Town Lake Animal Center is moving to a new location and the space is beautiful. I recently took a tour of the new Austin Animal Center with Lori Galloway and Mindy Vescovo, co-chairs for Friends of Town Lake Animal Center. The two women, who have been friends since sixth grade, guided me through the shelter and explained every detail. Both were thrilled with the new building. The first thing I noticed upon arrival was that the outdoor kennels looked nicer than many private ones.
Once inside, it seems like the light fixtures are fluorescent, but in fact, they are rectangular skylights in the ceiling. We explored the cat and rabbit kennels and also group areas where they can play with others of their species. Each room has a cute name including the bathrooms which are labeled: “Tom Cats” and “Queen Cats” for the men’s and ladies’ rooms respectively. In addition to the titles, cartoon-esque animals proclaim the environmental focus on placards with descriptions like like: “Low Flow Faucets.” Lastly, there is a medical wing with examination and surgery rooms.
Once we were outside again, I learned that the group pens were designed to prevent the dogs from being exposed to too much direct sunlight, which would cause them to get overheated. The dog kennels allow the pups to be indoors or outdoors and if two dogs come in together, they can be put next to each other and see one another. Other than that, however, natural looking screens prevent the dogs from seeing others which cuts
down on stress and barking. Designed to filter noise, these enclosures will minimize considerably the sounds each animal hears throughout the day. The space is also air-conditioned or heated depending on the season. All of the design features keep the environment and the health of the inhabitants — dog, cat or bunny — in mind and attempt to reduce stress for all the animals. The shelter receives a number of pets from both animal control and the citizens of Austin. If the animal requires vet care upon arrival, veterinarians are on site to take care of them.
The purpose of the Green Gala, in addition to showing off the excellent new building, was to raise money to buy new equipment and help save more pet lives. The gala itself had over 200 attendees and the fundraising did not stop with the ticket. Inside the main lobby, 129 silent auction items were laid out. Some were pet-related including pictures of animals, baskets of goodies for dogs and cats to enjoy and even a dog sweater. There were many other pieces as well from jewelry to gift certificates and more. In attempt to raise as much as possible, the decorative centerpieces on each table, which were filled with dog biscuits, were then bought by participants. To round out the lovely night, the delicious food provided was by Catering with a Twist and the drinks were provided by local Texas companies. That night, Mindy and Lori announced that they had already been able to buy the blood chemistry analyzer, the most expensive singular item. All in all, the gross from the night was over $50,000 which will be enough to buy all of the equipment to be used in the shelter when it opens on November 12th.