By: Dale King Contributing Writer
It didn’t take long for the new veterinary clinic at Tri-County Animal Rescue’s shelter complex west of Boca Raton to get its first customers.
On a hot June 19, with dozens of TCAR supporters gathered under a tent outside the building bearing the name of Palm Beach County philanthropist Lois Pope, a small dog and a kitten in need of medical care were comfortably sequestered inside the structure that’s part of a multi-million dollar expansion and upgrade of the nonprofit’s facilities on Boca Rio Road.
Veterinarian Dr. Crystal Ramsey cradled the frail, frightened kittie, which seemed much more comfortable resting on her shoulder in the air-condition room.
Located inside the first new building to open at the shelter site, the clinic is a high-tech, state-of-the-art medical facility with an x-ray machine, ultrasound, dental x-ray and dental cleaning apparatus and an MRI machine donated by the American Humane Society.
The opening of the clinic was made possible with a $2 million gift from Lois Pope to complete the center. Pope, widow of former National Enquirer publisher Generoso “Gene” Pope, was on hand that day to accept accolades from nearly 100 community leaders and other philanthropists and donors to the shelter.
“We are so grateful to Lois Pope for her incredible gift that made this vital building a reality,” said Suzi Goldsmith, TCAR executive director. “Thousands more dogs and cats will be saved because of the medical services that will be provided in this building.”
“This is one of the most amazing times in the history of Tri-County,” said Sharon DiPietro, chairman of the TCAR board. She said the new building was constructed atop a former dump which required 14 feet of fill to create solid ground. Then came pilings to support the structure.
“We got our certificate of occupancy only three weeks ago, and began operating immediately.”
Pope, who said she owns two dozen dogs – five from Tri-County – and five cats, said she and Suzi Goldsmith are longtime friends, and Boca benefactor Christine Lynn, who was also in the crowd, is also a buddie. All are animal lovers and pitch in to save pet lives.
Effective this month, people who cannot afford to take their pets to a veterinarian will be able to, with proof of income, bring their favorite animals to Tri-County for medical and dental care. Pope said this will help “the thousands of low-income people who cannot afford shots and other medical treatment.”
TCAR, which rescues animals in three South Florida counties, is in the midst of building a new, 64,000-square-foot facility to expand its services and accommodate increases in rescues.
The $10 million, multi-phase capital campaign and build out began with the 9,000-square-foot rescue clinic (a $4.9 million project.) Phase two is an 11,435-square-foot adoption and residential facility, a “Hos-Pets” center and mausoleum ($5.1 million).
The new campus will also have an agility course, in-ground pool and dog recreation area.
Much of the new campus will be available to the public, including the mausoleum with a serenity garden. There will also be an increase in the available in-ground burial plots at the Boca Raton Pet Cemetery adjacent to the TCAR campus.
Services will also be available for the community with its new boarding and grooming facility and Tri-County’s Thrift Shop will be moved onto the property. There will be dedicated public spaces for education and training programs.
TCAR, founded in 1996 by the Goldsmith and the late Jeannette Christos, is one of only a few 100 percent no-kill shelters in the nation.
For more information about Tri-County Animal Rescue, visit tricountyanimalrescue.com or call 561-482-8110.