At Aska’s Animals, we provide a safe and calming environment where animals can relax and play while we work to find them their family. Once the animal’s new owner comes along, we value setting the owner and the animal up for success in the period of time it takes for the animal to adjust to its new home. For some pets, the adjustment period is short (a few days) and for some pets, the adjustment period is long (up to a year). There is no way to predict the length of the adjustment period so we want to provide you with as much information as we can to foster the relationship between the new owner, the new pet and the home’s current animals to ensure everyone in the home is happy.

Below is some general information to integrate a dog or cat into your home (with or without other pets). If you have questions before adoption, please ask!

This process starts before you visit the animal shelter or rescue for a meet & greet. Begin by evaluating your household. Ask yourself these two questions.

  1. What lifestyle will you provide an animal? Relaxing? Active? Indoor? Outdoor? There’s no wrong answer here. Arrive at the shelter knowing what lifestyle you can provide your new pet so you make sure to pick an animal that will thrive in that environment.
  2. What personality type will fit best with your current pets? Lazy? Playful? Introverted? Outgoing? Make sure your current pets’ needs are met when introducing a new friend. The animal shelter’s staff should be able to provide information about the ‘adoptable animals’ personality traits and individual needs.

Here’s what you’ll need on hand when you bring your new dog home.

  • Create a safe space for your dog to settle in. Because the transition from shelter to home is stressful, dogs often forget the skills they’ve learned such as potty training. And there’s a chance, your new puppy isn’t housebroken. We suggest the kitchen, a spare bathroom, or a laundry room – somewhere with tile floor for easy clean up.
  • Have a crate or confinement tools ready. Make it cozy for them. Food, water, a soft blanket and a few toys will help them feel at home. Check out our blog post about Confinement Training and Why It’s Important.
  • Dog-proof your home for the first few months. Again, your new dog will be nervous while adjusting to their new environment and nerves can lead to naughty behavior so set him/her up for success by removing anything you don’t want ruined or that could be chewable. Tuck away electrical cords, put away shoes, store breakables up high, ensure chemical cleaning products are out of reach, close toilet lids, and install baby gates if needed, etc.
  • Bring a collar and an ID tag with you to adopt your dog. You don’t have to know the dog’s name yet to have an ID tag made at the local pet store! With your name and phone number on the tag, if your new dogs gets spooked and runs away before you’ve established where home is, you’ll have a better chance of getting him/her back. Remember, your new dog probably doesn’t know its name or homebase yet!
  • Food and fresh water.Ask the shelter what type of food the dog has been eating and at what times of day. You can continue to feed the dog that type of food or if you choose to change foods, to prevent causing an upset stomach, you’ll need to mix the two foods together for at least three days. Typically, dogs eat one cup of food per day.
  • Toys and enrichment activities. Check out our blog post about Indoor Enrichment to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Helping your new dog settle into your home:

  • Step 1: On the drive home from the shelter, make sure your dog is safely secured in a crate or someone in the vehicle is holding the leash. Some dogs get stressed in the car and we don’t want your new dog to run away or cause damage to your vehicle, your passengers or themselves.
    • It’s important to note that you should utilize a leash for several weeks after adoption. This ensures your dog is physically safe and emotionally supported as they learn their new home and owner.
  • Step 2: Immediately upon arriving home, show your dog where it’s safe to go to the bathroom. Spend time together in this space several times a day so the dog has a chance to establish his/her scent and you can provide high reward treats whenever he/she uses the bathroom there. Be gentle with your dog if they have an accident…a new home with new people and new animal friends can throw off the most well-behaved dogs.
  • Step 3: Don’t introduce new people or pets right away. To avoid overwhelming your new dog, only introduce him/her to your closest human family or humans living in the home. Imagine living in a loud, crowded shelter for weeks on end…you would want time to decompress too! We suggest keeping your other pets away from your new pet for at least an hour upon arriving home. (More on pet introductions later…)
  • Step 4: Show your new dog his/her safe space. Give your new dog some down time to decompress in this safe space with food, water, toys, or enrichment activities – maybe twenty to thirty minutes. This allows the dog to establish their quiet space, away from noise, kids, and other pets and to regulate their stress hormones. Read about Cortisol and Your Dog’s Brain here.
  • Step 5: If you have other pets, do slow introductions. To avoid stressing out your new dog, only allow the old and new animals to sniff each other in the crack underneath a door. If your new dog shows friendly curiosity about the other animal, you can crack the door and allow the two dogs to sniff each other. If one of the dogs shows signs of aggression, close the door, and try again later. Remember to take it slow…there will be some territory negotiations going on. If your old and new pets aren’t getting along after the first couple of days, call the shelter or a dog trainer for support.
  • Step 6: Establish a schedule. Your new dog will benefit from predictability and calm. Avoid dog parks or excitable neighborhood children. Feed your dog at regular times. Take them out to the bathroom and for walks at regular times. Keep calm and quiet around your new dog as they settle in.
  • Step 7: Schedule a vet appointment. Bring your new dog to the vet to meet their medical team in case of emergency and to discuss any pre-existing or future medical conditions. It’s important for you to know who to call should something come up!
  • Step 8: Schedule a training session with Krissi Goetz of JH Positive Training. Set you and your new dog up for success with a one-hour training session with Krissi. Adopted dogs begin to show their true personality after a few weeks of getting to know you. At this point, a dog trainer will help you meet your unique dog’s individual needs to ensure everyone in the house is happy.
    • If you need animal behavior support, we provide free or subsidized one-on-one training with Krissi.
    • To apply, please fill out this form (
    • If you’re able to afford dog training services, please be in direct contact with the talented dog trainers at JH Positive Training ( Your veterinarian will have great information and resources too! Also, Krissi has a column in the Jackson Hole News and Guide called ‘Good Dog.’ Check it out!
    • (

Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand when you bring your new cat home.

  • Create a safe space for your cat to settle in. Somewhere quiet, with hiding places and natural light. A spare bedroom, guest bathroom or laundry room is a great place for your new cat to get comfortable in your house. It will become a place they can rely on for a comfortable bed, a litter box, food, and water. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be the place they spend the rest of their lives. We encourage you to spend at least one hour a day in this space with your new cat to create a bond and observe your cat for signs of stress such as excessive meowing, decreased appetite or diarrhea. If your new cat appears stressed, please consult your veterinarian, and consider adding pheromones to the space.
  • A litter box and litter. At first, we suggest using the same litter the shelter used. This will prevent accidents! If you decide to change litters, mix the two litters together for at least three days before making the full transition to the litter of your choice.
  • Food and fresh water. Ask the shelter what type of food the cat has been eating. You can continue to feed the cat that type of food or if you choose to change foods, to prevent upsetting their stomach, you’ll need to mix the two foods together for at least three days. Typically, cats eat a half cup of food per day.
  • A scratching post. Scratching posts allow your new cat to stretch his/her body and tend to his/her nails. Also, providing a scratching post will prevent your new cat from scratching your furniture! To encourage good behavior, we recommend you give your cat praise and treats when you see him/her use the scratching post.
  • Toys! Toy mice, balls, feather wands, cat nip, pet-safe lasers. Most cats love to play with toys. Cat playtime is considered enrichment because it encourages overall health and well-being. Playing provides a safe outlet for your cat’s predatory instincts and encourages exercise. Playing relieves him/her of boredom which will prevent naughty behavior. Thirty minutes of playtime a day should do the trick.
  • Brush! Brushing your cat is a great way to spend time together and encourage them to groom themselves. Brushing prevents shedding, dandruff, furballs, mattes and dreadlocks. Many cats love to be brushed and will start purring immediately, but if your cat doesn’t love to be brushed, that’s okay! If that’s the case, we recommend using Cat Grooming Gloves, which allows you to brush while petting.

Helping your new cat settle into your home.

  • If you don’t have any other pets in your home:
    After 3 or 4 days in the safe space, at a quiet time of day, open the door and allow your cat to explore a little more of your house. Make sure your new cat has access to his/her safe space (leave the door open or the room accessible). It is important that a cat always has an exit strategy if someone new walks into your home or you accidentally drop something and make a loud noise.
  • If you have other cats:
    Step 1: Keep the door to your new cat’s safe space closed for 3 or 4 days. Encourage your other cats to smell one another through the gap of space under the door.
  • Step 2: After 3 or 4 days, you can open the door 2 inches and allow the cats to greet one another. One or both cats might be shy so please don’t rush this step. If there are obvious signs of aggression, close the door and only allow the cats to smell one another thought the gap of space under the door for a couple more days. If the cats appear comfortable or unbothered with the door open just 2 inches, you may open the door to allow the cats to have a full interaction. After a few minutes of smelling and greeting, separate the cats again so the new cat still has his/her safe space. Repeat Step 2 twice a day for 2 days (this will vary per household). Keep a close eye on the first few interactions like this. If the cats begin to show aggression such as hissing, claws out swatting or chasing, separate the cats and go back to step 1 for a few days. Remember, the cats most likely won’t be best friends immediately. If the cats don’t appear to care about one another at all, that’s okay too.
  • Step 3 if the meet & greets are going smoothly: You can allow the cats to interact freely. Continue to honor your new cat’s safe space for at least one week before you move his/her litter box, food and water. We encourage you to move it slowly, about 10 feet at a time, closer to the place it will be long term.
  • Step 3 if the meet and greets are NOT going smoothly: If the cats are not having peaceful interactions, it is time to incorporate store bought pheromones. Pheromones are a chemical substance naturally created in a cat’s cheek glands that alleviate anxiety and share information about the cat’s personality. It’s helpful to provide artificial pheromones to alleviate anxiety at this stage of integrating a new cat into your home. You can do this several ways. First, we recommend the ‘Sentry Calm Collar.’ It’s exactly what it sounds like, a collar with pheromones on it that calms the cat down. Put a calm collar on both or all the cats (they usually come in a set of 3). Within a few hours, the stress of a change to the environment will be alleviated. Second, we recommend a ‘Feliway Classic Calming Diffuser.’ By diffusing the air with cat pheromones, you create a sense of security and familiarity that allows cats to relax. Calm Collars and Calming Diffusers can be purchased at most pet stores.

*It can take months for cats to become friends. Like dogs, some cats will become friends immediately and some cats need time to learn to share space. Be patient and don’t feel discouraged! Repeat Step 1 and Step 2 for as long as necessary.

If you have dogs:

  • between Step 2 and Step 3, put a gate in the doorway of the cat’s safe space for a week or more so the cat can continue to venture into the house and still escape into its safe space. The dog and cat will naturally want to interact through the gate and it’s up to you to encourage good behavior here with high reward treats and praise for both animals.

Congratulations on your new furry friend! Your new pet can’t wait to share love with you. A general rule of thumb is called ‘the rescue pet honeymoon period’ or the ‘3-3-3 rule.’ In the first 3 days, your new pet might be shut down and scared, or naughty like a teenager trying to test their parents’ limits. After 3 weeks, the pet will start to feel more comfortable in their new home, understand the daily routine, and start to show their true personality. After 3 months, your pet will hopefully enjoy their routine and trust you.

Thank you for providing a home for an animal in need. You are saving a life by choosing to rescue.

Short, cold winter days means a lot of pets don’t get as much activity as in spring, summer, and fall. Some pets love the extra rest while others start to display questionable behavior. We’ve put together a list of indoor enrichment activities to keep your pets happy and healthy. Mental exercise is as important as physical exercise!

Enrichment activities provide opportunities for your pet to engage in species-specific behaviors with the goal of improving their well-being. Who doesn’t want their pet to be happy and healthy? While physical activity like going for walks, playing with other dogs, and chasing a tennis ball can be considered enriching for many dogs, there are a lot of other species-typical behaviors that dogs find enjoyable, stress reducing, and satisfying such as licking, chewing, sniffing, and shredding. The same goes for cats. Cats love to hunt, hide, play, and scratch. Used well and often, enrichment increases the quality of life of your pet, and it builds emotional resilience by preventing boredom and providing mental stimulation.

Remember, just like humans, not all pets are alike. You may love running and your best friend prefers mountain biking. You may love downhill skiing and your brother prefers video games. Enrichment only works if your pet is interested in the activity. Try a few of these enrichment activities and see which one your pet enjoys.



  1. Hide and Seek: it’s as simple as it sounds. You hide and your dog seeks. Tell your dog to stay. (If you’re dog doesn’t know ‘stay,’ you could ask a roommate or friend to hold onto the dog until you’ve found your hiding spot.) Once you’ve found your hiding spot, say ‘release’ or ‘okay,’ or whatever word you use to release your dog. Your dog will sniff through the room or the house until they find you. When your dog finds you, give them a high reward treat to reinforce the ‘find me’ behavior.
  2. Hide and Seek Toys: hide your dog’s toys around the house. Tell your dog to ‘stay’ and then perhaps put a tennis ball under the couch, a stuffed animal behind a pillow, or a bone on a low bookshelf. ‘Release’ your dog, instructing them to find the hidden toys. Over time, you can make this more challenging by hiding toys in a basket of blankets, under blankets on the couch or even inside cabinets. When your dog finds the toy, give them a high reward treat to reinforce the rules of the game.
  3. Lick Mats or Kongs: lick mats and kongs serve more than 1 purpose. Not only do they provide your pet with a tasty snack, but they also slow down your dog’s eating and they are a stress reliever because licking is calming. Try peanut butter, pumpkin, or yogurt. For a more advanced option, freeze the lick mat or Kong after you’ve applied the tasty treat. If you prefer to make your own, put a schmear of peanut butter, pumpkin, or yogurt inside of an empty cardboard toilet paper or paper towel roll. Shredding is a natural, calming instinct so we suggest you supervise this activity to make sure your dog doesn’t ingest any cardboard.
    1. If you want to purchase a reusable lick mat or Kong, we suggest this lick mat ( and this Kong (
  4. Puzzle Toys: dogs love to have a job and puzzle toys give your dog something to do. Yummy treats become an incentive to solve a problem. If you want to make your own puzzle, put kibble in a muffin tin and then cover it with tennis balls.
    1. If you want to buy one, we suggest this slide puzzle ( or this plush puzzle (
  5. Doggy Ball Pit: if you want to take dog entertainment to the next level, try a doggy ball pit. Fill a plastic kiddie pool or your bathtub with tennis balls and then sprinkle kibble or high reward treats on top. As your dog searches for the kibble, the balls will get in the way providing lots of fun. If you have a nervous dog, start with a few balls, and gradually add more balls as they become more comfortable.



  1. Slow Feeder: cats love to hunt and play with food so a slow feeder will entertain by activating your cat’s natural instincts. For a DIY option, use a toilet paper roll. Fold and tape the ends closed. Cut a hole in the middle and put kibble or high reward treats inside. Your cat will have so much fun trying to get the kibble out.
    1. If you prefer to buy a reusable slow feeder, try this tunnel slow feeder
  2. Bird TV for Cats: yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Make your cat a comfy place to rest and then on your TV or on an iPad, log into YouTube and search ‘bird tv for cats.’ These cat friendly videos will provide hours of mental stimulation. Try this 8-hour video and see if your cat likes it
  3. Cat Tunnel: cats love to hide, pounce, and play. You can make your own tunnel by laying cardboard boxes on the floor or order this 3-way reusable tunnel
  4. Cat Scratcher: whether or not they have claws, cats love to scratch. Scratching allows cats to flex their toes, activate scent glands to leave a scent trail, and if they do have claws, shed the outer layer of their nails. A great cat scratcher you may already have on hand is a classic door mat made with coconut coir like this . Sprinkle some cat nip on top to attract your cat and reward them with treats to encourage the scratching behavior on a safe, cat-friendly surface. If you prefer to buy a scratcher, we recommend these basic scratchers or this standing scratcher
  5. Cat House: as mentioned above, cats love to hunt, hide, and play. A new interactive cat house could be just the thing to entertain your feline friend this winter. If your inspired to make your own cat house out of cardboard boxes, watch this how to video and if you prefer to buy one, we suggest this one


If you discover your pet loves one or all these indoor enrichment activities, take a video, share it on social media and tag us @askasanimals. We love to see what you and your pets are up to!

The Link Between Cortisol and Behavior


As we discussed in the ‘Is Your Dog Trying to Talk to You?’ blog post, all dog behavior is communication. And canine behavior is influenced by many factors; genetics and breed, age and phase of development, gender, learning history, environment, pain levels, quality and quantity of sleep, quality and quantity of exercise, emotional state of the dog and those around them, and stress levels.


This blog post focuses on stress levels, and how stressors can change cortisol levels in your dog’s body. Both overwhelming and overstimulating experiences can result in significantly increased cortisol levels, which can then cause all kinds of stress-related behavior such as hyperactivity, reactivity, compulsive behaviors, and yes, even increased “aggression”.


Cortisol, just like in humans, is the primary stress hormone…it also helps regulate body weight, blood sugar, and other aspects of general health and well-being. But cortisol is probably most well-known for activating the sympathetic nervous system and preparing the body for ‘fight or flight’. Just like in humans, prolonged stress and excessive cortisol not only results in less than ideal behavior, but it puts health at risk. Stress hormones can accumulate and take some time to dissipate….it can take up to 72 hours for cortisol levels to return to normal, which means it can trickle down into behavior for days. And for dogs who regularly experience overwhelming or over arousing events, cortisol levels stay elevated long term. Just like with people, this means a more touchy and edgy dog in general who is quicker to overreact to things.


What causes a surge of cortisol in your dog? It depends on the dog! 


For some dogs, car rides are extremely stressful. Does your dog bark, whine, or chase cars through the window? That might mean that car rides are too stimulating for your pet. One way to reduce stress in the car is to put your dog in their crate and cover the crate with a blanket. Provide your dog a chew toy or food puzzle to relieve stress. 


For some dogs, playing fetch is too over arousing. Does your dog show obsessive or addictive behavior about tennis balls? That might mean that 15 minutes of fetch is more overstimulating than exhausting for your dog, and all that cortisol produced can tip your dog over into undesirable behavior. When you only have 10 or 15 minutes to exercise your dog before, during, or after work, you may think your dog wants to play fetch, but if your dog shows signs of overstimulation with the tennis ball (can’t think or respond to cues, dilated pupils, happy to run through a brick wall to get the ball)…that’s not healthy or beneficial. We’d suggest you go for a bike ride or jog instead. 


For some dogs, having other animals or children around is too stimulating. Does your dog excessively bark, pant, or yawn in the presence of other animals or kids? That might mean that the park, outdoor seating at a restaurant, or a friend’s backyard barbecue is more stressful than fun for your dog. Perhaps you can walk your dog someplace quiet before the event and leave him home to enjoy a big fat bone to gnaw on instead.


How do you reduce stress in your life? Many humans use walks in nature, meditation, and yoga to reduce stress and lower cortisol levels. Your dog needs to reduce stress too, and low stress levels are key to good quality of life. Dogs find sniffing, chewing, shredding, and licking all soothing and stress reducing, and these activities lower canine cortisol levels. Let your dog be a dog and fulfill their biological needs with enrichment (visit our ‘Resources’ page for more enrichment ideas) and you’ll notice a more contented dog and better behavior!

Confinement connotates isolation or punishment, but really, it’s the opposite. Confinement Training is teaching your dog that it’s safe and comfortable to be in a clean, cozy space by themselves for a short period of time. For example, Crate Training is Confinement Training. Confinement Training isn’t punishment for naughty behavior, it’s appropriate and healthy down time to prevent over-stimulation and stress. Confinement Training will reduce anxiety in your dog and make your life a whole lot easier. It’s a great tool to use if you’re cooking and need your dog out of the kitchen, you’re having friends over for a party, your dog jumps on house guests, your dog is struggling with potty training, your dog isn’t getting along with other animals in the house, you’re cleaning and your dog is afraid of the vacuum, etc.


The first step to Confinement Training is choosing a clean, safe, and cozy space for your dog. If you use a crate, continue to do so. If you don’t use a crate, choose a room in your house where your dog won’t cause damage to your belongings and where your dog won’t have accidental access to unsafe chemicals such as cleaning supplies. Perhaps the laundry room (with a window) or a bedroom. Next, set up the safe space with a comfy bed, a bowl of water, and a few toys. Then, guide your dog into the space with a peanut butter Kong or a bowl of food. Once the dog is eating the food or licking the Kong, close the door and listen for them to finish. After they finish the treat, wait one minute, then open the door and congratulate your dog with a high reward treat and verbal praise. Gradually, extend the time your dog spends in the safe space and tada! You’ve created a comfortable confinement space for your pet. You can now use this safe space when someone knocks on your front door, or you are anticipating guests. Before you answer the door or welcome people into your home, say, ‘just a minute,’ and guide your dog to their safe place.

Like with all training, set realistic expectations for your dog depending on his/her individual needs, breed, genetics, age, etc. Confinement Training and Management Training go hand in hand to prevent over-arousal that causes naughty behavior. If you want to learn more or have a specific Confinement Training question, check out Aska’s Animals Free Dog Behavior Workshops on the ‘Events’ Page or contact Krissi Goetz at JH Positive Training.

Sign up for the Dog Behavior Workshop HERE!!

Yes! Your dog is trying to talk to you! Dogs are communicating with us, or attempting to, all the time. The trouble is dogs don’t have the ability to talk, so they use body language and behavior to express their feelings. It’s up to humans to pay attention and listen.

It’s important for you to learn to communicate with your dog, your friends’ dogs, your family members’ dogs, your neighbors’ dogs, and unknown dogs because understanding dog communication helps us predict behavior, which keeps humans and dogs safe. When you take the time to interpret a dog’s behavior, you create a relationship built on trust and meeting their needs. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for in relationships?

To start learning your dog’s communication behaviors, begin by observing your dog in a resting state. When your dog is happy and relaxed, what does their mouth look like? What do their eyes do? What shape are their eyebrows? How do they hold their ears? What position or stance does your dog sit/stand in? For example, when happy and relaxed, a golden retriever holds their mouth open in a smile. Their eyebrows bounce around with their eyes that look around the room at people who might give them a treat. Their ears are dangling and soft. They sit on their bum with their tail wagging behind them.

Now, start to observe your dog’s behavior when something exciting is happening such as a package is delivered to your front door. Your dog might stand up and freeze or run towards the door and sit down. Perhaps they close their mouth, clench their jaw, and make a low growling sound. They might stare at the door with pinched eyebrows. You might notice their ears lifted and open to hear better. Perhaps they hold their body and their tail very still. It’s important to know these initial stress signals so you can mitigate the dog’s nerves and move them to a safe, comfortable place.

Then, observe your dog’s behavior when something stressful is about to happen such as a stroller coming down the sidewalk towards them. Dogs have a spectrum of discomfort and stress signs to communicate with you they aren’t feeling great about something that’s about to happen or is already happening. Some stress signs include sniffing the ground, licking their lips, yawning, turning away, showing a lot of white in the eye, shaking off, and freezing. Many of these are ‘normal’ behaviors for a relaxed and happy dog, but when seen out of context, these behaviors indicate anxiety. For example, a dog licking their lips after a tasty treat wouldn’t indicate nervousness, but a dog licking their lips at the sight of a stroller is likely due to concern. Your job, as their advocate, is to ease the dog’s nerves by crossing the street or stepping off the sidewalk until the stroller passes by.

They say dogs speak, but only to those who know how to listen, and that’s true! Once you start to recognize canine stress signs, you’ll start to ‘hear’ dogs everywhere telling you if they’re uncomfortable. When you see a dog exhibit stress signs, they’re telling you they’re nervous and first and foremost, you should help the dog out of the stressful situation. Once you understand the dog’s behaviors, you can then make a plan to address the dog’s fear whether that’s through training or management. With your own pet, your best bet is to enlist the help of a well-qualified dog behavior specialist who uses force-free positive-reinforcement methods based on science. We recommend you attend Aska’s Animals free Dog Behavior Workshop or reach out to Krissi Goetz at JH Positive Training.

Gratitude. To our donors, volunteers and supporters we are grateful beyond belief.

Together with you, this year we’ve rescued and housed and cared for more than 60 dogs and cats, provided care and housing for seven pigs, built a network of partnerships around the region, and charted a solid course for the future.

Aska’s Animals exists to provide a progressive environment for animals through rehabilitation, adoption, education and community outreach. Our role is to fill a critical gap between shelters and permanent rescue—one that few organizations in the region can serve. It’s a piece of a big puzzle that is dynamic and ever-changing. Thanks to you, we are fulfilling our mission and your support has made our first year an exciting one.

2021 has exceeded our expectations. After receiving our long-awaited non-profit status in March of 2021, we got to work. In the past 10 months Aska’s Animals:

  • Held free monthly animal behavior workshops for the community led by our professional dog trainer extraordinaire Krissi Goetz from JH Positive Training. One of the primary reasons people are forced to give up an animal is due to behavioral problems that are not addressed appropriately. By giving training support we can help keep more dogs in their forever homes and help all dogs and their people in our community have better manners as we share trails, parks and open spaces. We are expanding this program to provide one-on-one support for local families that need help with their dogs. All of our training helps us increase awareness about the benefits of positive training methods and our methods are science-backed.

  • Laid the foundation to hire a part time animal coordinator thanks to the support of many of you who donated through the Tin Cup Challenge. This person, our first paid position, will allow us to help increase our volunteer animal care and move it from basic support to enrichment and training throughout the day. When animals leave our care they will be ready to enter the world as well socialized and well behaved pets eager to find their family.

  • Built and put to immediate use The Puppy Palace, the first animal housing of its kind in the region, and bridge to successful adoptions. In conversations with our amazing partners at the Animal Adoption Center in Jackson, we jointly identified a need for temporary housing for puppies, and often their mothers. These unwanted litters, due to dogs not being spayed or neutered, come to us not old enough to be adopted but requiring a home and the around the clock care that puppies demand. While the puppies are with us they receive early puppyhood education to ensure that they are ready for their new homes upon adoption. Without this intervention these animals would have an uncertain life and would most likely go on to have several unwanted litters of their own.

While it’s been a big year, we’re looking ahead to the future. Our region needs more safe space for dogs and cats who are in transition between shelter and adoption. We have an engaged and motivated volunteer base who are eager to do more. Currently we can only say yes to one dog at a time who needs our help. And orphaned kittens are being nursed in a guest bathroom. As we look to additional space it is to continue to serve this need and enrich the lives of more homeless dogs and cats and assist our partner organizations with behavior support and other unique needs for the animals in their programs.

In addition to more space for our dogs and cats, we are also exploring an incubator for neonatal kittens. This year we’ve had more sick kittens than at any other time in our work (before our non-profit days when this was run as a labor of love) and more losses in one year than the previous 10 combined. An incubator can help these sweet animals in their early fight for life by keeping them warm and healthy while they are bottle fed around the clock.

As a dedicated partner in our work, you will be the first to know what 2022 looks like as we finalize our capacity plans and next steps around providing more support for animals in the coming years.

This end of year season we want you to know we couldn’t do all of this without your support. Our only ask today is that you help spread the word about animals in need and follow the daily comings and goings of our animal residents and human friends on Instagram at askasanimals. As always, you’re welcome to visit the farm to see our work in action.

We can’t thank you enough for your support—the year ahead looks bright.