Although the new 33,000-square-foot Animal Resource Center, which opened November 2 at 980 Guilford College Road, looks impressive, Jorge Ortega is not about looks but about functionality. Therefore, Ortega, director of Guilford County Animal Services, gave it a five-star rating.
The focus is on the well-being – both mental and physical – of the animals, as well as the staff, volunteers and guests.
“The facility (which replaces the old county animal shelter at 4625 W. Wendover Ave.) has brought people together under one roof,” Ortega said. “It improves animal care and shelter, provides plenty of natural light and reduces the spread of disease.”
The design was a collaborative effort of consultants and staff visits to other facilities to get ideas about what was best.
The new shelter includes a sterilization ward, neutral ward, surgical preparation areas and an animal intensive care unit.
There are separate suites for dogs and cats with work stations throughout the building to facilitate cleaning and care of the animals.
The indoor/outdoor kennels allow dogs to go outside in fenced and fenced areas, something that was not available in the old facility. Dogs can extend their legs and communicate with other dogs in playgroups.
“They have the opportunity to go out to get fresh air and go back to a climate-controlled atmosphere,” Ortega said. It makes animals happier, healthier and reduces stress.
“The kennels, which are twice their size, also eliminate dogs that are directly across from each other, so there is less barking. Dogs can relax, take a nap, or go outside at will. There are also outdoor areas for cats.”
Those looking to adopt animals can watch dogs, cats, or other small animals such as hamsters or birds through glass panes. They will be able to interact with a chosen animal on a patio covered with artificial grass or if the weather is bad they can use the introduction room inside.
Adoptions are available by appointment on weekends from 12-4pm and by walk on Wed-Fri from 12-4pm, those wishing to adopt must sign in and wait to be escorted to see the animals.
Stray animals not claimed within three days are not automatically killed. But the attachment isn’t supposed to be filled in either. Rather, the goal is to find homes for the animals when possible.
“We want to be a resource, not an end destination for animals,” Ortega said. “We would like to keep animals away from the shelter, but we will always save them here. That is our job.”
He pointed out that the center’s priority is to provide public health and safety. But pet adoptions play a huge role in Animal Resource Center programs, in addition to educating pets and helping keep owners and pets together.
“We partner with other organizations to offer programs around pet care and things like how animals are treated. Covid has made it difficult to do these things but we hope to do it again soon.”
The Animal Resources Center has a remote certification center in a pop-up store at the Friendly Center in Greensboro. It has partnered with All Pets Consigned to sell merchandise there and earn a profit from sales.
Adding to the success of the resource center/shelter is volunteering and promoting opportunities.
“We don’t want animals here without interaction,” Ortega said. “The nursery provides assistance to animals that are too young, sick, or have behavioral problems that prevent them from being integrated into a shelter. The nursery can last from two days to months.”
The adoption coordinator has a pool of volunteers from which to enlist assistance to meet current needs. They are provided with many resources to assist with the adoption program.
“We are always looking for volunteers to do various activities from taking animals for walks to providing other enrichment materials,” Ortega said.
“We ask people for their time, talent and treasure,” he added with a smile. “We can’t do what we’re doing without our volunteers.”
To learn more, look online at the Guilford County Animal Resource Center and click on Guilford County Animal Services.
Items needed by the shelter
Individuals or groups often collect much-needed items to help care for the animals housed at the Guilford County Animal Resource Center. Items currently required include:
• Dog treats – the kind with a delicate scent that are great for training and enrichment.
• New or slightly used large blankets or towels.
• Unopened and unexpired canned or dry dog food.
• Unopened and unexpired cat and dog rewards.
• New or gently used belts, preferably for large dogs.
How to donate
You can drop items for donation at any time in the donation drop box in front of the adoption facility at 980 Guilford College Road Greensboro, NC 27409.
If you have a large donation, group donation, or would like to run a donation drive for the shelter, contact Scarlson@guilfordcountync.gov.
See the Guilford County Animal Resource Center website and click on Guilford County Animal Services for other ways to donate and for a list of items the shelter cannot accept.