SEQUIM — Charlie the black lab mix was surrounded by his friends as he recuperates from his knee surgery at Welfare for Animals Guild’s Halfway Home Ranch in Sequim.
“Charlie and his brother Henry were surrendered by a lady who had a change in lifestyle,” explained Deb Bemm, vice president of the Welfare for Animals Guild (WAG) board, last month.
“They are big dogs, and the lady was getting older. She knew we would take care of them and find them a home.”
Bemm said Charlie has to have 12 weeks of care, pain control and rehabilitation — WAG works closely with veterinarians who offer their expertise — and “there are volunteers coming in to be with (Charlie) off and on all day,” she said.
Surgery was planned on his other knee after he recovered.
“He’s a real sweetie pie, too,” Bemm said.
Charlie is one of the dogs that WAG, a volunteer-run rescue and rehabilitation nonprofit funded by grants and donations, supports medically. Board member Joy Brown said the average medical costs WAG tallies each year can run between $40,000 and $70,000, and that the organization has already spent $60,000 on medical bills this year.
WAG is gearing up for its annual Dogtoberfest fundraiser, which is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23, with an emphasis on “rescue and rehab,” Bemm said.
The event will be virtual for a second year in a row due to COVID-19 safety restrictions.
Like last year’s event, WAG will host a silent auction, a “Raise the Paw” fundraising effort and, as in 2020, it will get a boost from Tedescos Italian Fresh.
Tedescos will prepare and chill meals for supporters to pick up on site for a $60 donation. The deadline for ordering is Oct. 13, and pickup at Tedescos, 210 W. Washington St., will be between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Oct. 23.
Dinner choices include chicken piccata with potatoes and vegetables, or vegetarian penne asiatico. Each meal will include misto salad, roll and butter, and a chocolate decadence square.
Asiatico is “a classic creamy Alfredo sauce combined with a Thai sauce of red curry, coconut milk and lemongrass,” noted Tedescos’ co-owner Tina Thomson. “It blends into a delicious sauce with just a touch of heat. It is very popular.”
One advantage to the virtual fundraiser is that as many people who want meals can order them as opposed to the in-person event, which was limited by the space, organizers said.
Baskets for the silent auction will be on display at Tedescos for bidding during pickup.
From now through the virtual Dogtoberfest event, people can “Raise the Paw” online at the same link they can order a meal — accessed through the front page of the WAG website, www.wagsequimwa.com.
This year’s reservation donation of $60 per person will go toward providing medical care, training and general care for the “residents” at the Halfway Home Ranch as well as their foster homes, WAG representatives said.
About 60 people are currently devoting their time to keeping WAG operational. Most are volunteers, with three part-time staff and one full-time worker living on site.
WAG workers strive to provide a home-like environment for dogs who have major challenges in their lives.
The number of dogs cared for every year can average between 120 and 130, board member Melanie Marshall said.
Among other activities, volunteers keep company with the dogs, rehabilitate the sick, injured or emotionally wounded, build play and living spaces and keep the grounds beautiful.
A highlight for staff at Tedescos Italian Fresh — which will celebrate its four-year anniversary in November — is the annual WAG fundraiser.
“We first got involved when we adopted a dog in 2017, (and) we recently began fostering another,” Thompson said.
“We admire and respect their staff and their army of volunteers.
“WAG is such an asset to the community,” Thompson continued. “I don’t know how they do what they do. It’s heartbreaking at times, but they quietly put their heads down and plow through, always keeping the best interest of the animals above all.
“COVID has severely impacted their in person fundraising events, so here we are pivoting to a ‘virtual banquet’ model. Hopefully, the community will follow the pivot to support their efforts. I have a feeling, knowing the Sequim community, they will.”
For more about Welfare for Animals Guild, see wagsequimwa.com.
Emily Matthiessen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at email@example.com.