Supporting Humane Society’s growth

Published 9:33 pm Saturday, September 3, 2011

Depending on one’s perspective, the fact that the Suffolk Humane Society has been so long without a permanent home is either fitting or unacceptable. There might be some irony to the continuing search for a home by an organization whose purpose, in part, is finding permanent homes for abandoned pets. But that irony is outweighed by the fact that Suffolk Humane’s ability to accomplish its mission has always been hampered by insufficient facilities and short-term solutions to the problem of needing a permanent headquarters.

To be sure, the young organization has been blessed by those who have offered it space in recent years. Each new facility has been larger than the one that came before it, and each offered improvements in the ability to meet Suffolk Humane’s needs and those of the animals the volunteers sought to rescue. But the temporary solutions ultimately left the animal welfare group at the mercy of owners who ultimately would need to put their spaces to more profitable use.

By signing a long-term, low-cost lease with Suffolk retailer Allison Dodson this week for a building on Nansemond Parkway, the Humane Society has been granted a bit of breathing room, both literally and figuratively.

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Once fully renovated, the new office will provide a reception area, housing for cats and kittens and a room for animals that are sick or recuperating from surgery. The parking lot will allow space for the Neuter Scooter, a mobile surgical unit from the Virginia Beach SPCA that visits Suffolk regularly. And a garage will provide a place for animals to recover from those surgeries.

Leaders of the organization continue to hope that a larger, even more appropriate space for their animal-welfare activities will be a part of Suffolk Humane’s future. But this new lease will give them time to save money toward that goal and a place to operate at a higher level than has been possible in the past. The organization and the community at large owe a debt of gratitude to Dodson for her help.

One way the people of Suffolk can express that gratitude is through their support of Mutt Strut, Suffolk Humane’s annual fundraising event at Sleepy Hole Park, scheduled Sept. 18. To learn how to help, call 538-3030 or visit