Animal Shelter of the Week: Episode 28 – Panhandle Animal Shelter in Idaho

Panhandle Animal Shelter serves North Idaho in their mission to create and support meaningful connections by enhancing the lives of dogs, cats and the people in their community who love them. Their primary goal is to support and empower their community to help keep pets in homes and out of the shelter. They created the Home To Home network to reduce owner surrenders to shelters and to empower owners to re-home their pets. Home To Home is now in fourteen shelters in fourteen States, helping to save the lives of pets across the country.

To learn more, check out their website & Facebook today!

“Welcome to the ARPA Animal Shelter of the week podcast where we introduce you to incredible organizations around the country that are focused on helping animals. We’re proud to be sponsored by Doobert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters, and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Let’s meet this week’s featured animal shelter.

 The Panhandle Animal shelter provides care for approximately 5000 animals a year. Their mission is to create and support meaningful connections by enhancing the lives of dogs, cats and the people in their community who love them. Their programs include temporary sheltering of lost and homeless pets, adoptions and a number of shelter diversion programs established to keep pets in homes and out of the shelter. They’re an organization that believes partnering with their community brings out the best in everyone. They created the program Home to Home, to reduce owner surrenders with shelters and to empower owners to rehome their pets when necessary. Home to Home is now in 14 shelters across 14 states, helping save the lives of pets.

Hey, Mandi. Welcome to the show. Thank you. I appreciate you having me. Yeah, I’m really excited to have you. So you are joining us from Panhandle Animal Shelter in Idaho. Why don’t you kick us off and tell us a little bit about your organization and, and maybe how long you’ve been with them? Sure. I joined the organization in 2011 and our group is the largest and take facility in the two northern counties of Idaho. And a lot of our focus is on trying to support and empower our community to be able to care for their pets, so that they never have to enter into our shelter. And how long have you been with the organization? Eight and 1/2 years. Eight and 1/2 years. Okay. And you join them as the executive director, is that right? I did. Yes. Perfect. Tell me a little bit about the community and what that looks like for you guys. So where in, we’re actually located in Pondera, Idaho. But the closest large city is Sandpoint, Idaho. It’s been named one of the most beautiful small towns in America. But we have those city centers, we’re primarily rural. We have a lot of working-class individuals who are just, you know, working to survive and feed their family. Our community is, I think, one of the best in the world. Very supportive of one another. Kind. You know, you wave at each other when you drive by. When I first moved here, someone would wave at me and I’d be like, huh? You don’t know me! And then I later learned that everybody waves at everyone. So it’s a very nice environment. And I’m happy to be here, especially because I feel like I’m a part of that really wonderful community.

 Why don’t we dive into the program aspect of what you guys do. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the different ones that you have? We do what most shelters do, we’re the intake facility. We hold municipal contracts. So when stray dogs are brought in, then we do our best to find their owners. We will house what we help within the shelter about 1900 animals a year and then overall through all of our programs, over 5000 animals a year. We have a community food bank. Um, we have community cats, spay and neuter program, low-cost spay/neuter program. We’re also a part of the Pets for Life Humane Society program. We do a lot of, our actual future work is in working in the mental health room with people who need additional support and have to be admitted into a hospital that will be taking care of their pets while they’re gone. Really trying to support the human-animal bond that you really can’t do unless you’re able to support both aspects of that and keep families together. So a lot of interesting programs. We have a helpline. About over 60% of the people calling the helpline will end up surrendering their pet to our shelter, and they just, a lot of them just need advice. And then we have our Home to Home Program, which provides people who need to surrender to a shelter, another avenue that supports them and re-homing their pet on their own. 

Yeah, it’s definitely a lot of programs. The one common factor I find in them, if not all of them, is community. Is that something that you guys knew you wanted to do? Or is that just kind of how it came together and grew? Well, I was sitting, this was years ago, at the Humane Society Conference and  Expo and A Pet for Life. It was a town hall, and that was my epiphany where I thought, Why are we spending so much of our time and mental energy shaming our community for needing us, when our job is to support them. Is that, we’re the only resource in our community to help people with their pets, and when they call for help, we shame them. It’s ridiculous. So we completely changed our whole culture philosophy. We train all of our new employees on recognizing their own mental, made-up story, versus logic and facts. Everything that we do is around looking at people as though they are good before we place any judgment on them. Was it when you were sitting in that conference that you realized we’re doing this all wrong? It needs to be around the community. And did you build the other programs based around that thought or that feeling? Yes, changing our culture and our organization was not easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. Lots of people left the organization. Lots of volunteers, staff members walked out. People tried to, a group of them tried to get me fired. And all of it was really surrounding the idea that they were very comfortable supporting animals, but not so much interested in seeing the good in people. So luckily, I had a very supportive board that felt that the direction we were going in was correct and we made the changes. And now we went from helping around 1200 animals eared, helping over 5000 animals a year and a community that really, I mean, they know that we’re supporting them were very rarely bashed anymore. On social media. There’s just a general sense that the number of animals abandoned at our shelter has dropped significantly because they know that they can just bring him to us and we won’t shame them. The returned owner has increased because they know that if they can’t afford it, the reclaimed feed that we’re not gonna charge him, I won’t shame them for not being able to care for their pet or that we ask them why they’re animal got out. And if it is a way that we can help them. So we’ve done fence repairs. We’ve worked with them on neutering dogs that are running and just providing solutions because we know our community loves their pets. First off, congratulations on the 75% return rate up strays. I think that’s huge, But do you know what the national average is? I believe it is 10%. Oh, okay. Because I looked at that a long, long time ago. When you take our cats and dogs, strays or return to owner, it’s like 26%. So it’s still over. It’s really the dogs that kind of throw us. Yeah, throws over. Yeah, I mean, that’s still really incredible. So congratulations on that. 

The one thing that really stood out to me is that you do it in a nonjudgmental way. My question for you is with that transition, all of those struggles that you had to go through and people resisting the change and the vision that you had, why are people afraid of animal organizations? Because I actually hear that pretty often. Is it that they feel judged when they go to ask for help? Or is there something more to that? Well, I like to use this example because this has happened to me. I’m hoping it’s happened to everybody and I’m not like calling myself out. But sometimes when I go in for my annual dental, you know, when they clean your teeth and all of that. As I’m going in, I get really nervous. Like, okay, I think I did a good job brushing. I think I did a good job flossing, but are they gonna find something? And then I’m gonna hear about how I’m not doing things right. And so in that, I’m personally shaming myself. No one’s changed me. No one even knows, I haven’t even talked to anyone yet. That internal shame deepens when an organization sends messaging out that is in a negative realm. So if you say this dog was abandoned by their owner and obviously don’t care about them, well, do you? You know it could have been a stray that could have gotten out. But by sending the message, then you know that that organization does shame people, that does have this negative connotation, which then makes your community feel like, well, if I go to them are they gonna think that about me? That’s a really, really, really good analogy. So I want to know for other organizations out there, who may be in that same situation and they’re getting resistance from their staff or from volunteers. And maybe they’re having to fight a little harder with their board to explain their position and why it’s a good thing to move towards this nonjudgmental layout, I guess. What challenges were those and how did you overcome that? Oh my goodness, I do think that for anybody and in any, anything that we’re doing in life is if something is holding you back, it’s most likely fear. And fear is a really comfy spot, because it builds up that nice little barrier between you and what you want to accomplish, and it’s comfortable right there. You’re like I’m safe. But if you really, really want to make change, you have to be brave. You have to be able to say, I really believe in what I’m doing. And if you’re in the right and when I say in the right, look at your mission, what is your why? Why are you doing this? There’s an example. There’s veterinarians and they’re doing a vaccine clinic, and they’re getting really worked up because the people that are coming in have designer breeds or whatever it is. And they’re getting so upset that these people should be paying full price for these vaccines. And they’re forgetting the reason you’re doing them. Forget the owners or anything else. You’re protecting that animal. Our goal should be, it doesn’t matter if someone has the resources or not. Our goal, end goal is what really should drive us. It’s just constantly reminding yourself surrounding yourself by really supportive people. I am really cautious of being around fear-based people, and I can somewhat identify like, if it’s always a struggle, always a hurdle.

 Another thing that is really big for me is the victims. And I have to clarify that. People, I don’t mean victims of like, people who have been a part of a crime or, you know, have been hurt in some way. I’m talking about people that don’t really take personal ownership. So I used to be one of those people when it came to volunteers at my shelter. And I would say our community just doesn’t want to volunteer. They just don’t support us. They don’t want to be here. They say they want to be here, but they don’t want to be here. That, for me, is giving me permission to no longer try. Because it’s not my problem, it’s someone else’s problem. But if you can say you know what? If we’re running a spay/neuter clinic at 6 a.m. and no one is coming, stop blaming your community that they’re not coming. If your goal is to alter animals, then make it more accessible to your public. Find out why aren’t people coming? But don’t just say, well, I tried it and it didn’t work. So it’s not on me. It’s on everyone else. Yeah, there’s a couple of really good points in there. Sometimes we do set things up as humans. We set things up to fail so we can say, we tried and it didn’t work. That was a lightbulb moment for me. I am one of those people who gets stuck in fear, for different things. And you’re right. It is a comfortable spot. I have a really good friend who pushes me outside of that comfort zone. For example, And here’s for the world to hear. I actually didn’t want to do podcasts. This was not my thing. And, you know, I’ve done 45 ish of them, almost 50 I guess. And he not only pushed me into one but pushed me into two. And I know he’s gonna laugh at me for putting this out there, but I actually like talking to people. I like learning what they’re doing, and I enjoy getting to know what’s being done to your point, to help the animals. It’s less about the people and more about the mission, the overall mission. And to your point. It’s not about that person who brought in that, as you call it designer breed. It’s literally about that dog. But as people we judge, we judge literally on a dime. We have to stop judging people, whether it’s our co-workers, our staff, the people who are coming to us for help. I think if we can get past that barrier, to your point, I think it really opens the door for better movement. Absolutely. We create our own personal narrative in our head and then we act as though it’s fact.

 So, more examples. You get a dog that’s malnourished. Comes into the shelter, and the first person that sees them says, whoever did this to this dog is a horrible person. I can’t believe it. We cannot let this person have the dog. And then they go back and they said, did you see that dog, that the owner was starving. And so all of a sudden, that story that was completely made up from that own person’s perception that you know, bad experiences, whatever, has now become fact. So that when the owner comes in and they’re treated based as though that story was fact, when actually it was totally made up from a perception that one single person had. So it is just constantly saying, wait a minute. Another good example that everybody can use is when you call somebody and they don’t call you back, you’re like, oh my God, what I do? Are they mad at me? Wait, I was nice last time I saw them, what happened? And it was just that they lost their phone. But you’ve spent, you know, hours worrying about this  false story that you made up in your head. And it’s just paying attention to your thoughts and then questioning the staff. Like this one cat came into the shelter and a staff member saw me and said, oh, did you see? You know, Fluffy that poor cat is so sad because its leg was broken because it was slammed in a door. Like, oh, my gosh!. You know, did the owner bring it in because they couldn’t for the surgery? Like, how do you know? Yeah. Oh, it was brought in as a stray. Okay, so did the person picking the cat up accidentally slam his leg in the door? She said, No, they found it that way. I’m like, so how do you know his leg was slammed in the door? And she went, oh, I guess we don’t. Awe, interesting.

 So how have you been able to change that thought process with your volunteers in your staff? Because that’s not easy to do. It’s human nature to make those judgment calls and to create that story, I guess, in a sense. It’s a mind shift that we need to do. So how have you done that with your staff and your volunteers, to make them more aware? So we try to do training that we also say that we won’t shame the shamer. One is the management’s pretty darn good at it. So we’ll ask questions. So we really dive in, if we hear judgy comments or shaming in any way. Even the way we phrase our questions to the public have been worked through. And we train the staff  to try to do open-ended, where it doesn’t sound like you’re shaming them, but a lot of it is just constantly working on it. And I am guilty. All of us are. I was very judgmental of somebody recently, and what we try to do is support each other. So I called my director of operations and said, OK, I need to own this. And I told her, and I said, I realized that I’m being judgmental, but that I’m really struggling with this. I just need you, you know, to kind of talk me off the ledge. And she does, because we’re never gonna be perfect, no one’s perfect. Yeah, it’s, you know, if the whole message, we send everybody, that even those people that have the designer dog, who the heck knows how they got that dog? Do they love their dog less because they might have money, I mean who cares, right? Who cares? We have a wonderful environment that our community embraces. I appreciate it.

 I do want to talk a little bit about the Home to Home program that you have. I know this is a big one, and actually, I have a few questions about it. How did it come about? What’s the progression been like for you? And then, of course, give us a little bit of the overview. In 2015 we saw, I believe it was a 15% increase in our owner surrenders, to our facility. I’m a big believer that you can’t make any change unless you admit that there’s a problem. So I started calling around to other shelters to see what were they doing to help owners not have to surrender. A lot of them were long wait periods, though we admit them in two weeks. But there was no real support, in the meantime. And for our shelter being the holding facility in the two northern counties that take owner surrenders. We had to have a different way. So we came up with Home to Home. Which again, speaking of fear, I developed it. I did that. I’m scared to death when we launched it, because I didn’t want our community to get the message that we were encouraging people to surrender their pet. But what happened was our community completely loved it. So Home to Home is a website, where community members can create a very easy and small pet profile. Then that profile is sent to somebody on our team, who reviews it to make sure that everything looks good. We do not allow any rehoming fees, so we make sure the profile doesn’t say anything about that. And then we approve it. And when we approve the post, it’s automatically posted to our social media pages. So we’re leveraging our community of support, to help these other community animals find homes. Going from their home and to another without ever entering into the shelter. So after we did this, not only did I have random people coming up to me on the street saying that they just love this program, but we also saw a 31% reduction in our owner surrenders, as well. And that to me, I’m like, holy cow, you know, this is something. So we converted it to a national platform. And so, basically, on the national platform, what that means is that shelters can have their own Home to Home page. It’s very important to me because we’re so focused on community, that we’re allowing other shelters to, you know, handle the program or have the program in the same way. So shelters that join our Home to Home Program, get their own unique URL. Their own unique branded Home to Home page, with their own donate button going to their own donate site. And then it’s tied into their social media. So when someone in their community needs to surrender their pet, then they would go to their website. They would do a small pet profile. Someone on the team at that shelter would approve it, and it would go on to their social media pages for rehoming.

 With the 31% change. How long before you saw that 31%? 3 months. Pretty incredible. So how did you guys market that to the community? Was it just when people came in that you were telling them about that? What was spreading that word like for you guys? We did Facebook posts. We did a press release, but we actually waited to issue the press release until we had our first success story. So we use the success story to kind of launch it. We created postcards and flyers that we then brought to every feed store, vet clinic, any of the area shelters to help them, knowing that they can use this tool. They didn’t need to have it themselves like we had it. They could just refer people to our site. And then that was primarily it. Most of the, the way we work right now, we have 14 network shelters that are on the Home to Home program now, and most of those shelters promote it simply by, they start with their Facebook page and there’s great progress there. And then they issue a press release that kind of blows up. The other key factor is that you have people that are calling into your shelter. Who need to surrender, but you’re offering that as an option every time. And then people that are coming into the shelter to surrender that they know that that’s an option. And then pretty soon your community knows that they’re very aware of Home to Home, and it becomes second nature. That it’s the first place that they go. I’m always curious when people have these great ideas. How did they come about, like is this something you woke up in the middle of the night. You were like, oh, my gosh. Give me a pen and paper. I have to write this down. Was it, you know, that you were sitting in the HSUS Expo and listening and, you know, learning from other people. Where did this idea come from? And what was the motivation behind it? Cause I’m sure you hit roadblocks again, as you created this, as well. So where did the idea come from? And how were you able to continue pushing forward to make it a viable program? Well, the idea came in the shower. Okay. Where Everybody’s ideas come from. It was one of the suggestions that people had, other shelters had were courtesy posts. Then we’re like, well, can we organize this? You know, can this be in a more organized method that actually allows us to track data. So that’s kind of how it happened. And then the greatest roadblocks. Well, there’s been a couple. One is I won’t name who it is, but I wrote a grant on the expansion of the program to a national organization. That didn’t fund it, but said it was a great idea they were going to send it to their tech department so they could create it. Because my end goal is life-saving. Which was a very sad moment for me. Wait. Let me make sure I understand that. So you submitted a grant to a national organization and they said great idea, but no. And then they turned around and built something similar. Nope. They said that they thought it was a great idea and that they would have a greater capacity to pull it off and that they were submitting the idea of their tech department. Wow. But they didn’t . They didn’t create it. And then a lot of and this has been like a growth point for us. And like when you say don’t give up. This, and I have to tell you, has been my, my greatest struggle is that I really believe that you have to be like, you have to be strong and you have to know that what you’re doing is right. Because so many people, I would talk to them about it and pitched the idea in the animal welfare realm and they, I didn’t like it or they blew it off like it wouldn’t work. Or you know what? No, we’re not gonna fund that. So me getting the traction just to be able to expand financially was very, very difficult.

 Now what we’re seeing. And just in our first year of being at the Humane Society, a lot of people that came to our booth really didn’t know what diversion was. Sure. And then this next year, there were so many people that were like, oh, my gosh, we’ve been talking about this! So it’s almost like we were just a little bit ahead of the trend. Now it’s really picking up, over having more corporate partners and sponsors, and we’re having a lot of discussions for expansion. Just a lot of exciting stuff that’s happened. But I just, I’m happy we didn’t give up, because there was really, I mean when I got the Maddie’s Fund, Maddie’s Fund is supporting us in onboarding shelters. Okay. And when I got that grant, I ran out into the lobby, cried my head off. Oh. Because it was like the validation that and thank God, you know. Maddie’s fund believed in, and you know, it’s just, a really very meaningful to have something that you care so deeply about and have people support you in it. I love that you guys now have 14 organizations. that includes you guys. And really, the launch of it has only been, you know what, 15 or 16 months. So because they’re averaging one a month, and there’s all sorts of things that go into that. You have to build their website and the onboarding pieces, takes time. And so, you know, I love the progress that you’re making on that. We hope this will help launch that even further for you guys.

So I want to know if you have a memorable story. You know, one of the things I always say is on your toughest day, when you’re in your office and your head is in your hands and you’re like, why do I do this? What’s the one memorable story that you go to to get that boost? That inspiration to continue going down this path? Oh, you’re gonna make me cry. I love I mean, I don’t like to make people cry, but I love the emotional side of this. This is why I asked the question. Okay, so, um, in my twenties. I bought a dog, the only dog I ever bought before, I bought a pug. Always wanted one. Okay. And three weeks after I got her, she became paralyzed due to a malformed spine. And through doctor appointment after doctor appointment, when they said, You know, you should just euthanize her, she’s a puppy. I said no, she’s like, full of life and vibrant. And so I got her a wheelchair and what’s important to me and the reason I do this work is because that dog completely changed the course of my life. Um, she introduced me to a greater level of empathy and understanding that I had no idea about. I volunteered at wheelchair camps for kids. I went into the Braille Institute and talked to people about how they wanted to be treated. And I used to teach elementary school kids about how we treat people who are different than us. And none of that would have happened. And I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at now at the shelter. If it hadn’t been for that little dog. There is something so special about the impact that they make on us. It’s just, it’s amazing to me the impact they have. And not only did you go on to do things in the animal industry, but it made you think bigger. It made you take the human side of that. That’s powerful. Yeah, because I never would have talked about being brave. I mean, when I started doing the work with the volunteer at the wheelchair camp, everybody would say, well, who in your family is in a wheelchair? Yeah. And it just made me realize that we, we don’t open ourselves up to scary things that are different because, you know, they’re different and they’re scary. And yet there’s people living these full, beautiful lives that we don’t even know about because we’re not like opening ourselves up to it. And I believe that, like, the experience that I had with Molly and these really wonderful stories that we hear about people and their pets. And the connection and them saving their lives and all of this. That little package, that little gift is available in every adoption and every connection that we have. And I look at them and think, so we’re gonna judge somebody that their dog got out and they can’t reclaim it. And we’re going to diminish the human-animal bond so much that we’re going to say that you’re not worthy of that animal. Getting that animal back because you don’t have the $40 in your pocket to pay to get the animal back. To me, I believe so much that animal welfare really wants to support the human/ animal bond, but our actions really diminish it. That we need to be refocusing and recalibrating on how we look at the way that we treat our community and how we help them.

 Yeah, beautifully stated. And actually, I wanted to take us back to the community aspect of this for just a minute because I want to know a little bit more about your organization. Tell me about what your volunteer program looks like. How heavily do you rely on volunteers versus staff? And are you always getting new volunteers, cause usually there’s a rotation of them. Well, the volunteers that are at our shelter, we have this core group that’s amazing, and they’re there every day and they’re doing really great work. And then we do have the people that rotate in and out. We also run thrift stores, so they play a large role in our thrift store. Our community cat program, I think we altered to say, it was 2200 cats last year. I’m really bad, it’s probably 1200. But we don’t, we don’t have a volunteer team. We don’t have a group of staff members that go out and do those. We are talking about empowering our community. We teach them how to use the traps. And all of those cats were, were trapped by community members that were all managing their own colonies. And all of our kittens all go into foster homes. We don’t have any kittens until they’re ready for adoption that come into the shelter. I didn’t gush over our community. I love our community and how much they participate in, really, we couldn’t do it without them. Like the expansion of all of our services is really, solely been dependent on our community stepping up to help us. Yeah, I think it’s a great piece. I think you know, the community and the volunteers is always a big piece of every organization.

 So, Mandy, tell me a little bit about you know you mentioned that the kittens stay in foster homes. So tell me about the foster home program. How many fosters do you guys have? And, what’s the process if somebody wants to sign up and help? So our process. We used to be super critical of all of our fosters. We had a stack of people we wouldn’t foster, too. And one of those, like baby steps of becoming a more open and accepting organization, was recalling. We called all those people up and out of all those people there were only, I think, two. I bet there was 50 in the stack that did not end up being a foster family for us. So unless there’s something that’s glaring, we do background checks on all of our volunteers and staff. But unless it’s glaring or their specific special needs, then we trust our community will do the right thing. And we have a phone line that they can call if they’re struggling. And it’s been really, really successful for us. We’ve had a few instances over the years, but for the most part, overwhelmingly positive. So tell me, I’m, I’m curious, you had a stack of roughly 50 that you originally said no to. So why were they said no to and then reconsidered? What was the disqualification for them initially? Well, it was one of my previous staff members that decided to move on from the organization, who was extremely critical of everyone. Okay. So she might have denied them based on the way they looked. Okay. And that’s it. Interesting. So we went through them again to see, you know, what would, what would disqualify somebody.  Sure. And it would have to be pretty, you know, significant. We used to have a pretty long list of people we would never adopt to and there were no really specific reasons in there. And so now we’ve re-adopted that. Okay, I’ve got a good example. So we have this gentleman and that he kept coming in. And he would adopt a dog, and then he’d keep the dog for, like, 3-4 days and then he’d come back and he’d say, you know what, it’s not a good match. I’m gonna try this dog. And he’d bring him back, like three or four days and be like, you know what? That was what wasn’t a good match either. And the staff were just having a complete conniption fit over this process. But in the end, this man found his forever dog. He is an amazing owner. He loves this dog so much. And the thought process is now when you look at all of the field trip programs and the overnight programs, all of that. People are believing that. that three day or four-day process of that animal getting out the shelter wasn’t harming them. That it isn’t. They got out of the shelter, their levels dropped. The only negative was perhaps their forever family came and they missed the opportunity of finding him because he was in a home. But we didn’t have any problem re-homing or, you know, adopting out those dogs. And the other point, so why are we so upset? And so he was put on that Do Not Adopt. And I was like no, no, no, no. Interesting. We’re gonna change that. Because of their perception, they thought that he wasn’t a good owner, and I look at it like he’s pretty diligent in making sure that would be a good match for him. Yeah. So, and he found it, so yeah. Yeah, I mean, sometimes it’s the process that we get frustrated with. You gotta fill out the adoption paperwork. You have to, you know, you have to do all of those steps and they bring him back. And you have to do a check-in again. And you have to go through all that paperwork. It’s tedious and I get the frustration. But, at the end of the day he had good intentions. He literally wanted to find his forever best friend. And sometimes that takes more than one. Paying Attention. That’s a really important word, because, yeah, that’s another part of all of this is really identifying and paying attention to people’s intentions. Like the, you know, the wealthy people that might be sneaking their dog into a low-cost clinic. Your intention is good. They’re trying to get their animal vaccinated. Yeah, it is hard, right? So I hope that people that are listening to this podcast take a couple of things away from it. You’ve beautifully stated a couple of things that are definitely going to stick with me, they’ve resonated with me. And I hope the same for others.

 So, Mandy, as we get close to wrapping this up, I just want to real quickly, talk about, like, what does your future look like? Are there any upcoming plans or programs or fundraising events for you guys? Um, we have our biggest fundraising event at the end of August, so we’re working on that right now. And then as far as the future, we’re about to launch the program that I mean, I don’t want to say it’s a program, but it is. Well, I get accused of creating too many programs. It’s an initiative. Okay, you know, I could do an initiative too, I’m sure. I am friends with the psychologist at our hospital, and he came to me and he said that there are a number of people that he, that need to be placed into care for, you know, to either, um get their meds in line or something in line. But they do not want to go because these people struggle with social challenges and they are low income. So it’s not like they have this community of friends that they can leave their dog with. They choose to not get admitted for their own well being because they don’t want to leave their pet. We’re right now, doing a whole initiative on trying to work with human health providers to build a program where and it, you know, not knowing some of it would be overnight care and other things. We’re just supporting them so that we can help keep these families together.

 So, Mandy, I would say that I’m shocked by that. But after talking to you for just 45 minutes, I am definitely not shocked by that. And I feel like that is right up your alley. You know, it’s got the human element. It’s got the animal element. It’s got the community piece. It’s definitely right up your alley. And I hope you have all the support you need from your staff and community. It sounds like a great program, a great initiative, no program, right? A great initiative. Is that something that’s kicking off fairly soon? Are you guys still in the planning stages? We are launching it at our event in August. Very cool. Very cool. And so people will be able to find more about that on your website in addition to the fundraising event as well? Well, the fundraising event is private. Okay. Buy and buy only. And then, and then the other thing is that initiative was going to be private because it has to be within the five mental health providers that are in our community. Okay. Yeah. So no one may ever see any of it. But it’s happening, right? That’s the that’s the picture. We want to let people know that good things are happening. Exactly. That’s why you call it an initiative, right? Not a program. That’s right. And we’re bringing it up in August so that we can fundraise around it. Very cool. Well, I’m super excited, and I really have appreciated my time with you. And I’ve learned so much on both the animal welfare industry and both personally. So I really just want to thank you for taking the time to join me today. Um, yeah. Is there anything else you want to share as we close this out. No, other than just my sincere appreciation that you have, you’re taking the time to talk to shelters and kind of bridge that gap between each of us and be a catalyst, really for change. And people need to know that we’re all going through the same issues. So I really appreciate that you guys have dedicated your time and resources to provide this. Yeah, definitely. Thank you so much, Mandy. Again, we’ll be following you guys. And we wish you nothing but the best. Thank you so much. You have a great day.

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