One of the primary reasons senior dogs are surrendered at shelters is that an elderly human that cares for them either dies or is unable to continue caring for them. Ideally a family member or friend should step up to take them in but, all too often, this is not the case. These dogs often have medical issues and are often severely overweight, the result of a loving owner who overindulged them with treats but was unable to exercise them in any way. Whatever the case, they are too often deemed “unadoptable” and euthanized. Indigo has rescued these special seniors for decades, knowing full-well that many will live out their days in foster homes. But the fact is that there are simply not enough fosters to go around, and having a senior take up one of our limited number of foster homes means one less placement is available to help other dogs become adoptable.
In response to this dire need, we have embarked on a capital campaign to build “Lili’s Home,” a home-style congregate living facility for senior dogs. Lili’s home will not be a kennel. Instead, the dogs will live in a home-like setting, with cushy couches to relax on, televisions to watch, a beautiful yard to explore, friends to hang out with and humans who love them and care for them. Instead of cages, they will live in dormitories, where their roommates will be carefully selected based on needs, size and temperament to ensure that everybody gets along and that life is stress-free. In short, a retirement home in the country. We hope to begin with a capacity for up to ten dogs in each of four dorms.
We are currently searching for an appropriate property on which to build. There are numerous (and sometimes ambiguous) restrictions for “kennel” facilities in Washington and the surrounding counties, so finding an appropriate property is more difficult than we had anticipated. It is important to us that the property be closer in to the city than the ranch in Vernonia because volunteers will play a central role in making the dogs feel wanted and loved. We are ready to move forward as soon as we identify a property and there is a little more certainty in the effects of the pandemic. In addition to Lili’s Home, this new property, which we will call “Indigo Acres,” will also house a resident manager, offices, medical re-hab and whelping rooms—all activities currently housed in private homes and extremely limited as a result. Indigo Acres will increase our overall capacity exponentially.
We anticipate paying approximately $750,000-850,000 for the property itself and, depending on the existing home and/or buildings on the property, another $100,000 to $200,000 for building and conversion. Wise investment has brought us very close to paying off the mortgage of our Vernonia property, and we have already amassed a sizable down payment for the new property.
What Sets Us Apart
Our work at Indigo Rescue requires that we think “out of the box.” The animals we serve require unique and highly individualized attention, and a traditional shelter facility could never provide the unique, nurturing environment needed for each individual animal. Our greatest asset is our small army of foster parents. Empowering them with the resources and support they need to do their jobs well is the most important piece of our program, and it is the focus of our effort.
That said, it is also the single greatest limiting factor in growing our capacity. Indigo Acres will be a wise investment, allowing us to focus our limited fostering resources where they can make the greatest impact on rehabilitating dogs for permanent placement, without sacrificing the needs of senior and chronically challenged dogs. In addition, centralizing offices and rehab/whelping resources will make delivering these services less stressful and enable us to make better use of the many volunteers who want to help.
We recognized long ago that there is a lot of competition for a limited pool of available funding for animal rescues. We also realized that much of those resources are focused on numbers rather than the value of each wonderful, unique animal we serve. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to make ourselves more sustainable and less reliant on those limited resources by investing in our for-profit endeavor, Indigo Ranch Boarding. Prior to the shutdown, we were running at or near capacity at all times, providing us with a significant and reliable source of income, far beyond our fundraising capacity. Business is slowly rebounding, but we don’t expect to reach capacity again until the covid restrictions are lifted. We do know, however, that this business will continue to be a reliable source of funding for Indigo Acres.
Covid-19 has delayed the formal kick-off of our capital campaign and complicated our search for an appropriate property but, we are actively laying the groundwork so that we may hit the ground running when the world begins to get back to normal. Please follow us on Facebook to learn more as we progress.