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Chicago Heights animal shelter hosts ‘adopt-a-thon’ to prepare for makeover

Emily Klehm pets Ninpit bull small dog room South Suburban Humane Society Chicago Heights Ill. Jan. 16 2013. The room's

Emily Klehm pets Nina the pit bull in the small dog room at South Suburban Humane Society in Chicago Heights, Ill., Jan. 16, 2013. The room's floor will be painted during an extreme makeover event from Jan. 25 to 27. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 25, 2013 6:12AM



The news will make some dogs and cats very happy: The South Suburban Humane Society in Chicago Heights is in for an extreme makeover this weekend.

Three rooms at the shelter will be renovated, including isolation rooms for dogs and puppies, and a room for small dogs. The planned work includes painting, and replacing floors and tiles.

In addition, four artists have been tapped to paint four murals throughout the facility.

“All of it will be pet-friendly scenes,” said Emily Klehm, the organization’s chief executive officer.

To help empty the shelter before the renovation, officials were hoping people interested in adopting would drop by in droves Thursday, when the shelter will be open from noon to 5 p.m. before it begins temporarily moving animals to various new homes for the weekend.

The shelter also is having an “extreme adoption” event Wednesday, making all pets available for a reduced fee. Twelve cats and two dogs had found new homes by late afternoon. The shelter planned to stay open until 10 p.m.

Klehm said the shelter building is 40 years old and was converted from a warehouse, so there’s room for improvement. About $5,000 to $10,000 worth of materials has been received for the project, but the shelter still is accepting donations of money, gift cards to The Home Depot, and labor from skilled tradesman.

The remodeling will take place from Friday to Sunday. Plumbers, painters and flooring experts will be on hand to assist. About 20 shelter workers also will be helping out.

The project was launched in December, when the shelter took in dogs that were seized during a dogfighting bust in Dolton. Jana Pace, of Crestwood, organized donations on behalf of the shelter and noticed that the shelter itself needed major work.

Klehm said she thinks the improvements will make the shelter a warmer, more friendly place for animals and those interested in adopting them.

“People tell us that it makes them sad to come here,” she said. “We want it to be as happy and vibrant a place as it can be so that it makes people happy to come here.”

For more information, call (708) 755-7387.



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