Empowering shelters & rescues to see behavior through the lens of science, ethics, and compassion.
To provide a customizable process allowing organizations to accurately, ethically, and efficiently make decisions about the animals in their care and in their community.
The First Train Home story begins, like most philanthropic endeavors do, with love: a love for homeless animals and those who care for them. A love for the down-trodden, the underdog, the before and after stories. A love for the tireless people creating those stories with often little thanks in return. Our story, like others, also begins with frustration and heartache. The befores who never got their afters. The animals we could have saved if only we knew how. Incidents that could have been prevented. The emotional toll of feeling hopeless. From frustration, from heartache, is born the spark of change.
Founders Emily Strong and Allie Bender have collectively worked in animal behavior for two decades and the animal sheltering community for over four decades. In that time we’ve spent countless hours in shelters across the nation, worked with thousands of homeless animals and their caregivers, and have seen the trends and problems facing the sheltering nation first-hand. One of those trends is an emerging dichotomy: adoptable animals who are getting euthanized for behavior which could be easily resolved, and unsafe animals who are being adopted out into communities that are unable to sustain them. Both issues can be addressed with a better understanding of animal behavior and how to apply it in a shelter or rescue environment. That’s where First Train Home comes in.
Emily and Allie started working on what is now First Train Home in 2014 as a way to address the behavioral needs of the sheltering community we love. Our goal is not to turn shelter workers into animal trainers. Our goal is to equip those in the sheltering community with the ability to accurately identify behaviors, better understand those behaviors, and utilize the tools which can best address them within their unique organization and community.
Meet the Team