Animal Care

Charitable grant provides air conditioning, shed for Cedar Rapids animal shelter

Dogs Forever able to replace inefficient window unit and maze of floor fans in ‘cleaner and greener’ overflow building

Charitable grant provides air conditioning, shed for Cedar Rapids animal shelter

Dogs Forever, 809 Rockford Rd. SW, is an all volunteer-run “adoption guarantee” shelter. Outdoor play area was expanded after the derecho damaged the shelter. This and other improvements were made thanks to a grant from the Miccio Foundation, a not-for-profit which supports projects in Iowa that improve animal welfare. (Dogs Forever photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids volunteer animal rescue and shelter not only received a $2,348 grant to provide air conditioning for its overflow kennel, but also was able to purchase an outdoor equipment shed, which will make room for more furry friends.

Lisa Carrara, secretary for Dogs Forever, said the Miccio Foundation, a not-for-profit which supports projects in Iowa that improve animal welfare, provided more funding to the adoption-guarantee shelter from Miccio’s “Cooler-Cleaner-Greener” project. The shelter’s secondary building and kennel only had an inefficient window unit, and several floor fans had to be used in an attempt to cool the building in the summer. The Miccio grant allowed the shelter to install a central air conditioning unit and eliminate the fans and “maze” of extension cords for “cleaner and greener” environment.

Carrara said the grant provided so much because the shelter’s furnace died on Christmas Day last year, which was replaced by the landlord, but the lease didn’t allow for more improvements unless paid for by the tenant — Dogs Forever.

“Miccio has been so supportive of us,” Carrara said. “They have provided grants that helped us expand our dog runs and helped us recover from the derecho in 2020.”

The shelter’s entire outdoor exercise area was damaged, as well as its main building, at 809 Rockford Rd. SW, during the storm, Carrara said. With that same grant from Miccio for the storm damage, the shelter also purchased a gas-powered generator for future outages and LED lighting.

Carrara said the recent grant for the air conditioning also provided enough funds for the shelter to add an outdoor shed, so all the equipment — lawn mower, snowblower and other tools — can be moved out of the secondary building to make more floor space for dogs. They ordered the shed back in the summer, but because of supply and shipping delays are still waiting for it to arrive, she said.

The kennel area of the secondary building kennel usually holds about eight dogs at a time, Carrara said. They also use the building for training and socialization of dogs with the volunteers and it also serves as a meeting area for staff and when the shelter is open to public every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for visits.

Dogs Forever staff all are volunteers. They have about 65 to 70 throughout the year.

Carrara said the shelter rescues homeless, abused and neglected dogs of all breeds, sizes and ages, but also is known for taking in the “harder to place” dogs such as senior dogs or dogs that have to be given up because the owner is sick, moved into a retirement or nursing home or experiencing financial hardships.

Dogs Forever also provides foster homes for dogs who are waiting to be adopted. Because it is a “guarantee, no kill” facility, the animals remain there or in foster homes until adoption. Carrara said sometimes that might be two to three months or longer. They have a strict vetting process to ensure the dogs find their forever home with the best match.

Carrara said there are about 20 dogs now in foster homes. The shelter always is looking to add more foster homes to care for dogs while they wait for adoption. For more information, go to

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