In the area of Harper Avenue and Lennon Street in Harper Woods, odds are you may see a lot more dogs than usual being walked multiple times a day, seven days a week. These dogs reside at the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society, a nonprofit organization that houses dogs and cats and finds new homes for the ones that are ready.
The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society is not always open to the public but it does hold an “Adoption Day” where people who are considering adopting a new dog or cat can come to the facility and meet a variety of animals and potentially adopt one.
“Now that we have an adoption facility, we have an open house every Saturday,” said Corinne Martin, president of GPAAS. “When the weather is nice we try to bring the dogs outside, and then people can go through the building and see the cats, kittens, and smaller dogs. People can also make appointments to come in and meet them individually.”
The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society relies on volunteer work and donations in order to keep things running, but running the facility and taking care of the animals can get expensive.
“We have about 75 volunteers, and they help with dog walking, which we do three times a day seven days a week no matter what the weather is, and they also help with adoption days. Veterinary care is about $10,000 per month, and that is with a substantial discount,” said Martin. “Our annual costs are about $300,000, and we are solely based on donations. We have no state or federal funding.”
Many of the volunteers have a reason or story as to why they decided to volunteer at GPAAS.
Nick Kostiuk, a volunteer, said he decided to join the GPAAS in 2013 because he wanted to help animals in need however he can after losing his own dog. Another volunteer, Terri Lloyd, began volunteering because she liked what GPAAS had to offer.
“When I was looking for a dog, this is where I found it,” said Terri Lloyd. “My husband and I both volunteer here and we love the organization. ”
Lloyd said that she volunteered at Michigan Humane Society prior to her time at GPAAS, but because it was so local and she was able to find the dog that she and her husband wanted from GPASS, she joined the staff and later became a member of the board. She also worked in the office during her 15 years as a volunteer.
GPAAS has helped find homes for over 8,000 animals since it opened in 1991. Martin said close to 200 animals have been adopted this year, which is slower than average, as they usually handle around 600 animals in an average year.
“In the adoption program we have about 85 dogs and cats, but we are housing about 60, the rest are in foster groups,” said Martin.
The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society has contracts with all the police departments in the Grosse Pointe communities as well as Harper Woods. They accept owner give-ups of animals, and take in any animals that the police departments bring them.
A priority for GPAAS recently has been upgrading and maintaining their social media presence. Lauren Feldman, the social media coordinator, saw the dire need for this when she started as a volunteer and took it upon herself to rebuild the website and social media accounts.
“We have a lot of volunteers that are very dedicated,” said Feldman. “But I would say that a lot of them are older, and in order to be sustainable we needed to improve our online presence. Anything you see online in the news or on social media is me, I saw the need and I filled it.”