Roxy’s journey to Homeward Pet is not uncommon. When her owner passed away in June of 2015, she found refuge at Homeward Pet. Unfortunately, the search for her new home hasn’t run smooth. While most animals move on to their forever homes after a few weeks, Roxy’s stay has been much longer. Though she’s content as a lapcat—and her soft fur lends itself to pets—she’s been in and out of our shelter since her first arrival, having been adopted and returned to us four times.
What keeps this ball of ginger fur from fully settling in? Well, Roxy has a regular laundry list of concerns: She has a history of upper respiratory infections, which cause her to become congested and sneeze all over those close to her. Pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease cause her discomfort, which we mitigate through medication and a raw food diet, but she sometimes still misses the litter box. She doesn’t get along too well with other animals, which rules out any multi-pet households. Twice, she was returned when her adopters unfortunately developed allergies. It seems like almost everything is working against this mellow kitty.
Though Roxy can be grumpy when she doesn’t feel well or becomes stressed, our Cat Behavior Team coordinator, Kimberlee (pictured with Roxy), has developed a special relationship with her. To alleviate some of Roxy’s behavioral concerns, Kimberlee and her team work every day with her as we hunt for that special adopter: someone who understands Roxy’s medical and behavioral issues and is able to work with her on her own terms. As she learns calming behaviors, her pleasant qualities are better able to shine. In return for patience and occasional space, she’ll reward you with a lifetime of purrs and play. As Kimberlee puts it, “Roxy has been one of my favorites since she first came to Homeward. She is always happy to greet you when you open her door and the moment you sit down she can’t hop up in your lap fast enough. Roxy is affectionate, lap-loving, and still has a little bit of a playful side when you bring out that feather stick toy! I know Roxy comes with her challenges–don’t we all?–but she is a fantastic cat that would make a great companion for someone who understands her needs.”
Not every adoption we do is easy. She’s not the easiest cat we’ve ever had come through our doors, but we’ll never give up on trying to help her…or searching for a home where she’ll be loved for years to come. We sum it up like this: Roxy isn’t for everyone. But just maybe she’s the one for you.
Interested in learning more about Roxy? Contact our Shelter Manager, Katie, at to find out more.
In the Homeward Pet donation room, the bounty of food and supplies reaches the ceiling. On one side: cans in neat rows, rawhide bones the length of dachshunds, puppy training pads stacked high. The other: bags of cat food grouped by size, litter that sounds like shifting sand when rearranged. Like opening the hood of a car, at first glance its internal logic is hidden by the sheer number of parts, but there’s method to the food bank’s shelves.
Outside, in the pre-sorting area, it’s a different story. All material donations Homeward Pet receives—whether by truck, collection bin, or via mysterious nighttime do-gooder—come through our doors to be sorted by a small team: our facilities manager, Paul, and our dedicated food bank volunteers. Some donations remain; others are earmarked for other shelters and food banks when our supply outweighs demand. Each year, over 100,000 pounds of food leave our doors to serve families and pets in need throughout the community—which wouldn’t be possible without the team of food bank volunteers.
Lara Prado, four year volunteer, is one such face you can find strong-arming bags of food between shelves. Happy owner of one Homeward Pet alum, Millicent, Lara tackles the food bank one day a week and dog-walking shifts another. Her double-duty was not accidental: she knows, as she puts it, that “our shelter runs on all volunteers,” no matter where their daily tasks are located. Though the donation room is a less popular volunteer area, it’s essential to continue operations, both at Homeward Pet and beyond.
Take Edmonds Food Bank, Lara says. With our assistance, they’re now able to have a specific pet food area. Reaching families in need with food donations is one way to make sure pets stay in their homes—and out of shelters.
Despite our efforts, we’re still a busy adoption center. When there’s the possibility to spend time directly with animals, the food bank’s shelves are a harder role to sell to those interested in volunteering. Though there are fewer wagging tails in the donation room, it’s not without its own, less slobbery draws. There is, of course, the satisfaction of a job well done—of seeing stacks of food turn into orderly lines and know that it’s because of you and your team’s effort. There’s also recognition of the big picture: because of the food bank’s efforts, more than 1800 cats and dogs will receive quality meals. Beyond that is something even more profound.
“I love seeing people’s generosity,” she says. “We get donations from everywhere: regular deliveries from pet supply stores are most common, but there are also people who have lost their pet and want to make sure their supplies go to help another animal. It’s a time of grieving, but they still want to help.”
One of the most moving memories she has is when a child’s donation made it through our doors. “Along with the usual bags of food we once got a piggy bank full of coins and dollars. You see really good things like that all the time.”
Is there anyone who couldn’t use a little reminder of the world’s goodness?
It’s a reminder that we all need, occasionally. When Lara tells people how she spends her Monday mornings at an animal shelter, there’s a common reaction: listeners think that volunteer shifts at an animal shelter are filled with heartache.
“Often, whoever I’m talking to will say, ‘That must be so sad, working at an animal shelter,’ and I just tell them that the animals come in, and they’re getting the best care possible – maybe the best care they’ve ever gotten, period. That doesn’t leave me feeling sad. They have much better lives ahead of them, and I’m so happy to be a part of that.”
Learn more about volunteering with our food bank and accepted donations here.