Whatcom Humane Society
It was just 1902 when the Whatcom Humane Society began taking care of animals throughout the county. “I’ve always thought it was pretty amazing that, in 1902, a group of committed citizens in our community gathered together to form the Whatcom Humane Society,” executive director Laura Clark said. In the 115 years since its inception, the organization has grown to be a vital part of Whatcom County, providing not only adoption services, but animal control, rescue, and a wildlife rehabilitation center. It has been the commitment of concerned community members that has kept the organization alive for so long, Clark said. Even back in 1902, the members were unusually open-minded when it came to animal care and rescue. “We actually have the original meeting minutes from 1902 and it’s incredible to see how progressive the founding members were in their work on behalf of animals and people in our community,” Clark said. Currently, the organization is working on putting together a historical book of such meeting minutes to give the public an understanding of where the organization came from.
The level of commitment at Whatcom Humane Society is remarkable. The nonprofit organization operates as an open-admission shelter, meaning the staff does not refuse any animal, no matter their age, temperament, or health. The domestic adoption shelter, which houses all sorts of critters from hamsters to ducks, is just one of three service locations. In addition to the domestic shelter, Whatcom Humane Society operates a wildlife rehabilitation center in eastern Whatcom County and a 10-acre farm facility in Everson. “Last year, over 5,000 domestic, wild, and farm animals came through our doors needing assistance,” Clark said. Some of the more unique animals the wildlife rehabilitation center saw in 2016 were 19 barred owls, three coyotes, and four Pacific tree frogs. When the rehabilitation center receives wildlife, the goal is always to eventually reintroduce the animals to their habitat, Clark said. While the state licensed wildlife center is not open to the public, the organization offers plenty of information about how to respect wild animals in our area and what to do if a community member believes a wild animal to be in trouble.
As for the less “wild” critters in the domestic and farm shelters, they are seeking loving homes with responsible caretakers. “Adopting a pet provides unconditional love for people and of course, is a win for the rescue animal, who is given a lifetime of love,” Clark said. If pet adoption isn’t the right option for those who are still looking to give back, the Whatcom Humane Society is always inviting volunteers and donations. Community members are also welcome to sponsor an animal at any of the three shelters through their Animal Advocate Program. A donation of just $100 to their farm facility can pay for the cost of three horse farrier services. And on August 10th, the Bellingham Golf and Country Club will host the Putts Fore Pets Golf Tournament fundraiser, which will feature an afternoon of golf followed by a buffet dinner.