Hot Dog

Animal Cooling Shelter Opens in Bellevue

As temperatures hit 90, a volunteer-run haven offers free relief from hot homes.

By Allison Williams August 12, 2021

Hot dogs, the food: a summer classic. Hot dogs, the animal: a problem. That's why, Thursday and Friday, Seattle Humane is hosting a cooling shelter for animals during the summer's second major heat wave. The project comes from the Washington State Animal Response Team, a kind of search and rescue group for non-humans, a move from their Enumclaw location during June's mega-bake.

Owners can drop a pet at the shelter starting at 8am and know they'll get regular walks (well, the dogs anyway) and bearable temperatures; animals must be retrieved by 7pm. To ensure adequate staffing, WASART asks comers to RSVP in advance; they expect mostly dogs and cats, but last heat wave also served rabbits and chickens. (Pets must not be already suffering ill health affects from heat; those animals should seek veterinary care.)

Seattle Humane, a non-profit that moved to a new $28 million facility in 2017, is accustomed to seeing owners experience issues during periods of extreme temperatures. Their pet owner assistance fund can be used to, say, book a hotel room or relocate an owner to a safer spot. The goal: Avoid forcing an owner to relinquish a beloved pet when temperatures spike. 

In June, WASART's Michaela Eaves largely saw the shelter used by owners who had to work, leaving pets in apartments without air conditioning. To reach a wider range of owners, both WASART and Seattle Humane share tips online for taking care of pets without resorting to a cooling shelter—even ice packs and fans can help. "We try to help people take care of pets themselves," says Eaves. "If not, we can be there for them." She adds, "People are there because they love their pets."

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