OHS Breaks Ground on New Era of Animal Care
June 15, 2006
A dream came true for the Oregon Humane Society and their shelter pets on June 15 when ground was broken for the new Animal Medical and Learning Center. For the first time in the 137 year history of OHS (or any shelter in the country), shelter animals will have 24-hour medical care thanks to an on-site veterinary teaching hospital operating hand-in-hand with the shelter.
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The Center will be connected to the west end of the existing shelter, allowing animals go directly from the kennels and catteries to the new medical examination rooms and surgical suites. Medical students and faculty from Oregon State University (along with an OHS veterinarian), will staff the new facility, which will treat only OHS animals.
On-site care will eliminate the transportation of thousands of animals sometimes sick or injured in crowded vans to clinics throughout the Portland area. Currently, OHS depends upon the generosity of local veterinarians who care for animals when they have openings in their schedules.
The Center will do more than care for the physical health of shelter animals. A greatly expanded behavior program will address the number one reason dogs are surrendered to the shelter: behavior problems. The Center will also house the nation’s first training academy for animal assisted therapy animals. These pet partners bring proven medical benefits and emotional support to hospital patients and nursing home residents.
The cost of the new shelter is $6.4 million. “We promised not to break ground until all funding was secured, and I know animal lovers everywhere will help us in this final week to make this dream come true,” said Sharon Harmon, OHS executive director (note: OHS successfully reached its fundraising goal in the following days, although donations are still being accepted to help offset rising construction cost and contribute to the operation of the new Center). General donations to OHS are also accepted on-line.
To see images of the groundbreaking festivities, visit our online photo album.