By Angela Rodriguez
Gordon College News Service
September 5, 2011
(This story appeared in print and online September 6, 2011, in The Gloucester Times.)
GLOUCESTER, MA –Christopher Cutler Rich’s short life will always be remembered now that the Cape Ann Animal Aid (CAAA) has re-named its new shelter after him and re-located to 401A Essex Avenue, aka Paws Lane.
Christopher was killed in a bicycling accident when he was ten years old. Because the family knew how much he loved his dog, their generous support has helped build the new shelter which is now located out of Gloucester off route 128 on eight acres of land near a cemetery, away from residential neighborhoods. It is a private area for the animals and staff to enjoy, said Cindy Dunn of Gloucester, 48, volunteer co-chair of the fundraising campaign.
“It has been preserved in its natural state with walking trails for the animals,” Dunn said, “and the shelter was built to withstand the types of natural disasters we’ve witnessed the last few weeks.”
The new shelter will cost $2 million, and Dunn said they have raised about 98 percent during the three-year building process. The building’s foundation is complete and a second challenge grant of $300,000–which has been awarded by Linzee Coolidge of the Dusky Foundation–has also been matched. The shelter is an eco friendly building with solar panels to cut down the cost of electricity.
“I think people will still go out there,” said Executive Director Sunniva Buck, 37, of Gloucester. “People are social based and use the Internet these days. Local constituents who support us know where to find us.”
The weather has played a large part in delaying the building for five months in the winter. Jim Welch of Dracut, 49, supervisor of the building process said, “we can’t nail down a completion time, but hoping within the next three months to be done.” Welch said the entire process has an “adjustable schedule” due to safety concerns and weather conditions. When the building is complete, the 200 volunteers of the CAAA will begin to transition into the new building.
The current building is a small structure that has been used for the housing and caring of animals on Main Street in Gloucester. After the transition into the new building, the old building will be put up for sale.
The new shelter is 7,500 square feet with two floors, which will double the capacity. The building, according to Dunn, will have spacious comfortable exam rooms, isolation rooms for the new animals, vaccination rooms, and a room devoted to elder cats, where many will live out their days.
The new location will have a security system for the animal’s protection, and there will be volunteers for night rounds with the new building. Buck says she is looking forward to the completion of the new location, and to getting the animals into a larger, friendlier atmosphere.
“It’s not only increasing our capacity, but increasing the quality of the environment in every way,” she said.