Petio Photo 1

A rendering of the future Petio pavilion is shown.

A fundraiser is currently underway to raise funds for a structure project called The PETIO to help with animal adoptions at the Simpson County Animal Shelter.

The PETIO is planned for the property adjacent to the shelter that will be accessed by a paved walkway constructed of concrete and 12-inch by 12-inch engraved pavers. The PETIO itself will be a large, covered structure on a foundation of concrete with iron fencing enclosing it that will allow for dogs to be safely off-leash with visitors and volunteers.

The PETIO will also be used for adoption and other shelter-related special events. Surrounding The PETIO itself will be an area constructed of engraved 12-inch by 12-inch brick pavers. The PETIO project will also be home to a community art project that will be coordinated by The Gallery on the Square Executive Director Lisa Deavers.

A phase two plan is also underway to add a small agility course that the shelter dogs and potentially other dogs in the community can utilize.

“We want the shelter to be a welcoming place where people are eager to come spend time with our animals and help them find their forever adoptive homes,” Simpson County Animal Shelter volunteer and project and fundraising coordinator Jennifer Sturm said. “The Simpson County Animal Shelter, like many small municipal shelters across the country, is crowded and noisy. Our shelter isn’t beautiful nor spacious, but a lot of loving work gets done for the abandoned, stray and unwanted pet population here in Franklin. With the work of employees and volunteers at the shelter and with some amazing support of the community, our shelter is increasingly rebranding itself as an adoption center.”

Sturm said a major challenge the shelter is facing is not having enough space for the dogs to be seen by potential adopters or a comfortable place for visitation with the animals.

“As a result, our dogs are not getting as many eyes on them as they should, nor do we have the space for volunteers to come visit with and socialize with the dogs on a regular basis,” Sturm added.

The Friends of the Shelter are volunteers who work to improve the quality of life of shelter animals, to fundraise for extra needs of the shelter and its residents and to advocate for and promote dogs and cats for adoption.

Sturm came forward with the idea for the construction of a covered structure away from the main shelter building that could be a “secure, comfortable and inviting area” for the shelter dogs to be off leash during adoption meet-and-greets, interactions with for volunteers and socialization and basic training.

Sturm added that the structure could also host adoption events and programs that could be implemented such as “Reading to the Dogs” by local children.

The PETIO project is 100% volunteer coordinated and fundraised. All funds used to construct The PETIO will come from fundraising efforts by The Friends of the Shelter. The fundraising goal is $15,000 to $20,000.

“We want to use local, small business as much as we possibly can,” Sturm said.

Several fundraisers are happening to help fund The PETIO project in the upcoming weeks.

Terri Mitchell of Ma Barker’s Bow Wow Biscuits has created a signature dog treat named after her adoptive shelter dog, Vinny. All proceeds from the sale of “Vinny’s Treats” will be donated to The PETIO project all year long. Ma Barker’s Bow Wow Biscuits can be contacted on Facebook or by calling 734-646-6015 to place an order.

Kelly Samuels of Reliable Lawn Care has donated any needed landscaping services needed for the project. Amanda Hinton, of Wild Nine Designs, is donating proceeds from t-shirt sales during the month of March to The PETIO project. T-Shirts can be found by visiting Wild Nine Designs on Facebook and Instagram.

A Facebook women’s group, Women Empowerment, founded by local women, has put together a collection of items donated by local merchants and individuals that exceeds $1000 in value that will be raffled in benefit of The PETIO project. Tickets will be on sale March 18 through April 15. For more information, contact Stacey Brown via text at 270-850-7706, message her on Facebook or email Tickets are also on sale at Lucy Lou’s Dog Grooming and April Showers Pet Care. McDonalds and Zaxbys are planning fundraiser nights and tickets will be sold during those events.

The Friends of the Shelter has future plans to open orders for the 12-inch by 12-inch engraved brick pavers that will be used in the construction of the walkway and patio at The PATIO. Any individual, any organization, any business may purchase a paver with a graphic, logo and text that will become a permanent part of The PETIO. In addition to the large pavers that will be used in construction, smaller 4-inch by 8-inch bricks will be available as custom engraved memorial bricks that individuals take home with them to use in their gardens or landscaping.

Individuals who are interested in being involved in the project by providing a construction service or assistance with a fundraiser can contact Sturm at 270-306-9407 or via email

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