Revolutionizing both human and animal rehabilitation through creation of meaningful, lifelong bonds.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize and, based on its description, I am eligible to apply:
Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend:
Additional Skype interview(s) during the week of March 16-20th 2020
The Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Paris, on 3-4th of June 2020
Initiative's representative name
Initiative's representative date of birth
Initiative's representative gender
Headquarters location: country
Headquarters location: city
Where are you making a difference?
At first, Russia - with potential to expand worldwide
Website or social media url(s)
Re-imagining the role of pets in society
Revolutionizing veterinary care for pets
What is your current yearly budget for the initiative? If you are an idea stage, what early budget you would need to kick-off and run operations in your first year?
hybrid: a combination of different types of organisations, such as a social enterprise (an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being)
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.
The idea to revolutionize the rehabilitation experience came to me after attending volunteer work at one of out local shelters. A thousand or so dogs, all attended by four workers and a few dozen volunteers. These conditions were adequate, but there was one major issue - socialization. The dogs came out of the shelter afraid of humans, afraid of other dogs, conditioned by a hostile environment to become submissive and docile. It reminded me of a rehab story, that I picked up on on one of our volunteer meetings. It ultimately boiled into a story of a societal reject, of someone who had their will broken and conditioned to "fit" the miserable, hostile environment that surrounded them. I am inspired to change that.
2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Surveys have found that, despite reporting satisfactory results, most rehabilitation patients are actually dissatisfied with their experience.
Animal rehabilitation has lead most animals into hostile environments. Packs of aggressive dogs are being kept in the same facilities as lost and injured pups.
The problem with both human and animal rehabilitation experiences is that none can truly forge strong bonds and feel like they have a purpose.
3. Your solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
In reality, however, it requires creating a friendly community of rehabilitation patients and recovering pets, where both parties care for each other as part of the experience.
The ideal vision is a comfortable home for people and pets, whom - as part of their rehabilitation - look over, take care and nurture pets. From those ready to be adopted from shelters to those going through treatments and procedures, this experience would give humans both an opportunity to create meaningful relations - with each other and their pets - as well as a responsibility to take care of their newfound friends; Whilst for the pets, it would be an opportunity to be loved, to see how much a human could care for them - and to learn how much they could mean to someone, while also giving them the much needed treatment and care.
With the advent of social media, Homely Homes have the potential to spread worldwide. People can always find both animal shelters and rehab groups where they live - and all they need is to bring the two together under a comfortable roof.
4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?
The innovation in Homely Home stems from the idea that pet care gives people a light in the darkness of misery. Having to care for someone - even a a hamster - creates a need to move forward in life, to make conditions better for them - and in turn, for yourself.
The deceptively simple method of combining human and animal rehab is something the world has never seen before - despite it having great potential. To put in in perspective, think of the first iPhone: all the innovation in it was the form-factor of old, admittedly mediocre technologies, put into a much more widespread experience. Homely Home will do just that - combining what already worked, if with varying results - to create a unique, truly meaningful and innovative experience.
5. How does your project harness the pet-human bond to help people develop important social competencies (For example: emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, resilience, inclusivity) and overcome serious societal issues (for example: violence, abuse, trauma, isolation, abandonment)?
Homely Home intents to solve major inclusivity and isolation problems posed with traditional rehabilitation facilities - on both human and animal fronts.
Rehab attendees are mostly limited to their own circle. They don't have anyone to truly become friends with - and most of their older circles would probably lead them back into addiction.
Pets that are recovering from illnesses are particularly vulnerable, and simply placing them back in whatever shelter they came from would only do more harm than good.
Dogs need socialization both with their own kind - and with humans. It is a delicate balance, because a dog that has too much human contact wouldn't be able to socialize with its fellow dogs, while one that mostly was around other dogs would be afraid, if not aggressive towards humans.
By expanding the barrier for rehab attendees to own and care for a pet, as part of their treatment, this project offers a unique opportunity for both the person and their potential soon-to-be pet to bond and really support one another.
6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?
Measuring impact should come easy for small groups. Even if one attendee out of an entire rehab group takes a dog back home, the project has already created value to them.
Business success, however, solely relies on people's ability to create goods and especially on their quality. The plan is to include various opportunities for attendees to create - be it woodworking, leatherworking, arts, other crafts - and those goods, at the attendee's consent, would be sold or given away.
7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?
Growing Homely Home would require different rehabilitation facilities and dog shelters to come together. Once both parties have agreed to unite in a Homely Home project, they would dedicate a few of their recovering pets to the project, and then it would be done. Social media marketing could be employed to share success stories across the world, leading people to create more Homely Homes with their own local dog shelters and rehab groups. It could be as simple as an initiative for temporary pet residency near a church, or as complex as constructing an entire facility for a Homely Home.
8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?
A Homely Home would create business opportunities for the people attending them - allowing them to create what they want, and sell those creations for profit; Local businesses would benefit from having a Homely Home near them - boosting sales of pet food, animal accessories, as well as anything a conventional rehab group may require - food, beverages, furniture, etc.
Societal benefits should be obvious - the society gets back family people, workers and craftsmen that were lost to addiction. They come back not only well, but also with a friend - or two. By reintroducing people who were lost to addiction and societal neglect back into society, Homely Home promotes inclusivity.
9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
Funding for the first Homely Homes would be secured through local animal shelter and rehab group grants, at first - after it has fully developed, a Homely Home could sustain itself through selling of various arts and crafts its attendees create. As the initiative gains motion, more and more Homely Homes could be funded for by a specifically created foundation. In ideal world, Homely Home Foundation would support and fund local Homely Home initiatives.
10. Team: what is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
Doctors and vets will come first in creating a Homely Home. They would be the ones selecting and providing treatment for both the rehabilitating persons and their newly found pets.
Second of all - councillors. Councillors and psychologists that would lead the rehab group.
Only after both the animals and the people would be cared for, a corporate team could be assembled. Volunteering would be most welcome and supported from the Homely Home's budget.
11. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize?
Should Homely Home receive the prize, it would allow us to further develop the concepts and blueprints of a first Homely Home - luckily, a team of a local animal shelter AND a local rehab group is already assembled - and with it, we could start work on a first Homely Home.
A tremendous amount of work would go into creating an "ideal" Homely Home to promote its image, and inspire others to create more of them in their local areas, as well as allowing the team to create more of them in the near future.
12. How did you hear about this challenge?
13. Example: Please walk us through one or two concrete examples of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address.
A user would engage with Homely Home by applying for a partnered/in-house rehabilitation program. No matter the reason they apply, they will enter a conventional rehabilitation program - group meetings, evaluations on mental health and psychology, counselling on issues of employment, resolving family conflict, prophylactic measures taken to make sure the person doesn't break;
With Homely Home, after an evaluation, they will have a choice of pets. Dogs, cats, parrots, various pets that are in need of human interaction, of care and an owner. From there, each meeting, the attendees shall discuss not only their own condition, mental health and wellbeing, but also the wellbeing of their pet, if they need any help with it, if they are ready to take on the responsibility of owning it full-time, after their counseling with Homely Home is concluded.
For those lacking housing, Homely Home would be a place where they can rest, eat, bathe - that goes double for pets.
14. Mutual Benefit: Explain how your project mutually benefits the pets involved – how is the pet not only used as tool?
The pets involved with Homely Home will receive human interaction, medical assistance, high quality food - and most importantly, an opportunity for affection. The environments in conventional pet shelters are hostile, driven by selfish aggression, where there is little affection to be found from their own kind - let alone, a human. Most "good dogs" and cats in conventional shelters can expect, at most - a portion of food, which they'll have to keep to themselves, lest their kennel-mates try to take it - and a heatpat, if they're looking bad. While a Homely Home wouldn't have the capacity to house 100, 200 pets, those ones who shall be looked over in a Homely Home would have access to human interaction. Various research have found that an animal that grew up without human interaction has a tendency to either become submissive around humans, or grow to distrust them completely; And one of the main goals of Homely Home is establishing trust between humans and their lifelong companions.
15. Marketplace: Who else is addressing this problem in your environment? How does your proposed project differ from these other approaches?
In Russia, the human rehabilitation centres are either - founded and by the Russian Orthodox Church, or founded and owned by the government. Independent rehab foundations exist, such as the "Vozrozhdenie" exist, however most associate with either a local medical centre, a local police precinct - or a church.
Independently owned rehabilitation foundations rely on funding through donations or supplementary payments received from their owners.
The pet shelter situation in Russia is in a good state. The recently launched "OSVV" government program has granted major funding to more shelters for a "Trap-Neuter-Return" scheme, spreading funds evenly throughout more shelters, reducing untimely death rates of homeless animals.
Though the pet homelessness problem in Russia can largely be attributed to the state of its economy - people earn less wages, and in its stead, throw their pets away, unable to provide care - Homely Home will seek to provide these pets - and people - with quality help
16. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project.
We have already secured partnerships with a local pet shelter and a local rehabilitation group, however, after everything is concluded, we plan on negotiating partnerships with "Ecologia Cheloveka", a large local pet care foundation that deals in everything from shelters, to rehabilitation and medical assistance.
Local vet clinics have also shown interest in assisting a Homely Home, with a team of vets ready to allow Homely Home to become a place for post-surgical recovery and rehabilitation.
The first Homely Home will be created in partnership with the "Ruka Pomoschi" Rehabilitation Centre and "Be Happy" animal welfare organization.
If Homely Home becomes a widespread phenomenon, we would really encourage those who wish to create one of their own to partner up with local shelters and local rehab groups and businesses - to share the benefits of a Homely Home evenly throughout the local area.
17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?
While no official rewards were granted to Homely Home at this stage, directors and owners of various pet shelter foundations have approved of the idea and suggested to partner with Homely Home, should it get off the ground.
19. Financial Sustainability (OPTIONAL): Please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project, include an attached document with your detailed business plan or other equivalent information. (This information will NOT be shared with your fellow contestant, it will only be visible to you and internal Prize reviewers).
The original idea for funding came from relying on the rehabilitees' crafts to provide wares to be sold. However, research into rehabilitation groups showed that the most successful ones form around the idea of "labour-therapy", or "trudoterapiya" - offering its attendants with an opportunity to work under a partner company. Rethinking Homely Home's funding plans, we came up with a solution to partner up with local businesses, and secure funding through them, offering both the partner company and the person needing employment a fair exchange of the revenue.
Additional funding for larger projects - building Homely Homes, promotions, expensive medical equipment for both humans and pets - is to be secured through non-profit means; Supplementary payments from foundations, charitable donations and online crowdfunding.
Should Homely Home win the Purina Prize, the prize money would be dedicated to constructing and showing off the first Homely Home, promote the idea and spread the word.