The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2014, April 12-13

Home For Life

Paired with Drupal Rocks

Home For Life® is an expression of a new kind of animal shelter—the long-term animal sanctuary. We provide animals with loving care, a nurturing environment that is safe and stable, a place to belong and a home for life.

We provide lifetime care for cats and dogs with special needs who cannot find a home, but who can still lead a quality life.

The example of empathy is furthered by our community outreach programs, such as Pet Peace Corps. Sanctuary residents that have been rehabilitated after past rejection and neglect are then able to give back. Through Pet Peace Corps, these animals work with volunteers and staff to help people who themselves may have been overlooked: children affected by domestic violence, at-risk teens, and the elderly.

These community outreach programs complete a circle of empathy for our animals—they become willing ambassadors of compassion, taking the empathy shown to them and passing it to other vulnerable members of society.

What new functionality we are looking for

The text on our website overlaps in certain areas. We want the website to be sleek and easy to use. The website should also contain MORE PHOTOS of the animals throughout the pages, we want to showcase the beautiful scenery of the Home for Life sanctuary as well as photos of the animals enjoying the wide open spaces.

Also, our animal profiles currently are opened in pop-up pages. We would like to get rid of the pop-up links, and therefore have larger photos of the animals.

We need to keep the functionality of fundraising and forms for donations and subscribing.

It was suggested to us that we should develop in Wordpress.

We would like to get rid of Dreamweaver. Our current photographer refuses to display his photos on our website because the format causes his photos to shrink, or not be entirely viewable.

How the new functionality will help

We want to put the animals as a priority on our website so that visitors know we have the animals' interests in mind, completely. We want to show the animals enjoying their freedom, playing with other animals at the sanctuary and living in peace. Showing the animals living life to the fullest proves to our potential volunteers and donation contributors that their money is going exactly where they want it- straight to the animals.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

7 Messages from Supporters

2014-03-12 19:42:42 UTC
Mark Luinenburg

I originally asked if I could take photos at Home for Life some 14 years ago because I really liked animals an HFL sounded like a good idea. Since that time I have learned that HFL is so very much more than just a good idea, and my appreciation and love for the animal world has grown immensely because of my experiences there. Every animal there has a story, ranging from sad to unspeakably horrific. To see these amazing animals turn into such sweet, loving, trusting, happy creatures when placed in a safe, caring environment at HFL is truly a testament to the dedication of the entire staff there and a reflection of their philosophy that all life deserves respect, dignity and compassion. It's very hard to describe what it's like to watch a dog that was chained up for his first six years finally be able to run. Very moving. This is what they're all about.
Home for Life goes far beyond simply providing shelter and ford and water. If an animal requires surgery, or special medicine, or a custom cart, it's done without hesitation. They carefully observe how the animals interact and group those that get get along together best. A blind dog will be paired with a buddy that has a bell on his collar so he can follow and play freely. The caring and dignity extends all the way to to the end of their lives. When an animal passes away, they are cremated and their ashes are scattered in a memorial garden on the grounds and a stone with their name engraved is also placed in the garden.
Home for Life is a rare place. It's a life-changing place not only for the animals there but also for anyone lucky enough to be able to observe the emotional depth these creatures have in retuning the love given them there.

2014-03-12 23:12:45 UTC
Bill Pease

I had found out about Home for Life when they were at the mall over the holidays in 2006. I had finally became a volunteer in 2007 and could not believe some of the stories of torture, neglect, and what the dogs and cats at Home for Life went through. They all have their own disabilities :health issues, deaf, blind, paraplegic and amputees. The animals that came to Home for Life are now happy and to see the change in the dogs and cats since coming to HFL they have become more alive and full of life. The volunteers who work at that sanctuary make sure that everyone of the animals are always taken care of and treat them with the love the dogs and cats so much deserve. My wife and I had worked with hospice patients and HFL brought the dogs to the nursing home so we could take the dogs into see the patients. The dogs were the one thing that really brightened the patients days. Each one of the dogs and cats knowing what they had overcome are always ready to give back the love that they have so much been waiting to receive and have since they have arrived at HFL. HFL is the last place the animals will go until they cross the rainbow bridge to the other side. They will have the love that they so much deserve in their last years. Once an animal passes they are cremated and they are always at the sanctuary in spirit in the Memorial Garden which is always dedicated at the annual open house of the animals that had passed over the last year.

2014-03-13 18:16:31 UTC

I have been involved with Home for Life Animal Sanctuary since approximately 2006. My love of animals makes it an easy choice to be a supporter Home for Life’s wonderful and very necessary mission of providing special needs animals with a Home for Life.
Over the past several years, I have had the privilege of working with some of the therapy dogs who live at Home for Life. The dogs have had obedience training through one of Home for Life’s outreach programs working with students at Totem Town, called The Renaissance Project. Following that training, volunteers work with the dogs to be certified as therapy dogs.
Most recently, I have worked with Home for Life’s Harlequin Great Dane “Dodi,” who has epilepsy. Dodi and I visit the young patients at the University of Minnesota’s Amplatz Children’s Hospital. I have lost track of the number of times a parent of one of the patients has thanked me for visiting their child with Dodi because they had not seen their child smile in a very long time . . . . until Dodi came to visit.
Animals giving back is also an important mission of Home for Life and one that sets it apart from many other nonprofit organizations that help animals. I am very proud to be a volunteer for Home for Life to help to fulfill that mission.

2014-03-13 20:15:20 UTC
Col. Kurt Johnson, Professional Benefit Auctioneer

You, like all of us, have choices, right? This contest being a big one. There are likely many worthy contenders who would LOVE to receive your website services. But (and pay attention here) I challenge you to find another among your list that has so willingly provided second chances to so many deserving lives. Yes friends, I'm talking about our furry friends.

And let's be clear here. "Deserving" is not defined by status, aesthetics, grooming, or even education. Deserving is defined by love--pure and simple. I believe Home for Life lives by this credo: "Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether they are worthy." What is not to love about that?

When humans are in need of rehabilitative or senior care, we seek out places that are trained to care for them with love and compassion. What a beautiful thing to know that such a place exists for animals now, too.

Come on, Nerdery. Say yes to Home for Life! As a benefit auctioneer I have seen firsthand how good it feels when people say yes. Follow this link to see that there is science to back me up: Thanks for giving Home for Life a shot. Now it's time for your team to feel good. Just say yes!

2014-03-13 22:12:27 UTC
Ann Pease

I have been a volunteer since 2007 and have handled a lot of the dogs and cats. It is sad to hear there stories and what they have been through. The animals don't deserve that kind of treatment and then comes Home for Life who takes the animals in and shows them that there are people out there who care and show them love. The volunteers and the staff are always caring concerned about all the animals. My husband and I have done hospice with Jack and Sammy and when the dogs went through the door everyone's eyes just lit up and could not wait until we came back. I have helped at the mall and worked with many of the dogs and cats, they were always well behaved and just to see what happens when you show the animals you care they give the love right back and looked forward to seeing all the people at the mall. We have worked the Fall Gala each year and walking the dogs in the parade and at the annual open house where everyone is welcome to visit them and hold them while they are there. Home for Life is the last door for the animals that would otherwise be euthanized and they still have feeling and care about loving people everyday that they can. I am so happy to be part of this great organization and to help the animals in every way possible.

2014-03-14 19:48:42 UTC
Christine Walsh

I have had many volunteer opportunities with HFL over the years but my favorite is the pet therapy. I take HFL animals to a battered women's shelter and to the poly trauma floor at the VA.
While the children enjoy a good snuggle and a listening ear for their troubles we also teach them how to be around animals safely. For example to ask permission of the owner if they want to pet a dog and what to do if a dog is chasing them. But most important is the unspoken lesson that someone has been mean and has hurt and abused the animals but the dogs and cats don't let that define them. They can still be loving and sweet even though they may not have always been treated that way.
We are always welcomed by the the veterans at the VA. Many of them have been away from their own pets for extended periods of time and miss the companionship of their own dog or cat. And the dogs don't see their injuries no matter how horrific they may be. They just see a warm hand that is ready to pet them. Or someone in bed that will welcome them to come snuggle up against their tummy or behind their knees.
I always come away from a pet therapy session feeling blessed to witness how the animals so effortlessly make someone in pain whether it is emotional or physical feel better.

2014-03-17 03:39:11 UTC
Andrea Mardock

I've been volunteering with Home for Life almost 10 years now and it has been such a rewarding experience. Seeing the faces of patients at the VA hospital and hearing the stories of their treasured pets at home brightens my day. One patient even shared his story of the military dog that accompanied him in combat and the bond they developed. Also, teaching the children at domestic abuse shelters how to take care of and treat animals properly, when all they've ever known is violence gives me hope that maybe the cycle will be broken. Home for Life provides a chance for animals that have none and gives back to the community in so many ways. The stories of how each animal arrived at the sanctuary are such an inspiration and I would love to see a website that shares these stories with as many people as possible. These animals have been through so much, often at the hands of humans and they still provide unconditional love. You can't help but want to share that love with others after you've met even one of these amazing animals.

Our Mission

Home for Life provides a forever home for animals with diseases and disabilities who are often not adopted because of their conditions. Some animals have behavioral problems due to abuse or neglect. Home for Life rehabilitates these animals and provides them with the medical care and attention they need to still live full lives rather than being put down. These animals in turn give back to the community through visits with hospital patients, children suffering abuse, and the elderly.