ARC opens a new animal health center | News, Sports, Jobs

The animal shelter center has over 300 animals in its care at its facility at 18011 Old Bayshore Road and one of the toughest jobs it has to ensure dogs and cats are in good condition, disease free so they can be quickly adopted into their forever homes.

On May 11, the ARC did a lot to make sure it could do it more efficiently at the grand opening and grand opening of the Sharon Bodenhafer Critter Clinic, which will dramatically improve the care of cats and pets. dogs that live or pass. through the shelter before the adoption.

The state-of-the-art medical center will treat the property’s hundreds of cats and dogs that have been abandoned, injured or abandoned by their former owners.

It took nearly three years of work to build the facility in memory of Sharon Bodenhafer, a Fort Myers Beach woman who rescued many dogs and cats for many years, even though she had no relationship with the ‘BOW.

“She and her husband lived all over the country, but on a personal level she had always had a strong commitment to animal welfare, animal rescue and rehabilitation,” said ARC President Wayne Leinen. “It was his dying wish that something be done to help the animals in his memory.”

Sharon’s husband Chuck was looking to do something in memory of his wife, who died in 2017.

“She had a huge love for animals. He visited several shelters and because he and Sharon lived on a farm, they loved the rural feel of ARC,” said Betty Hughes, ARC Treasurer. “We mentioned a few options and he said he was thinking of something more substantial than a dog shelter. Wayne said they could use a vet clinic.

“We were thinking small like a memorial garden or benches, but he was thinking of something more substantial and we were kind of joking when we mentioned that, but he hung on to that straight away,” said Leinen.

There were clearance and COVID issues and supply chain issues that delayed things a bit, but Chuck remained patient even though he wanted things to progress faster.

The new $500,000 medical facility, at nearly 2,500 square feet, will be three times the size of the previous one, which was a renovated house. It will provide all the services that a veterinary clinic can provide.

“The old building served its purpose, but the dream was to have a real health clinic with epoxy floors, oxygen lines, digital X-rays. He has it all.” said Hugh.

“We had great staff, but it wasn’t optimal. Now we have design, construction and permits. We had all these issues and all the crazy things that happened during COVID,” said Leinen.

Clinic staff will spay and neuter, vaccinate furry patients, can operate on broken limbs, perform x-rays, perform dental work, and even administer anesthesia on new machines designed for the creatures.

“We will be able to manage new inputs much more effectively, manage animals in quarantine. We can treat dogs with heartworm, and the way we treat them is best with injections. Now we can process a lot more,” said Leinen. “It’s a better neighborhood for that.”

The Animal Refuge Center is Southwest Florida’s largest no-kill shelter that promises that once an animal is cared for, it will not be destroyed to make way for another.

Anyone interested in adopting a pet can contact ARC at

Boyd S. Abbott