSWM through the project: installation of recycled turf for the outdoor dog kennels (replacing pea gravel), an agility course for dogs in the fenced-in area behind the kennels and sound baffling in the kennel area that will significantly decrease the noise and create a better environment for the pets and visitors looking to adopt an animal.

Rescue U, started  by Bryna Donnelly in Pennsylvania, teamed with Groupon to raise funds for the dog agility course, which will give the dogs in HSWM’s a fun and stimulating exercise alternative.

The course includes donated tires, painted bright blue and used for agility tunnels, as well as a ramp treated with sand to reduce slippage, stairs with a platform, and weave poles.

Donnelly explained that many shelter dogs, like the three she adopted, aren’t accustomed to stairs and often are frightened of them when they get to their new home. Having shelter dogs work on going up and down stairs on the agility course will help relieve that fear. Likewise, volunteers walking the dogs through the weave poles will get them used to walking on a leash at a comfortable pace while also teaching them to heel.

These dogs will have new activities and more comfortable dog runs while they’re in the care of the humane society and awaiting their new forever home.

The gravel previously used in the dog runs, Donnelly said, was getting too hot for dogs’ pads during the summer months. The turf runs get warm, but not too hot, she said, and it’s more comfortable on the pads as well as the joints as dogs run through the area.

Rescue U completes the project today, which means HSWM animals can soon take advantage of their new digs.

If you’d like to learn more about Rescue U or make a donation to the organization, be sure to check out its website.

Cash for Crash’s

Meanwhile, Crash’s Landing will do a bit of construction of its own. While it didn’t win the $45,000 grand prize in the Erhardt Construction Building Our Community Project — that went to San Juan Diego Academy for structural repairs to its building — Crash’s was third runner-up and will receive a cash donation of $1,500.

Crash’s Landing, a cat rescue group that assists discarded, abused and neglected cats, had hoped to win the top prize to remodel a room at the shelter and turn it into a medical treatment room. Most of the cats (an estimated 85 percent) that Crash’s takes in are sick or injured, and the facility is in need of an on-site treatment room.

While the $1,500 it receives from Erhardt won’t cover the cost of a treatment room, Crash’s Landing no doubt appreciates the donation.


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  1. Pingback: Michigan Shelter Pups Get a Burn-Free Dog Run | Petfinder Foundation

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