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Did you know that there are architects who specifically design architecture for dog shelters?

Some considerations in designing a dog shelter, per Petfinder:

  • Make it a place to learn with Kiosks and Computers It’s easy to stay informed and entertained while at the Oakland SPCA in Oakland, CA, which boasts kiosks, interactive computer stations and video presentations.
  • Location, Location, Location: Architects and leaders in the shelter community are stressing the importance of building in a predominately retail part of town. “Every time we convince town officials to put a shelter in a good location, adoptions double.” Prime locations come at a price, but the results are often worth it.
  • Color, Design and a Touch of Whimsy: Shelters need to stand out from the crowd. The Houston SPCA built a big modern barn with a pink granite lobby and teal green accents.
  • Landscaping: An abundance of plants and trees distinguish this kind of shelter from its retail neighbors. The shelter becomes “a quiet neighborhood unto itself because of the landscaping,” says architect Larry Connolly of Austin, TX, who specializes in shelter construction.
  • Murals and Graphics: Art brings people in, and that’s a powerful force in communities striving to build a bond that benefits their animals. At the Oakland SPCA in Oakland, CA, renowned animal artist Laurel Burch and her staff designed and handpainted murals of cats and dogs all over the shelter.
  • Let the Sun Shine: In Atriums, glass, plants and skylights go a long way to create an open, positive atmosphere. But the benefits of this kind of design aren’t just cosmetic. Ssome diseases can’t survive exposure to ultraviolet light. What’s more, sunlight brings warmth and a sense of well-being. Your resistance stays up.
  • Glass: Cat cages with a plexiglass front and a rear utility door for staff access can be found in many shelters across the country. This design, which lets folks view cats while the felines remain undisturbed by probing fingers, was pioneered by the Denver Dumb Friends League.
  • Clean, Really Clean: “Think simple in order to be neat and clean,” advises Gordon Willard, director of the Animal Protective Foundation of Schenectady in Scotia, NY, who visualizes the ideal shelter’s wall to be smooth and fast-drying so it can be washed down frequently.
  • Park-like Settings: Gardeners at The Pasadena Humane Society regularly maintain the animal-shaped topiaries. The shelter also boasts an outdoor area with benches, lush plantings, fountains and vine-covered trellises. Outside runs for dogs at the San Clemente Animal Shelter face a courtyard appointed with benches and a statue of St. Francis of Assisi.
  • Air Quality:  New shelters have heating, ventilation and cooling systems that exchange air as often as 15 to 20 times per hour, a rate unheard of in private residences or office buildings. Patti Mercer reports that the eight different air systems at the new Houston SPCA in Houston, TX, have dramatically reduced airborne diseases such as kennel cough and upper respiratory infections.
  • Noise: Shelters are experimenting with all sorts of acoustical and sound absorption technology. Plants and trees also help to reduce noise.
  • Behavioral Enrichment: Companion housing, communal play areas, durable easy-to-clean toys, plastic pools filled with water or sand, mobiles, aquariums, television sets, classical music, the smell of an orange… the list goes on and on.
  • Living As Nature Intended: Make the rooms and spaces match the natural needs of the animals. Faith Maloney, director of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UI, recommends, “vertical spaces for cats, grass pasture for horses and livestock, earth for rabbits to dig in and aviaries that permit flight for birds.”
  • Work, Play and Exercise: “Every shelter should incorporate room for an agility course and training room,” says Hafen, who adds, “Dogs need to feel like they can work to justify their existence.”

 

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