Lindsey Dittmer and the Almost Home Rescue Program at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona

Story by and Photos courtesy of Alexa Stanislav, Marketing Manager & Communications, Humane Society of Southern Arizona and Lindsey Dittmer
Animal Sheltering in Southern Arizona, like much of the United States, is in crisis. Shelters across the country are working tirelessly to balance the increasing needs of the community with the limitations of their resources. At the forefront of animal welfare work are dedicated shelter and rescue workers mobilizing their passion and industry prowess to make a difference. One of these notable individuals is Lindsey Dittmer, Rescue Programs Manager for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.Lindsey has worked with HSSA since 2021. A proud U of A graduate, Lindsey is an integral part of HSSA’s off-site rescue programs and overall mission. Before creating and managing the Rescue Programs arm of the organization, she served as Shelter Manager. With a strong background in animal welfare ranging from volunteer-operated rescues in the Midwest to creation of the House Dog program for Ronald McDonald House Charities, Lindsey has over 10 years of dedicated experience in the field. She uses this experience to assess and tailor new programs in a way that best serves both animals in need and the community surrounding them. In this case, the Tucson community benefits from Lindsey’s passion and commitment by way of the new Almost Home program at HSSA.

Through creative and experienced voices like Lindsey’s, Animal Welfare organizations are finding new ways to engage with and connect to the communities they serve. This is happening in real time, as HSSA recently launched the Almost Home Rescue Project – an arm of the organization created with the goal of directly interacting with people in the community rather than asking the community to come to them.

The Almost Home Rescue Project integrates the financial, veterinary, and administrative resources of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona with the powerful grassroots foster and volunteer rescue model. Blending these philosophies creates a network of support for foster and shelter animals, with the overall goal of graduating animals out of the restrictive shelter environment and into foster programs – going from kennel to couch.

The Almost Home Rescue project was established in June of 2023 as a response to overcrowding in the HSSA Shelter. Before the inception of Almost Home, HSSA focused most of its resources within the shelter, utilizing foster support mainly for pets in need of medical care or for litters of puppies or kittens. COVID dismantled many offsite adoptions programs for rescue groups across the globe, but the Almost Home Rescue Project symbolizes a renewed investment in Foster Care. Through this program, pets receiving medical care or puppies and kittens under 8 weeks old are placed in trained, supported foster homes until they are ready for adoption, but in addition to medical and newborn pets, any pet available for adoption at HSSA’s Main Campus for over 7 days is also eligible to enter the Almost Home Foster Program, allowing the animal to recover from shelter stress and enjoy time outside of the shelter.

The Almost Home Rescue Project supports foster families by providing any needed food, supplies, and medical care. Our Almost Home pets and their foster families are asked to attend HSSA’s relevant community events and weekly adoption dates at local PetSmart locations. This increases exposure for the adoptable animal and allows fosters and HSSA staff to check in with each other. In addition to these outings, foster families can take their pets on in-town adventures, from hiking (weather-permitting) to an evening on one of the many pet-friendly patios in Tucson!

Under Lindsey’s guidance, the Almost Home Rescue Team is a tight-knit team of 6 HSSA staff members and a growing volunteer base. Many of the team members, including Lindsey, have backgrounds in non-profit, animal welfare, medical, and education fields– a plethora of life experiences that allow them to connect with the community and serve in unique ways. Many team members foster animals in their own homes frequently, and are able to interact with the growing network of foster participants by sharing resources and knowledge, promoting team adhesion to the overall goal: improving the lives of homeless animals.

Through creative marketing, strong leadership, and a collaborative partnership with local animal welfare organizations and businesses, success for Almost Home is in sight – all based upon the notion that it takes a village to create change. Women like Lindsey are making this change happen. To learn more about the program or to get involved, contact Lindsey at ldittmer@hssaz.org.



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