Animal Shelter to begin reopening
Wed, 08/04/2021 - 11:44am caleb
Facility to transition from appointment only adoptions to being open on a limited basis
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The AuSable Valley Animal Shelter is reopening on a limited basis starting this week after months of operating on an appointment basis only.
Beginning this week, the shelter will be open on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shelter officials ask that people ring the bell and enter one at a time. People can also still schedule appointments. Shelter officials ask that visitors wear masks inside of the facility regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
Cheryl Postma, AuSable Valley Animal Shelter Manager, said the shelter plans to be open more days of the week soon as it increases staffing levels.
“We’re going to step reopen, a little bit at a time,” Postma said. “The community has kept this place alive. It would be nice if they could come back in so we could thank them.”
Postma said during the pandemic – with people not coming into the facility – shelter workers discovered that keeping people out of the dog kennels during the adoption process proved to be a better method. It’s a “less stressful way to view the dogs” because the dogs tend to become hyper when visited by strangers, Postma said.
“It took the pandemic to learn a better way,” Postma said.
Now, the shelter uses a tablet to show people information and photos of the dogs and shelter staff members can bring dogs out of the kennel one at a time if people wish to possibly adopt them.
When the pandemic first reached Michigan last year the shelter initially conducted off-site adoptions and then transitioned into appointment only adoptions at the facility. Shelter officials said adoption numbers have been high during the last several months.
“We were really busy. Our adoption numbers throughout the pandemic were through the roof,” Postma said. “A lot of dogs and cats found permanent homes.”
The pandemic has offered a variety of challenges with regard to the Animal Shelter’s adoption efforts. It takes longer to get the animals ready for adoption with veterinarians being backed up, the shelter received fewer donations, the facility couldn’t “accommodate spur of the moment things,” and sometimes people didn’t show up for appointments, Postma said.
The Animal Shelter is also reopening itself to volunteer help. The shelter needs people to walk dogs and socialize the cats by sitting with them in the cat room, Postma said. To receive a volunteer application, call the AuSable Valley Animal Shelter at 989.348.4117.
People can also help the shelter by making donations. The Animal Shelter has two separate donation boxes outside its gate: one for empty soda cans and one for items such as food, blankets, towels, and toys. Monetary donations can be made at one of the many collection boxes at local businesses, by mail (AuSable Valley Animal Shelter, PO Box 384, Grayling MI, 49738), or online at www.ausablevalleyanimalshelter.org.
To subscribe to the AuSable Valley Animal Shelter’s email newsletter, contact the shelter via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AuSable Valley Animal Shelter is located at 5786 Fairground Lane (Crawford County Sports Complex).