The greatness of this work

The greatness of animal welfare work is an accumulation of small gestures: food for the hungry. Warmth for the cold. An embrace for the lonely. Safety for the fearful.

Humane Society staff and the concerned public often come up against a phenomenon called "compassion fatigue." It can be emotionally draining to see another frightened creature come in the door moments after a rehabilitated one goes out with his or her new family, and it can be challenging to think beyond the 100+ animals in this building to the billions worldwide who need care.

I've been on the staff of the Humane Society of Skagit Valley since May and I can tell you that what I've learned has transformed my view of the animal welfare industry. I've learned that the small moments—walks, pats, positive reinforcement of good manners—have a HUGE effect on each and every pet. That volunteers make a real, measurable difference in animal's quality of life. That the Pacific Northwest is full of great organizations striving to give every animal a real chance at happiness. That longterm matchmaking—fitting the right pet with the right family—is more important than getting animals out the door rapidly.

As a compassionate person with a great deal of concern for each and every animal within and outside of our facility, I was afraid this work would be emotionally taxing. What I didn't count on was the emotional recharge I get each time an abused animal comes out of his shell and gives me a lick of thanks and each time a favorite dog or cat goes home with a new, loving family.

This work matters to the dogs and cats that are here today, to the dogs and cats that have gone out the door to their new lives, and to the dogs and cats that will wind up here soon.

Each act of compassion contributes to a better, kinder future.

I hope this work matters to YOU.

You can share in this work by becoming a member, making a cash or goods donation, or becoming a volunteer. Call or email to learn more.

Wow, so many animals!

This beauty, Emma, came in with an injury late
last week and will be available for adoption soon. 
Wow, our webmaster took some time off this week and now there are 25 more adult animals for her to list online! Watch our "available pets" listings for updates in the coming days, and stop by the shelter if you want the most current information on who's available for adoption. We have about a dozen adoptable kittens in the shelter at this time, too.

Pachee is looking for his littermates!

Did you adopt a big shepherd mix puppy from the "Bear" litter at HSSV this spring? If you have Pachee's sibling, his new mom Meghan would love to get in touch! Just call or email to have us send your information along.

Here's what Meghan wrote to us this week:

"I hope this finds you well. I adopted this Bernese Mt/German Shepherd puppy in May.  Pachee and I are doing great!  He is such a doll.  We just started puppy kindergarten, so much fun.  He's growing (a lot, already 37lbs) into a good mannered pup, very smart and independent. He's big, floppy and such a sweetie... a true delight.  Anyway, I wanted to thank you for bringing us together.  

I also wanted to see if there was anyway to get in contact with the folks who adopted his 2 liter mates . . . I'm just super curious how those pups are growing up.  I'd love to potentially have them all play in the future.
I've attached a photo of Pachee that I took yesterday.  I'll send another when he's full grown.  Everyone tells me he is going to be big, I can't wait and see.
Thanks again for all the work you do for the shelter.  It's such important work and I raise my hands in gratitude.

Best wishes,

Alice and Loki go home

When Jill brought her husband and daughter to the shelter to look for another dog, they were imagining a young playmate for their chihuahua mix, Turk. Loki, the applehead chihuahua, fit the bill, but something about Loki's kennelmate captured Jill's attention. Alice was picked up as a thin, senior stray, and her claws were so badly overgrown that her toes now permanently point in all different directions. She's learning how to walk more comfortably now, and will need extra TLC for her stiff joints and tender paws. Jill and her family made the compassionate choice to adopt Loki AND Alice! They plan to let Alice spend her remaining years living like a queen while Turk and Loki romp and play. We think that sounds like a perfect retirement!

Great news for Pippin!

Pippin's first adoption didn't work out, but we guess that's just because he was waiting for a better fit! Finally, his forever home is here. We loved getting this update via our Facebook page:

"Pippin has made such a great debut in our family! He fell in love with our chihuahua and our 14 year old son. His personality is perfect for us and we are so in love. Our springer spaniel is taking a little longer to accept him but she seems willing to try.Thank you so much for helping us find our new best friend. Our son is so happy and he is adjusting so well. We are so blessed to have him in our home now!!"

Thanks for giving this kitty a really special home! 

Bon voyage, Spencer and Keisha!

Spencer the brindle pitbull went home with his adopter Olatunde several weeks ago, and boy, were we glad! No one deserves a loving home more than this big guy. Just this week, the happy pair stopped by again to say hi and visit Spencer's old shelter friends! It sounds like things are going very well for Spencer and Olatunde at home.

Keisha the mature cattle dog mix was adopted last week, and the smiles on Keisha's, Hilary's, and Skyler's faces say it all! We believe that this family is PERFECT together. We wish them all the best.

E.J. & Bella: a success story in the making!

We have really enjoyed seeing our talented new volunteer E.J. work with Bella, the beautiful pitbull! E.J. has just joined our team but she's already making huge strides with her willing student. If you're interested in learning more about the positive training methods that E.J. uses, talk to Julie or Marnie at the shelter! We would be happy to help you build your own positive relationship with a shelter dog or your pets at home.

Beach bum

Sushi, formerly Snooki, is living the life of luxury with her adoptive family. Here she is on Q13 News, showing the audience how to beat the heat! 

The One Dog Pledge

Short on time, short on money, or short on space in your home for another companion? Never fear! There is one BIG way in which you can help! We are looking for dog-savvy volunteer handlers to form one-on-one relationships with our dogs. What this might mean is that you choose a dog at HSSV and commit to walking him or her as often as you can. Once a week? Three times a week? It doesn't matter how often. What matters is consistency. These dogs blossom when they can expect the same friendly face at the end of the leash at regular intervals! By choosing ONE dog to walk, train, love, and work with, you're dramatically impacting that ONE dog's chances of being adopted into a lifelong home. When she finds her family, that frees her volunteer up to make another One Dog Pledge here at HSSV!

I am a part-time HSSV employee but I started as a volunteer. I've made three One Dog Pledges: Ole, Jasper, and Henry (pictured) can count on me to walk them three times a week until they find their forever homes!

Good luck in your new career, Sid!

Sid the Wonderdog brought lots of joy into our lives while he was at the HSSV adoption center. With his big grin and great tricks, we were sure he was going to make someone very happy. Well, we heard from his adopter and he is indeed working out as a one-in-a-million dog! He's in training to become a search and rescue canine, which we're sure he'll love. We just knew he was ready to take it up a notch beyond "sit," "shake," and "roll over!"

Congratulations to this happy duo.


Whiskers packed, purrs at the ready! Our staff and volunteer team is ready to take seven very deserving cats to this Sunday's Meow in Mukilteo, and it's not too late for you to get involved! If you've attended volunteer training and want to join our outreach team, give us a call today. If you prefer to stop by the Rosehill Community Center on Sunday to visit the kitties and show your support, we'd love to see you! There's lots to look forward to: charming cats, happy helpers, and lifelong friendships to be made.

Annie's new friend

Lifelong dog lover Annie was in search of someone special: after losing the last in a succession of wonderful Staffordshire Bull Terriers, the 90 year-old South Whidbey resident decided she needed a calm, smaller companion. Annie's family contacted their friend Marnie, one of our staff members, and Marnie was able to recommend a sweet chihuahua mix. Marnie took Nyla to Annie's home and it was a great fit! Here are Annie and Nyla (name change pending), just a few days after the successful adoption.

Remembering an everyday hero

Sandy Nelson
June 11, 1956 -- July 28, 2012

A hero is an individual who consistently and continually sacrifices their own needs in the interest of others.

In 32 years as a Humane Society employee and, eventually, Executive Director, Sandy touched many in this community. Many community members remember Sandy for bringing the happiness and companionship of a pet into their lives. She gave hope and a voice to countless homeless, abandoned, and sick animals. She was a true life saver.

When Sandy passed away in 2012, she left unfinished work at HSSV. Before she died, she was in the midst of planning for the cat wing addition that she’d dreamed of for our new building. After shepherding the Shelter through its early days in a converted horse barn and seeing it through the move to our improved facility, Sandy left the cat wing as perhaps one of her only unfinished goals in life. It is up to us to carry out her vision, and we continue to work to make her dream a reality. Fundraising for this memorial expansion continues today, and donations are gratefully accepted. 

Sandy was an animal lover from day one. As a young child, she was constantly bringing home injured or homeless animals and offering them care. Helping animals was Sandy’s passion, and in her early 20s she took a job cleaning kennels at the Humane Society of Skagit Valley. Her eagerness, altruism, perseverance, and determination help Sandy prove herself as an employee. Her love of animals molded her career, and she rose to the position of Humane Society Executive Director.

Words cannot convey how much Sandy meant to everyone. She was truly an inspiration to all. Sandy always gave selflessly to all people who had the honor and pleasure of knowing her and to all the animals. She was a magnificent and incredible person through and through. She is, and will always be, missed by so many.

Protect your pets today

The Humane Society of Skagit Valley would like to wish you a happy, safe Independence Day. More pets are lost on the 4th of July than on any other day of the year in the United States. We encourage you to ID your pet with a collar and tags, keep your pet indoors, watch your pet for signs of anxiety or panic, and keep thinking about your pet's safety throughout the holiday weekend.


The Humane Society Thrift Shop

The Humane Society Thrift Shop in Mount Vernon, Washington is our primary means of fundraising for the animal shelter. we appreciate donations of clean, resalable items in good repair. We especially appreciate donations of clean furniture. We also sell and accept donations of dishes, knick-knacks, books, craft and sewing items, hardware, and of course, clothing in excellent condition. We are also grateful throughout the year for donations of Christmas ornaments, decorations, and artificial trees. We store the items until mid-November, when we open our Christmas Collection for all to enjoy.

Shopping at our thrift shop is a win/win opportunity: you get cool second hand duds, and we get the money that we need to continue our life-saving program. The thrift shop also has select friendly felines available for adoption. You can visit the shop at the address below:

525D East College Way, Mount Vernon  

(4 doors north of Value Village)  WILL BE RELOCATING TO SUITE G JUST 2 Doors North of Strip Mall there middle of January, keep an eye out 
(360) 424-5991

Thrift Shop New hours as of June 2014

Monday and Tuesdays:  9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays:  9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sundays:  11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

A spooktacular sale! Our Halloween Corner

The Humane Society Thrift Shop's HALLOWEEN CORNER opens October 2014. We'll offer an assortment of fun costumes and decorations to outfit your family, home, and even pets, all at bargain prices! 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . 
The CHRISTMAS COLLECTION opens in November 2014, We'll offer a huge selection of ornaments, lights, artificial trees, lighted Christmas village pieces, home and yard decorations, holiday clothing, fine jewelry, and many new items suitable for gifts. This year we will have many great "Crazy Christmas Sweaters" crafted by our very own elves at the Humane Society Thrift Shop. Each one is an original, sure to win a prize at that Christmas Sweater party! Please note the thrift shop closes one Sunday before event, in order to create this extravaganza.

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In Memoriam

Support also comes from

Protect your pet. ShelterCare Pet Insurance Programs

Shop Pet Doors to Support Us

Donate a Kitty Crib

Donate a Kuranda Bed or Tower

Banfield helps us provide pet care in our community