The view just got a little rosier for pets waiting for their forever homes at the North Fork Animal Welfare League in Peconic.
According to Gillian Pultz, executive director of the NFAWL, the Shelter Animal Recreation Garden, or SARG, was created as a way to enrich the lives of shelter pets, to honor donors and their pets, and create a welcoming and educational environment for the community.
Phase 1, a fragrance garden for the cats, is just about complete. Located just outside the catterie, it features fragant flowers such as roses and scents such as mint.
The project was conceived by Greenport resident Marlene Ferber, who graduated from Cornell Cooperative’s master gardening program last year.
“Part of the program is volunteering, and I wanted to do something meaningful to me,” she said.
And so, Ferber said, while the NFAWL facilty on Peconic Lane in Southold is a beautifully run facility, the outside was “underutilized”. To that end, she set out to create an environment enriching for the animals.
A second purpose was to “invite the community in,” she said.
The shelter can be a gathering place for the community, with educational programs and events, and a meeting place for pets and potential adopters.
The first phase of the four phase plan is the fragrance garden for the cats, followed by an agility area for dogs, meet and greet areas and pathways for walking, sitting and reflection — and a long term dream of building a wading pool for dogs.
When the agility garden is created, the hope is to build a green wall of trees and bushes to shade the area and separate it from the shelter so the dogs who are watching don’t get overly excited, Ferber said.
“In this way our design is both functional and aesthetic,” the Facebook page for the project states.
A group of volunteers has come together to create the garden, with local nurseries donating plants. “Our fragrance garden is in full bloom and we are working on this year’s final touches,” Ferber said.
With planning for the agility area for dogs set to begin soon, additional materials, such as plants and hardscape, are needed to continue SARG — and additional volunteers are sought, as well.