Pontiac animal rescue renovated by Animal Planet show

Evan Carter
The Detroit News

Pontiac — The Michigan Animal Rescue League has reopened after the television show “Pet Nation Renovation” finished upgrades to the animal shelter.

Renovation took place around-the-clock as workers put over $100,000 worth of materials and labor into the upgrades, painting over the tan exterior of the building in a bright blue, adding a pool and landscaping the back play area. The shelter now has a renovated no-cage cat room and new kennels for the dogs.

League Executive Director Magee Humes said the renovations done between June 21 and July 9 will make the animals and those looking to adopt more comfortable. The shelter reopened July 12.

“They’ll directly impact our animals and the care we give them every single day and they’ll provide a lower stress environment for our animals while they’re here waiting for their forever home,” Humes said. “The renovations also offer a more welcoming environment for people in the community as well to come and check us out and see what we’re all about.”

Humes said the animal rescue leased a space during renovations to house the roughly 150 cats and dogs at the facility. Humes said she also was banished from the site during the renovations.

“They kept on saying don’t even drive by because they wanted a really authentic reaction to the changes they made,” Humes said. “They literally put a GO Pro in our car as we came down the street and captured our reactions as we came in.”

The inside of the building has brightly painted walls. A “real-life room” has a couch and carpet like a living room, allowing adopters to interact with the animals in a more natural setting.

But for Humes the most important change was the replacement of the old kennels with spaces surrounded by plexiglass.

“When ‘Animal Planet’ asked us what our needs were, the first thing we would always say was the kennels,” Humes said. “They were pretty dated and they were made out of chain-link, and while they served the purpose that we needed, they just weren’t as good as they could be. It was pretty loud and the dogs would jump up on the fence when people walked by.”

A production company reached out to the animal rescue in January, Humes said, and after months of interviews and sharing photos with the show’s staff, they were selected.

“They seemed like they were really looking for a shelter that was doing really good work, that was providing good care, but was limited by the building,” Humes said.

Pet Nation Renovation filmed the renovation process as well as a “grand reveal” July 9. It plans to feature the rescue group on a two-hour special later this year. According to the show, the episode will not only focus on the renovation, but also the animal rescue’s staff and the personalities of the animals.