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Felines & Canines Celebrates One Year of Serving Both Cats and Dogs

EDGEWATER — One year after reopening as a dog-and-cat animal shelter, Felines & Canines remains a neighborhood pleaser.

The no-kill animal shelter celebrated the one-year anniversary of reopening after a $1 million renovation and expansion that allowed it to begin taking in dogs.

Before, shelter employee Kelly Thompson said, "people just thought we were crazy cat ladies."

Known as Felines Inc. since 1977, the shelter reopened in January 2012 with its new name to welcome furry canine friends, too.

Thompson, 31, said the shelter had been raising money for years to expand outside of its gray two-flat at 6379 N. Paulina St.

After the shelter had saved $900,000, the Petco Foundation donated the $100,000 needed to begin construction.

Although the shelter did 500 adoptions in 2012, Thompson said its goal is quality over quantity.

"We're looking for really awesome homes to take these animals that have already been displaced," she said.

Most of the animals they adopt would have been euthanized at other shelters, like house cat Tink, who was hit by a car.

"He's a doll," she said of the paralyzed cat. "He just scoots all over the place."

Three older cats, who spend their time in a private room the size of a large closet, were found in a home whose owner had died.

At any given time, the shelter houses between 100 and 150 cats and 17 dogs.

The shelter also works with the local police district. Cops found Piglet, a boxer who had been left tied to a tree, so they dropped him off.

The rambunctious pup has a big heart and doesn't fit the unfounded stereotypes often applied to pit bulls, Thompson said.

On the weekends, she said, the shelter can get up to 30 families coming to look at the cats and dogs.

The expanded portion of the shelter includes more room for cats and a kennel area for dogs. In the basement are rooms for grooming, including a waist-high bathtub.

The shelter is run entirely by seven full-time staff members and a handful of part-timers.

"Our whole goal was to keep it a homey environment," Thompson said. "It's such a small crew, and we all love each other. And I think that translates to the animals."