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ADOPT to renovate, improve quality of life for its dogs

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Naperville Sun
Linda Kane
September 6, 2011
Bella the Beagle represents multitudes of canines that will enjoy A.D.O.P.T.'s soon-to-be renovated play yards. The Naperville pet shelter needs dog walkers, temporary foster homes and, of course, donations during the approximately two-week construction period (A.D.O.P.T. photo)

Bella the Beagle is a typical dog. She loves to sniff and play and dig. But one day Bella almost met disaster.

While digging, Bella caught her collar under the fence.

Luckily, human caretakers at Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment saw the incident and quickly rescued Bella.

“We have never had any dog seriously hurt,” said Karen Pentimone, animal care supervisor at the Naperville facility. “We watch the dogs; we constantly check on them.”

But deteriorating conditions in the eight-year-old canine play yards have prompted shelter officials to take action.

Beginning Sept. 2, ADOPT Pet Shelter began an about $60,000 renovation of the outdoor play areas and fencing.

“We’ve wanted to do this for a number of years,” said Rich Glessner, director of operations, who added that the timing is right for improvements thanks to a recently received estate gift.

“(Renovations) have always been a matter of funding, so it was fortunate (the estate gift) came at a good time,” he said. “The opportunity was there to move forward.

“The fencing has withstood a lot of abuse over the years. (It) has deteriorated to where it posed a safety threat. We had to take the necessary steps to correct it.”

Glessner said besides removing the old, rusted, crooked fencing, the shelter’s six play yards, which consist of pea gravel, will be dug out and removed. Roughly 500 feet of new fence and 5,700 square feet of concrete will then create a new configuration, making more room for the dogs.

“We’ll go from six play yards to nine play yards,” he said. “We’ll also have seven additional isolation runs. (All of this) will give us more flexibility and more convenience to take out and handle more dogs.”

Although Glessner said the shelter is adding “probably only 20 percent more space,” the conversion to concrete and reconfiguration of the fencing will “make better use of (existing) space.”

Pentimone, who has been with the shelter for five years — first as a volunteer, then as an employee — says shelter officials have attempted multiple patch jobs.

“The dogs would dig little holes, and we’d try to fill them,” Pentimone said.

Glessner added that dogs easily dig through pea gravel, which washes down and is difficult, if not impossible, to sanitize.

“(Pea gravel) is the second worst thing to use next to grass,” he said.

Pentimone, who hopes the project will be completed by Sept. 17, says the shelter needs additional dog walkers and temporary foster homes for its 36 canine residents during construction.

“We don’t have anywhere to take the dogs to relieve themselves,” she said. “We need people to come in, take a dog outside before breakfast and let it relieve itself. We need people to come in and take dogs out of the building while we clean (in the morning).”

Pentimone added that “every little bit helps. Pop-ins are welcome.”

Day trippers are welcome, too.

“If you want to take a dog, put him in your car, go to the Riverwalk, go to a forest preserve, even take the dog home with you (if you can’t keep a dog over night) that helps, too!”

Pentimone said the shelter is also asking for dog foster homes during the about two weeks of renovation. At press time, Pentimone said she had placed four dogs in foster care and acquired three more foster applications.

Both Pentimone and Glessner take pride in ADOPT’s facilities for its canine friends.

“We have huge play yards (compared with other shelters),” said Pentimone, herself a dog owner and dog/cat foster mom. “We put the dogs together to give them some time to run around with their playmates. We take the dogs out about six times a day.”

And according to the shelter director, “there’s nowhere in the area to compare to what we have at ADOPT

“We want to improve the overall quality of their lives while they’re here,” Glessner said. “We lead by example.”

Contact ADOPT Pet Shelter at 630-355-2299.

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