Whether you’re a cat person, dog person, or llama person, animal lovers can all agree on one thing—all pets deserve a safe and loving home.

When Angela Rovetto from Best Friends Animal Society connected with Audrey Lodato, a then-employee of Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in North Carolina during Hurricane Florence in 2018, a silver lining amidst a devastating natural disaster appeared.

The shelter Audrey was working at was working to assist other shelters in moving animals to a safer location away from the hurricane’s harm. Best Friends Animal Society stepped in to do what they do best—collaborate and partner to save the lives of animals, and ultimately helping them thrive in a better location. The organization helps shelters across the United States understand their needs and come up with solutions.

From this initial exchange, a beautiful partnership began.

And it continues to grow today—Audrey now works at Dutchess County SPCA in New York where she teams up with Angela and other shelters to transport animals to communities with space for adoptable pets, giving them an opportunity for adoption by relocation.

Most often, the situation entails shelters in Southern states needing assistance with their adoptable pets from shelters in the Northern regions, to help offset their overflowing dog and cat (and other species!) populations. If a shelter is filled, they may only have a few hours’ notice to coordinate a transport with rescues if they’re to avoid euthanizing pets for space. It’s truly a life or death operation.

In lighter terms, pets can be pre-adopted before they travel, so they may be waiting to meet their new family at the end of the transport.

Teaching An Old System New Tricks

Angela explains the process before using a digital collaboration tool:

“There was never a streamlined process for sharing pets and their information among sending and receiving shelters. We were relying on Excel sheets and email. It was difficult to have everything be in real-time and have everyone have access to it. Adoptions move fast, sometimes a dog can be adopted within 15 minutes of being added to a transport, so it’s important to be able to update things on the go and have information sync immediately.”

After countless email chains and a growing need for greater organization, they landed on Trello as the perfect tool to better coordinate with shelters and more importantly—save more lives.

Angela, Audrey, and around 10 other organizations around the country are connected through a series of Trello boards to coordinate the transport for thousands of adoptable pets yearly.

“You’re talking about life and death differences. It’s go-go-go. If team members think the process is cumbersome, they’re going to be deterred from learning it and actually using it. Plus, there are dozens of important details that our teams need to know for each animal’s situation. Trello manages all of these challenges with ease,” explains Angela.

Puppy Eyes For Trello

The adoption and transport boards have been drilled down to a fine science. Within the Transport Coordination board, all of the sending and receiving shelters are added to the same board. Sending shelters each have a list, and add each available cat and dog as a card. Receiving shelters also have their own lists, and drag animals over from the ‘Available’ list to their specific ‘Pulled’ list to claim them and signify they’re able to take them in.

Card Covers with the image of the animal are used to be able to more easily visualize and put a (cute) face to the name.

Labels signify if the animal has been spayed/neutered, is heartworm positive, or FIV positive or negative. Only certain organizations can accommodate animals with these diagnoses so it’s helpful to provide that information on the front of the card.

Within each card, they attach medical records and other important details about the animal, so a shelter can open up a card to see if they have the resources for claiming that specific animal.

Use Trello To Work Less Like A Dog

Audrey and Angela hope that through relaying their experience of using Trello to better coordinate their rescue processes, more shelters across the country can do the same. They recently hosted a ‘Transport 101 Training’ where Audrey presented their processes to other organizations looking for a better way to coordinate their transportation efforts.

“There isn’t a standard tool across the board that the industry can use to coordinate transports. Unfortunately, organizations looking for a way to streamline these processes can’t look into other organization’s databases. Trello serves as a great way to provide visibility into other organization’s available animals and processes. We need to be teaching other organizations about Trello because it’s a game-changer for how effectively we can save the lives of animals.” -Angela Rovetto

Through the dedication of Audrey, Angela, the shelter employees transporting animals, and a little tool called Trello, countless animals are given a second chance at life. *wipes tears from face*

How animal rescue organizations use Trello to save the lives of animals