The Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, including (in front row) former shelter Director Karen Diviney, then-county Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, Evelyn Grieve and Michael Frey, break ground for the shelter’s tribute garden.
Photo by Bonnie Hobbs.
Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter (FFCAS) – the shelter’s nonprofit, fundraising partner – ensures that animals needing lifesaving medical care beyond the shelter’s budget limitations receive it. And with the shelter opening its doors and its heart to more than 5,000 animals a year, that’s a tall order.
But by making this money available – as well as funds for animal behavior-training, parasite prevention, dental care and community outreach – the Friends help the shelter in its efforts to offer each animal the best opportunity to find a permanent, loving home. And toward that end, FFCAS recently established a tribute garden at the shelter to help raise money for the animals.
THE NEW GARDEN is at the shelter’s front entrance, and shrubs, plants and benches will also be added. But besides being an attractive addition, it’s also a special way for people to honor and remember their own pets while helping other animals get adopted.
“For years, we wanted to do something at the entrance and also give people an opportunity to make donations in honor of their pets, friends, family members, etc.,” said FFCAS President and co-founder Evelyn Grieve. “We’re very excited about this. We thank the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the shelter for supporting it. We’re hoping this will be a really pretty place for people to come.”
The idea is for the garden to serve as a place for visitors to rest and reflect, a thank-you for contributions and a garden for everyone to enjoy. So the community is invited to be part of a limited, commemorative opportunity by purchasing personalized, engraved bricks.
The bricks may be inscribed in honor or in memory of an animal or animal lover, or with the donor’s name or the name of a family or business. Each brick is 4x8 inches; cost is $200/brick, and each has up to three lines – with 12 characters per line – available for inscription. For more information, email the Friends at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.ffcas.org for ordering instructions or to donate to the tribute garden.
The shelter’s logo – a dog and a cat – is replicated in bricks in the garden, and these are the bricks that will be engraved. “It brightens up the building and calls more attention to it,” said Grieve. “And since it’s also a patio with a quiet place to reflect, it’ll be a nice place for people to think about their former pets, as well as a spot where others can take photos of their newly adopted animals.”
DIGNITARIES at the garden’s groundbreaking included then-Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, former Sully District Supervisor Michael Frey and former shelter Director Karen Diviney, plus several FFCAS members and volunteers. And despite below-freezing temperatures, they were all delighted to participate.
“I’m thrilled,” said Frey, after whom the shelter is named and who’s also on the FFCAS Board. “It’s a creative way to try to raise money, and that’s our purpose. We do a lot of things that many people assume the county pays for, such as flea-and-tick treatment, dental work, behavioral training and surgeries to make the animals more adoptable.”
“And for me, it’s a continuation of my lifelong cause [to improve animals’ lives], but I realize there are limits to what the county can fund,” he continued. “So this garden provides an opportunity for us to raise money, while enabling people to have a special place to go and remember the pets and other loved ones in their lives. It’s also a nice enhancement for the shelter and a really pretty addition to the front.”