top of page

Homeward Pet Adoption Center

Last month we discussed how in the early 2000s animal shelters had a hard time with community outreach due to lack of time or funds for marketing and facilitating adoption events, which drove the creation of Pawsitive Alliance. Taking a look further back to 1990, when animals started playing a larger role as family members as opposed to strictly outdoor critters, there was a severe lack of space in the existing animal shelters. The euthanasia rate in animal shelters was over 25%. The sad truth is that shelters were so strained on volume versus resources that many animals who were considered less desirable or would need more resources were euthanized because space was needed for the everflowing stream of more animals to be sheltered.

Peggy Barnish believed that every adoptable animal would be able to find a home and family eventually, so she started a shelter that didn’t have a time limit on a pet’s stay: what is now known as Homeward Pet Adoption Center. Her goal was to take these animals that were scheduled for euthanasia at other shelters into a new shelter that would allow them to stay as long as they needed to. Through the years, Homeward Pet has become one of Washington’s top no-kill shelters, providing all pets with as much time and care as they need to find a home that is right for them. And this was enough to get Seattle Pup’s attention, but once we started digging, we just kept finding amazing traits that made us want to shine the SPOTlight on Homeward Pet.

In their first year, 1990, Homeward Pet (then called Hooterville Pet Safehaus - based on a TV show) found homes for nearly 400 pets. By 1997, they reached over 1,000. Come 2013, they began taking in animals in need from all over the nation, including pets whose lives were upturned by tragic hurricanes like Katrina. To this day, the vast majority (about 75%) of Homeward Pet’s sheltered animals are transferred from other shelters that need to free up space for new intakes. They work very closely with shelters in Eastern Washington, where the pet overpopulation problem is much larger than Western Washington.

Once they were able to have a built-in veterinary clinic as part of their shelter, which allowed them to care for their own sheltered pets, they began reaching out to help the community with their animal’s medical needs. Homeward Pet offers low-cost spay and neuter clinics every Monday. This was important, they felt, to help reduce the amount of animals breeding accidentally and to help allow owners to keep and care for their companion animals.

In addition to low-cost spays and neuters, Homeward Pet offers what is called a Last Litter Program, which allows owners to bring their cat or dog in with her litter and be fixed free of charge in exchange for the litter being relinquished to the shelter. So not only do owners not have to worry about their female pup or cat getting pregnant again or the cost of a spay (which can be pretty expensive for animals that have had a litter) but they also don’t have to worry about finding homes or feeding and medical expenses for the puppies or kittens.

Some other highlights of Homeward Pet Animal Center include their Food Bank, which supplies over 100,000 pounds of food each year to families and other shelters in need, the Homeward Vet Program, which waives the adoption fee for our nation’s veterans, and their Home-to-Home Program. In the unfortunate situation of a person needing to relinquish/rehome their pet, Homeward Pet’s Home-to-Home program allows owners to list their pet for adoption directly on the Homeward Pet site so that their pet may transfer directly from one home to another. Being in a shelter, no matter how well an animal is treated and cared for, can be very upsetting to a pet that has been used to life in a home. So this option to avoid the stay at a shelter in between homes is absolutely brilliant!

Homeward pet is also focused on helping caregivers keep their pets, providing many resources for people who need help to care for their pet. Their website has an amazingly thorough resource page that anyone in need can use to find valuable, helpful information - from behavior issues to finding housing that allows your type of animal.

Speaking of behavior, Homeward Pet has a well established Dog Behavior Team AND Cat Behavior Team! They provide daily sessions to their sheltered animals to help them gain skills and temperaments that make them good candidates for many homes. They will even provide a free phone-based behavior health consultation to anyone in need. Seattle Pup was able to tour the facility and see their awesome training rooms that include everything from ramps and hoops for agility training to extra-delicious treats to help with socializing a pet. Each adoption also comes with a coupon for training classes for new owners and pets to attend.

Homeward Pet also offers a Companion Legacy Program, which allows a person to register their pet to be released to the care of Homeward Pet Adoption Center in the event of their incapacitation or death. Morbid, we know, but very thoughtful. It’s a relief to know that, if something were to happen to you, your pet will be cared for.

For each adoption, Homeward Pet goes above and beyond to ensure that you and the available pet are a good match. They don’t have the typical checkboxes of a large back yard and a job that doesn’t require you leave the house for 8+ hours each day; Instead, they spend time to make sure that you understand the needs of the type of animal you are considering and discuss how you can make your life work for what’s best for your new pet. Putting in this extra effort to make a good match is important to help prevent pets from being returned (less than 4% of the animals they adopt out are returned).

Volunteers make up the majority of the workforce at Homeward Pet. There are over 400 weekly volunteers that help socialize and walk the animals, keep their spaces clean, and provide a foster home. Some people have been volunteering there for over 25 years! So, if you’ve been inspired by this caring organization, as we have, and want to help them help the community, you can find information on how to volunteer HERE.

Tiles of rememberence at Homeward Pet Adoption Center

Seattle Pup thanks Homeward Pet Adoption Center for providing us with a walkthrough of their facility (located in Woodinville), and the opportunity to be a part of their amazing mission. Keep an eye on our calendar of events to see Homeward Pet’s annual events like their Homeward Pet Open golf tournament in August!

Keep up with what Homeward Pet Adoption Center is up to by following them on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

Article by Wendi Black

August 2022

Photos taken by Wendi Black or Provided by Homeward Pet Adoption Center



bottom of page