CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The Chesapeake Humane Society will soon have a second home. It’s thanks to a generous donation from an animal hotel that recently shut its doors.
Not only does this donation allow the Chesapeake Humane Society to expand and find homes for more adoptable animals, it enables them to launch a new crisis boarding program.
The Las Gaviotas Pet Hotel in Chesapeake has boarded pets for more than three decades, but the pandemic forced it to close its doors.
Instead of selling the building, they donated it to the Chesapeake Humane Society, which was already looking to expand.
“When we were approached with this opportunity to have them donate their facility and their property to us, we were just flabbergasted, it was such an amazing opportunity,” said Chesapeake Humane Society Executive Director Lacy Shirey.
Shirey says they took over the building in January. Renovations are already underway.
Not only will the building create more space for adoptable animals, it will also allow the shelter to offer crisis boarding.
“We’re calling it ‘Stronger Together’ because it’s a program that is intended to help families going through crisis stay together with their pets,” said Shirey. “So if they are faced with a situation where they are losing housing for some period of time, a short period of time, we will house their pets for them.”
Shirey says people can use their crisis boarding through a referral from social services.
“We want to make sure that the individuals and the families are getting the help that they need so that they do have a long term solution to this and that this is not, kind of like, a repeat thing,” she said.
The Humane Society is also working on partnerships with the HER Shelter and Samaritan House.
“We are focused on helping victims of domestic abuse, victims of human trafficking, families displaced from house fires,” Shirey said.
People facing medical emergencies or eviction because of the pandemic can also use the program. It will be either low or no cost as the shelter will work with families.
“Everybody’s situation is different so it’s really going to be a matter of communication and working with each individual family about what their needs are,” said Shirey.
The ultimate goal is to keep pets and families together, even through crisis.
“We know that human-animal bond is so important and we really want to break down the barriers of pet ownership being why you don’t seek help,” Shirey said.
Shirey says they hope to open the new building and crisis boarding program in the fall. She says they are asking the community to spread the word and volunteer and donate, if they’re able.
The new facility is located at 1149 New Mill Drive, just off Cedar Road in the Great Bridge area of Chesapeake.