Op-Ed

Finding forever homes for dogs

Volunteers at the Paws and Claws booth at Bloedel Donovan Park in July, 2014.
Volunteers at the Paws and Claws booth at Bloedel Donovan Park in July, 2014. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Alternative Humane Society of Whatcom County was established in 1977 and had about 50 volunteers in 2015.

Purpose: Our purpose is to minimize the euthanasia of healthy adoptable dogs in Whatcom County. We do this without a shelter, as our dogs live in volunteer foster homes until they are adopted. Our dogs are adopted out spayed/neutered (if age-appropriate), fully vaccinated and micro-chipped. We provide all veterinary care, food and training while the dogs await adoption. Having the dogs living in homes gives our volunteers the ability to evaluate and get to know the dog and what type of home would be the best fit for them. It also prepares them to live in a home, if they have not experienced that before. Ideally, our dogs leave our care ready to be part of a family.

Volunteer hightlights: One of our volunteer highlights happened in February. It does not happen often, but one of our dogs escaped from his foster family’s yard. AHS volunteers pulled together, with Carol Weymouth as our organizer, to bring Zeke safely home. It took a village of people handing out flyers, putting up posters, posting on Facebook and boots on the ground to bring him safely back. It turns out he had been found by a man and his German shorthaired pointer and he was having a great time! The man saw a poster, called us and Zeke came back! He is now happily in his forever home!

Signature fundraiser: Our annual Paws and Claws event this year, it is on Sunday, July 31 at Bloedel Donovan Park, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Wish list: Money to cover vet bills (75 percent of funds spent on this), pee pads, bedding, small to medium collars, exercise pens, large baby gates, leashes, no pull harnesses, Parvaid (sold by Amazon) to prevent parvo, flea prevention (Advantage II), hard plastic crates of all sizes.

Current volunteer needs: An education director to teach the public about health and education of dogs; help with our events; trainers to help train our dogs; an acupuncturist; swim therapy sessions; foster homes; dog walkers; transporters for our dogs; Petco adoption events.

For more information, go online to alternativehumanesociety.com.

VOLUNTEER MONTH

April was National Volunteer Month and The Bellingham Herald has partnered with the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County to highlight local non-profit agencies that offer opportunities to become involved in our community. For more information online about the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, go to whatcomvolunteer.org.

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