Pet adoption program is a success

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— COURTESY PHOTO Princess the cat, featured in a September article by the Daily Bee about Panhandle Animal Shelter's new Home to Home program, found her fur-ever home in the Coeur d'Alene area. Princess's dad could no longer keep her after he developed Alzheimer's so his daughter, Molly Gregory pictured here with Princess, wanted to find the cat a home without transitioning her through a shelter.

PONDERAY — Seven pet have been adopted without a shelter stay after Panhandle Animal Shelter launched a new Home to Home program in August.

"We love that we created a program that was clearly needed, because it is obviously being used, and to see successful placements of dogs and cats without them having to enter the shelter is fabulous," said Mandy Evans, executive director of PAS

In September, the Daily Bee published the story of Princess, a Coeur d'Alene cat whose dad developed Alzheimer's and could no longer keep her when he went into an adult foster care facility.

His daughter, Molly Gregory, told the Daily Bee she wanted to find Princess a home without the transition of a shelter.

"Princess is important to me because she is a sweet cat and she is important to my dad," Gregory said in early September.

Evans said Princess, as well as the six others pets, have found new loving homes since the program started.

Home to Home is in conjunction with the PAS Helpline where someone like Betty Anderson, Helpline manager, will help the pet owner in any way she can. Evans said the goal of the Helpline is to allow owners to keep their pets whenever possible, but in some cases surrendering the pet to the shelter may be the only option.

Evans said there is negativity around surrendering pets to a shelter and not everyone is willing to do so. Also, she said, the shelter can be extremely stressful on pets. Therefore, while Home to Home may not be for everyone, it is the perfect solution for some.

Pets in the Home to Home program are placed on the program's website managed by PAS. Pet owners in the community can add a photo and information about their pet, and Evans said the only rule is no money can exchange hands. PAS staff monitors the site to ensure the rules are followed. The pet information is shared through the PAS Facebook page as well, which has an "extensive" following, Evans said.

She said everything about the program seems to be working well and there is no plans for changes at this time. PAS is based primarily in the Sandpoint area, but serves Kootenai and Boundary counties as well as Bonner County. The site is primarily for pet owners in the local area, although Evans said one of the dogs listed is from Illinois. She said it is OK to list pets from outside of North Idaho on the Home to Home website, but PAS staff will only share the local pets on the Facebook page.

As of Monday, six dogs and one cat were listed as available on the Home to Home website.

The Helpline is available by phone or online at 208-217-4453 or helpline@pasidaho.org. For information about Home to Home, visit www.home-home.org or call 208-265-7297; for information about PAS, visit www.pasidaho.org or www.facebook.com/pasidaho.

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