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Nonprofit group gives Salem shelter a surprise makeover
By Jo-Anne MacKenzie firstname.lastname@example.org
September 6, 2012
SALEM — A new floor for Kitty City, a soundproof quarantine room for transport dogs, improved air circulation in all the trailers that make up Salem Animal Rescue League.
All those improvements — and more — have been on the wish list for shelter officials, but they were simply that — wishes.
Enter Project Pawsitive, a nonprofit group based in Hampton.
The group is dedicated to renovating shelters in need, with a goal of fixing up four to six shelters a year. To date, the 3-year-old organization has helped four rescues or shelters.
The transformation scheduled at SARL for Sept. 14-16 will be the group’s fifth makeover. The work is needed, but animals and programs must take priority over facilities, according to Patricia Mack, SARL’s manager of development and media.
Jill Sullivan Grueter knows that. She’s the founder and team leader of Project Pawsitive.
”These shelters are doing amazing things, but they’re struggling,” Grueter said. “We’re always looking for deserving rescues. I had people tell me how great (SARL) is.”
Her organization and Pet Life Stores are teaming to help SARL. In addition to the new floor, quarantine area and air circulation fixes, the project will include fencing in an outside area for meet-and-greets with dogs and prospective new owners, and replacing some rotten window and door casings.
The work is financed through personal donations and corporate sponsorships.
It couldn’t have come at a better time, said Martha Adamovich, president of SARL’s board of directors.
”It was a very timely surprise because, during the past few years, our donations have declined,” she said. “We have been very selective about how we spend that money; every penny goes to animal care. As a result, projects, anything above and beyond an absolute requirement, have been prioritized below animal needs.”
Project Pawsitive focuses on no-kill shelters. SARL needs some work in its quarantine area because it takes dogs from high-kill shelters in the South. Dogs that otherwise face euthanization there are shipped north to shelters like SARL, where they will stay until new homes are found for them.
Now, in tight quarters in the collection of trailers that is SARL, the dogs are quarantined in the administration building. They stay there for at least 48 hours until it is determined the Southern canines aren’t bringing communicable diseases with them.
That gets a little noisy.
”It will definitely be better for the animals themselves and also for us,” Mack said. “We’ve been wanting to do that forever, but it’s expensive. The noise level can get quite uncomfortable so this will be huge.”
The work planned is valued at between $12,000 and $15,000, Mack said.
Pet Life, a Maine-based company with 13 retail outlets, including one in Salem, is partnering with Project Pawsitive to help SARL.
“The Salem Animal Rescue League is a fantastic organization and we are thrilled to be part of the weekend-long renovation at their site,” Pet Life president Pete Risano said.
The surprise donation was perfectly timed, Adamovich said.
”Sometimes, at the end of the day, when you look at everything, including our mission, it seems there is a God,” she said.
Follow Jo-Anne MacKenzie on Twitter @ETNHEditor.