Dear friends of the animals,

Mr. Charlie was found by a Good Samaritan running through a parking lot, leash dragging behind him but no identification. Once at WHS, he waited for his former guardian to arrive and reclaim him—but like so many other stray animals, that day never came. The middle-aged terrier quickly became a favorite of the staff and volunteers at our Division Street shelter, inspiring smiles and laughter with his tap-dancing toes whenever he knew it was time for a walk. Despite his sweet nature, with so many other dogs and puppies in our care, Mr. Charlie was overlooked by potential adopters wary of taking a chance on a dog with an unknown history who could at times be slow to warm up to strangers. His patience was finally rewarded, however, when a kindhearted couple looking to open their home to a dog in need stopped in front of his kennel and fell in love.

Abandoned in an apartment building, wallflowers Jazz & Jersey arrived at WHS in the back of an animal control vehicle. Overwhelmed by all of the changes they were experiencing, these sweet but timid adult sister cats shut down and hid under their kennel blankets throughout their first few weeks in our charge. Even so, animal care staff knew that once they warmed up and learned to trust again, the right person would be out there for them. With this in mind, they moved the bonded pair from a cat condo to our cage-free colony room. After a couple days in their new digs and dedicated socialization from our team, this dynamic duo blossomed and began greeting visitors at the door—including, shortly thereafter, the sweet family who would welcome them home.

Last spring, we received a call from shelter colleagues in Pierce County. They had taken in over 200 rabbits from a breeding/hoarding situation and desperately needed help. We immediately responded and transferred several bunnies into our care. Curious, affectionate, cilantro-loving Scotty was one of these special rabbits. Like most of the group, he suffered from an upper respiratory infection, and special precautions had to be taken by our staff and volunteers to ensure no cross-contamination occurred in the shelter. Thankfully, one of our small animal volunteers felt an immediate bond with Scotty and offered to foster him. Even more joyfully, this temporary safe haven soon became Scotty’s permanent home.

Mr. Charlie, Jazz, Jersey, and Scotty are among the more than 3,000 domestic animals that arrived at our Division Street shelter in 2023. Strays, surrendered, abandoned, victims of cruelty and neglect—the reasons vary but the need for care, comfort, and service remains paramount in every circumstance. At our shelter, these animals received lifesaving medical treatment and vaccinations; a safe, comfortable place to sleep and nutritious food; and love and respect at every turn.

What’s more, our facility is not only a shelter—it’s a resource hub for pets and people in need:

  • Our animal control and rescue staff provide the only 24/7 call service for the majority of incorporated and unincorporated Whatcom County, responding to 2,845 field service calls in 2023.
  • Our small but mighty veterinary clinic completed 1,494 spay/neuter surgeries last year, including 389 low-cost procedures for members of the public through our Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • Working in partnership with local animal rescues, we transferred 216 at-risk animals out of our crowded kennels and into dedicated foster-based groups.
  • Our outreach team held 53 humane education and community events, including a monthly Pet Loss Support Group and youth-focused Critter Camps hosted at the shelter.
  • Throughout the year, we distributed countless pounds of pet food and supplies through our community food bank to help keep animals with their families.

For the thousands of animals and their people assisted by our shelter this past year, WHS became a beacon of hope and home because of your support. We recognize that it is your trust in our work that has allowed us to become a more than a century-old community resource where no animal is turned awayand that is a responsibility and a service we dedicate ourselves to every day, every animal.

We anticipate this year will be busier than ever, making your partnership crucial to our ability to respond to animals in need. Your donation helps make our entire community stronger—please give a gift today and know that we are deeply grateful for your continued generosity.

With gratitude,

Laura Clark

Executive Director

P.S. The Whatcom Humane Society is not affiliated with any national animal welfare organization or other humane society: When you make a gift to our organization, it stays local and is immediately put to use in our community, caring for the animals who call our region home.