For the animals currently housed at Goochland’s temporary animal shelter at Central High School on Dogtown Rd, fate hasn’t always been kind. But last Thursday, as the staff of the shelter and volunteers from Goochland Pet Lovers welcomed crowds of potential new pet parents to the facility, things certainly appeared to be looking up.

Under the shade of a large tent, a sweet-faced pit bull mix seemed content to accept as many back scratches and belly rubs as visitors cared to offer, while a few feet away another pup was in absolutely no hurry to give up its spot on Pet Lovers volunteer Richard Verlanders’s lap.

The afternoon adoption event, featuring food trucks, shelter tours and numerous “meet and greet” opportunities with dogs and cats available for adoption, offered the chance for the county to remind residents that the temporary shelter — despite being located somewhat off the beaten path — is very much open and working to get as many animals as possible into new loving homes.

As visitors perused the information tables and chatted with volunteers, Dr. Lori Elliot happily surveyed the scene.

Elliot, a co-founder of Glen Allen’s Shady Grove Animal Clinic, first became involved with the Goochland Animal Shelter over a decade ago, when she began pitching in to examine animals before they were adopted. Eventually she was hired on to serve as the shelter’s attending veterinarian.

Over the years she and the shelter staff have steadily increased the type of care that they are able to provide to the animals in their care, and are now able to provide rabies vaccination, deworming, and flea and tick treatment for the animals in their care.

As word got spread about what they were doing, donations began to come in. Those donations were quickly turned into more vaccinations, and better treatments for a wider range of ailments.

Then, a few years ago, planning began in earnest for a new, state-of-the-art pet shelter and adoption facility to be built on the site of the old facility on Hidden Rock Lane off of Fairground Rd. The county approved part of the funding for the project and Goochland Pet Lovers was founded in order to raise the remaining balance.

Elliot serves on the Board of Directors for the Goochland Pet Lovers, and says the partnership between Pet Lovers and Goochland County “is everything we could have hoped for.”

Like so many others, Eliot is looking eagerly ahead to the opening of the new facility, currently slated to be completed by year’s end.

While the animals are already receiving top-notch care, the new 14,000 square-foot space will vastly improve their chances of finding new permanent loving homes.

And that, said Elliot, remains their number one goal.

For anyone currently hoping to adopt a pet, the shelter is continuing to waive the adoption fee for all animals through the month of August.

The temporary Goochland Animal Shelter at Central High School is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information call (804) 556-5302.

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