SEQUIM — With a snip of the ceremonial ribbon, three years of planning, fundraising and volunteer hours came to a close recently, much to the relief and joy of volunteers and advocates of Sequim’s Welfare for Animals Guild.
There’s still plenty of work to do for volunteers even as they celebrated the opening of WAG’s new Half Way Home Ranch on Oct. 28.
Supporters of the local dog rescue were busy that day at WAG’s open house on McComb Road, the site of the former McComb Nursery.
Mel Marshall, a WAG board director who lives at the McComb property, said the organization’s volunteers hosted work parties twice a week as individuals and groups such as Sequim Sunrise Rotary and Eagle Scouts helped with fencing, planning and maintaining the gardens.
Permits were recently approved, Marshall said, setting the stage for the open house.
“It feels like we’ve never stopped working,” she said.
The facility, located on a 2.5-acre piece of property, is not open to the public but rather for dogs transitioning into permanent homes.
It features areas for the big dogs to play, an exercise corral, a bunkhouse, garden areas and more.
Since 2001, WAG has been Sequim’s only all-dog, no-kill rescue group, placing more than 1,200 dogs into new homes.
The dogs come from a variety of situations, from individual owners unable to take care of dogs to strays to over-populated shelters.
Traditionally the rescue group put dogs in foster homes throughout the county.
WAG also works with the other rescue groups and shelters when they need help placing their dogs.
The Half Way Home Ranch, one that will be available for all animals in the case of an emergency or natural disaster, can house up to 24 dogs — 12 small and 12 large.
At the open house, visitors got a chance to meet the 10 dogs currently housed there.
WAG volunteers gave tours, answered questions and showed dogs available for adoption.
WAG is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; all donations are tax deductible.
It’s an all-volunteer organization, with 100 percent of donations going directly to the care and rehabilitation of the dogs prior to their adoption.
Marshall said WAG has about 30-35 active volunteers.
“We always want more,” she said.
“It’s a very pleasant place to come,” Marshall said. “[Volunteers] can come and sit with the dogs in the garden — that’s what some of the older volunteers do.”
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected] gazette.com.