Almost Home outlines shelter plans

The Almost Home Board of Directors is putting together a solid business plan to meet the demand of the homeless pets in Fort Dodge and the surrounding area find their forever homes. Our greatest assets are the dedicated staff, volunteers and the community at large who are willing to ensure that these animals get that chance to find their forever home. Part of this plan is to increase fundraising efforts while scaling back expenses so that we can catch up on our bills and put the shelter in a position to be more efficient and effective.

– Effectively immediately, the shelter will be closed to the public on Sunday and Monday. As we head into spring, we are exploring the potential of adjusting our hours further to accommodate peak times and will post any updates on our website and at the shelter.

– The Almost Home off-leash dog park is open and people can continue to purchase passes to access it. People can try it out by purchasing day passes or they can purchase a season pass.

– Almost Home is assessing the individual services that the shelter provides to ensure that the services provided do not create a loss for the shelter.

Almost Home will continue to serve the local area with finding homes for animals that are strays or surrenders. We found loving families for more than 800 pets in 2014 and we will need to work smarter to repeat this in 2015. Shelter staff will handle incoming requests by networking with other rescue groups first to arrange for them to board the animals once we surpass our capacity limits to help the shelter be more manageable with the current revenue. This is to ensure that the animals receive the care and attention they need to be healthy and prepare them for a good home without jeopardizing our ability to be financially stable or help the community in the future.

Strengthening these partnerships will help in the future as well as it will improve communication with similar shelters and increase the adoption pool for people with a specific breed or animal preference in mind.

Almost Home is also partnering with local businesses to sponsor fundraising events. For example, Pizza Ranch has reserved March 4 between 5 and 8 p.m. for the shelter to have a Community Impact night. Almost Home will receive a portion of the profits for anyone dining during that time, and the Almost Home Board of Directors and staff will be bussing tables for tips to go for the shelter.

The Fort Dodge City Bowling Leagues are sponsoring an Almost Home fundraiser during normal league play in March where league bowlers enter with a $5 donation to use a particular week’s normal games to participate in the virtual tournament with the proceeds going to the shelter.

The next six to eight months are going to be a challenging time, and we are counting on the community’s support and donations to be become financially stable. It is our goal that within a year we reverse this position and be on course to be a viable partner and service for the community for years to come.

We will continue to update the community as we make progress.

Rick Edington is president of the Almost Home board of directors