October 2, 2023

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Homeward Pet | Our Commitment to Boone

Homeward Pet | Our Commitment to Boone

Our Commitment to Boone

Boone arrived at Homeward Pet in May of this year, terrified and shaking.  He had never seen a leash and it was all we could do to safely get him from the car to his room at the shelter.  At 9 months old, he was already so very scared of the world, so our Behavior Manager knew we needed to come up with a clear plan for his care and confidence building.  

Homeward Pet uses Fear Free practices for all of the animals under our roof. Fear Free entails making decisions to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets during every interaction.  Admission to any shelter is stressful for most animals because of the abrupt change in their environment. The strange sights, smells, and sounds combined with the presence of unfamiliar people and animals can cause uneasiness. Their day-to-day interactions may be inconsistent and unpredictable, making it difficult for them to learn what to expect and more difficult for them to adapt.  

Fear Free thinking makes us look at things like the aromas of the cleaners we use, the sounds that the animal is exposed to, the speed of movement of the people sharing their space, the types of holds and touch, and the things we expect from the animal.  When the animal feels in some level of control of their environment, they can make decisions that  are not based out of fear, stress or anxiety. 

For Boone, for whom even the most stress-free environment is scary, no shelter or new home will likely ever be completely fear free for him. Our hearts leapt into motion and Boone was set up in an isolation room in a back hallway, with soothing music, a calming collar and very defined interactions. Rehabilitation for a sensitive being like Boone is a lengthy process but we knew that going in and set him up for the biggest chance of success.  He has had limited trusted Behavior volunteers who spend time with him, letting him set the pace and the level of interaction.  His basic needs (food, water, bedding, shelter) have been provided in a calm and consistent manner. He has been introduced to a leash and to very monitored play time with confident but friendly dogs. Our Behavior Team monitors his progress daily and makes tweaks to his behavior and care plan as necessary. He has slowly emerged from his shell to reveal a loving, playful, cuddly companion underneath.  Boone has a long way to go but we have been committed to finding him the right home that can continue his fear free lifestyle and help him become the best version of himself. 

Despite what might seem an ability and ample space to provide such a custom plan for just one dog in our care, our current shelter is busting at the seams. To relieve stress and anxiety for the animals we’ve taken in, we’ve used rooms and spaces that have never been used for animal care in the past. Many of our rooms do double duty. Our animal care rooms and clinic are at capacity and need to be updated. Our dream is to buy land in the Woodinville area and build a brand-new shelter and community space within the next 8 years.  But the animals in our care also need us to be there for them now. 

We have identified that the next step to reduce fear and anxiety for the animals currently in our care is a full Dog Room Remodel to better allow for Fear Free living spaces for the dogs during their stay with us, then we will be expanding the Clinic and reimaging the Cat Room and our Administrative Areas. This is an expensive undertaking, but one that will better support our work in all areas of the shelter, now and into the future.  

We have already started talks with architects and are excited about construction starting this Fall. This is a step that is important to Homeward Pet, and we are grateful to the many partners that have stepped in so far to help make this vision a reality. 

Amazon Pets has showed up in a big way to help get this project started. Earlier this year, Amazon Pets hosted a Prime Day for Pets, and contributed a portion of the proceeds to Homeward Pet to help support our Dog Room Remodel Project. Amazon Pets and Homeward Pet are currently discussing other opportunities to partner in the near future, including event sponsorship, future remodels, and hosted adoption days. 

Homeward Pet is immensely grateful to Amazon Pets for their commitment to all the animals in our community and we are excited about this long-term partnership. If you are interested in learning more about Amazon Pets, or searching for great deals for your own 4-legged friend, visit https://amazon.com/pets or follow them on Insta for cute photos of animals https://www.instagram.com/amazonpets/?hl=en! 

We would love to share our vision with you. If you are interested in supporting the Homeward Pet Reimagined Project, you can donate today at homewardpet.org. We can’t wait to share the changes with you! 


… and Boone?  He captured the heart of one of the staff members who worked so hard with him while he was here and, in early September, moved into a foster home with a confident canine sister who he just adores.  We are rooting for him to form a connection with the feline  sibling in the family so that the next step can be adoption for him. Sometimes that’s just the wonderful love connection that happens when you invest in the lives of animals who need that little bit of extra love.