Susan Houser has a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and a Juris Doctor degree from Ohio State University. She is retired from the U.S. Department of Justice, where she was Senior Litigation Counsel in the Civil Division. She has been involved in animal welfare issues for over 20 years, including rescue, transport, volunteering, and writing. She started blogging in 2011. She decided to retire OTFD in January of 2019, maintaining the site as an archive, including blog posts and an online version of her book Prodigal Pets: A History of Animal Sheltering in America and the Origin of the No-Kill Movement.
The Mission of Out the Front Door:
Out the Front Door (OTFD) was initially created to be a news source for people working to improve live release rates in animal shelters. Over time the blog evolved into a multimedia website, though its purpose remained the same: to help people get information about shelter lifesaving and connect with each other.
History has shown that the most successful way to make progress toward saving healthy and treatable animals is for the private sector to work with the public sector. Partnerships can take several forms: private organizations partnering with a municipality to increase lifesaving; private organizations contracting to run city or county shelters; a coalition of private and public organizations working together across a large metro area; or a coalition of rescues that bands together to help a public shelter.
Animal sheltering was one of the first examples of public-private partnerships in the United States, starting back in 1870 when a private SPCA run entirely by women won a contract to take over the Philadelphia dog pound. This proud tradition continues today in hundreds of cities and counties across the United States.
In February 2022, with Susan's blessing, upkeep and maintenance of Out the Front Door was taken over by Don Jennings, an employee of Best Friend's Animal Society. Don worked with Susan to redesign OTFD in 2018 and helped to edit Prodigal Pets for publishing.