By Chris Mellides
A new dog park opened Oct. 6 for animals at Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center in Huntington, thanks to a $30,000 donation from real estate firm Signature Premier Properties.
Established in 1927, Little Shelter was chosen by the Huntington-based Signature in recognition for outstanding service and participation in Signature Cares, a community giveback program overseen by Signature Premier owner Peter Morris and his colleague, Kathy Kirby-Viard.
“Every year, Pete and Kathy pick a charity that is important to them and important to the company and to Signature Cares, and this year it was all about the animals,” said Lisa Rosof, chief financial officer of Signature.
Rosof said that it all started with a phone call from Morris to the shelter asking their special programs manager, Arleen Leone, if there was anything Signature Cares could do for the shelter.
“We spoke with Arleen and she said, ‘Well, I know this could never be, but we have a hill that we would like to turn into a dog park for the dogs to run and play,’ and Pete said, ‘Let’s make it happen.’”
Work on the project began in the summer, where the 1.5-acre property on the grounds of the shelter underwent a radical transformation.
“The property was overgrown and it was filled with sticker bushes and it was really unkempt,” said David Ceely, Little Shelter’s executive director. “And what they’ve done is they’ve leveled it, and they’ve landscaped it and shored up all of our fencing so all of our dogs have this one-and-a-half acre piece of property to come off leash.”
Ceely says that the dog park allows dogs recreational playing time to bring them out of their kennels..
“The park will help prepare them for their new home and exercise them while they’re at the shelter, too,” Ceely added.
“A lot of people were involved in this,” said Rosof. “It took a lot of vision, it took a lot of thought, and it took time and caring to make sure that this project would be a success, and I’m happy to say that it is.”