Supporting Pets and Families in Times of Crisis

The Crisis Boarding Center operates out of the Humane Society’s new donated facility on New Mill Drive, just off Cedar Road in Chesapeake.

Chesapeake Human Society Staff

A new crisis boarding program operated by the Chesapeake Humane Society helps animals and their owners stay connected with the help of a $100,000 grant from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation’s Alfred L. Nicholson Fund. Alfred Nicholson – nicknamed Captain Nick – died in 1997 at age 93 after serving on the boards of several animal shelters and the Canine Country Club in Virginia Beach. He left a gift in his will to the community foundation to create a field-of-interest fund, which promotes humane treatment and care of animals for three specific agencies - Chesapeake Humane Society, Norfolk SPCA, and Virginia Beach SPCA.

The Chesapeake Humane Society opened the Crisis Boarding Center in a former pet hotel donated to the animal welfare organization in 2021. The nonprofit partners with women and family support organizations, including The Samaritan House, YWCA, and the HER Shelter, to offer temporary pet boarding at no or low cost to people experiencing a temporary hardship, such as victims escaping domestic abuse or human trafficking, the affordable housing crisis, the families displaced by house fires, or people faced with unexpected medical procedures. The goal is to eliminate barriers for pet owners seeking social services and help keep pets with their families.

“Our new crisis boarding program helps pets stay with the ones they love at a time when that human-animal bond and companionship is so important,” said Lacy Shirey, executive director of the Chesapeake Humane Society. “We are partnering with wonderful organizations so they can do what they do best, provide support and care for people.” The Crisis Boarding Center operates out of the Humane Society’s new donated facility on New Mill Drive, just off Cedar Road in Chesapeake. The 7,000-square-foot building sits on three and a half acres, and it includes dog runs, caging, and a large outdoor play yard. The organization renovated a portion of that building for office and meeting space. Plus, the Humane Society operates an animal clinic at its Battlefield Boulevard facility, which also received an extensive renovation with the help of a $200,000 grant from the community foundation’s Nicholson Fund to better help animals in need.

The Battlefield Boulevard facility will continue serving the public with low-cost veterinary clinic services. Grant funding supported building upgrades, including furniture, a key card system, signage, a digital radiology unit, cages for small animals, cat beds and towers, medical supplies, and kennel repairs. The projects extend the organization’s mission to support homeless animals in Hampton Roads through adoption, low-cost spay and neuter services, vaccinations, dental services, and more.

“We are here to help the community with what we do best, provide support and care for pets,” Shirey said. Now, they can do so even more.

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