In our continuing series about Valley nonprofit organizations, we recently caught up with Lost Our Home Pet Rescue founder and executive director Jodi Polanski to learn more about her organization.
Why did you start Lost Our Home Pet Rescue?
I was working as a mortgage banker and volunteering at a pet rescue during the housing crisis of 2008 and kept hearing stories from realtors about pets found abandoned in foreclosed homes, often without food or water. I also heard about owners moving and just leaving their pets outside to fend on their own. I realized that people were losing their homes, but pets were also losing their homes, their families and their lives. I knew something had to be done, which is why I started Lost Our Home Pet Rescue as a grassroots foster and volunteer-based rescue.
What is Lost Our Home’s mission?
Lost Our Home (LOH) is a multifaceted organization with programs geared toward rescue, feeding hungry pets, and caring for pets if their pet parent is temporarily unable due to a crisis. A really important part of achieving that mission is partnering with traditional human service agencies and shelters.
What kinds of volunteer opportunities are available with Lost Our Home?
We are always on the lookout for volunteers, especially consistent volunteers that we can train to work as a team with our crew members. We have something for everyone. Some volunteering opportunities include pet care assistance, pet transport, admin/clerical support, pet food bank support, offsite events, answering phones from home, gratuity ambassadors and more. We also are always in need of great foster families, especially for large dogs or in homes without other pets.
Can you describe a memorable moment you’ve had working with your clients (both furry and human)?
There are so many! I’ll never forget about a woman we helped who was homeless. A volunteer saw her with two dogs in a park with just her few belongings. She was new in Phoenix and working as a substitute teacher. At that time, she wasn’t getting enough work and was evicted from her apartment. With no one local to turn to for help, she ended up homeless. Our volunteer told her about Lost Our Home Pet Rescue and helped get her dogs to our shelter. Once we are able to take her dogs in, we helped her get assistance for housing. I’ll never forget the voicemail she left when calling to thank me. She said that before getting her dogs to Lost Our Home, she was just sitting in the park ready to die. Getting our help made it possible for her to get back on her feet again. She said I saved her life and her dogs’ lives.
What else would you like people to know about Lost Our Home Pet Rescue?
The economic fallout from COVID has hurt so many people that we are getting a record number of people needing help. Unfortunately, our organization like so many others, is struggling with substantial increases in costs and wages. This comes at a time that people are really feeling the financial squeeze so donations are more difficult for many to give. If someone would like to help us either through donating, volunteering or fostering, they can go to our website. It’s so needed right now and so greatly appreciated.
For more information about Lost Our Home and its programs, visit lostourhome.org.