NORFOLK, Va. - Outside the Norfolk Animal Care Center's new Cat Colony room there's a plaque that reads, "lovingly dedicated to the memory of Pam Hyatt."
Hyatt, who passed away in 2019 at 69, was a center volunteer with a special love for cats, especially the cats who came into the shelter.
"She did a bunch of our adoption counseling on the weekends," said Jessica Guckert, who worked with Hyatt at the Norfolk Animal Care Center. "She would be here on Fridays and Saturdays in the middle of the hustle and bustle, like, shipping the cats out the door. She just absolutely loved our cats."
So it was no surprise to Guckert when she found out Hyatt had left money for the center when she passed.
In her will, Hyatt made a donation to the Friends of the Norfolk Animal Care Center in her will with the money designated to help improve life for cats in the shelter.
The center took the money and began work on a new Cat Colony room, where cats in the shelter can roam free and interact with each other.
It really gives our cats time to socialize," said Guckert. It lets our public come in and see how they act in a home."
The room, finished a few months ago, would not have been possible without Hyatt's donation, the center says.
"It's so meaningful and it goes such a long way. I think she knew that," said Tammy Dodson, who sits on the board for the Friends of the Norfolk Animal Care Center. "It'll last a long time, years and years after she passed. It's a very sweet and endearing thing and we're very fortunate to have people in our community to do that."
Guckert believes the new room will help cats in the shelter find homes even faster.
"It's also going to be benefiting the city and she was a big advocate for that as well," she said.
One final act of generosity from a woman who found so much joy finding animals their forever home.
The Norfolk Animal Care Center is open for adoptions daily from noon-6 p.m. Under COVID-19 restrictions, visitors can either schedule an appointment online or show up in-person and call in to be put on a wait list to come inside. Guckert says the wait is usually no longer than 20 minutes.