It’s a whole new world at the Guelph Humane Society.
The lights are brighter, the air is cleaner, the noise is drowned out and the animals are walking around in GHS’s new $10 million facility at 190 Hanlon Creek Blvd.
“I feel like I’m floating on a cloud over the last few days,” said Adrienne McBride, executive director of the GHS about the move which officially completed on the weekend.
The massive facility — which is six times the size of the old building on Wellington Street— includes exclusive rooms for farm animals, wildlife, cat adoption, dog adoption, grooming, medical treatment, animal quarantining and two large community rooms.
A large area in the entrance hallway will be able to incorporate seating and a little retail shop as well.
Animals officially began moving into the facility on Monday from foster care. McBride said the GHS has approximately 70 animals in its care right now which includes cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and rats.
“We wanted to do the move at this time of the year because it's when we have the least amount of animals before the kittens are born and we get into the summer rush,” said McBride adding that while the new building is not entirely finished, it was important for them to move in as soon as possible.
Incomplete work consists mostly of exterior projects such as the outdoor dog run, and the play exercise yard. Dog adoption kennels will allow dogs to run outdoors and come back to their kennels as they please.
McBride said the much-anticipated move has been very exciting for staff.
“The whole team has really come together and brought the new space to life. Everything is going as we planned,” said McBride.
She said for years, the GHS dreamed of building a facility that would better suit the needs of the community and the animals.
“Today we’re in that dream and operating,” said McBride.
Monday afternoon saw three dogs and three cats moving into the new facility. The remaining animals in GHS’s care were in the process of moving.
“The animals are going to be so much happier,” said McBride.
She said animals are able to move around freely, giving the example of Lord Fluffy who was contained in a stainless steel cat cage in the old facility and now roams around the cat room with ample space to walk around, stretch his legs and even take a look out of multiple windows.
“They seem really happy to be here,” said McBride.
The new cat rooms have portalized cages which allow cats to enjoy additional space when needed by going up or down a cage, essentially keeping them happier and thus, healthier.
McBride said some of the notable features of the new facility include the brightness of the space inside, the installation of light switches with dimmers and enhanced air quality.
“Cats can only smell the air from the cat room, they can't smell the dogs,” said McBride adding that in the old facility, dogs wanted to chase cats after smelling them, creating a stressful environment.
“All the little things which make the stay for the animals better is going to be better for everybody.”
GHS returned to its regular working hours on Monday but is not ready to have visitors just yet.
“As soon as we can open we will,” said McBride.
She said it's been hard to experience the entire move without the community during the pandemic.
Community fundraising has been instrumental in building the new facility. McBride said the entrance of the building will include names of donors on the walls to recognize their support.
“We can’t wait to open the doors and have the community members come in and really change the experience of the Humane Society,” said McBride.
“With our open cat rooms, they’ll be able to walk right into that space with the cat and have that interaction,” said McBride.