For 10 years, Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue has been rescuing pets from animal shelters in Florida and Georgia – the third highest and fourth highest euthanasia state in the country – and brings them to a safe haven with colorful houses in loving houses until they are adopted. To celebrate the rescue of nearly 10,000 animals since it opened, the nonprofit Journey Home launched a $ 10 million campaign that will result in a new state-of-the-art facility where community members will have the opportunity have to do this. Join us. The expansion is expected to be completed in September 2021.
Construction began in March last year; Nate’s is currently working on a dirt road surrounded by the hustle and bustle of bulldozers and workers. The rescue usually has 10 huts for their dogs but is now limited to five, each accommodating about six dogs, and the staff are working on temporary trailers. Each house had to be moved to accommodate the expansion. Potential owners will also need to schedule a visit and wait in their car for a call. But that didn’t stop them from saying goodbye.
“We adopted 1,800 cats and dogs in 2020, nearly 2,000 before Covid,” said Rob Ogelsby, president of Nates Honor Rescue. “Now we have about 120 animals in our care at one point and about 40-50 adoptions a week.”
The Journey Home campaign has achieved 70 percent of its $ 10 million goal, with 100 percent matching of every donation from an anonymous donor. (What is left of the donor match will be used for supply and day-to-day operations.) The expansion will consist of a 22,000-square-foot welcome and adoption center and a 4,500-square-foot reception building that will accommodate more than 120 dogs and 60 cats at the same time, which increases the rescue capacity of the shelter by 25 percent. The welcome center will include a veterinary clinic, full-service care center, visitor café, and event spaces where the public can host parties.
“We are also planning a new dog water play center with a zero-entry pool,” says Ogelsby. “There will also be a covered deck, open green spaces, and walking trails that dogs can be trained on before they are adopted.” Cats will also have a new indoor / outdoor enclosure for people to interact with.
The expansion took four years and is divided into several phases. The entire property, including existing buildings, had to be raised two feet to include new underground storm sewers to keep it from flooding. Benderson Development is the site’s general contractor and employs 50 to 60 people a day who install plumbing and electricity. Ogelsby says going to work every day is a different experience.
“We are really excited about the opportunities the community will have to visit them and become more involved,” he says. Training courses are offered to all pets and owners in the community to keep them trained and out of animal shelters. The new veterinary wing will include trained medical staff who specialize in animal shelter medicine and will serve as a typical veterinary office where pets receive vital indoor and outdoor care.
“Unfortunately, many places that are unable to groom or exercise dogs and cats will euthanize them,” says Ogelsby. “With this upgrade, we hope to double the number of dogs rescued each year to over 3,000.”
Nate’s is typically 99 percent volunteer-run, but due to the pandemic, the shelter is run by six employees and a handful of volunteers. As soon as things reopen with greater capacity, the shelter’s staff hope to welcome the volunteers back to a brand new building, whether they’re dog walkers, kitten cuddlers, or treats dealers.
“Whether it’s kids having a birthday party, school field trip or corporate event, we want to be more committed to the community and expand our support system,” says Ogelsby. “Hopefully by the end of construction things will be normal enough to have a big opening party so everyone can come out and see this place.”
Click here to donate to Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue’s travel home campaign. Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue is located at 4951 Lorraine Road in Bradenton.