Tag Archive | "KHS"

Photo of the Day: BHS Junior Helps KHS

Bainbridge High School Junior Micaela Hogger did the unthinkable: She made $1,407.77 at a two-day garage sale. But this future business leader did more than just weave gold out of thread. She also donated every cent of her earnings to the Kitsap Humane Society for its animal rescue program.

The photo shows Hogger presenting the money to Eric Stevens, Executive Director of KHS.

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Photo courtesy of Molly Brumley.

Posted in Animals, Community, Kids, New 3, Organizations, Photo of the Week, SliderComments (1)


Animal Tales: Tucker, a Smart, Active Clown with Some Challenges

by Melissa Byrd of PAWS of Bainbridge Island and N. Kitsap

Paws and FinsThank you Paws & Fins Pet Shop for sponsoring our weekly Animal Tales feature.

Tucker is a 3.5-year-old Chihuahua/maybe Corgi/and something else mix who originally arrived at Kitsap Humane Society as a stray in April. He was adopted rather quickly. After a little bit of living with his new family, he had a couple of seizures. They took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with possible epilepsy.

His new human family didn’t feel they could deal with him having the disease, so they returned him to the shelter. The vet at KHS checked his bloodwork and prescribed phenobarbital, and Tucker has been seizure free ever since. As far as medications go, phenobarbital is a cheap one.

Tucker has learned to adapt to his issues quite remarkably. He is a smart boy who really likes to be with people. He is also a bit of a clown. He is very playful and active, and most of the time his health issues don’t show. When he’s off leash, he runs and plays like a “normal” dog. But when on leash, he will circle to the left in front of the walker. When he is hyped up and his adrenaline is pumping,  you’d never guess he has any problems. As he calms down, he will sometimes drag his left rear paw and have a little hitch to his step.

TuckerHe loves to run around outside, flicking sticks or toys he finds for himself to catch. He sometimes thinks he’s a gazelle and leaps into the air. He also loves to lie in the sun and warm his belly.

Tucker was fairly mouthy when he arrived at the shelter. Volunteers who’ve been working with him have been following the trainer’s instructions, and he’s putting his mouth on people much less often. But he’s a young dog who needs an owner with the time, patience, energy, and effort needed for his continuing training. He needs a home that can offer him routine and consistency. Tucker would not do well in a busy home with small children, and he hasn’t lived with other dogs and hasn’t found any playmates yet at the shelter.

If you’d like to meet Tucker, you can see him in the Main Kennel 18 at the shelter. Or you can e-mail mrichards@kitsap-humane.org to set up a meet and greet. The shelter is open every day but Tuesday. You can check their hours at www.kitsap-humane.org.


Paws and Fins

Photos courtesy of Melissa Byrd.


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Storage Food Wars

Storage Food Wars Part Deux: A Battle for Good, Benefiting KHS

In the second annual rematch, Bainbridge Storage is going head to head with Poulsbo’s Reliable Storage to see which storage provider can collect the most pet food for the Kitsap Humane Society before February 13. Partnering with Bainbridge Storage this year is Silverdale’s Pacific Storage.

The stakes are high. The losing team will have to suffer the humiliation of cruel storage “unit” jokes as well as buy the insufferably bragging winners a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. To up the stakes, KHS is throwing in a couple of coffee mugs, which the winning storage unit workers will drink from with pride all year long.

Reliable Storage Manager Lindsay Watson warned her opponents, “You are going down this year!” Jim Helfrick, the Area Manager of Reliable Storage, fittingly added, “It’s going to be a dog day for you Bainbridge Storage.”

J. M. Danielson, the Manager of Bainbridge Storage, had a theme-appropriate answer at the ready: “It’s a dog eat dog world, Jim.”

You can drop off donations of pet food for the Bainbridge Storage Team at these locations:

Bainbridge Storage/Pacific Storage Bainbridge Self Storage
9300 Sportsman Club Rd NE
Bainbridge WA 98110 206-855-9500

Pacific Storage
15411 Silverdale Way NW
Poulsbo WA 98370 360-394-9667

North Kitsap Self Storage
541 NE Bernt Rd
Poulsbo WA 98370

Key Bank
617 High School Rd NE
Bainbridge WA 98110

Kitsap Bank, Bainbridge
10140 NE High School Rd
Bainbridge WA 98110

For the Reliable Storage team you can drop donations at these locations:

Reliable Storage, Bainbridge
9551 New Brooklyn Rd NE
Bainbridge WA 98110

Reliable Storage, Poulsbo
1080 NE Forest Rock Lane
Poulsbo WA 98370

The featured photo shows Reliable storage Manager Lindsay Watson and Bainbridge Storage Assistant Manager Isabelle Cobb.




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kitten hanging on curtain

Humane Society Gets Funding Boost for Spay/ Neuter Programs; Learn How You Can Benefit

The Kitsap Humane Society (KHS) has received three grants in support of its spay/neuter programs. The Handsel Foundation, a private family foundation, awarded $10,000; The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island awarded $6,987.75; and the Bainbridge Community Foundation awarded $5,000.

“Kitsap Humane Society veterinarians completed a record 3,700 spay/neuter surgeries in 2012 and are working to increase that number by 10% in 2013,” said KHS Executive Director Eric Stevens, a Bainbridge resident. “So far they have performed almost 1,900 surgeries. These grants will enable us to make continued progress in the prevention of unwanted litters that invariably end up at the shelter in great numbers, especially kittens.“

The Bainbridge Rotary grant specifically provides for 15 large and small spay-neuter packs that include specialized forceps, needle holders, surgical towels, and other equipment that must be individually sterilized and wrapped for each surgery. Dr. Jennifer Stonequist, director of shelter medicine at KHS, said, “We are able to complete each spay/neuter surgery within a few minutes depending on the type of animal and size, but when all the spay/neuter packs are used up, we have to wait while the used ones are being re-sterilized and wrapped, which is the time-intensive part of the process. Having more of these packs will allow us to complete significantly more surgeries.”

Dr Melissa Kehl performs spay surgery on a cat

Dr. Kehl performs spay surgery on a cat

The spay/neuter program is a priority of KHS, because it reduces pet overpopulation and lowers costs of caring for homeless animals that come through the KHS system. “When you consider that an unaltered female cat and her offspring have the potential to produce 17 cats in two years, 55 in three years, 175 in four years until the number reaches over 5,000 at seven years, it becomes clear why there is a crisis in the overpopulation of companion animals in the United States,” said Stonequist. “We are committed to reducing the population and relieving the strain on shelters like KHS.”

Kitsap Humane Society spay/neuter programs include partnerships with other rescue organizations such as PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap and PAWS of Bremerton.

KHS Spay/Neuter Programs

  • Low-Income-Household Services. KHS offers ongoing, low-cost spay-neuter services, including Cat Fix Days every second and last Tuesday of the month, to pets of low-income residents of Kitsap and Mason counties. “Low-income” is defined as an annual income of $51,750 or less in a 3-member household and $57,500 or less in a 4-member household.
  • Free Spay/Neuter Services for Litters. KHS will fix litters (at least 2 months old) and find them forever homes. KHS will also spay/neuter and return the parent(s) free of charge.
  • Free Pit Bull Spay/Neuter Services. KHS offers a no-cost spaying/neutering for low-income owners of pit bulls or pit bull mixes. KHS offers this service because pit bulls are currently the most common breed or mixed breed surrendered in the nation’s shelters. More and more pit bulls are bred each year, adding to an already staggering pet overpopulation crisis.
  • Free Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Services. Community Cats Program funded by PetSmart Charities® is underway this year at KHS. The program’s goal is to trap, spay/neuter, and release 600 feral cats in Bremerton. Four months into the program, KHS has altered 167 feral cats. For more information, visit kitsap-humane.org/community-cats.

For more information on all of Kitsap Humane Society’s spay/neuter programs, visit kitsap-humane.org/low-cost-spay-neuter-program-0 or call 360-692-6977.

Spay/Neuter Frequently Asked Questions (courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society)

What is spaying and neutering? The words “spay” and “neuter” refer to the surgical sterilization of female and male pets by removing reproductive organs.

Why so young? Because pets can get pregnant much sooner than most people think—kittens and puppies as early as two months, and over half of the more than 70,000 puppies and kittens born every day are the result of accidental litters mostly due to the confusion over when to spay and neuter.

Isn’t two months too young? Pets can be fixed safely as young as eight weeks. And younger pets tend to bounce back quicker from the procedure. Because pet health may vary, please check with your veterinarian to find the best time to spay or neuter your pet.

Is fixing my pet dangerous? While both spaying and neutering are major medical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries practiced by veterinarians. Your pet should have a thorough examination before undergoing the procedure to make sure they are healthy enough for surgery.

Will my pet be in a lot of pain? Your pet will be under anesthesia for the procedure, and usually mild pain-control medications easily manage any discomfort resulting from the procedure. Recovery from the surgery is surprisingly quick. In fact, most dogs and cats are back to normal within 24 to 48 hours.

Is spaying or neutering a pet expensive? Costs vary by community, but you can usually find a veterinarian who will fix your dog for less than $150 and your cat for less than $50. That’s much less than the costs of properly caring for a pregnant pet and the resulting litter of puppies or kittens, or the cost paid by taxpayers to support shelters that must care for and kill homeless animals if an adoption family cannot be found.

Will my pet get fat? Just like people, pets become overweight from improper nutrition or lack of exercise. Good diet and exercise can help keep your pet healthy.

Will my pet’s personality change? Spaying or neutering is unlikely to change temperament, basic personality, or levels of playfulness and general activity. However, it can have a positive effect as some behavioral issues, especially sexual behaviors such as mounting, howling and the urge to roam, which are reduced following surgery. And despite what some believe, pets show no signs of “missing” mating or breeding.

If only female pets can get pregnant, why should I fix my male? “It takes two to tango,” as they say, so males are every bit as much a part of the problem as females. Plus, male pets are more likely to run away in search of a mate, which puts them at a much higher risk of disease and injury.

Will my male pet feel emasculated? This is a human feeling, not one that your dog or cat experiences. They may, however, be less likely to exhibit sexual-related behaviors such as marking, howling, and roaming.

Do I need to wait for my pet to go into her first heat? There is no medical research that proves it’s healthier to wait until your dog or cat has gone into heat. In fact, spaying before their first heat greatly reduces the risk of mammary cancers and reproductive-related diseases. And, if done properly, spaying and neutering at any age can eliminate or reduce the development of reproductive organ tumors. 

How old is too old to spay or neuter my pet? Dogs and cats can be fixed at any time during their life span. Your veterinarian can address any concerns there might be about performing the procedure on an older pet.

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Photos courtesy of Clevergrrl and KHS.

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KHS PetsWalk 2013

Sign Up Now for Humane Society’s 20th Annual PetsWalk

Our area Humane Society holds its annual PetsWalk at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 13, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants of all ages are encouraged to sign up early to collect pledges from family, friends, and co-workers for this important Kitsap Humane Society (KHS) fundraiser. Prizes will be awarded to the most successful fundraisers in the Adult, Youth, Child, Team, Small Business, and Corporation categories.

This fun family event includes a 1K or 5K walk for the animals, as well as kids’ activities, food, contests, demonstrations, music, animal exhibits and demonstrations, vendors, and adoptable animals.

Petswalk At 8 a.m., participants can grab breakfast to fuel up for the Walk, which starts at 9:30 am. Animal companions are invited along for this furr-friendly event. (Don’t forget their leashes.) Prizes will be given starting at 11:30 a.m.

The KHS PetsWalk is a beloved summer event that raises crucial funds to support the important work of KHS, which is essentially a no-kill facility that provides critical services to our region, including spay-neutering, unrestricted animal intake, animal rescue and rehabilitation, and adoption. KHS raised over $25,000 at the 2012 PetsWalk. The organization plans to use funds from this year’s event to support its spay/neuter programs, medical and behavioral rehabilitation, and ongoing dog kennel improvements.

To learn more and/or donate, visit the KHS website.


Images courtesy of KHS.

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A Talk with Kitsap Humane Society Interim Director Eric Stevens

After the loss of its widely respected Executive Director, Sean Compton, in January, an aftermath of controversy and resignations by other major leaders within the organization dogged KHS throughout the spring. Some of its volunteers and donors pulled out as well, and with public pressure its board turned over much of its membership to newcomers.

Results released in late July of an investigation into alleged misconduct by board members found no misdealings but did point to weaknesses with internal governance and controls.

Neglect case rescue Charlie needs a home.

Neglect case Charlie needs a home.

Since then, the organization, run by Interim Executive Director Eric Stevens, who lives on Bainbridge Island, has sought to stabilize KHS, expand the board, and gradually bring in new management to fill key vacancies.

Last week KHS released a sustainability plan in response to the recommendations outlined in the external audit as it continues to work toward regaining public trust, donor support, and internal well-being for its staff, board, and, most importantly, the animals it is dedicated to care for.

I talked with Stevens about the changes and goals at KHS.

About the audit report, he said, “Overall it seemed like a fair assessment. We’re certainly glad that they found no misconduct, but we take seriously the recommendations. We plan to implement all of these recommendations and had already begun to make some of them before the audit results came out. I think they are all logical, commonsense, best-practice concepts in nonprofit administration and governance. Some of the things were obvious to me when I walked in, most obviously the need for better communication between board and staff, which we’ve been working on quite a bit. The staff seems very happy about that. Eight new members have joined the board since April and two others  joined in 2011. We now have 13 members total. Last month the board threw a party for staff, providing and preparing the food. We’re having informal discussions between board members and staff, with staff explaining day-to-day operations, like what exactly happens when an animal is brought into receiving.”

Becks the parakeet needs a home.

Becks the parakeet needs a home.

Stevens pointed out that KHS had almost 1,000 more animal intakes in the first half of 2012 than they had in the same period in 2011. And they’ve re-homed almost all of those “extra” animals. When I asked him why he thinks there have been so many more animals this year, he pointed to several factors.

“First, we’ve been doing a huge publicity reachout, including an adoption challenge between July and October. Second, word is out more than ever about our low euthanasia rate, so people are not fearful that if they surrender an animal it will be put to sleep. A third factor may be the economy. We don’t know for a fact, but one might surmise that some people are feeling forced to surrender or abandon.”

Stevens continued, “Another factor is our kitten spay/neuter program, which has been very successful, with people bringing in a tremendous number of litters. It’s a double-edged sword for us. We want every animal to have a wonderful home. Not everyone is legitimately able to care for their pets. That’s sad, but it’s the reality that all shelters have to deal with. It is a byproduct of being a safe no-kill operation.”

German Shepherd Lucy needs a home.

German Shepherd Lucy needs a home.

I asked Stevens how KHS is handling its huge increase in animal intakes. “We’re involving key staff in taking steps to be more efficient in promoting adoptions,” he said. “We changed our intake procedure so that surrendered animals are spayed/neutered within 24 hours instead of three days so they can be adopted more rapidly, reducing the average stay of animals. We’ve set up a new holding area for kittens that come in. They had been in the hallway, exposing them to disease. This has improved their health, reduced the need for veterinary care, and led to more rapid adoptions. We’re working to increase the number of foster homes to help manage the numbers in the shelter. We’re also creating new promotions, such as waiving adoption fees for animals 7 years and older. This has been successful; animals that had been here a long time have been adopted out.”

Over the past few years, KHS has taken significant steps to become a more progressive shelter, with a specific focus on reducing its euthanasia rate. In 2008 that figure was 18 percent. Today KHS maintains a 6 percent euthanasia rate, one of the lowest in the country among open-admission shelters, a trend the organization aims to maintain.

Stevens discussed the need for more donations and volunteers: “During the turmoil earlier this year we saw donations go down. After an appeal in June, we raised more money than last year’s appeal did. Improving our communications with stakeholders is bringing donors back, but we continue to need more hands-on and financial support.”

Mandoza needs a home.

Mandoza needs a home.

“As we began putting in place tighter controls, improved oversight, and new procedures, one of the things we determined was that long-range budgeting tools and a fully sustainable business model were lacking,” said Stevens.

“Previous leadership did a great job launching innovative programs that helped lower the euthanasia rate to exceptional levels, but part of that progress was funded through one-time gifts and bequests,” Stevens said. “Our task now is to ensure the sustainability of the KHS mission and our life-saving services. We need to take decisive steps and secure all of the ongoing funding needed to ensure that KHS remains one of the more progressive animal shelters in the country.”

These steps include reducing budgeted expenses by about 4 percent while seeking to increase fundraising by $200,000 per year. The total KHS budget is around $2.3 million, less than a third of which is generated through government contracts, an amount that has declined in recent years.

“We’re relying on our supporters to help us continue these life-saving efforts,” Stevens said. “We know our community is passionate about the work we do, so we hope they will support our plans to sustain the great progress that’s been made.”

KHS logoAs part of the organization’s expanded fundraising efforts, KHS recently hired Larry Bleich of Gig Harbor as director of development and marketing, a position vacant since March. “Bleich has an extensive development background, which includes leading fundraising expansion at the Arizona Humane Society, where he was admired by board, donors, and staff,” Stevens explained. “He has a track record of growing fundraising, which is exactly what we need to do.”

Additionally, the KHS board of directors has opted to retain Stevens as interim executive director for at least another year. Board President Rosemary Shaw said the decision was unanimous and added that Stevens volunteered to take a pay cut.

“Right now, we need stability. This is not the time to start recruiting a permanent executive director,” she said. “Stevens brings strong business acumen, nonprofit leadership, and fundraising experience, as well as a passion for our mission. We’re confident his leadership will help strengthen our finances and operations while we work toward applying the recommendations included in the audit.”

Stevens told me, “I love this place. I love the deep caring and passion for the animals displayed by the staff and volunteers.”

KHS’s annual auction/dinner fundraiser, Animal Krackers, is Saturday, September 29. Learn more.

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Images courtesy of Kitsap Humane Society.

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Kitsap Humane Society Executive Director’s Departing Shockwave

In late January, 2012, Sean Compton abruptly departed from his position as Executive Director (ED) of the Kitsap Humane Society (KHS), sending a shockwave across the county’s animal rescue community and leaving many unanswered questions about the reasons for his departure and how it will affect KHS and its base of donor support in the months to come.

Compton, who served as ED of KHS for nearly three years starting in May of 2009, helped implement numerous KHS reforms.

Under his stewardship, KHS increased its rehabilitation and adoption rates, cutting its euthanasia from approximately 25-30 percent down to 5-6 percent. KHS Director of Animal Welfare Stacey Price explained to me that the remaining 5-6 percent of animals who are ultimately euthanized are ones who are unadoptable because of illness or behaviors beyond rehabilitation.

During Compton’s tenure, KHS also expanded the size of its cat cages, which had previously been too small for the cats to stretch into an arch position and lacked privacy, and the organization improved the ventilation system in the cat room to help prevent the spread of airborne disease.

Under Compton’s direction, KHS also improved its vet clinic and moved its staff into offices in a donated modular building to make more room in its main building for its animals. Price added that Compton had other improvements planned at KHS, such as creating a cat free-roaming room with climbing trees and perches, but she wasn’t sure what would happen to those plans with him gone.

Since Compton’s departure it is no exaggeration to say that a storm of speculation and accusation has besieged KHS. A petition written by an unidentified “former board member, dog walker, and donor of Kitsap Humane Society” has circulated and garnered close to 280 signatures so far. The petition calls for the removal of the 9-member KHS Board and declares them to be guilty of “a long line of abuses,” including misusing construction funds, catering to their own businesses or friendship interests, and not touching or adopting KHS animals.

I spoke with Melissa Byrd, who worked at KHS for ten years until 2007 in nearly all areas of operations there, including adoption outreach, animal control, and front desk duty. Byrd told me she thinks the petition doesn’t reflect what she knows to be true of the KHS Board. “I have worked with some of these people side by side rescuing animals, cleaning cages, transporting, fostering. Some are more hands-on than others, but they are unpaid volunteers who are there because they love animals.” Bryd added, “Employees come and go, Board members come and go, Executive Directors come and go, but the one constant is the animals and their need for care.”

humane society rescue catA current KHS Board member I contacted for comment on this story explained to me that the Board is legally and ethically bound not to comment on the reasons for Compton’s departure. Although this Board member wanted to be able to speak more candidly, the Board member asked to be quoted as follows: “According to KHS policy, we do not discuss personnel. There will be an official statement released next week regarding the direction of KHS in the future.”

A KHS staff member, who also declined to be named, told me that the Board instructed all staff members not to speak to the public or press about Compton’s break with KHS. She also said that for two days following Compton’s departure only internal KHS email was functioning, leaving staff members unable to send or receive external email. Although the staff was told the situation was a technical problem, this staff member said that she believes the Board was responsible for the email shutdown. She described the Board’s attitude as follows: “Either you’re with us, or you’re out.”

PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap Executive Director Mark Hufford had this to say about Compton’s departure: “Under Sean Compton’s tenure at KHS, PAWS was able to expand our cooperative, working relationship with KHS, which absolutely benefited the animals and animal-loving families who we all serve. That working relationship was nurtured and improved not just by Sean, but by both current and former KHS staff, by donors to both organizations, and by both KHS and PAWS board members. Naturally, we are eager to continue building on this cooperative relationship going forward.”

Humane Society rescue dog.

One past KHS Board member I spoke with, who declined to be named, explained that she left because of her frustration with the Executive Director who served before Compton, Don McBurney. She told me that McBurney, who had worked previously as a military officer and did not have experience working in animal welfare before joining KHS, alienated numerous Board members, staff, and donors, some of whom withdrew their support during his brief term as ED. Although she left before Compton’s time at KHS, this past Board member called Compton “a breath of fresh air” and expressed bafflement and dismay over his departure. Teri Cole, who also served briefly on the KHS Board during McBurney’s tenure as ED and left because of her dissatisfaction with McBurney, also told me she had a very positive impression of the work Compton was doing at KHS.

It bears noting that the KHS Board hired Sean Compton in McBurney’s place after an extensive national search for a new Executive Director.

Another former long-term staff member of KHS, who asked not to be named for fear of legal reprisal, explained that the role of the Executive Director at KHS is the most powerful position in the organization—the “go between” between the Board and staff. She pointed out that the ED speaks with the Board privately, without transparency with the staff, and the ED also oversees and directs the staff, without transparency with the Board. In the case of Sean Compton, she said it was her impression that he “manipulated his role, playing the Board and staff against one each other.”

Whatever abuses may have occurred at KHS, the perception of abuse exists, which does not serve the goals of the organization as expressed in their mission statement:

KHS Mission statement

Apparently several days after leaving KHS, Compton wrote a letter to the KHS staff, which surfaced online and has been circulating via email. Here is his letter:

For many of us, the beginning of a path in animal welfare starts with similar elements. Often pain is involved, such as witnessing an act of cruelty or losing a loved one. At the same time the path also begins with gratitude, a sense of wanting to give back and protect an animal after experiencing the joy they gave us.

It is easy to be grateful for the good things in our lives, but can we be grateful for the bad things too? That’s when you know you’re really moving along.  I’m so incredibly thankful for the painful memories that pushed me into serving both animals and the people that work for them. (surely there are those I have hurt along the away as well that will celebrate my departure as well)

So, there are no absolutes. One person’s villain is the hero of another. I feel bad if coyotes pull down a deer in the woods, but I am happy their families will eat. It is our attachments that hurt us, I can tell you firsthand because I know how attached to you I am.

Why are you upset? If you know me you know I never want you upset. My job has only ever been to bring out that which is already inside of you. I did not give you this goodness and it cannot be taken away, so my departure really does not mean that much. This goodness inside of you is the only thing in life that is permanent. Even if you disappear, it remains. Everything else in life is temporary. My departure had to come eventually but you are unchanged, so we should look positively to the future rather than regret the past.

I leave with joy, remembering how we have walked together. You each know your own story. We have walked together through your marriage problems, births of children, financial difficulties, animals we lost, quitting smoking, cancer, deployment, court room drama, sick relatives, running out of firewood, car accidents, holiday bonus needs, sons serving in the armed forces, dance recitals, losing a mother, marriage, tattoos, citronella, dog walking, towing outreach trailers, Jorge’s summer grilling, Chihuahuas, turtles, the all staff training day we all snuck out to the park in Bremerton for sun, and sharing lunch.

Truth is, this is why I stayed at KHS at all towards the end. It was hard for me to become your director when I had worked so closely with animals before. It’s hard to trade in scrubs for boring khakis and a sweater. But, by the time I arrived I witnessed too many horrors:  a cat put in a microwave, a dog that was raped by a mentally ill person, my medical team that had to euthanize 94 cats in an afternoon because of panleuk, veterinarians not treating animals. It gets old fast and I’ve had over a decade of trauma. This time, it was the people that made the job special.

KHS was in a tough place when I arrived. I remember my first day. After everybody left I stayed and sat in the kennel. I was shocked at what was happening and got upset. That kind of reaction was really self indulgent though. The real reaction was when I got up, said I would never cry again, and that I wouldn’t stop until we helped these animals. Now look what you’ve accomplished! Now that we’re here it’s time for somebody else to lead that doesn’t sleep with the nightmares of yesterday. Now KHS has you. I love so much when new folks arrive, because their eyes only see what can improve from now, not how well we did before or how we fixed the past.

Even more, I have loved the veteran volunteers and staff.  You carry the heart of KHS, more so than I ever could. As has always been the case, it is your job to guide and mentor those that are new.

Now, more than ever before, harmony is what is important. Without harmony in a group so diverse, we never would have gotten through the Olalla seizure the way we did. Without harmony we could not have achieved what we did in the ASPCA challenge. If you lose this harmony in your upset at my departure it will be too high a price to pay.

Every director will tell the world how much they love their organization. With my whole being though, I say this was the best group of people I ever worked with and likely ever will. One day if we are lucky enough to become old and gray, we will look back on our time together as one of the greatest things we ever did. We used our lives to save others, sacrificing bigger and better things we could have had. Each of you does this in many ways daily.

At age 36 having done this with you, married the most incredible person in the world, live now in the beauty of Puget Sound, and leave now with memories of each of you to meditate upon, I’m not sure what’s really left for me. Perhaps it is time to go on a special vacation, and remember what life used to be like before 70 hour work weeks. Aimee thinks it’s a good time for me to think about meditating on a new resume soon.  ;)

So, the weather is changing and spring will be here soon. Some of you have asked what you can do to not let me go or get me back. So, don’t let me go and instead keep in your heart what we have done and learned together as you create the future. If I may ask anything of you as I leave, please consider these 8 requests:

  1. Know and do not forget that since 2009 roughly 1800 additional animals that would have
    been euthanized instead found a loving home, in addition to all the others we normally
  2. Always try to show kindness and include those that have special needs. We have them as
    staff and volunteers. They more than anybody are closest to my heart, and I ask you to
    protect and nourish them. They will enrich you always.
  3. Show visitors the line in our new clinic that marks where the huge dead animal freezer used
    to be, and tell them why we no longer need it.
  4. Find Wildcard somebody that will love and protect him.
  5. Put all your differences aside and push together towards a more humane world. Life is short
    and we only have little time together.
  6. Have gratitude for all the things that happen in your life, not just the things we want to
  7. Get a tattoo, soon.
  8. Cheer for the Steelers.

I love you my friends. Care for one another and put our animals first always. Thanks for the time of my life.


Compton did not respond to my attempts to contact him for comment on this story.


Images courtesy of KHS and Mark Peters.

Posted in Animals, Community, NewsComments (0)

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