By Lyndsie Kiebert
Promoted on the Panhandle Animal Shelter’s Facebook page any given week are dogs, cats, birds, goats, guinea pigs and more. However, a good portion of these animals are not physically located at the shelter — they’re available on the Home to Home website, an online nonprofit program that puts rehoming pets straight into the hands of pet owners and adopters, cutting out the middleman: the animal shelter.
North Idaho’s own Panhandle Animal Shelter launched the program in 2016 in response to an increasing number of pet owners surrendering their pets to the shelter. Rather than overcrowd shelter kennels with pets that aren’t in immediate need of rehoming, Home to Home gave pet owners a chance to create a profile for their pet and share it online with potential adopters — skipping the jarring experience a pet would have when taken to the shelter.
The program has proved to be an important tool during the COVID-19 pandemic, as shelters across the country close, yet people still need to rehome their pets.
To benefit shelters facing overcrowding issues and closure due to COVID-19, PAS has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $150,000 to completely update the Home to Home website and equip it to support a growing number of shelters.
PAS Executive Director Mandy Evans said Home to Home allows shelters the opportunity to partner with their communities without being the primary point of contact in the process. Though PAS does promote Home to Home listings on its Facebook page, the shelter does not have a direct hand in any of the rehoming — that is left entirely to the owner and adopter — and rehoming fees are not allowed.
“[We see] quality outcomes for pets because the new adopter has the opportunity to talk directly with the owner and learn all about the pet before accepting them into their home,” Evans said.
Home to Home also keeps animals that don’t need immediate shelter assistance out of kennels, preventing overcrowding.
PAS is a no-kill shelter, but many are not. Home to Home is beneficial to those shelters where capacity constraints often result in unadopted animals being euthanized.
“During this pandemic, shelters are being urged by national animal welfare organizations to use rehoming sites to help their community and keep animals out of shelters,” Evans said in a video announcing the campaign. “Our program, Home to Home, has been on the top of that referral list, but our current system needs an upgrade.”
To learn more about the campaign and help PAS toward its goal of offering Home to Home to shelters around the country, visit kickstarter.com/profile/hometohome/created.
Kickstarter hosts the campaign for an allotted number of days, and gifts are offered to those who donate depending on the amount they pledge. If PAS does not reach its goal, the shelter will not receive any of the funding, making it imperative that the goal be met.
“Our project has now become more important than ever,” Evans said. “The good news is we’re ready.”
Find the Home to Home site at pas.home-home.org.
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