Helen Woodward Animal Center hittin’ the trails

The blog’s been a bit quiet over the last couple weeks… the reason… we’re doing some major moves next week!!

20 years ago we wondered how long it would take before  Helen Woodward Animal Center would outgrow its existing facility. Since then the neighborhood has grown. There are homes and businesses where weeds once grew. Children go to school and play soccer today where a handful of cows chewed their cud just a few years ago.This Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 we’ll put one paw ahead of the other and take a step into the future of Helen Woodward Animal Center when we dedicate our new 20,000 square foot building at 6523 Helen Woodward Way in Rancho Santa Fe.


Forty years of dedication will bring Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) to a, “Dedication Ceremony” this Saturday, April 16, 2011.

  • At 12:30 donors, board members, relatives of the late Helen Whittier Woodward, and corporate sponsors will gather at 6523 Helen Woodward Way (formerly Calle Del Nido) in Rancho Santa Fe for the ribbon cutting and dedication.
  • At 3:30 staff members, volunteers, and supporters will get their first glimpse of the new small animal medical facility and administrative offices.

“It’s not exactly Noah and the Ark,” says HWAC spokesman John Van Zante. “But this move is a major undertaking after more than 35 years in the first building that Helen erected to care for orphan animals and to educate children.”

Bryce Rhodes, Chairman of the Center’s Board of Directors and grandson of Helen Whittier Woodward, believes his grandmother would be pleased. “She had a great love of animals. It would definitely make her happy to see what has become of the work that she began when she bought this property 40 years ago.”

HWAC President Mike Arms says that the new facility has been a long time coming. “Even before I arrived at HWAC in 1999 there was already talk about the need to expand in order to continue serving the community that has grown around the Center. It’s been my honor to lead us through this phase of construction and into the future of the Center.”

Van Zante says the new building, located near the original entrance of the Center on San Dieguito Road, covers 20,358 square feet.

While the mailing address for HWAC will remain as P.O. Box 64, Rancho Santa Fe, CA, the physical address will become 6523 Helen Woodward Way, Suite 100.

Phone service and computer operation will be temporarily interrupted on Monday morning, April 18th as communications links are moved to the new building. Until that time, contact Helen Woodward Animal Center at 858-756-4117 for more information.

2 responses to “Helen Woodward Animal Center hittin’ the trails

  1. I spoke by phone several weeks ago to someone at your center regarding a forever home for my beautiful, healthy cat. I’m moving to Australia and cannot take her, and am more than upset over that. The person from your place told me that I would have to pay you several thousand dollars to bring her to you to find a home for her.
    Maybe I misunderstood, but do you actually charge people for bringing in animals to adopt out? If that’s the case, why do you advertise being non-profit?
    Thannk you
    Elizabeth Peterson

    • Elizabeth, thank you for your question.

      Pet adoption at HWAC is a life-saving… but always a money-losing business.

      When a dog or cat arrives at the Center we begin with a complete health examination by our DVM and a trained Veterinary Technician. Vaccines are brought up to date and, in accordance with San Diego County law, all pets must be spayed or neutered before they can be adopted from an animal shelter.

      We perform temperament exams to determine the best home for the pet (adults only, older children only, any family, with or without other dogs or carts, etc.) And each pet receives a micro-chip identification. This all costs money.

      Once the pet is accepted into our adoption program it receives regular care including food, any medications necessary, exercise, play time, and socialization. If there are any training or behavioral issues…..we continue to work with the pet. (In many shelters….“problem pets” are simply euthanized.)

      So now the pet has been transported to the Center, been fully evaluated, brought up to date medically, and is receiving daily care. But we’re not a sanctuary. Our goal is to find a family for your pet. So we post its photo and description on our website. Like any successful business…non-profit or for-profit…we advertise. We spotlight available pets during Public Service appearances on:

      • 5 of the top 10 rated radio stations (on the air and on their websites) in San Diego
      • The #1 rated local morning TV show
      • In the three top newspapers in San Diego County and numerous other print publications
      • San Diego Pets Magazine (Pet of the Week on their website and monthly in their print publication)
      • And anywhere else that will help us to find a new family for your pet.

      Once a family comes to the Center our staff introduces the pet to the people. We answer questions and make recommendations. If it looks like a good match, we conduct interviews, educate the family about what they can expect if the adopt your pet, and then either approve the adoption (our favorite thing to do) or decline the adoption if our experience tells us that it’s not a good match.

      To make sure that the pet will be welcome in its new home we sometimes need to contact landlords or Homeowners’ Associations.

      85% of the pets adopted from Helen Woodward Animal Center have been transferred to us from other shelters or rescue groups where, in many cases, they would have been euthanized if we had not taken them.

      Yes, we do ask for a surrender fee. It is not for several thousands of dollars. We admit that some people consider it steep… particularly for older pets that are more likely to have health problems. But your pet will receive the absolute best care available at any animal shelter anywhere. We will do everything in our power to place your pet with the family that will love it and care for the rest of its life… the same as you would if you were able to. And we promise… PROMISE… that your pet will not be put down simply because we ran out of space or because it ran out of time.

      That should be worth something.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s