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Know Your Nonprofit: Animals With Homeward Animal Shelter

Photos by Hillary Ehlen

With help from the Impact Foundation, we’ve broken up the numerous Fargo-Moorhead organizations into 12 categories. With more than 100 charitable organizations in the Fargo-Moorhead area alone, we know that you’ll come across an organization that tug at your heartstrings. Within the listings of local charities we’ve published, the organizations are split into subcategories that will make it easy for your charitable spirit to find its match. Here is our spotlight on the Animal nonprofits, featuring Homeward Animal Shelter.

Homeward Animal Shelter

1201 28th Ave. N., Fargo

Thanks to Homeward Animal Shelter, more than 1,000 animals were given loving homes in 2018. Homeward Animal Shelter has been serving the Fargo-Moorhead community since 1966 and is the only brick-and-mortar shelter in the area that houses both cats and dogs.

Homeward‘s executive director, Nukhet Hendricks, has been working with the shelter for 13 years. She knows the importance of not only rescuing animals, but also the necessity of uniting pets with loving owners. “Companion animals are the fabric of our lives, and bringing people and pets together is what we are here to do,” she said. In this process of bringing people and pets together, she noted that workers at the shelter tend to get attached to animals that come into their doors. In Nukhet’s case, one of those animals was Monet.

Monet was a two-year-old Lab/Collie mix who couldn’t catch her lucky break. While at Homeward Animal Shelter, she was adopted out three times and returned back through no fault of her own. It isn’t infrequent for animals to be returned to shelters. Sometimes, adopters realize they weren’t ready for a pet after all. Maybe the adopted pet didn’t get along with the existing pet in the household. Or maybe the adopter discovered a serious allergy to the pet. There are many reasons why pets get surrendered, many of which are at no fault of the animal or even the human.

“With each return, it became harder and harder for [Monet] to stay in her kennel in the dog ward. The last time she got returned, she got so stressed that we had no choice but to move her into my office,” said Nukhet. Once she was in the office, Monet began to calm down. Seeing this positive change in demeanor, shelter volunteers decided that she would just stay in the office until the right family came along. Nukhet said, “Day by day, she made herself more comfortable to the point that I would find her curled up sleeping peacefully under my desk every morning. Once I put down some comfy blankets for her, this spot eventually turned into her little den.”

Monet and Nukhet shared this office for over two months. While Monet made herself more at home in her den under the desk, she was slowly making herself at home in Nukhet’s heart as well. “I so wanted to take her home with me as my dog, but I was getting ready to visit my family in Turkey for a couple of weeks and decided that I would adopt her when I returned if she was not adopted yet,” she said. Sure enough, upon her return, Monet had been adopted. While this was a happy ending for Monet, who is now living with a loving family, Nukhet noted, “To this day, I wish I had adopted her before I left.”

Working or volunteering with an animal shelter is hard work. Besides the ins and outs of day-to-day business operations, it’s hard to not create emotional bonds with animals as they come and go. “All of us at the shelter get attached to each and every animal that comes through our doors,” said Nukhet, “And some do find their way into our homes, but most go home with their families who find them at our shelter.” Naturally, not every animal that comes to them can be adopted by those working at the shelter. However, this shelter acts as a pathway that allows forever-home connections to be made.

As a no-kill shelter, Homeward‘s mission is “Rescue. Shelter. Protect. Rehome.” There is no time limit for the animals in their care, meaning they will stay with Homeward until they are adopted by their forever families. Staff members and volunteers at Homeward love and care for the animals, often providing socialization to these future-pets. Thanks to generous donors from the community, these animals are also given access to veterinary care and everything they need until their forever families find them and take them home.

Thanks to Homeward Animal Shelter‘s work, no adoptable animals have been euthanized in the municipal pounds for the last six years. Without Homeward, it is entirely possible that more than 1,000 abandoned and lost animals, including Monet, would not have a second chance at a loving home. Nukhet noted that thousands of happy endings have been written during her tenure as executive director. She shared, “One thing I am sure of is that every day, there are perfect matches made in this shelter.”

Homeward Animal Shelter

From Executive Director Nukhet Hendricks

About Homeward Animal Shelter

Homeward Animal Shelter rescues, shelters, protects and re-homes homeless, lost and abandoned cats and dogs in FM area. First priority is to rescue all the animals that go unclaimed in the municipal pounds, and we also accept owner surrenders when space is available, as well as many animals from regional reservations. Homeward Animal Shelter strives to stop companion animal overpopulation by spaying or neutering animals (six months or older) before adoption.

Giving Hearts Day‘s Impact

Giving Hearts Day has put us on the nonprofit map in our community. Our organization got recognized as a professional, nonprofit organization because of Giving Hearts Day.

Unique Needs For Homeward Animal Shelter

IT volunteers, web designers, plumbers, electricians, handyman and siding experts.

Non-Tangible Ways To Help

Become a foster family!

Goals For Homeward Animal Shelter

To continue to increase financial capacity and the number of foster families that foster our animals. Also to work towards increasing physical capacity.

What The Community Would Be Like Without Homeward Animal Shelter

There would be a need to rescue, shelter, protect and re-home over 1,200 cats and dogs in our community that more than likely would never make it out of the municipal pounds without Homeward Animal Shelter.

What Gives?

  • $15 could buy pet food for homeless animals
  • $100 will provide wellness exams and vaccinations to animals at the shelter

More Animal Organizations In The FM Area

4 Luv of Dog Rescue

“I admire 4 Luv of Dog Rescue because they are completely volunteer-run and rely on volunteers to foster their pups. They have such a dedicated support base, and their annual Silent Auction & Gala has become one of the go-to charity events of the year.” – Hannah LeTexier, Alzheimer’s Association

Audubon Dakota

“I admire Audubon Dakota. Those folks are just killing it. Incredible vision, incredible dedication and incredible leadership. The conservation work they’ve done along the river in the FM is some of the most important urban nature programming in the U.S.” – Peter Schulz, Longspur Prairie Fund

Bison Strides

CATS Cradle Shelter Inc.

Ducks Unlimited

Diamond in the Ruff Pet Rescue


“We serve 12 to 16-year-olds, particularly those at risk of adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms, by teaching them the skills they would need to work as professional dog trainers.” – Joe Fluge, Founder

Minn-Kota PAAWS

Red River Zoo

Service Dogs for America

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Alexandra Martin

Written by Alexandra Martin

Alexandra Martin is the editor of Fargo Monthly. She hails from Huntsville, Alabama, but graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri with a degree in Fashion Communications. When she's not in the office, she is busy taking care of her small zoo of pets, cooking up vegetables, or listening to true-crime podcasts.

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