New shelter gets a helping hand

Allison Foran, a horticulture student at the University of Guelph and Chatham native, spent time Friday at the new Chatham-Kent Animal Shelter helping put in plants, trees and shrubs to help beautify the outside of the new building on Park Avenue in Chatham.

The Friends of the New Animal Shelter in Chatham got a little help from their friends in beautifying the grounds of the new shelter, set to open to the public in the next few weeks.

A crew of volunteers got to work Friday morning, planting annuals and trees around the shelter building on Park Avenue, with folks from Union Gas Helping Hands, the Chatham Horticultural Society, the 2018 IPM Beautification Committee and students from the University of Guelph horticultural studies program.

According to shelter project co-ordinator Lynn McGeachy, the volunteers helped with the project’s financial goal to put the gardens in through donations and help with the planting of the garden.

“Many of these people are pretty seasoned gardeners so we’re pretty grateful for the help they are offering to us,” McGeachy said. “Earthworks has been very generous to us in terms of being able to help us stay within our budget in terms of our project. That’s what’s happening here today and in no time they will have it all planted and it will be beautiful.”

Edwinna Rawlings, with the Chatham Horticultural Society and the IPM Beautification Committee, said her IPM group had $1,000 from that event they wanted to use for other beautification projects and chose the new animal shelter as the recipient. With the $1,000 donation from Union Gas Helping Hands, she said the group had $2,000 to work with for the planting.

McGeachy said the progress on the new shelter is going well and a donor event is coming up soon, followed by getting the animals settled in the new space.

“The intention is to have a community open house June 8 and for all of us involved in the project, we can hardly wait to show it off, because it’s a fabulous asset for Chatham-Kent,” McGeachy explained. “Right now, it’s just efficiency work just trying to get those last little things done before they take occupancy of the building.”

She said thanks to a very generous community, a lot of items on the wish list for the shelter have been ticked off, but there are a few things remaining. The wish list for items needed can be found at for anyone interested in making a donation, and McGeachy said the Friends of the New Animal Shelter will continue to operate to help with any items the shelter may need in the future.


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