A rendering of the new Detroit Dog Rescue in Detroit’s Old Redford.
A rendering of the new Detroit Dog Rescue in Detroit’s Old Redford. (Provided by Detroit Dog Rescue)

The shelter plans to add a brand-new kitchen area, training facility, a puppy preschool for socializing young dogs and a maternity room for pregnant mothers.

As no-kill animal shelter Detroit Dog Rescue nears its 10th anniversary on Feb. 1, it has big plans for its future.

The goal is to move into a new 11,000-square-foot facility on the West Side of Detroit in the Old Redford neighborhood that is nearly five times the size of its current East Side location.

Detroit Dog Rescue executive director Kristina Millman-Rinaldi says that one day, she received a call from a veterinarian hospital with 10 practices that planned to close down a location. Instead of shuttering it, the hospital offered it to the no-kill shelter.

“I was shocked and so grateful,” Millman-Rinaldi recalls. “We had gotten to the point at our first location where we had issues with our laundry room not being big enough. We didn’t have a training room. There were so many things missing.”

Kristina Millman-Rinaldi gives a tour to Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings.
Kristina Millman-Rinaldi gives a tour to Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings. DDR

The new headquarters, which Detroit Dog Rescue is currently raising funding for, will fill those voids. The shelter plans to add a brand-new kitchen area, training facility, a puppy preschool for socializing young dogs and a maternity (spelled “mutternity”) room for pregnant mothers. But it’s not an easy process.

The building’s interior hasn’t been revamped since 1962, requiring a major overhaul. Millman-Rinaldi estimates the completed project to run about $1 million, with the shelter about halfway to its fundraising goal. Her hope, she says, is to move in by October.

“We have started the process of demoing the inside,” Millman-Rinaldi explains.

Once finished, Detroit Dog Rescue’s new headquarters will be able to house 68 dogs in its facility, which is 40 more than its current location. But the old center won’t shut down, Millman-Rinaldi says.

Instead, it will be turned into a low-cost spay, neuter and vaccination clinic.

‘Pet Pantry’

“We’re also going to have certain days where people can come and get resources,” she describes, “kind of like a pet pantry.” This will help people in the community support their dogs so they don’t have to turn to surrendering them, she continues.

“If all you need is some vaccinations for your pet, a dog license and six months’ worth of food, if it gets you through and you love your dog, we’re going to help you with that,” Millman-Rinaldi says. “We want you to keep your pet.”

Detroit Dog Rescue, which partners with numerous Jewish organizations in the area such as BBYO and AZA community service projects, says the past decade has seen immense growth for its program. Now, the new headquarters brings it one step closer to its mission of helping keep Detroit’s dogs safe and off of the streets.

“Here we are 10 years later, sustaining and learning,” Millman-Rinaldi says. “And that feels really good. We started as a renegade rescue, and we grew Detroit Dog Rescue as a group of people who wanted change.”

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