Spokane Humane Society shelter dogs, cats and other critters, and the humans who care for them, will soon have some nicer digs, thanks to a remodeling project at the shelter, a project that is going on right now and is scheduled to be complete this Thursday, Feb. 25. You can see some photos of the construction in this blog, but don't forget to tune in to KXLY 4 at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, to watch the Extreme Team Big Reveal live.
KXLY 4’s Extreme Team, led by meteorologist and KXLY 4’s Good Morning Northwest anchor Mark Peterson, has been hard at work for the last week improving the shelter’s lobby and kennel areas, and portions of the exterior grounds.
For this project, the Extreme Team includes general contractor Garco Construction and several subcontractors. In addition, the team includes volunteers from the community, and I’m happy to say I’m one of them.
My wife and I recently became volunteers at the shelter, and we’re really just getting our feet wet as dog walkers and shelter helpers. For me, the remodel project is sort of right up my alley. In recent years I’ve worked in construction in Spokane, doing commercial remodel projects with a local construction company. So I'm happy to volunteer my time for this project. It’s a fun way to have a real hand in improving the shelter.
One of the interesting things to me about being involved in construction projects is seeing them unfold from demolition to completion. What you see in the pictures in this blog entry are things that most people never see or even consider when they walk into a building. Behind all those walls and paint and floor coverings lie the dedication and hard work of people who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, people who bring specialized skills and experience to the job to create the spaces where we all work and live. As remodel jobs go, this one isn't all that big, at least as I compare it to the remodel jobs I've worked in the past. But the people involved in this project represent a wide range of specialized construction skills that any comparable remodel needs, from carpenters to electricians to heating and air specialists to painters, and even, potentially, plumbers. There's a crew dedicated to turning the bare concrete floor into a smooth, attractive surface to walk on. And where would this project be without the excavators who've done some heavy lifting on the exterior grounds?
And, of course, I can't forget the volunteers. The speed with which this project will be completed relies a great deal on volunteers taking care of the work the other tradespeople won't be able to do while they concentrate on their tasks. I was happy to find myself among U.S. Air Force people from Fairchild Air Force Base who volunteered as groups to take part in this project. For readers who don't know, Fairchild Air Force Base on the West Plains near Airway Heights is home of Air Mobility Command's 92nd Air Refueling Wing. The 92nd ARW provides air refueling, passenger and cargo airlift, and aero-medical evacuation to support United States conventional operations and Strategic Command deterrence operations (Wikipedia). The base is home of the KC-135 Stratotanker. More information about the base is here.
For the two days that these photos cover, people from the 92nd Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 92nd Contracting Squadron lent their energy and enthusiasm to the project. As I write this, I expect to work with more Air Force people during the second half of the project. As a retired USAF master sergeant, I feel right at home.
I don't know who all the volunteers have been or will be for the duration of this project. But I'm certain the Spokane Humane Society staff appreciates all the people who have volunteered for this project so far, as well as those who will volunteer in the coming week as the project proceeds to completion.
Besides being retired military, my work background includes commercial construction that fits right into this remodel project. But as a photographer, this project called to me in a different way: Put my photography skills to work to document the project as it progresses. This is a story worth telling, and I can do that with words and pictures. I have a web site; so I have a platform where I can share this project with, well, the world. And why not do that?
The Spokane Humane Society has the noble purpose of sheltering unwanted or neglected animals and helping them find their forever homes. If we can help them, even in a small way, we want to. My wife and I have had two pairs of wonderful dogs in our family over the last 25 years. We love dogs and like the idea that we can volunteer to help shelter animals find homes.
As you read this blog and look at the photos, know that you, too, can help the Spokane Humane Society in its mission to care for the animals in its care. You can volunteer to help with this construction project while it’s underway. But if construction isn’t your thing, there are other ways you can help the shelter.
It’s easy to volunteer. Just visit the Society’s web site to sign up. They do appreciate all the help volunteers provide, and they’ll appreciate you being a part of their team. Volunteers can help in several areas: K-9 Crew, Feline Friends, foster care, outreach, front desk and the clinic. Volunteers are crucial to the Spokane Humane Society's mission. From the Society's web site:
"Volunteers focus on the general care of the animals, including feeding, exercising, socializing, grooming enrichment and training. Each year, our staff and volunteers conduct over 100 adoption outreach events. More than 500 active volunteers log in over 25,000 volunteers hours annually. We could not provide the quality of care to our animals that we do without the time and commitment of our volunteers."
The remodeling project won't update the entire facility, but it will update the lobby, the floors, some of the kennels, and some of the dog-walking grounds around the facility. Jenna Carroll, the Society's volunteer, foster, outreach and social media coordinator, told me the facility hasn't been updated on this scale since it was built in 1973. She said most of the money donated by the public goes toward animal care, and because of that "we never have the funds to update this old building, which it needs. From leaks, to floor cracks this update will help our building be sustainable so we can continue to help animals in need."