Homeward Pet Blog

Saved by the Bell

Dani Bell isn’t kitten around when it comes to her time volunteering at Homeward Pet. She has been a valued volunteer at Homeward Pet Adoption Center since 2011 and has dedicated her time and energy to Washington animal welfare organizations for more than a decade. As a foster, Dani opens her home and heart, providing care for hundreds of animals, including dogs recovering from surgery and feline mothers with nursing kittens. She leads by example, instilling the importance of compassion for animals in her children—her entire family participates in round-the-clock care of their foster dogs and cats.
Shelter staff is always enthusiastic about Dani’s giving spirit. “Dani is someone we can always count on when we need help,” says Laurel, Homeward Pet’s Cat Foster Coordinator. “She is such a kind person and has never said no to any requests. I don’t think that word is in her vocabulary!”

While she continues to devote time to fostering, Dani has taken on other vital volunteer roles. She excels as a Clinic Assistant, a valuable member of the team helping our animals on the road to health. In addition, she takes engaging and lively photo portraits of our shelter animals to help them reach adopters and find homes. In 2017, Dani was recognized as Homeward Pet’s top volunteer, amassing more than 1,100 volunteer hours in that year alone. Her endless enthusiasm, compassion, love of animals, and commitment to animal welfare make Dani a treasured member of the Homeward Pet community, and we are honored to nominate her for the 2018 FUTY Festival Volunteer of Excellence Award.

A note from Homeward Pet’s Board President, Michael Ziock

Homeward Pet Adoption Center relies on its supporters to transform the lives of homeless animals in our community. Because you are such an important part of this organization, I want to provide you with an update regarding a recent change in leadership. As of June 19, 2018, Gary Rubin has resigned from his position as Executive Director of Homeward Pet for personal reasons. We want to thank Gary for his service to Homeward Pet and his passion for the animals in our care. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

Homeward Pet’s Board of Directors has implemented a transition plan and appointed Marie Wolfanger, former board member and treasurer, as Interim Executive Director, effective immediately. The board has great confidence in Marie and we are excited to have her as a guiding voice in moving Homeward Pet forward. Marie’s executive training, background in accounting, and experience in organizational auditing and process improvement will support Homeward Pet’s future growth as a leader in animal welfare in the Northwest. Over the next few months, Marie will be reviewing operations at the shelter and will provide the Board with insight regarding the qualifications needed in Homeward Pet’s next Executive Director. The Board intends to conduct an extensive search to ensure the best candidate is selected to lead our organization.

I asked Marie to share a few words about her passion for animals and her long relationship with Homeward Pet:

Marie Wolfanger, Interim Executive Director

“I have been involved with Homeward Pet since 1998, when I started as a Sunday shelter volunteer with my then 10 year old daughter, Sarah. That was back in the Hooterville Pet Safehaus days and all willing hands were needed! Sarah and I continued our volunteer commitment to Homeward Pet, through Country Village, Clearwater Spas and here to the “new” facility.

“I also spent seven years as a cat foster and many moms and babies have passed through our home in Bothell. I joined the Homeward Board of Directors in March of last year and was both board member and treasurer. My professional background is in finance/accounting and audit. We have three Homeward Pet alumni at home: our senior cats Gala and Midge and our middle-aged pit-mix, Pandora. I am honored to help Homeward Pet through this transition and look forward to partnering with the animal lovers who make up our community.”

Thanks to you, our loyal supporters, together we have built an extraordinary organization that has changed the lives of more than 30,000 animals. We are confident Marie will continue Homeward Pet’s successes and enable the organization to expand our mission to serve more homeless animals in our community.

Please join me in welcoming Marie. I know she’s eager to connect with you in the coming months and share many more of the heartwarming and uplifting animal stories you make possible.


Michael Ziock
Board President of Homeward Pet

Dogs at Work Brings Wags and Woofs to Offices

With Take Your Dog to Work Day today, June 22, many companies are preparing for visits from employees’ canine pals…but why not have every day be dog-friendly?

Claudia Melzig, founder of dogsatwork.pro, always loved the presence of pups, having felt the loving companionship of dogs her whole life. It was only natural that she began to foster for local animal rescues some years ago.

It was Miley, a young pit bull mix with substantial medical needs, who made herself at home with Claudia, her partner Paul, and their Vizsla, Dante—and she never left. As Dante showed Miley how to socialize with other dogs, Claudia decided to bring Miley with her to work. It was then that Claudia, a human resources professional with more than 20 years of experience, discovered firsthand the joys and benefits of dogs in the workplace.

Miley helping Claudia craft the perfect email

“It’s destressing to have an animal with you and studies have proven it increases productivity on the job,” Claudia says. “While at work , you can multitask by walking your dog while meeting with a coworker, or you can just take your dog on a short walk to take a break.” Despite a slightly furrier workplace, there are many reasons employees benefit from dogs at work, including “improved morale, increased collaboration and interaction among employees, enhanced work-life balance and lowered stress and anxiety.” The benefits don’t just reach the employees; employers can expect “increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, enhanced company culture and identity, and a greater sense of loyalty” from employees. For businesses, it’s win-win.

What some may overlook is that dogs benefit just as much as the people. Claudia reminds us, “When dogs come along to work instead of staying at home, they don’t spend so much time alone. You don’t have to rush back home after work. It makes taking care of a dog and having a full-time job a little bit easier.”

Inspired by Miley’s on-the-job visits, Claudia started dogsatwork.pro to help companies become dog-friendly workplaces. There are several steps to welcoming canine companions to the workplace, like pet-proofing the work area, setting canine behavior standards, writing policies and communication plans, and training employees. Each business requires a different approach depending on a variety of factors, such as company culture, employee comfort with animals, and office set up. Once Claudia has completed her customized plan, she will continue to provide ongoing support, which can range from continued enhancements to the program, conducting employee satisfaction surveys, or even providing vaccine reminders.

Claudia, Miley, and Dante

Claudia’s personal goal, she says, is to help more dogs get adopted by helping companies become dog-friendly workplaces.

The logic is simple. “If more people are able to bring their dogs into work and not have to worry about them alone at home, they’re more likely to adopt a dog,” she says. “I would love more dogs to be adopted from shelters like Homeward Pet and join their humans at work, embracing the bond between people and dogs.”

Homeward Pet holds a special place in Claudia’s heart: “Homeward Pet has shown me the caring love and unconditional support they provide to animals in need. You feel like part of a family of animal lovers there.”

Learn more about dogsatwork.pro. 

Hector Searches for His Home

There are two immediately striking things about Hector: his big ears and just how much he wants to cuddle.
“He’s transformed into such a great dog,” says Lara, a member of Homeward Pet’s Dog Behavior team. “He loves to snuggle and get in your lap. You could get satellite TV from those ears!” Each week, members of the Dog and Cat Behavior Teams meet with our resident animals like Hector in need of some extra mental stimulation or training.
Working with animals with behavior challenges is so rewarding, Lara says, because you get to be a part of the “huge team effort” to help these dogs gain self-confidence and skills needed to be successful in adopters’ homes. When Hector arrived, he didn’t know any commands or cues. Now, Lara makes a point to work with him each week on cues like “Sit” and “Touch.” Hector has really taken to training, and it’s rewarding to see improvement from week to week.
“He’s come such a long way from when he first arrived,” Lara says. “Seeing that is just the best feeling in the world.”

Hector show off his ears for his staff pick photo

Our Behavior Team’s efforts to set Hector up for success are paying off. When Levi, a Homeward Pet Adoption Counselor, took Hector home for a night for a break from the shelter, he made himself right at home in the new environment—and especially loved burrowing into the blankets on Levi’s bed. Though he tends to be slightly more timid with new places at the shelter, Hector was immediately warm and affectionate at Levi’s home, thanks in part to the confidence he’s gained working with our Behavior Team.
Lara isn’t the only person who seeks out Hector’s kennel when she arrives at Homeward Pet.
“Hector and I have really bonded since I arrived at Homeward Pet,” Levi says, “and I wanted to return the love by giving him the opportunity to sleep on a bed and have someone to cuddle with all night.”
We’re sure there’s an adopter out there looking for a cuddle bug like Hector. Could that be you?


Contact Information
Adoption Hours:
Our Address:
Wed - Sun, 12 - 6pm
P.O. Box 2293
13132 NE 177th Place
Woodinville, WA 98072
Homeward Pet Adoption Center is a non‑profit, no‑kill animal shelter. Our mission is to give homeless animals a second chance through rescue, shelter, and adoption.