The Next 5 Years at Friends of Strays

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Greetings! Friends of Strays is starting a series of posts on our blog, “Stray Thoughts,” featuring topics related to our organization and big-picture ideas in the world of animal welfare and nonprofit work. I’m kicking off the first one with a peek into our vision for the next 5 years. 

As most of you know, we purchased two buildings just one block south of our current shelter at the end of 2020. The buildings will house our new cat and dog adoption shelters. The cat adoption center, which we’re calling the Cat Box, is currently under construction, and we’re planning the grand opening later in 2024. You will be so amazed when you see the Cat Box! It’s a state-of-the-art cat shelter with room for any cat who comes our way. We have five cat rooms that will be a mix of cage-free rooms and rooms with cage banks for those cats who need some private space; two kitten rooms, and two almost home rooms for cats who are struggling in the shelter environment or for bonded pairs who are much happier together. The almost home rooms give these cats a separate space where they can get all of the attention they need until they find their forever home. Stay tuned on social media and our website for sneak peeks of the Cat Box renovations as we are nearing completion! 

Phase 2 is for the dogs! The dog adoption center, called the Milkey Bone Dog House (named after the building’s sponsors, Kevin and Jean Milkey), will provide significantly more room for the dogs in our care. Currently, we only have smaller cage banks and a couple of dog runs at the shelter so we’re constrained on the number and size of dogs that we can care for at any given time. The Milkey Bone Dog House will more than double the space for dogs with a mix of individual rooms, dog runs, and a fantastic dog yard, giving our dogs room to run, play, and just be dogs while they’re here. The Milkey Bone Dog House is scheduled to open toward the end of next year. 

Once both adoption centers are open, the current shelter will transform into an intake and medical facility. There, animals will come for their initial medical exam, spay/neuter surgery, vaccination, and treatment of any medical issues, before they’re ready to transfer over to the adoption centers. 

We’re so excited about the future of Friends of Strays. With your help, we will continue to grow and help save the lives of animals in Pinellas County and throughout the state of Florida. 

Make sure to watch our emails, social media, and website for more exciting updates! 

– Dara Eckart, CEO

The main area inside the CatBox is lined with rooms to fit any cat's need.  
The main area inside the CatBox is lined with rooms to fit any cat's need: solo rooms, kitten rooms, and communal rooms.