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Heading Home!

by Rebecca Hazen - June 30, 2016

Second Chance Animal Sanctuaries is almost finished building their Heading Home Center, and will be ready to accept pets later this summer. The Heading Home Center, located at 725 Gee Road in Middlebury Township, is a place set up specifically to help lost pets get back home, and to help other pets to quickly find new homes.

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Police, the Park and Recreation system, and the Game Commission will be able to bring abandoned, lost, or injured pets there. If the pets are injured, they will go directly to a veterinarian before they come to Heading Home.

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“During the time they are here, (about 60 hours) we are doing all that we can to find their home. After 60 hours, then we try to find a second home,” explains Jim Howe, President of Second Chance Animal Sanctuaries.

In the meantime, while Heading Home is trying to make contact with owners, the cats and dogs will each have their own separate rooms with kennels, all with access to outside kennels. There will also be a special room for kittens and puppies, as well as an isolation room for pets who are new mothers or need to recuperate from surgeries.

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“They are somebody’s pet,” Howe says. “We want to work with these pets so that they feel like they are home.”

There is also a main room in the building that has been nicknamed “the Watch House.” From there, volunteers will be able to watch surveillance of the whole building. The goal is to always have someone there, keeping Heading Home open 24 hours a day.

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“The purpose of this building is to bring animals in that have critical needs because they don’t have a home,” says Howe, “We keep saying that we want the back door to be larger than the front door, because we went them out to a home. They shouldn’t have to be here. They need to be with a family.”

The volunteers at Heading Home have many different ways of finding a family, from using Facebook and their website, to networking with all of the people that they know. If you find a lost pet, there will be a toll free number to contact Heading Home. Howe says to always call first, to give them a heads up.

The Heading Home Center has truly been a community effort. According to Howe, the 10 acres of land that Heading Home was built on was donated and belonged to Dorothy Condict. All local plumbers, electricians, and carpenters offered their time and skills to help build. A big tent was donated by Agway, which will be used outside for events and for training of dogs.

Additionally, an art club will be painting murals all over the walls. As a memorial to Dorothy, one of the walls will have a giant willow tree with wildflowers painted on it, because of the willow tree and wildflowers on her land. The outdoor cat kennels have a touch of color on them, too, with famous cartoon characters Sylvester and Garfield already decorating the space.

“This is a community building. It is not supported by the government, but instead all through community donations. We have plaques being made right now for the people who have donated their help and time,” Howe says.

In the future, there will also be education programs for kids.

“Partners and Progress said that they would come out, and the Boy Scouts said they wanted to do some projects here as well. That is what keeps a community building going,” Howe says.

There are also plans for a dog park to be made at Heading Home. People who want to walk their dogs, but may not be able to for reasons such as injuries, can drive right in, close the gate and let their dog run around and have some fun.

There will be room for about a dozen dogs and two dozen cats at Heading Home.

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“It will hopefully be a strong addition for Tioga County. Not only will it be for lost pets, but it will also be an education center and a place for training. It’s not a giant place, but it can do giant things,” Howe said.

Donations are always welcomed. People looking to donate can find a list of items on their website, www.secondchanceas.org. According to Howe, they will always need blankets, food, and donated time.

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