George and Tina Skestos are no strangers to doing something that has never been done.
At 16, George was the youngest student to attend the University of Michigan, and he was the first to earn an MBA and a law degree at the same time. Tina attended the world’s first academic program in sports administration at Ohio University, and she became the program’s first female graduate when she earned her MSA.
Together, George and Tina built successful companies, foundations, and philanthropic ventures. When they saw the difficulties that many Ohio dog shelters were facing, they wanted to help address the challenges, such as:
- A larger number of adoptable dogs than adoptive homes
- A need for vaccines to fight and lower the spread of disease
A need for surgical intervention in certain cases
An effective method for identifying and addressing behavioral problems
- Lack of dedicated quarantine areas to limit the spread of disease to healthy dogs
While facing any one of these issues can be difficult, particularly for under-resourced shelters, George found during his research that most of the shelters he toured had all of these challenges. He quickly realized that the problem was systemic and creating additional expenses within the entire dog sheltering network.
Never afraid to back down from monumental challenges, George and Tina harnessed fresh thinking, assembled an expert team, and began to craft a vision to build something that had never been done before.
Building a Dream
As the founder of Homewood Corporation, a successful residential home builder, George was no stranger to building homes for people. What if he could transfer those skills to building a first-class facility for dogs?
He mobilized his capable team to build a first-of-its kind campus dedicated to improving the lives of shelter dogs and helping shape the future of how we address dog homelessness. The result was a 15,000-square-foot facility with a focus on high-quality care, efficiency, disease control, and stress reduction – all to enhance the health and well-being of shelter dogs and increase efficiencies within the sheltering system.
Funding the Future for Veterinarians who Choose Shelter Medicine
George and Tina’s deep commitment to shelter medicine isn’t limited to Gigi’s. In 2017, they established The Skestos Scholarship program at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
The two-year scholarships are available to residents majoring in rescue and shelter and behavioral medicine. Currently, 15 students have received these life-changing scholarships.