Look inside the Arizona Humane Society's new Papago Park Campus

By Kirsten Dorman, Bridget Dowd
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2024 - 10:22am
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2024 - 2:38pm

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A dog rests in the ICU at the Arizona Humane Society
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
A dog rests in the ICU at the Arizona Humane Society's new Papago Park Campus on Monday, March 4, 2024.

Almost 22,000 animals come through the Arizona Humane Society’s doors every year. The majority of them go through its trauma hospital. But the organization’s previous locations weren’t designed with that function in mind.

CEO Dr. Steve Hansen said the new 72,000-square-foot location was designed to better serve the thousands of animals coming through its doors every year, down to the ventilation systems and flooring.

“We are primarily a hospital,” said Hansen. “Everything else we do supports the hospital, which you might not quite get as you first come in. But 80% of the animals that come to us go through our trauma hospital. That is what sets us apart from every other animal hospital in the country.”

Many of the upgrades at the Humane Society’s new Papago Park Campus are pure practicality.

For example, “in our prior, old hospital at Sunnyslope, we did not have backup power," Hansen said.

But now, red outlets in just about every room — especially those attached to equipment like oxygen tanks — are powered by a generator that would switch on about three seconds after losing power. So fast, said Hansen, the animals wouldn’t even notice a change.

employees hold puppies in front of the main lobby sign at the Arizona Humane Society
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
Employees pose for a group photo at the Arizona Humane Society's new Papago Park Campus on Monday, March 4, 2024.

tiny kitten meows in the hands of a worker
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
An employee holds up a bottle baby at the Arizona Humane Society's Papago Park Campus on Monday, March 4, 2024.

Down to how the ventilation systems are routed, he said, details play a key role.

“Because we take in so many sick and injured animals, it’s really important for us to control disease,” Hansen explained.

Everything from how ambulances deliver patients, to where they rest up has its own indoor or outdoor space, is in place to help them heal up and find a forever home that much faster.

“If we can bring animals in, give them fresh air, keep them relaxed,” said Hansen, “they’re less likely to get sick while they’re here, or to get sicker, and they’re more likely to move into a home faster.”

Hansen added that the new location plans to expand its public urgent care services next year to help more owners avoid having to relinquish their pets for financial reasons.

But for now, the public is welcome to grab a cup of coffee in the lobby and show the new campus’ residents some love.

row of dog kennels
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
The Arizona Human Society officially opened its new Papago Park campus on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

New AHS Papago Park Campus upgrades

    • An on-site Echo Coffee location; a local chain that donates 1% of its revenue to AHS.
    • Multiple indoor and outdoor spaces to meet and spend time with cats and dogs.
    • Lots of windows, for humans and animals who spend a lot of time there; some let in natural light, some let the public see AHS operations like prep for spay and neuter procedures.
    • A more isolated unit for dogs with parvo or other infectious diseases.
    • A set of gates that lower behind ambulances to keep scared animals from trying to flee.
    • A maternity wing for dogs that are expecting or recently gave birth.
    • Sealed concrete floors for easier sanitation.
    • Multiple industrial dishwashers to sanitize bowls and bottles.
    • Multiple washing machines and dryers for bedding and other items.
    • An on-site diesel generator.
    • HVAC airflow ensures fresh air in all kennels and areas.
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