A Year Later – Evacuation Day

By Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester 


Today marks the anniversary of a time in our lives we will never forget. It was the hardest day we have had to endure in the history of Pets Alive Westchester. We had to evacuate our building and get every single animal out as soon as possible. We can still remember hearing the words from the engineer telling us, “you need to evacuate as soon as possible” and feeling a wave of disbelief run through us. Later, that wave of disbelief would touch every volunteer and supporter as well. Our world suddenly turned upside down and it suddenly became very ‘real’ how serious the structural issues of our building really were. Until we knew that our building was safe we couldn’t risk having our animals live in it or people entering it every day.


You can read the original blog we wrote: Emergency at Pets Alive Westchester

This is a blog we wrote during the time we were out of our building: Our Greatest Challenge

You Were There When We Needed You Most

The response from the community was overwhelming. Hundreds of people stepped up to help in any way they could. During the worst1932295_620587191344773_1890310929_n time in our history, YOU WERE THERE. You helped us, supported us and lifted us up when we needed it the most. A year later we are still in awe at the wonderful community that surrounds us and we feel incredibly blessed for all of our supporters and volunteers.

Back in Our Building

Now, back in our building and doing better than ever, we can look back at all we went through knowing that we can withstand any challenge that life may throw our way. We picked up where we left off on many projects such as new adoption rooms, a freshly painted lobby, new programs we have put in place such as training sessions for the public and humane education programs for schools. Our adoption rates have skyrocketed and we are better than ever! It seems as if we have this renewed spirit after all we had been through. It’s as if we now know for sure that we can get through any challenge. If we made it through that together we can do anything. The sky is the limit.

What’s Happening with the Building

closet crackingThe cost we endured financially from the evacuation was not something we anticipated or budgeted for – who would have thought something like that could happen? After months of drilling, soil testing and evaluating our property and building, the insurance company let us know that they weren’t going to cover any repairs, but eventually agreed to cover the costs of all the testing that was done.

The repairs need to begin right away now that the winter is over. This week as we mark one year from evacuating our building, we will begin to repair it. The harsh winter didn’t help with the severe freezing that occurred and the loading dock area in particular is getting worse. We are seeing movement happen throughout the building and I will tell you first hand it is nerve rattling to see. We have hired a contractor to make the building safe and they will begin working on the loading dock this week which is where the biggest issue is. We can only afford to do this one phase of repairs right now, but at least we will be able to rest assured that the area will be secure and safe.

This is money we would have used for other things but instead we have no other choice but to use it for repairs. Our needs are always great and we rely on our supporters to IMG_0261help us continue our great work of saving lives, rehabilitating when needed and finding loving homes for the animals in our care.

We rely solely on donations from supporters and do not receive any city or state funding. You are the ones that keep us going and your help is needed.

Thank you to all that help in so many ways.

Filed in Uncategorized by Erin Guilshan on Mar 13, 2015.  There are No Comments

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