Homeward Pet celebrates 22 years, 20,000th adoption

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Homeward Pet
Peggy LaReaux, holding Ava, is surrounded by family members, including Andrea and Toren Heald and their son, Knut, along with Homeward Pet staff and volunteers. Courtesy photo.
This year marks Homeward Pet’s 22nd anniversary as a no-kill, non-profit adoption center.

The Woodinville-based organization, which was founded in 1990 under the name “Hooterville Pet Safehaus,” began with simple goals: Save and find homes for cats and dogs, while educating the public about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets.

Each year, Homeward Pet helps over 1,300 cats and dogs that have been surrendered by their owners or rescued from shelters that euthanize find their forever home.

In addition to adoption services, the organization is involved in animal rescue and transfer, rehabilitation and community awareness programs, as well as offering a medical and spay/neuter clinic and pet food bank.

With its recent move to a new facility, the organization will soon be able to double the number of animals it can house.

“We went from 4,900 square feet to 11,200,” says Terri Inglis, Homeward Pet’s executive director. “It has been a dream come true for us.”

She adds, “By the end of the year, we’ll be able to house close to 70 animals at any one time.”

Before the move, Inglis notes that the organization did about 14-20 adoptions per week. Now, it does anywhere from 20-35 each week.

“This year, our goal is to find homes for at least 2,300 dogs and cats, which is double what we did in 2011,” comments Inglis.

To mark its 22nd anniversary, Homeward Pet collected $22 donations during the month of February. The aim was to reach 220 donations, which the organization surpassed by two.

On February 22, the official celebration date, all adoptions were $22 and during the following week, everyone who adopted an animal received a $22 gift card to Urban Dog or All the Best Pet Care.

“The theme, as you can obviously see, was the number 22,” says Inglis with a laugh.

Another milestone for the organization was reached on March 18 when it completed its 20,000th adoption.

Ava, a 4-month-old kitten, found a home with local resident Peggy LaReaux.

In honor of this event, the adoption fee was waived and LaReaux received a gift basket full of fun toys, treats and a comfy blanket for Ava.

It was LaReaux’s first time to adopt an animal.

She heard about Homeward Pet from her daughter, Andrea Heald, and together the pair, along with several other family members, made a visit to the facility.

“I was looking for a cat to keep my older cat company, as my other cat passed away,” says LaReaux. “Ava is a tiny and petite kitten and she’s so beautiful. She’s tortoise, multi-colored, with this cute brown strip down the front of her face.”

The local woman explains that her daughter was planning on paying for the adoption fee as a birthday present to her and was surprised to learn that the fee had been waived.

“She was really surprised, more surprised than I was,” remarks LaReaux.

The local woman is delighted with her kitten, though she is planning on a name change.

Currently, she is considering Pickles, a name she and her grandson came up with the other day.

Meanwhile, the animal is thriving in its new surroundings and LaReaux describes the kitty as gentle and delicate, yet playful.

Though 20,000 adoptions may not sound like a lot for a large shelter, it’s significant for Homeward Pet.

“We’re a small organization and we’re also one of the few no-kill centers,” explains Inglis. “The fact that we’ve found 20,000 animals new homes is impressive and means a lot to us. It’s a big number for us.”

Inglis notes that Homeward Pet would never have been able to accomplish this feat without its cadre of committed volunteers.

She adds, “We have 365 volunteers who really do everything around here. They have helped us build what we have today and we couldn’t operate without them. They are the lifeblood of this place.”

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