The "101" Department: Can You Hear Me Now?
Shelters turn down the volume with nifty design, cool construction, and enrichment programs
When the Potter League for Animals moved into its sparkling new $7.2 million facility in Middletown, R.I., in 2009, it was everything that executive director M. Christie Smith had ever wanted in a shelter.
Designed by ARQ Architects of Kittery, Maine, a small firm that specializes in animal care facilities, the new shelter was modern, spacious, and even LEED Gold Certified, the first shelter in the country to attain that benchmark for green buildings.
It was also missing something.
“The morning after we moved all the dogs in, I was standing in the lobby, and I went, ‘This is unbelievable, I can’t hear anything,’” Smith recalls. She had a staff member go and find a specific dog who was known to be noisy, and do something to make the dog bark. “So they got this dog barking, and I could hardly hear it. … It was so much quieter.”
That’s when Smith realized the one thing her cutting-edge shelter was lacking: the racket of barking dogs.