When staff members at the Capital Area Humane Society (CAHS) walk into work, they’re welcomed by the croons of more than 40 dogs. Kittens snoozing in the lobby peek through sleepy eyes at the morning commotion as they try to get their last bit of sleep before the day starts. The morning begins with volunteers walking dogs, cleaning cages, feeding the animals and mopping the lobby floor so that it’s sparkling and adoption ready. CAHS has a happy and positive atmosphere, and the staff works hard to promote the animals. They do their best to showcase animals that have been there for a while, and occasionally they host birthday celebrations to put the spotlight on an animal and show them a bit of extra love. The shelter’s primary focus is finding families for their animals, but CAHS does more than that; they also work to enrich the community. A pet food bank is available for families with limited resources so that they can care for and keep their pets. Animals are also taken to domestic violence shelters on occasion to help victims. CAHS also has educational programs to ensure that pet owners know how to care for their animals. The shelter partners with schools to host programs that teach kids what it means to be kind to animals. Older students who are thinking about a career in animal care can attend a career day where they can watch a surgery performed in the clinic. Two clinics are operated by the shelter: an in-house clinic, which is mostly used for spaying and neutering shelter animals, and a second facility on Cedar St. that provides spay and neuter services to the public. The primarily grant-funded services are offered to pet owners who are not able to afford them otherwise. In special cases they are even able to provide the services free of charge. As awesome as CAHS is, they’ve hit a roadblock: the building that they work in is packed with animals and outdated. CAHS is in the middle of a three-step, $3.9 million project to renovate their facilities and make the animals more comfortable. They are hoping to add a rehabilitation center, a quarantine area and an expanded clinic. “All the changes in our building will reflect the changes that have been made in our organization over the past 15 years,” says CEO Julia Wilson. “It can be a little bit of a roller coaster because we are all very emotionally invested in our jobs, that can create some real highs and it can also create some lows.” Overall, the staff agrees that being able to care for animals and help them find their forever home is a wonderful feeling. If you would like to donate to the CAHS fundraising campaign, visit CAHSCampaign.org.