Among the many thank-yous delivered at the official opening of the new South Suburban Humane Society facility in Matteson on Thursday, one special shout-out went to the baker for the event, Park Pastries of Homewood.
“Today we’ll break a giant dog treat to celebrate the completion of this beautiful space,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said, “because a ribbon just wouldn’t do.”
SSHS CEO Emily Klehm thanked Park Pastries “for saying yes to that very crazy initial phone call I made to make this biscuit.”
Preckwinkle said the biscuit would be broken up into small pieces and shared among the animals in the shelter waiting for their opportunity to find a new home.
It was for the sake of those dogs, and for the sake of animal lovers in the region, that the $8.6 million building at 21800 Central Ave. was created, Klehm said.
“I have been thinking about this moment for 15 years,” Klehm said. “It feels like a dream because this building is an actual dream come true.”
The humane society leaves behind a much smaller building in Chicago Heights that was its home for 50 years, and Klehm noted that it was not designed to be a shelter and was never quite what the people or animals needed.
Nevertheless, it served as a place where pets were cared for and where families found pets to love, she said.
“I wish to honor our time there, and the thousands of lives that were saved,” she said.
Klehm was certainly pleased with the move, though, and said the staff and volunteers would have a better space to care for pets.
She also thanked Matteson and Cook County officials for finding the resources to enable the building project and “for recognizing that healthy pets are part of a healthy community.”
“We now stand in front of a building the South Suburbs can be proud to call theirs,” Klehm said.
SSHS will hold a grand opening celebration open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 11. Visitors can adopt pets, take tours of the new facility and enjoy refreshments.