By JEN CARDINES
On Thursday, March 2, the Southington Dog Pound was filled with local volunteers and police department officials, as Team Depot members rolled up their sleeves to take on renovations. They scrambled through every dark corner of the facility to give the space some much-needed, tender, loving care.
Team Depot is a nation-wide organization of Home Depot (HD) employees who volunteer their time for local projects. Every store across America has a team captain that coordinates the work, and all of the materials are donated through a Home Depot Foundation grant.
The South Southington HD, located at 1816 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, is led by team captain Bill Kiely.
Kiely and his team replaced rusting doors, painted the entry-way, office, and bathroom, and installed a center island desk for a more professional look at the pound.
They also fixed the wall surrounding an air conditioning unit that posed a safety hazard, pulled up old baseboard trim, and even added a large corkboard on the wall to hang pictures of the animals and post event information.
The current police budget proposal includes funds for an outdoor pen. If approved, the dogs can be treated to the outdoors, weather permitting. The current dog pound has no windows in the facility, so both animals and staff feel enclosed.
Assistant animal control officer Colin Narducci said that the reality of the pound isn’t like what people see in the movies.
“We rescue out dogs all the time, and we want it to be more family-friendly,” he said. “These renovations will make it more public-friendly.”
Southington native Val DePaolo organized a volunteer group to help alongside Team Depot, but her main goal involved continuous care for the pound. She worked with Animal Control Officer Josh Karabin and Town Attorney Mark Sciota to discuss volunteer opportunities at the pound.
“Our next step is getting public training set up and enlisting volunteers,” she said.
DePaolo’s group will need to receive proper training so that they can walk the dogs and spend time with them. She said that even if volunteers spend one hour per day with the dogs, they will grow more comfortable when people approach them.
Due to the high winds last week, outside maintenance couldn’t be done, but officials said that more work is expected as temperatures rise.
DePaolo and volunteers are planning a “beautification day” where they will fix up the outside grounds and add plants. The group intends to contact other local groups like the Boy Scouts to do a service project on the building’s grounds.
To learn more about the project or to make a donation, contact Home Depot’s Southington South location at (860) 276-6837.
Photos by JEN CARDINES