COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It is a facility unlike any other in the country, and is expected to save more than 1,000 dogs each year.
GiGi’s Shelter For Dogs will act as a hub between rural shelters, where resources are scarce, and Columbus Humane, a facility known for their resources and ability to adopt dogs out quickly.
The site in Canal Winchester doesn’t look like much now, but come September, it’s expected to be a state of the art facility dedicated to the dogs.
This shelter will be different than most, as it isn’t open to the public and dogs won’t be adopted there.
Gigi’s Shelter for dogs is a stepping stone from rural or low income “source” shelters and high adoption facilities like Columbus Humane.
“There are a lot of dogs that are available in abundance and they are friendly and healthy and they just need a ride home,” said Columbus Humane CEO Rachel Finney. “Source shelters are working so hard with very limited resources to provide great care for dogs. They often don’t have the funding, physical space, supplies or equipment, or even the training to be able to deliver the best care.”
A dogs average stay will be around one week. During their stay they receive medical care, a space to decompress, and stimulation in a special building dedicated to various programs to help dogs acclimate to a new lifestyle.
“We can get dogs into homes really quickly. We want to make sure those kennels and the resources we have at Columbus Humane are utilized for the dogs who need it most.”
The building is designed around disease control and reducing stress.
“The block is infused with insulation so we cut down on the noise. There is music throughout the building in every room,” said Jim Phieffer, President of the Gigi’s Shelter for Dogs Board of Trustees.
The flooring designed with health in mind is something you would see in the hospital. “It’s very expensive but will last forever,” said Phieffer.
The facility has been three years in the making and planned down to the final detail, including an X-ray room, dental room, a place for isolation, the use of natural light and even calming paint colors.
In total the facility cost around $4 million and it was made by a single generous donor.
Finney says Gigis will help supply meet demand.
“In Central Ohio, adopting is in vogue. People are really proud. It is a badge of honor to say I adopted my dog.”
The shelter which is expected to grow overtime is expected to save thousands of lives for years to come.
“If this works here and we know that It will, it will be replicated through the country and really change the way we shelter dogs. Not only to save lives but to improve quality of life. It has to be a life worth living.”
While most source shelters are in Southern Ohio, Franklin County Dog & Adoption Center will also be sending dogs to Gigi’s shelter for dogs.
Saturday July 28 there will be a job fair at Columbus Humane for positions at the main building and also Gigi’s Shelter for Dogs.