Groups offer free dog houses this winter

GASTONIA, N.C. — An initiative is helping keep outdoor pets warm during winter weather. 


What You Need To Know

No Cold Pets Gaston gives free outdoor dog houses to pet owners

AJ’s of Gastonia, Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement and the Animal League of Gaston County are behind this effort

Pet owners who have received the outdoor houses are grateful for them


AJ’s of Gastonia, Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement and the Animal League of Gaston County are behind the No Cold Pets Gaston program. They are building and gifting outdoor pet houses to community members. 

AJ and Melissa Lawing started building dog houses on their own in 2019. 

In November, the two other groups joined this effort. 

“People seem to think because dogs have a coat or cats have a fur coat that they stay warm in the winter. They do not, particularly if it’s windy or if they get wet,” Animal League of Gaston County Executive Director Terry Kenny said. 

The dog houses cost $85 to build but with a grant and donations, they are giving them away to pet owners. This winter, they’ve gifted 36 of them.

Kenny said the best practice for pet owners would be to bring the pets inside during the winter.

If they remain outside, having a sheltered area is best.

The groups don’t want lack of resources to be a barrier for people getting outdoor houses for their animals. 

“Can you imagine being outside and not having any shelter and being in that cold rain and the wind? We’re making a difference one animal at the time,” Kenny said.

Rikki, who has two dogs, received a dog house from No Cold Pets Gaston Tuesday.

“I wanted them to have the option, then when it gets too cold, they have a place to go,” Rikki said. 

Rikki usually welcomes her pet indoors often and if temperatures are below freezing.

She wanted them to have an outdoor house if they wanted to spend time outside during a chilly day. 

Rikki, who is thankful the house was free, said she wanted to get it ahead of the winter storm.

“I wanted to get it before it was any worse than it has already been,” Rikki said.

Each house comes with straw to keep pets warm. 

The group is now starting to build cat houses. 

If you are interested in getting a free house, call:

  • AJ’s of Gastonia: 704-867-5269.
  • Gaston Low-cost Spay and Neuter Clinic: 704-868-4673

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