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ARF’s new digs will feature a 40-kennel building, a welcome center and training facility. (Photo credit: Lena Yaremenko)

The highly-anticipated renovation project for the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF) will see their aptly titled brand-new “Forever Home,” nearly complete, with a soft opening next month and a grand re-opening slated for Memorial Day Weekend.

The newly revamped Wainscot campus of ARF is set to ensure safer, happier and all-around better conditions for not only the animals, but the people as well. “Forever Home” includes complete renovation of the grounds, offering new state-of-the-art facilities such as a training center, a 40-kennel building and a new welcome center for the presently 60-strong roster of canines and felines up for adoption.

Over the past 20 years, no changes or improvements have been made to the shelter, until 2021, when ground was broken to revamp the Daniels Hole Road location to better serve the organization’s ever-growing need for housing strays. As part of the facelift, their old adoption center was demolished, with a new construction nearly complete, creating a brand-new welcome center. Due to construction at the shelter, ARF staff presently conducts visits and in-person adoptions out of a mobile van Fridays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at their adoption center parking lot. According to executive director Scott Howe, that all changes next month.

“Our staff and animals will be moving back in over the course of April,” he says.

May 27th marks the official grand re-opening of ARF’s new adoption center, where Howe says there will be a ribbon cutting and celebration open to the public.

A rendering of the new Richard Wells McCabe Welcome Center. (Photo courtesy of Bacon Group Inc., Architects)

Since its founding in 1974, the folks at ARF continue to save and care for local cats and dogs without a home, providing a safe haven between when the animals are found to when they are placed in permanent homes. Since opening the original adoption center and kennel almost 40 years ago, nearly 35,000 cats and dogs were saved from euthanasia thanks to ARF’s efforts, according to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

After purchasing over 20 acres in East Hampton in 1980, ARF opened their location on Daniels Hole Road in 1985. Nearly 20 years later came the opening of a new medical wing, administrative wing, plus a renovated and expanded kennel.

“It’s time,” Howe says of their newest renovation. “With this new facility, our capacity can be easily doubled. However, this is about making life better for our animals. It’s not about bigger, it’s about better.”

The newly revamped ARF will no doubt ensure safer, happier and all-around better conditions for not only the animals, but the people as well.

“We wanted to, of course, make better spaces for the animals of ARF,” Howe says, “but also make better spaces for our doctors who care for them. These improvements will make it easier for the people to meet and understand the animals.”

The northeast corner of the new training center. (Photo credit: Lena Yaremenko)

The 8,400-square foot training center will promote an emphasis on training and socialization to ensure adoptability. This will include year-round obedience and agility classes available to the public, with classes offered in the evening as well for those pet parents working during the day. The training center will hold a gymnasium, viewing area, outdoor play yard, plus ample parking.

There’s a new 40-kennel building being constructed, built with noise mitigation and meet-and-greet rooms for adopters. The new kennel building will feature ample outdoor exercise areas. Additionally, ARF’s cat and kitten play rooms will include custom-built features for climbing and perching, along with newly installed HVAC systems throughout the entire facility, custom designed for the health and comfort of the animals and the people caring for them.

“We’re excited to have people back at ARF,” says Howe.

For more information, call 631-537-0400.