Whatcom Magazine

Alternative Humane Society finds new owners for dogs

Lilah Radvaney, then 8, left, and her sister Ella, then 11, encourage their dog Luke, 3, during a peanut butter eating contest at the Paws and Claws Expo held by the Alternative Humane Society at Bloedel Donovan Park in July 2015.
Lilah Radvaney, then 8, left, and her sister Ella, then 11, encourage their dog Luke, 3, during a peanut butter eating contest at the Paws and Claws Expo held by the Alternative Humane Society at Bloedel Donovan Park in July 2015. For The Bellingham Herald

The Alternative Humane Society aims to “end the euthanasia of healthy adoptable animals in our lifetime.” It’s an enormous goal for the all-volunteer nonprofit organization.

“We have no physical location,” explains Tish O’Keefe, board president. “We exist on donations.”

The society currently has 20 to 30 foster homes for dogs. The homes, which meet criteria for safe and nurturing environments, take in several hundred unwanted animals a year.

There’s a home for every dog.

Tish O’Keefe, Alternative Humane Society

The dogs up for adoption are featured on the society’s website—and the Adopt a Pet and Petfinder websites. The first two weekends of the month some of the foster dogs come to Petco.

The society vets potential owners, who fill out “statement of interest” forms. The next step includes visits with the animals at Petco or in a foster home. Many of those introductions result in adoptions.

Some breeds and ages are more popular, but the society is patient about dogs who take longer to place.

“There’s a home for every dog,” O’Keefe says.

For example, a 12-year-old pit bull finally found an owner from Canada after a year in foster care. The society also helped two litters and adult dogs with ringworm, getting them treatment and having them spayed and neutered. All were adopted.

The society has served Whatcom County since 1977. They don’t provide foster care for cats, but they do offer referrals and spay and neuter vouchers.

To cover costs, the organization has adoption fees and also seeks donations. Supporters hold a fundraiser in July and will have a booth at the holiday craft fair in Sudden Valley in November.

Most important are the 50 society’s volunteers.

“The heart of our program is foster homes,” says O’Keefe.

Alternative Humane Society

Phone: 360-671-7445

Online: alternativehumanesociety.com

Email: alternativehumanesociety@gmail.com

Other animal welfare groups in Whatcom County

Happy Tails Happy Homes: 360-209-4450, happytailshappyhomes.org

Rescued Hearts Northwest: 360-318-6911, facebook.com/rescuedhearts

Whatcom Humane Society: 360-733-2080, whatcomhumane.org

Happy Trails Happy Homes and Rescued Hearts Northwest are offshoots of the Alternative Humane Society and run similar programs.

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