FERNDALE — The middle of July brought temperatures in Oakland County to the mid- and high-90s, along with a high humidity, making for hot and sticky days. For much of the week of July 15, Oakland County cities were under a heat advisory.
While people went into air-conditioned buildings or homes, silent sufferers had no choice but to sit in the hot temperatures at the Oakland County Animal Control & Pet Adoption Center. Pets had to endure temperatures that got into the 100s, as the building had no air-conditioning unit.
On July 19, Andy Didorosi, founder and president of the Detroit Bus Company in Ferndale, had heard all he needed to about the suffering pets, so he set out to find a way to cool them down. After getting ahold of Hertz Rental, the two teamed up to install a 20-ton portable air-conditioning unit at the center.
“I have a rescue dog that I found on the street, so I have got involved in animal welfare and rescuing and I heard about the temperatures there and thought I had the resources and knowledge to solve the situation,” Didorosi, 26, said. “There are over 400 animals in there and they have had no peace since it has been hot out. They have never had air conditioning and there are way more animals there than ever, so we want to make it more pleasant of a place for them.”
Didorosi said when he heard of the high temperatures at the center, he set out to find a business that could deliver a portable unit powerful enough to cool the building. Several people worked through the afternoon July 19 to make sure the air was moving right and everything was set into place.
“Andy Didorosi deserves mega kudos for his incredible generosity,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a release. “His donation will go a long way toward helping the Animal Control & Pet Adoption Center care for its dogs and cats.”
Bob Gatt, the control center manager, said the Oakland County Animal Control Center isn’t the only one in the state suffering, but he appreciates all the help they can get.
“This center is not unique,” Gatt said. “Most of the public shelters in southeast Michigan operate kennels without air conditioning. But, no one works harder than our staff and volunteers to ensure the well-being of our animals.
“Our mission remains finding loving and responsible homes for our furry friends.”
The center’s mission of getting the pets adopted is precisely what drove Didorosi to help out, he said. Animals, like humans, can get more irritable and fussy when they are uncomfortable due to the heat.
“These animals have no choice, and they have had hard lives so far, so when they are under our care in the shelter, the least we can do is make them comfortable,” Didorosi said. “As soon as we brought the air in, they all fell asleep in the middle of the day. If we can get the animals more at peace and relaxed, it will be a lot easier to get them adopted. The more comfortable they are, the easier it is to adopt them, and that is a good cause.”
While Didorosi’s good deed has not gone unnoticed, the price of running the air-conditioning unit is pricy. Didorosi put up a lot of money as part of the up-front cost, but it will cost him about $18,000 a month to run the unit at $25 per hour.
Didorosi hopes to keep the unit running for two months, so he has set up a fundraising page to help cover the costs. Those interested can visit www.coolourpaws.com and donate any amount of money to cover 30 minutes, a couple hours or even a whole day.
“We hope to have the next two months covered, or as long as the fundraising goes,” Didorosi said. “We have two weeks raised so far, so we hope to see this through the summer. We want to work with the county on getting a unit set up permanently for next summer.”