Finding Forever Homes through Operation Homeward Bound

Stacey Paladino believes it’s “the community’s responsibility to protect, care for, advocate, and love dogs”. Refusing to accept that thousands of healthy, beaStacey Paladino of Operation Homewardboundutiful dogs get euthanized in shelters every year (mostly through no fault of their own), she aims to reduce this number by giving shelter dogs as much publicity as possible.

Presently, there are over 170 dogs waiting to be adopted at the Palm Beach Animal Care & Control facility. The buildings were set to house just 144, so most dogs live with at least one other dog in a relatively small and often noisy space. The staff does the best they can to keep the kennels clean and the pets healthy, while tending to the many administrative duties of receiving surrendered dogs. (As a public facility, the staff can’t turn away any pet.) 

No one doubts these adoptable dogs would be better off living under quieter conditions with more room to exercise. And they would fare better with more socialization including outdoor walks and playtime. Unfortunately, there aren’t nearly enough volunteers offering to accompany the dogs outside.Operation Homeward Bound logo

In July 2023, Stacey launched “Operation Homeward Bound”: A program that encourages local businesses to become advocates for shelter dogs at Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control. We met Stacey at the shelter recently, where she introduced us to several adoptable dogs. Each one had a unique story of how they landed at the shelter; none of the reasons were through any fault of the dogs themselves.

Stacey explained that dogs are surrendered for several common reasons. Sometimes families can’t (or choose not to) care for them any longer; sometimes the caretaker has passed away; and sometimes the family can’t (or doesn’t want to) take them when they move. Although these dogs are stressed about their new surroundings, they are very capable of being good companions in a new (adopter’s) home.  The dogs are usually housebroken and have already learned to live in a home. But the longer a dog stays at the shelter, the more stressed it becomes in its cramped and noisy environment and the less likely he or she is to have a successful adoption. That’s why it’s so important to get the dogs out quickly – either through fostering or adoption. Local rescues play a big part, too.

Through Operation Homeward Bound, Stacey has so far engaged seven Palm Beach County businesses to sponsor dogs, and each one has resulted in a successful adoption! Jake’s Pet Supply has chosen to sponsor Harlem, though our hearts went out to each of the dogs we met at the shelter that day. 

To purchase any toys or supplies for the dogs at PBACC, check out their wishlist.

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