Dogs and cats at the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society are enjoying renovations completed by nearly 50 volunteers with the Our Family for Families First Foundation, the charitable affiliate of Picerne Military Housing.

“You have no idea of what you’ve done and how it has impacted us,” said Cassie Peterson, director of the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society. “We want people to feel this is a happy place – not a sad place; not a prison and now it does look like a happy place.”

The Fayetteville Animal Protection Society is a no kill facility that places about 25 dogs and cats in adoptive homes each month and houses 60 or more animals at any given time.

The facility frequently helps find homes for pets that military Families have been unable to keep due to deployments or military orders.

Each year, the Our Family for Families First Foundation, which was founded by Picerne Military Housing president John Picerne, adopts a local, non-profit organization and allocates up to $5,000 to complete a service project.

The funds are used to purchase construction or repair supplies.  Picerne employees then volunteer their labor and manpower to complete the service project.

For the dogs, the volunteers created an off-lead area, a place away from the kennel where dogs can run and play. This new space also provides a place where an adopter can spend some quiet time getting to know their prospective pet. This project required clearing of brush, yard debris, and installing a fence.

For the cats, the group built a new room and an outdoor screened area. By expanding the feline facility, the shelter is now able to house double the number of cats.

Other completed projects included expanding the parking area, pressure washing and painting the building exterior and landscaping a pet memory garden.

Michael Sarisky, neighborhood manager for Picerne, served as the service project chairman.  Picerne Military Housing is Fort Bragg’s housing partner and is responsible for building, renovating and maintaining 6,500 on-post homes.

“Originally, we were only planning to build a divider wall in the cat room and construct an outdoor area for the cats to enjoy,” said Sarisky.  “But when we visited, we saw that there were so many other ways we could help.”

Janice Melton, board president for FAPS, noted that the staff’s morale had increased since the project began. “The board is so happy with all that has been done,” Melton said.  “And it’s so much more inviting to the public.”

Volunteers worked more than 300 hours to expand and renovate the interior and exterior areas for visitors, pets, staff and volunteers.

For more information about the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society or to adopt an animal, visit www.fapspet.org.