Grand Prairie Animal Shelter Has Expanded
GRAND PRAIRIE – As you fall into autumn, fall in love with a new pet from the newly expanded and remodeled Prairie Paws Animal Shelter.
A recent renovation of the city’s animal shelter, Prairie Paws means the facility can house more puppies, kittens, dogs and cats. Plus, the occasional exotic pet looking for a forever home.
The expansion of the shelter began in March 2017, but the shelter remained open during construction. The expansion and remodeling finished earlier this year.
“The shelter was able to expand, tripling the amount of cat capacity and doubling the amount of dog capacity,” said Amy Sprinkles, Marketing, Communications and Libraries Director City of Grand Prairie. “It also included a new surgery area to allow better in-house procedures, new outdoor dog runs for play space, and a new meet-and-greet courtyard for potential adopters to meet with dogs. The remodel of the older building included a new air conditioning system that provides better air filtering.”
Following the $6 million expansion, Prairie Paws now has the capacity to house 70 dogs and over 75 cats. Feline numbers vary depending on ability to co-house kittens.
“Prairie Paws is usually consistently close to capacity, if not at capacity” Sprinkles explained. “Being in a large metropolitan area with an increasing number of residents, the homeless pet population has also increased, which was why the expansion was necessary.”
Prairie Paws is always looking for residents seeking to adopt a forever pet. But the shelter does so much more than find new homes. For example, they utilize programs that are good for the animals and the community while waiting to be adopted.
Animal Training & Education At Prairie Paws
For example, the shelter has a program called Home for Hounds. This program allows dogs a new chance at adoption by receiving training from inmates at the Dallas County Jail. Most of the dogs are adopted before having to come back to the shelter.
Prairie Paws works to educate the public on the importance of spay and neutering too.
“Prairie Paws works in conjunction with several clinics to offer low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to Grand Prairie residents to help reduce the homeless pet population and increase pet health,” Sprinkles said. “There is also a volunteer group, The Cat Crew, that assists with fixing feral cats.”
Prairie Paws has also expanded its foster program to allow more pets to find temporary homes.
“We are expanding our foster program to focus on the population of animals that have the most need,” Sprinkles explained. “Neonatal kittens, large dogs, and medical cases constitute a large demographic of shelter pets that have drastically increased chances of thriving in a foster home versus the shelter. By finding foster families willing to welcome these pets into their homes on a temporary basis – even if that means one pair of kittens a year – we will be able to see a huge jump in the number of lives saved.”
And whether it is adopting or fostering, the rules for adopting a pet from the shelter are very inclusive.
Finding The Perfect Match
As one of the shelter volunteers said, “There is a lid for every pot.” We feel that open communication beyond the time of adoption is key. We want our adopters to reach out to us if they are facing challenges with their new pet’s adjustment. Communication allows us to provide additional resources to support that match. Or find them a better fit for their homes. We also want to promote connections between the adopters and their personal veterinarians so that they can have a go-to for the life of that animal. It is our hope that an adoption is not a transaction, but the beginning of a relationship.”
It really helps staff find the best match when prospective adopters explain what they are looking for in a companion. Sprinkles said nine times out of 10, if you can tell a staff member what you envision as an ideal day with a pet, they can point you towards a good fit.
“Speaking from personal experience, adopting my dog was one of the best decisions that I have ever made,” said Lily Yap, Prairie Paws Animal Shelter Manager. “Rowling was five years old at the time, surrendered for needing too much attention. She was already completely house-trained and never met a person that she didn’t adore immediately. There is an old misconception about shelter pets, especially adults. People think there must be something wrong with them that made them end up at a shelter. Often, this is completely inaccurate, and the shelter is just a brief stop on the journey to their true home. Adoption may not be for everyone. We hope that more and more individuals will consider it when looking to add a new member to their household.”
For more information about Prairie Paws visit www.gptx.org/paws. Normal adoption fees are $70 per animal. Fees include sterilization, microchip implantation, core vaccines, rabies vaccination and heartworm testing, if applicable. The shelter updates photos and descriptions on the website twice a day.