Friday, July 21, 2017 This Week's Paper

Happy holidays for thousands of local companion animals

Homeless animals living in shelters run by the City of Tacoma Animal Care and Control, the Humane Society for Tacoma/Pierce County and Pierce County Animal Care and Control have more of what they need thanks to donation drives during the recent holiday season including Happy Howlidays, organized and run by the Dugan Foundation.

In its inaugural year, Happy Howlidays collected more than 11,000 pounds of cat and dog food, over 2,000 towels and various other assorted items from blow dryers to pet beds.

"We were hoping it would be a successful program," said Jim Dugan, president and founder of the foundation. "The community exceeded our goal 100-fold.

"It was tremendously successful," he added. "We had an outstanding community response."

Those who stepped up to help, Dugan noted, were not only individuals but businesses and organizations as well.

"This drive showed people's love and their concern for homeless animals," Dugan said. "The program was a huge success, and the foundation is thrilled to be a good steward of our community's desire to help."

Following a four-week collecting period with drop-off locations throughout the Tacoma area, the Dugan Foundation recently distributed all the donated items.

Dugan said the three local entities that received the items were impressed with the mountain of donations. He noted Pierce County Animal Care and Control didn't have room to accept all the donations, and the Humane Society's donation area was full but employees made room for the foundation's donation.  

"We were extremely excited with the Dugan Foundation's donation," said Tom Sayre, spokesperson for the Humane Society. "They worked hard to get the word out about our needs.

"We'll be able to put it all to good use," he noted, adding the Humane Society also received donations through the nationwide drive Home 4 the Holidays. "It was really remarkable how many local organizations came together to help our homeless animals.

"We really appreciated the outpouring of generosity from the Pierce County community," Sayre added.

Animal control and compliance officer MariAnn Pratt with the Tacoma Police Department said Tacoma Animal Care and Control is "bursting at the seams" after the Dugan Foundation's donation of towels, dog/cat food, litter, pine bedding and pet toys. She noted the supply room is full, as well as two cubicles. "It is nice to see the response from the community," she said. "This should make our jobs a bit easier, (and) the pets a bit more comfortable."

After distributing donations, the Dugan Foundation still has over 400 bags of dog food, which will be donated to other local organizations, such as Seniors With Pets, in the near future.  

Dugan noted the foundation's intent is to host a Happy Howlidays drive every year. "We plan to do this as long as the community wants to support it and the need exists," he said.  

He explained the donation drive helps "to improve the quality of life of homeless companion animals while in shelters."