North Dakota Nice: Journey Home Animal Rescue

It’s no secret that dogs make paws-itively great pets, which is why we’re mutts about Journey Home Animal Rescue – a brand-new volunteer-driven foster organization serving the Grand Forks area. While Journey Home officially opened its doors January 2019, the great people behind the scenes have helped home thousands of animals over the years.

The fantastic Leslie Rethemeier – who you can meet here – has kindly offered to tell us a bit more about how Journey Home is caring for and connecting North Dakota’s four-legged friends with their forever families:

You have been rescuing animals for years; what made you want to start Journey Home Animal Rescue now?

We realized the need for an animal rescue organization in the Grand Forks area. The Humane Society does great work – and they even need help at times with animals that don’t do great in the shelter setting, so we want to be able to support them as well with their needs.

It’s nice to have local options when someone wants to adopt an animal. Since we are foster based, adopters can learn all about the animal and figure out if it’s a good fit for their home.
How many animals have found homes thanks to you?

Since January 2019 we’ve helped over 420 dogs and cats find rescue thanks to the help of our rescue partners. Most of our dogs come from rural North Dakota where there is no shortage of animals in need.
How many foster families do you have?

Not enough. We have approximately 7-10 foster families; some are for temporary foster dogs that are on their way to a partnering rescue, and some are for animals we have available for adoption through Journey Home Animal Rescue. We always need more!
Tell us about the people behind Journey Home.

Journey Home Animal Rescue currently has four volunteer board members: myself, Jennie Belanus, Amy Huderle, and Jake Lindquest, and we all do a little bit of everything. We also have great volunteers who have been helping us for months by fostering and transporting. Every rescue will tell you it takes a village of dedicated volunteers to run a rescue. From transporting, fostering, phone calls, vet appointments, collecting supplies, and cleaning kennels, it takes many hands.
How can North Dakotans help Journey Home Animal Rescue?

There are so many ways! It’s as easy as sharing a post on Facebook. You never know who might see a post and fall in love with a face they want to adopt. We also have an Amazon wish list for anyone who doesn’t really want to be hands-on but wants to contribute in some way. Donating and fostering are two huge things people can do and directly saves a life. Without fosters and the funding to care for the animals, we can’t save more.

We still send many animals to rescues in the Minneapolis area (as they have the foster numbers and resources), so if anyone up here is heading that way and has room to transport, that is a big help.
Is there anything you’d like to tell us?

We pride ourselves in being responsible animal caretakers and attempt to exhaust every option for an animal to meet it’s needs. We are fortunate to have a very close working relationship with a vet clinic and all of our pets are up-to-date on vetting (vaccinations, altered, etc) prior to being adopted.

We have big dreams for our rescue. Eventually we want to offer free or low-cost spay/neuter clinics in rural, low income areas of North Dakota and Minnesota. We also want to be able to help struggling owners feed and get medical care for their pets. We don’t want owners to have to give up their pet because they’ve hit a rough time. We need community support and donations in order to be able to do this. If you are interested in learning more or joining the team, visit

[From Amanda: If you have fallen in love with any of the dogs in the photos above, you’re in luck – they are all looking for their new best friends! And remember – Journey Home is always in need of foster families.]

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