The one thing that always stood out to me about animal shelters is the overcrowding. It’s absolutely heart-breaking to walk in and see the overwhelming number of cats and dogs crammed into cages and kennels – all of them desperately waiting for a forever home. When my mom and I went to adopt our dog, she was in a little kennel that was a bit narrow and cramped even for her – she wasn’t that big of a dog to begin with. I remember that the only items in her kennel were a stainless-steel water bowl, an empty food dish, and a very thin, very sad-looking mat that was supposed to be her bed. To seven-year-old me the scene immediately made me think doggie prison.
But that is the sad reality that plays out in many animal shelters across the country. It’s not that these shelters don’t care about the animals they take in, it’s that they don’t always have the space or the resources to provide better accommodation for them. The poor shelter dogs have to do with the bare minimum. But as so many people have observed, these cramped and crowded living conditions can take a toll on a shelter dogs’ mental health. Dogs are sensitive beings, and just like us, they get sad and depressed being in an uncomfortable kennel while they wait for someone to notice them and take them home.
However, there is one animal shelter operating out of Austin, Texas that is trying their best to change things for the shelter dogs that they care for. Austin Pets Live! has decided to test out a new housing approach, and it looks like such a lovely idea. Rather than placing their dogs inside the traditional kennels, this shelter is building their homeless dogs their own small cottages – each complete with an individual outdoor space, plus heating and AC.
The goal of the shelter is to provide their dogs with a more “home-like environment” while they wait for their forever family to adopt them. But another perk of these small homes is that the staff or volunteers can also use them as small office spaces. The idea was announced on the shelter’s Facebook page, along with a number of pictures that show some of the completed houses.
The post explained that these buildings were built with the goal in mind of providing a space for “decompression, training, and quality of life purposes.” The post further elaborated that “the goal is that the dogs assigned to these cottages will move in permanently until we are able to find a foster or adoptive home for them – no more kennel life for these lucky pups!”
And we can only imagine that must be such a relief to the dogs who will be occupying these new spaces. According to the Facebook announcement, the first round of lucky dogs will be moving in come October, where they’ll be living until they get adopted or fostered. And the shelter couldn’t be more excited about this new project!