LETTER TO THE EDITOR | WAIF needs support
February 19, 2009 · 3:37 PM
To the editor:
Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation was formed 19 years ago by a group of individuals united by common purpose to improve the welfare of homeless cats and dogs on Whidbey Island. It continues to this day relying on management, staff and numerous volunteers to serve the animals that come into its care.
Shelter operations as well as other WAIF programs are heavily subsidized by private donations. WAIF could not do its work without the generous support of the communities it serves.
Just in the past 10 years, nearly 10,000 dogs and cats have passed through the facilities that WAIF manages. Many of these contacts are for just a day or two, as owners come in and redeem their missing pets. Those unclaimed or surrendered become available for adoption.
WAIF tries to see that its adoptions result in good matches for the animals as well as their prospective adopters. The vast majority of these contacts result in wonderful outcomes both for the adopters and their new pets.
WAIF operates “minimal-kill” facilities. This means animals are not automatically euthanized after they have been at the shelter for some fixed period of time. Under the terms of its contracts, WAIF must accept all stray animals which are brought in. WAIF, in addition to its commitment to the animals in its shelters, has a responsibility to the community at large.
It makes ongoing assessments, to the best of its ability and based on information at hand, of whether or not a particular animal poses an unreasonable risk to humans and/or other animals in the community. At times it exercises its responsibility and refuses to authorize an adoption based on those concerns. These decisions come after careful consideration and are not made in an arbitrary, indifferent or otherwise uncaring manner.
WAIF is a “we,” a group of ordinary people who make the time and/or financial commitment towards affecting some little difference in the lives of the many dogs and cats who find themselves homeless on our island. We have been volunteer dog walkers at the WAIF shelter in Coupeville for 11 years. Many WAIF volunteers have been here far longer. We are proud to be a part of this group.
If you are concerned about the homeless animals on Whidbey Island and have some time to spare, we ask you to consider volunteering at one of the shelters, cat adoption centers or thrift stores. There are times when volunteering at a shelter can be difficult. These are the times when we have to grit our teeth, choke back our tears, focus on the myriad animals that have been helped and continue to need our help, and get on with our work. The animals depend on all of us.
Gordon and Linda Griesbach