New facility transforms humane society

ADDISON COUNTY — The local facility that area residents have known as the Addison County Humane Society has undergone a major facility expansion in the last year. With their new building, they have also adopted a new name, Homeward Bound Animal Welfare Center.
The name change was inspired by the organization’s attempts to distinguish itself as a locally run shelter that receives all support and contributions from individuals rather than any federal funding or national direction. The name is meant to communicate the main objective of the facility, which is to pair animals with their forever homes, according to Homeward Bound Executive Director Jackie Rose.
The newly expanded Homeward Bound facility on Boardman Street in Middlebury celebrated its grand opening Aug. 24 after almost a year of construction. While the previous building was overcrowded for both the shelter animals and the staff, the new facility is spacious and comfortable with about 7,500 square feet, allowing for comfortable, safe and humane treatment of all the animals within. Middlebury architect Thomas Warner was able to preserve some elements of the old building in the remodeling, encouraging reminders of the legacy and how much the organization has grown over the years.
In addition to the 14 dog kennels, 52 cat condos, 3 community cat rooms, a rabbit room, and both indoor and outdoor play areas for the animals, the facility has also expanded to include spacious room for volunteer training and community outreach.
“We hope with the new resources we have in the conference room, we can expand to offer seminars on humane treatment of animals to the public,” says Rose.
Such outreach programs could help educate community members on how to care for pets during different times of the year and manage special needs animals. Obedience or training seminars could also be offered.
Previously, the facility had only one entrance, making it often cluttered with animals coming in and going out (creating an opportunity for animals to come into conflict). The new facility is equipped with multiple entrances for intake or admissions and visitors or potential adopting families.
The medical examination room was also expanded, allowing for volunteers and veterinarians to provide the many services they offer every day to the 140 animals within the shelter walls.
Improvements to this facility were much needed and greatly appreciated. The cost of the renovation project totaled $1.12 million, according to Rose. With individual donations and a lot of community support, the shelter and its supporters have raised over 90 percent of these funds. However, they still have approximately $100,000 left to raise and are continuing to garner donations from the community.
Woofstock, an annual fundraising event for Homeward Bound that took place this year on Oct. 6, offered a move forward to meet that goal. Through pledges and donations, Woofstock contributed roughly $18,000 toward the fundraising goal.
Another popular fundraising event for Homeward Bound has been the 72-hour-long “radiothon” sponsored by 92.1-FM WVTK. This “Cash For Paws: You Say…We Play” event highlights radio hosts Bruce and Hobbes along with Jackie Rose. For a minimum donation, these hosts will play any song requested. All proceeds will support Homeward Bound.
Many other annual fundraising events help support the local shelter, as do the regular donation collection cans and membership donations collected throughout the year. With all of these ongoing initiatives, Homeward Bound will hope to meet their goals from this project as well as continue to support ongoing programs and services at the shelter. 

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