News - Panhandle Animal Shelter

The Unintended Consequences of Animal Shelter Transports

For years, the public and animal shelters alike have celebrated transporting animals between communities to get them adopted—but is that really the best solution?

Years ago, Dr. Cynthia Karsten was working with a shelter in California that was full of small dogs, some who had been there for a very long time, and she had a realization: If these dogs were at an animal shelter in the Midwest, the shelter would be empty. There weren’t a lot of small dogs in the Midwest, and people wanted them.

So it seemed like an obvious solution: Bring these dogs from California, where they were at risk of euthanasia, to animal shelters in the Midwest, and they’ll find homes.

It was kind of like a real estate problem, said Karsten. 

“It’s location, location, location,” she adds. “[There were] places of too many animals and not enough homes, and then there were places with too many homes and not enough animals.”

Over the years, Karsten was instrumental in facilitating the transport of thousands of dogs from California to the Midwest, and many animal shelters followed suit.

The practice of transport—bringing animals from crowded source shelters to less crowded destination shelters—has been a major component of the animal sheltering field in the United States. It has helped save animals’ lives, but there have been some unintended consequences.

Now experts in the field—including Karsten herself—are looking for solutions that better serve both animals and people. Karsten, who is now the outreach veterinarian with the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine program, discussed the topic with Panhandle Animal Shelter Executive Director Mandy Evans in the podcast, People Are Animals Too, Darnit! 

Good communities vs. Bad Communities 

To be clear, animal shelters and industry leaders transport animals with the best of intentions, and it has—and does—save animals from euthanasia. 

“I thought it was a great solution for a long time,” said Karsten. “I was so proud of what we did and all the animals we were saving.”

But the downside of transport has become increasingly clear, she said. 

It has perpetuated mistrust and bias toward source shelter communities. Transports operate under the inherent assumption that source communities are “bad,” and that they do not want the animals in their communities and cannot take care of them. The destination community is the savior that provides “better” homes for animals. 

Instead of keeping wonderful companion animals in the communities they came from, they are getting sent away, said Karsten. 

Another downside of transport is that it is a reactive, stopgap measure; it’s not a long-term solution. It doesn’t address the root cause of why there are supposedly too many animals and not enough homes for them in a community. 

“How does just taking [animals] actually address that problem?” asked Karsten.  

Finding new solutions 

To find new solutions, animal shelters need to challenge assumptions they’ve been making and continue to make about the problem they’re trying to solve. Is the problem really that there are too many animals and/or not enough homes? 

Maybe shelter leaders think there aren’t enough homes for animals in the community because animals end up at the shelter in the first place. But maybe more programs are needed to help keep pets in their homes with owners and prevent surrenders, like pet food banks, low-cost, accessible veterinary care and behavior support.

Or, it might be a matter of a perspective shift, away from a “negativity bias” that makes shelter staff upset with people who come to the shelter to surrender animals, said Karsten.

“That would kind of be like working in a hospital and getting upset with people for coming in because they’re sick,” she said. “…Remember, there are tons of people in your community who never need you.”

Finally, maybe it seems like there aren’t enough homes because animal shelters have impossible requirements for adoption that rule out many community members. 

It’s possible the shelter just needs to trust their community and remove requirements that prevent people from adopting, like having a fence, previously having a pet or not living with children, that don’t affect whether someone will provide a loving home. 

In fact, as the COVID-19 crisis was unfolding, animal shelters had to remove these requirements to quickly get animals out of their facilities, when they were worried about operating during a pandemic. Many saw amazing results, with community members stepping up to provide great homes for animals. 

Destination shelters, too, can start to rethink their roles in the community. Instead of operating as large adoption centers and transporting animals from other shelters to fulfill that mission, maybe they can start to focus more on providing resources and information to community members who already live with pets. 

Overall, if source shelters start looking to their communities more, they’ll build up relationships and support, said Karsten. 

After all, she added: “I can’t believe that it doesn’t feel just as good to do a great adoption as it does to put 50 animals on a plane.” 

Pets For Life

Pets For Life (PFL) is a Humane Society of the US-funded program for animal shelters that provides animal-welfare resources to underserved communities. Panhandle Animal Shelter offers PFL for Ponderay, Kootenai, and Clark Fork. Watch this video and see the PAS team conduct a pop-up clinic in Clark Fork, ID.

You can also watch our short documentary (below) on our PFL program that shows more of the services we offer at Panhandle Animal Shelter.

Lastly, you can listen to or watch the PFL interviews we did on our podcast, People Are Animals Too, Darnit! hosted by our executive director, Mandy Evans.

Progress in a Pandemic

Over the past decade, Panhandle Animal Shelter has been on a mission to transform animal sheltering in our region. PAS has gone from serving just 1,200 animals per year to serving over 8,400 in 2019. We had big plans for 2020 and were on track to expand our programs to serve even more animals and the people who love them. 

Then, enter a pandemic that closed businesses, stalled supply chains, and threatened the safety of our community. Even the best laid plans quickly became rewrites. 

To shelter animals, find new adoptive homes, and care for animals in the community, PAS interacts with the public, collaborates with local and national organizations, requires staff and volunteers, and relies on specialized equipment and supplies. There isn’t much of this model that the pandemic hasn’t challenged. Maintaining staff when a suspected exposure occurs is a challenge. Finding medical supplies is a challenge. Facilitating adoptions, intake, and clinics are a challenge. Adhering to consistent hours of operation is a challenge. Finding ways to safely engage volunteers is a challenge. Meeting with donors is a challenge. For a while, even finding a place to buy cleaning supplies was a major hurdle. 

Our greatest challenge has been being able to continue spay and neuter surgeries at the level we feel is necessary for our community. Many medical supplies are limited due to the crossover use with human medicine and during the pandemic, human medicine has taken priority. Following veterinary medicine guidelines and guidance from shelter medicine professionals we have limited our spay and neuter surgeries. Additionally, veterinary medicine is a highly specialized skill, and when a team member is unavailable due to COVID-19 exposure or testing, we can’t perform surgeries or other necessary medical procedures to protect our animal population. These supplies and staffing shortages significantly limit our ability to meet our goals for the year. 

Just like the community, we want things to go back to normal. Our team is tired and stressed and we miss seeing our community, working with our volunteers, and visiting at Yappy Hour. But be assured, our priorities have not changed. We are still as dedicated to supporting our community as ever before. We ask that you be patient with our staff and volunteers, hours of operation, and modifications to how our programs are operated. We are doing the best we can and we need your support. 

During the past few months, we’ve been receiving questions like, “Where donations are going now that there are fewer animals in the shelter?”, “What does the future holds for PAS?”, and the most common question of all, “Where are all the cats?” We hope this article helps answer some of these questions – but if you’re curious about something related to the work PAS does, we invite you to email us at

With fewer animals in the shelter, where are my donations going?

There’s no better way to answer this question than to share more about our programs and the efforts underway to, by design, keep animals out of the shelter.

PAS operates robust owner support programs that exist to help keep animals out of the shelter. These supportive services are offered through a multitude of programs like our Pets for Life program which supports pet owners by going door-to-door in specific neighborhoods providing services to people and their pets for free. Services may include pet food, advice, spay and neuter, medical, dental, or general pet supplies. Another key to keeping people and pets together has been the PAS helpline, which now serves over 1,800 people each year, and provides services to people to help prevent the need for a pet to be surrendered to the shelter. Services may include medical care, spay and neuter, training, free pet supplies, or connecting callers with PAS’s pet food bank which provides seven tons of dog and cat food to the community each year on a no-questions-asked basis. 

Increasing in demand is our Temporary Loving Care program, which provides free temporary pet boarding for people in transition. The program, provided on a case-by-case basis, originated to assist pets while their owners sought mental health care from Bonner General Health, but the economic impacts of the pandemic have increased the need for this program to provide pet boarding for people who are homeless or struggling to find pet-friendly housing. By providing short-term boarding, PAS helps prevent unnecessary surrender.

One of our most popular owner support programs is Home to Home, a rehoming program developed at PAS in 2016, provides support to families who need to surrender their pet with the option to rehome on their own with help from the shelter. 

As you may have guessed, these programs come with a cost. Despite having fewer animals in the shelter, donations are still needed to support this work. We’re investing into these programs because it’s part of our mission to support both ends of the human animal bond and we believe sheltering an animal should be the last option. Before PAS takes in an animal, have we offered other solutions like advice for an unruly dog? What about supporting a person and their pet by offering free pet food? Does the pet have a medical issue we can help with? Could the issue be as simple as a pet owner needing help with vaccines so they can keep their pet in their apartment? If these simple questions – a hierarchy of needs for the pet owner – haven’t been asked, then there’s options on the table that could help keep a pet with its family. Your donations help make it possible for people to keep their pets during their time of need, help shelter animals who have no place else to go, and make it possible for PAS to support people and animals across our region. 

Where are all the cats?

PAS is a no-kill shelter, and is proud to be a part of a national movement to prevent the euthanasia of healthy cats. For shelters to be no-kill and prevent overcrowding, multiple strategies are needed.

For owned cats, PAS assists owners as much as possible so they can keep their cat and avoid surrendering it to the shelter. This may include providing medical care, supplies, or food. If it’s not possible for a person to keep their cat, PAS will take the cat into the shelter, space permitting. PAS is a no-kill shelter, but the number of cats who need to be sheltered can be so high that the shelter must maintain an intake waitlist. By PAS monitoring the number of cats allowed in the building, cats in the shelter stay healthy. Too many cats crowded together creates stress and stress leads to illness. Illness means cats need to stay in the facility longer to get treated and recover. By practicing managed intake techniques, PAS has decreased the length of stay for cats by 62 days and the number of cats in the building at any given time from 105 cats to 53. This change increased the number of cats assisted each year in the building from 600 to 1,400.

For community cats, also known as unowned cats, PAS operates a “Trap, Neuter, Return” program through partnering with the community to trap cats, bring them to the shelter for spay or neuter, and return them to the location they were found. Due to limited staffing and supplies capacity, this program has been placed on pause during the pandemic, which is also why there are not a lot of kittens in the shelter. 

This year, PAS implemented a new methodology provided by University of Florida, University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine program, and UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. This program challenges what people believe is a stray cat. When a healthy, friendly, neutered cat is brought to the shelter as a stray, PAS asks the finder to go place it back where it was found. This is because 39% of cats are indoor/outdoor and when lost they are normally found three to four houses down from their home. When an owned cat is brought to our shelter it has a less than 2% chance of being reclaimed by its owner, a rate in line with national average for cats, despite PAS’s best efforts to reunite the cat with its owner. This means the cat has a much higher likelihood of finding its home without intervention. Although kind-hearted, well-meaning people bring the cat to the shelter out of concern, it’s important to highlight that they might be taking someone’s cat from right in front of their home. If a cat is brought to PAS that is in need of medical care, has a low body mass or circumstances that demonstrate the need for intervention, the cat is admitted into the PAS for care and may be adopted or returned to where it was found after it recovers. If you still have questions about managing cat populations, we’ve updated our website, with more information.

What does the future hold for PAS?

Like many nonprofits, PAS has experienced setbacks due to the pandemic. Thankfully, because of our community centered and progressive owner support programs, we quickly adapted to accommodate the unique challenges of the pandemic. We relied more heavily on Home to Home, our online rehoming program, to help prevent animals entering the shelter. We made our foodbank available for curbside pick-up. We shifted our outreach approach for our Pets for Life program to phone calls instead of door-to-door visits. When many shelters around the country closed, PAS was proud to have maintained its services and as a result helped save lives of animals in need and helped to prevent owners from being forced to surrender their pets due to economic hardship. 

While we can’t predict the future, we can anticipate the needs of our community and we can plan for how we’ll respond. 

Internally, we are investing in hiring optimistic problem solvers who view the community as their number one partner and we’re continuing to implement prevention-focused, evidence-based, and best practice programs that help people keep their pets. Even during the height of the pandemic, PAS is proud to have hired its first full-time veterinarian who was trained in shelter medicine and management practices from the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program. 

We’ve experienced higher than usual medical needs through our helpline and we expect this to continue. We are also expecting an increased demand by owners who need to surrender their pets due to housing instability, and planning for higher demand for owner support services in case of recession. This means PAS will be providing more boarding, more medical care, more pet food, and more support to pet owners so they can keep their pets and avoid surrendering them to the shelter whenever possible. 

PAS will also continue investing time in growing the Home To Home program, a PAS-founded rehoming tool that helps prevent animals from ever entering the shelter. The program is now in 39 shelters around the nation. We have plans to expand the services offered through this program to support local pet owners with rehoming and to include tools to support fostering and increased access for under resourced shelters around the country.

It’s impossible to know what the future holds, but we’re committed to our mission, and we’re proud to serve our region. We continue to receive support from national animal welfare organizations like the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Best Friends Animal Society and Maddie’s Fund. We’re also honored to receive donations from local businesses and supporters who generously support people and animals with their giving and we’re thankful for the community support we continue to receive in the form of donations to our thrift store and donations of pet food and supplies to the shelter.

If you still have questions about PAS, or any of its programs and services, just ask. Staff are proud to talk about the shelter and what they are working on. Email us at

Your Complete Guide on Crate Training a Puppy

by Jackie Brown

We all know that our four-legged friends can get a little boisterous when overexcited or being welcomed in a new loving home. And as for puppies, well, they’re not used to house rules! However, they are not to blame since we are here to train them! Even though it may take up your time and effort, the benefits of crate training are immense. Here is our complete guide on crate training a puppy or a rescue dog who you’ve opened your heart and home to.

What is Crate Training?

Our pets, just like children, yearn for their private space. In that sense, crates are exceptional since they have the function of training your pet and providing them with a sense of comfort. 

You can use them to be in control of where and when your puppy relieves himself, to teach him house rules and which areas are limited, but also to isolate boisterous dogs during travels or when you are introducing your pooch to your baby or young children. Once your pet is used to crates, they become a happy place, where your small buddy can feel safe and joyful. However, this training takes time, patience and devotion, but the outcome is satisfying both for the puppy and the owner.

Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

Selecting a crate

Probably the most complicated and tiring part is choosing the best dog crate for your furry friend since crates come in all sizes, shapes, and materials. From wire, fabric, plastic, and wood, there are hundreds of different options you can decide upon. Just make sure that the crate is large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around. If you are choosing a crate for your puppy, maybe it is a better solution if you take a bigger one, since they outgrow them quickly!

Photo by Gulyás Bianka on Unsplash

The crate training process

Crate training should be a positive and rewarding experience, both for you and your furry friend. It is useful to know that there are slight differences in crate training a puppy and a grown dog. The process can take up weeks depending on the age, temperament and past practices of your dog. However, keep in mind that positivity, patience, and praise are crucial steps in your teaching. To properly crate train your dog, follow the complete guide below:

1.   Introduce the crate to your pup by placing it in a familiar area. This comforts him as he is being presented to a new object in his surroundings.

2.   Place the crate with puppy pads since puppies still have to learn how potty time functions.

3.   Add a blanket, or that toy your puppy absolutely adores to chew. This should make the dog crate more engaging to him.

4.   The door of the crate should be open and a treat or a kibble should be nearby. 

5.   If possible, before crate training, prepare your puppy by zapping their energy (play ball, go for a walk or similar physical exercise).

6.   Once that is done, give a command to him such as ‘Crate’ to let him know that he should go inside. While inside, stay nearby and watch as he explores his new surroundings. Then call him outside and give him a lot of praise for passing the first step. You should repeat this two more times for more successful guidance.

7.   After repeating two more times, the next time your pup enters the crate, try closing the door behind him for a couple more minutes. After coming out, praise him again for being a good boy.

8.   Repeat this process, but after each time wait a minute or two before letting him out again. After some time, by increasing minutes, your puppy should be comfortable being in the crate for even 30 minutes.

Puppy Crate Training schedule

Have in mind that young puppies should not be in crates for longer periods since they are still learning how to potty. Therefore, always be mindful of their bladder control and try to break up their crate time.

·  Puppies older than six months should be crated in hours for their age in months, plus one. Therefore, if the puppy is 7 months, he should be crated for 8 non-consecutive hours with the addition of potty time.

·  Disrupt crate time with playing, different activities and walks while teaching your puppy that crate should be for eating, resting and napping.

·  Keep in mind that puppies younger than 6 months should not be in crates for 3 consecutive hours, as they still have not comprehended their potty time.

Be attentive towards your pet, always give him praise and be careful of their needs. Only then, with small changes in their habits, success is inevitable. Our furry buddies deserve all the love and patience we can give!

About the author: Pet expert Jackie Brown has spent 13 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. She is contributing writer for National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian’s Approach to At-Home Animal Care (April 2019) and author of the book It’s Raining Cats and Dogs.

Pet Food Trends for 2020

by Jackie Brown

The new decade is all about sustainability, alternative solutions and better food choices.
Our pets are not excluded, as more and more dog owners incline towards smarter and more creative options for their animal’s health and wellbeing.  Here are the newest pet food trends that will make you rethink what you know about animal nutritional needs and hopefully incorporate something fresh into your own pet’s diet.

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Fruit finally enters the picture

It was only recently that fruit has gained such importance in the dog and cat food industry. Although it can’t fully supplement all the necessary nutrients in an omnivorous diet, it definitely contributes to a well-balanced and high-quality food options.

Fruit like bananas, apples, strawberries, and blueberries are rich in vitamin C and A,  antioxidants, potassium, fibre and minerals very beneficial for gut health in our four-legged companions. The best way to incorporate them into your pet’s feeding regimen is by making delicious snacks with mashed fruit and other ingredients like nuts and grains. Sour fruit is not really a go-to option for pets, so you’ll have to somehow mask the flavour and make them appealing. The more variety, the better, in order to achieve optimal results.

That said, not all fruit is safe for animals. Check with your vet if your dog or cat could benefit from a fruity diet and which plants are actually safe. Avocados, cherries and grapes, for example, are not safe for dogs as they contain toxins like cyanide which can be harmful and cause diarrhoea and nausea to your beloved pooch. 

As this is developing into a strong trend, there’s an abundance of information on safe fruits for pets and how to properly mix them with other pet food.
Food for puppies or kittens is very specific and needs to be rich in vitamins, minerals and calories to adhere to all their specific  growth, development and reproduction needs. 

Cannabinoids and their use for dogs

As the alternative medicinal solutions gain more popularity and value, CBD slowly becomes a useful choice for relieving pain, controlling anxiety and even helping with insomnia.

When it comes to pets, cannabinoids can be very helpful and many veterinarians using the holistic approach actually recommend it for different types of inflammation, dog anxiety, seizures and more. 

Be careful, though, not to give your pet THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana, as it is highly toxic for animals. Nevertheless, mainstream medicine finds more and more uses of CBD oil for treating dogs suffering from arthritis, and even cancer.

CBD faces many problems, specifically with legalization and it depends on the country you live in. However, due to many potential health benefits, it’s being excessively researched, so be ready to come across it even more.

Everything has its purpose – sustainability

An ongoing trend in human diets, as well as pet food, has definitely become using meat by-products.  The industry has found a way to utilize everything humans consider garbage and turn it into a great nutritional source.  Things like rendered poultry fat, internal organs, even feathers are being added to dog food for flavour and calorie boost. 

The key is to make a quality combination of ingredients that puts in use all the meat by-products which would normally be wasted, without compromising the needed nutritional value.

Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash

Alternative proteins and pets

Although mostly based on meat products, pet food (especially for dogs and cats) does not have to contain meat-based protein. The technology has developed means of fermentation that can produce protein without having an impact on the environment and animal welfare. 

Another alternative protein that pet food processors have been experimenting with is insect protein. Yes, it sounds gross, but insects are a great source of good protein and have actually been used in the human diet for centuries, just not something we’re normally used to. Pet food industries use larvae of insects to create protein-rich flour which is then included as an ingredient when making kibble, for example. 

Canned food for animals can contain eggs as a great source of protein and other minerals and nutrients. It’s not so revolutionary, but it can definitely serve as a replacement for all the produced meat.

Final thoughts

As long as you have spoken with your vet first and understand your animal’s nutritional needs, there’s no harm in trying out these new diet trends. As our perception of the world changes, the rules change, making the choice span much greater. Choose what’s best for your pet’s needs and it won’t matter what’s in or trendy, as long as your animal is healthy and happy.

About the author: Pet expert Jackie Brown has spent 13 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. She is contributing writer for National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian’s Approach to At-Home Animal Care (April 2019) and author of the book It’s Raining Cats and Dogs.

Prepare Yourself, Home and Family For A New Dog

By Casey Williams of

Congratulations, you are adding a furry friend to your home and this is a joyous occasion. A new dog is a major commitment as they require constant care, supervision and training. 

The dedication required to acclimate a dog into the house is important to the well-being of both the dog and the family. The reward for putting in that time is well worth it. A dog can quickly become a loyal family member and create special bonds with each person in the home. 

Here are a few things to remember when it comes to caring for your new addition.

Essentials To Provide For Your Newly Adopted Dog

The following are essentials that responsible dog owners need to provide for their new dog:

  • Vet care that includes yearly check-up appointments and necessary vaccinations
  • Nutritious food and water
  • Shelter

Other items highly suggested to prepare for your new pup include the following:

  • Dog bed
  • Kennel if needed
  • Toys to keep the dog entertained
  • Treats
  • Fenced in yard or way to safely allow outside time

Once the dog is officially yours, then you can begin your own routine and training for your furry friend.

Make Your Home A Happy Space For Fido

Everything in your home will be new and exciting to your dog. You must be patient as your pup takes in the new surroundings. You can help take the edge off by putting comfort items in all of the rooms that your dog is allowed in. 

A dog bed and toys should be located in the room you want your dog to rest in. Leave the dog bowls down in the kitchen or area that you will be feeding your dog. Let your dog sniff out these items and learn his or her way around. Your dog will enjoy his or her new toys and begin to feel at home in their new environment.

Restrictions Are Good In The Beginning

Do not let new dogs have access to the entire home at once. This is not to restrict them and make them feel isolated but it will help them feel comfortable gradually and not become overwhelmed or easily confused. 

Utilize baby gates or simply shut doors to keep your dog in one area at a time. A new home is a new layout for your dog to learn and the most important thing is to learn which door to exit to use the yard and where their food and water are located. 

Keep a watchful eye on your dog and you will know when it is ready to explore a new space. Typically within the first month of having a dog it will then gain access to the entire home. Going out and not making messes throughout the house will become routine and your dog will not get lost or disoriented in the space. 

Smaller homes take less time to familiarize with and age also plays a factor in this. An adult dog may have previously been in a home and already be housebroken. Those dogs will probably familiarize themselves more quickly than a 10-week old puppy that is still in the process of being fully potty trained.

Establish and Familiarize Your Pet With the Vet

You should have your new dog seen by your veterinarian. Even if your dog comes with papers it is a good idea to drop those off in person so your dog becomes familiar with the care establishment they will be frequenting. 

The place will be less intimidating the more they are introduced. There are added bonus points here if your vets’ office has a groomer that you like in the same building. Your dog will become more comfortable with more positive visits. 

Speak with your vet about vaccinations and preventative treatments for your furry friends’ health. As time passes and your dog becomes more comfortable in your home you may notice some behaviors that should be corrected. 

Your veterinarian is also a wonderful asset to help you establish a trainer to get your dog back on track. If you do not have a veterinarian lined up then it is essential to make this a priority as soon as you bring your pooch home.

Prepare Yourself and Be Responsible

Part of being responsible also includes prepping your home for your dog. Remove all plants and other items that could be toxic to pets. Prepare for the added expense and time commitments to properly care for your dog. 

Responsible pet ownership is very important. Your dog relies on you for literally everything. You are the person that lets him out into the yard, you are the person that feeds him, you are the person that walks him and gets him groomed. 

You are the one that your dog waits all day to see because you make him happy. Never leave your dog outside on a hot day without water. Limit exposure in extreme temperatures whether it is excessive heat or frigid cold. 

Never leave your dog without shelter and always feed your dog on the recommended vet routine and quantity. 

Wrapping Up

Prepare yourself mentally for any challenges your pup might present. This is key to preparing yourself and your family to become responsible pet owners.

When you add a dog to your family you are signing up for a life of commitment and vet care. You will need to provide all of the basic needs to your pet to ensure he lives a long and healthy life.

*Casey Williams is a profession dog trainer and the founder of – visit for more articles by Casey.

Kickstarter Questions

After launching our Kickstarter campaign for Home To Home™ we realized there has been some confusion about how Kickstarter works. Here’s some answers to frequently asked questions:

How does kickstarter work?

Kickstarter is an online fundraising platform. It’s typically used when people want help raising money to support an idea, program, or new product. Once a project is shared on Kickstarter, other people can ‘back’ the project by pledging towards it. Usually, backers get a reward for their money.  A key part of Kickstarter is that if the project doesn’t raise enough money to meet its goal, the project doesn’t get funded at all. This means nobody gets charged, and nobody receives the rewards either. 

Is this a monthly donation or is it a one time thing?

Your pledge to a Kickstarter campaign is a one time thing, and you won’t be charged until the campaign reaches its goal. If the campaign doesn’t reach its goal, you don’t get charged and you don’t receive rewards.

When do I get charged?

If the campaign reaches its goal, you’ll be charged at the end of campaign. For the Home To Home™ Kickstarter, this is on May 9th, 2020.

Is it true that Home To Home™ doesn’t get any money if you don’t reach the $150,000 goal?

Yes. The campaign relies on people to pledge towards the goal. If we meet our goal, people who backed the campaign are charged for their pledges and Home To Home™ will receive the funds, minus Kickstarter’s fees. If we don’t reach our goal, nobody is charged for their pledges. If you’ve pledged to the campaign, this is a good reason to share it because the more pledges we get the more likely we are to reach our goal. When we reach our goal, Home To Home™ gets the funding it needs and backers get perks – it’s a win-win!

How do perks work for Canadians or other international backers?

Due to the cost of shipping, we cannot ship rewards internationally. However, you have a few options. First, you can pledge to the campaign because you believe it in. You won’t get any rewards. You can also pledge at the $1 or $5 levels and receive virtual rewards. 

Is this an event? 

The Home To Home™ Kickstarter is not an event. It’s an online fundraiser that ends on May 9th, 2020. There is no attendance necessary and all the information needed to support the fundraiser is on the campaign site here:

I’ve pledged the campaign, but how else can I help?

Thanks for pledging to support the campaign! Now that you’re a backer, please tell your friends about it and ask them to support the campaign too. Sharing is caring and we could really use your help telling everyone about our Kickstarter. 

Where can I send my questions?

We welcome your questions. You can email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Home To Home™

With the launch of our Kickstarter for Home To Home™, we’ve been receiving more questions about how the program works. Founder Mandy Evans and National Program Coordinator Joya Blair answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the program in the following videos:

Why Is Home To Home an Important Tool for Shelters?
Are Animal Shelters the Best Place to Take a Pet Who Needs a New Home?
Are Animal Shelters Wanting Home To Home?
Why Do People Give Up Their Pets?
How Does Home To Home Guarantee the Health of an Animal?

Visit our Kickstarter campaign page by clicking the following button:


Home To Home™ Kickstarter

When keeping a pet is making hard times worse, many families make the painful decision to take their pet to an animal shelter. There’s a better way!

Home to Home™ keeps pets out of animal shelters, reduces stress for the pet and owner, and helps pets go straight from one loving home to the next. 

Now more than ever, animal shelters are asking for Home to Home™ because they are being forced to close their doors, even though pets still need help finding homes.

To keep up with the demand, we’re raising $150,000 on Kickstarter to pay for an upgrade to our web platform so we can onboard more shelters. With your support, we can make Home To Home™ come true for every pet who needs our help!

Click the button below to go to our Kickstarter campaign:


Dance Party Challenge

Want to win a $20 gift card to our thrift store (good for use once the store reopens)?! Watch this video to find out about the challenge for this week and how you can win.