There used to be a lime-green room at the Palmetto Animal League adoption center where people could bond with their prospective pets as if they were in their own homes.
Staff members filled the nook with real furniture and called it the “lifestyle room,” a place where adopters and dogs could get acquainted away from cold, metal cages and noisy kennels. And to nobody’s surprise, puppies tore it apart.
So, PAL is letting it go to the dogs.
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The Okatie shelter is raising money this winter to transform the space into a puppy adoption center divided into four “stalls,” or large wooden pens, to increase how many dogs it can house and adopt out. The stalls will accommodate plenty of pups and the wood-shaving bedding will keep the room clean and fresh, no matter how excited their occupants get.
It is one of two projects for which PAL is raising money this month. The organization hopes to raise a total of about $2,000 to build the puppy stalls and about $1,500 to create new outdoor sanctuaries for its feral cat colony, located at a private site away from the Riverwalk Business Park shelter.
The teepee-like cat enclosures are being built from wooden pallets repurposed from food deliveries. Green tarps stretch over the shelters to block out wind, rain and cold — something especially important for the non-social, outdoor cats as temperatures fall into the 20s and 30s this month.
Building the stalls is a bit more complicated, but should be worth the effort, says PAL director Amy Campanini. While the organization adopted out about 35 puppies last month, Campanini thinks it could do even better if it had more room to show adoptable dogs.
On Wednesday, PAL’s first pen held blankets, toys, plenty of bedding and four squirmy, Labrador-shepherd puppies — and the room smelled clean, despite the dogs’ pint-sized bladders. There’s room for three more stalls in the room and a fourth by the front office.
“It speeds their way to adoption,” Campanini said. “It just makes it so much more pleasant for them.”