It hasn’t been an easy couple of years for the Animalkind shelter. First, the Hudson, NY, cat rescue organization had to rebuild after Hurricane Irene devastated many parts of the East Coast in 2011. Then in May 2012, a fire started in the top floor of the facility — the only one not used by Animalkind. The water damage that resulted from the sprinkler system’s deployment destroyed items such as bandages and papers as well as the organization’s vet clinic; all the ceilings, walls, and floors; and a new heating and ventilation system. And once again, 150 rescued cats were homeless.
Founder Katrin Hecker was devastated and almost ready to give up. But the people of Hudson rallied around Animalkind.
"I stood there [after the fire] with 50 cats on the sidewalk, and it was the outpour of support that made me switch my whole point of view," Hecker told the area newsweekly Metroland. "This was a time where I had to bite my tongue, grind my teeth, take deep breath, and just go forward. I realized I owed it to the people who supported us, to the animals, and to the people who work there. I thought, ‘I cannot give up.’"
A local business donated a temporary shelter space. Well-connected cat bloggers got donations of food and cat litter flowing to the organization. Adoptions increased dramatically after the news about Animalkind’s tragedy, and the organization’s Facebook page is peppered with happy-ending stories about Animalkind adoptees.
Animalkind is trying to raise $150,000 in its Gimme Shelter campaign to rebuild in the now-gutted building. The organization’s plans include offering smaller rooms to house smaller cat communities; using high-tech impermeable materials for maximum hygiene; and building a fully operational surgical suite and infirmary in order to provide on-site care for sick or injured animals and save costs in the long run by performing spay/neuter surgeries at the shelter.
At this point, Animalkind has raised about $40,000. It has a long way to go, so if you’ve still got some year-end donations to make, Animalkind could certainly use your help.
Hecker was recently named a local hero by Metroland. Hecker shows her heroic attitude by maintaining a positive attitude and looking forward to the future.
"With the old space we really improvised," she says. "Now we can make it really perfect."