|Shelter-To-Home Animal Rescue have made this Pink Victorian their home|
|Pink Cottage at Gosbeck, Suffolk.|
© Copyright Keith Evans and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Ancient Pink cob cottages twinkle in the English and Irish countryside like bright little jewels, but this spectacular Victorian gem is an American style fairytale house. It has a wonderful story too.
The headline reads, "Shelter-to-Home Animal Rescue finds purrfect house in Wyandotte."
By Calli McCain Feb 2012
The idea of a ‘cat house‘ can conjure some pretty frightening images: cats crawling on everything, a thick layer of hair spread over furniture, litter and…other stuff…scattered across the floor. Shelter-to-Home Animal Rescue will challenge that concept in their new headquarters and save some local felines in need in the process.
In the iconic Victorian Wyandotte home at the corner of 3rd and Oak, the non-profit has set up its first official office as well as a habitat to showcase adoptable cats. Inside the gorgeous house, a friendly grey and white cat—Annabelle—curls around visitors’ ankles as they enter the kitchen before she settles in the center of a sunny patch on the floor. Shelley Bawol of Wyandotte is the president and co-founder of Shelter-to-Home; she hopes the house will bring greater attention to a cause she’s been working on since 2007.
“Cats in shelters are not always comfortable so they appear to have a shy personality,” said Bawol. “People looking to adopt sometimes think they won’t do well in their homes and because of this these animals could die in the shelter.”
According to the ASPCA, each year approximately 5 to 7 million companion animals (dogs and cats, that is) enter shelters in the United States. Of those, about 3 to 4 million will end up being euthanized. Adoption rates are especially low for older or disabled animals, according to Bawol.
The main purpose of Shelter-to-Home is to rescue cats from shelters and help them to be fostered out and ideally adopted into permanent homes. According to Bawol, shelters are often so overwhelmed with animals that they have limited time and resources to properly showcase animals to potential adopters, which can result in cats spending months in a shelter without being adopted. By removing cats from the shelter and putting them in a more natural, comfortable environment, Shelter-to-Home allows future owners to see the cats as they would behave if adopted.
Establishing an official headquarters will hopefully help the group to accomplish even greater goals, says Phyllis Smith of Lincoln Park, Shelter-to-Home secretary.
“Hopefully it’s going to help us generate more donations and volunteers,” said Smith, who got involved with Shelter-to-Home after fostering and adopting through the group. “I like the fact that the house is a focal point in the community. Everybody knows the big pink house, now hopefully it will draw attention to the number of pets we’re able to save from shelters.”
The house serves a dual purpose with the downstairs being used as an office for the group and the upstairs a kind of boarding house for adoptable cats.
“The layout of the house isn’t ideal for a family,” said Bawol, pointing out the complete lack of counter and cupboard space in the kitchen and the small, detached rooms upstairs. “It suits us perfectly though, it has great curb appeal—it brings a lot of people in.”
Upstairs, a sleepy blonde cat, Meme, lounges in the front bay window. Around the corner, a new group of cats just arrived from a foster home. They were given the “Kitty Zen Room” complete with a Buddha statue.
The upstairs rooms all have themes and vintage prints of cats adorn the hallway walls along with plaques recognizing financial donors. The “Nursery Room” is scattered with vintage toys and will mostly house kittens and nursing mothers says Bawol. Cats who don’t play well with others will have their own rooms, cats who get along will live three to four to a room. There will also be a few free roaming cats throughout the house, like Meme and Annabelle.
“It’s a unique situation,” said Bawol. “We’re still growing into it, there aren’t any places like this around.”
The group faced slight adversity when they began the zoning process, mostly due to the negative image some neighbors had about a ‘cat house’ being in the neighborhood, like undesirable smells and noises, said Bawol. For the most part, though, the community has been very receptive.
“Wyandotte has a supportive network of volunteers,” said Bawol. “It’s a forward-thinking community and people are still trying new things despite the economy. We also wanted a city with a good, healthy, well-run shelter.”
At the Wyandotte animal shelter, home to Wyandotte Animal Control (WAC), volunteers have a similar philosophy to Shelter-to-Home when it comes to showing adoptable pets and saving animals from being euthanized. Anita Fegan is a local volunteer at WAC. She has been volunteering since she adopted a cat through WAC and appreciates the healthy, comfortable atmosphere at Wyandotte’s animal shelter.
“I like it here because it’s clean and spacious,” said Fegan. “We have community cages that give cats a way to interact with each other and show their personalities.”
However, because of the layout of the shelter, cats must remain in community or individual cages if not being held to prevent them from escaping into the front office, outside, or into the dog room. Ideally, Fegan said, potential adopters would be able to let the cats roam around to see how they move and play—which is when an environment like Shelter-to-Home’s new house can be beneficial.
Because of WAC and Shelter-to-Home’s similar ideologies, the two groups have developed a strong working relationship.
“I love what they [Shelter-to-Home] do, their protocol and their policies,” said WAC volunteer Alyssa Stafford. “I like that they only take animals from shelters. A lot of people won’t come into shelters and pounds because they’re largely seen as depressing. Shelter-to-Home brings positive attention to our shelter and shows that it’s a great environment for animals and for people to come in and adopt them.”
266 Oak St.
Original Article is Here: