Thursday, June 22, 2017 This Week's Paper

Woofstock 2011 succeeds as matchmaker for people and pets

On Aug. 6, several hundred pet lovers and families who were looking to adopt their next family pet converged on the University of Puget Sound campus for the fifth annual Dugan Foundation Woofstock Animal-Adoption Jubilee. On site were 35 rescue and adoption groups, along with local businesses, providing animal munchies, dog gear, and even hosting a wiener dog race, with all the makings of drag racing.

With the economy in such a difficult state and so many Americans losing their homes, pets are often orphaned from the families that have been loving and taking care of them. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 5-7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3-4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are almost evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by Animal Control.

Woofstock founders Jim and Julie Dugan know those stats well and do everything they can to put animals into good, loving homes and keep them out of shelters.

“Woofstock is all about getting more animals out of shelters and into homes, letting them have happy holidays,” Jim Dugan said. “We need to decrease the animals coming into shelters, which means spaying and neutering programs, high retention in families, and careful adoption.”

Jim Dugan’s passion for animals is infectious, and he shares that every animal is special in its own way – something he sees in Woofstock every year. “Every pairing that occurs here at Woofstock is an amazing story. A little girl or an old man will find a pet. Even if a dog has only three legs, buck teeth and is the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen, they are often the first pets to go,” said Jim Dugan.

The Dugan Foundation was started to establish no-kill communities so that healthy but homeless, adoptable pets would not be put to sleep, and from all indications Jim and Julie Dugan are leading the way in this honorable mission.

Barbara Loper, one of the lucky 90 people to have adopted a new furry family member by mid-afternoon, said, “Recently, my dog passed away. She was a rescue dog. I just feel kind of empty without having a dog around. I noticed on that Woofstock was going on, so I dragged my friend down here. At one of the first booths we walked into, I found this cute brown dog. She has the sweetest little eyes, and her demeanor is absolutely wonderful,” Loper said with a smile as she cuddled her new family member.

Woofstock not only had its share of barking and purring, but also a little bit of squawking from the parrots looking for homes. Echo VanderWall, president and founder of Shelton Mason Parrot Rescue, was easy to notice, as she held a lime-green parakeet named Mango.

“Along with all the dog and cats, we are getting some looks and interest. We started in 2010 in the Shelton/Mason County area, but because the need is so great and the other shelters are experiencing overflow, we now cover the whole state of Washington,” VanderWall said. “Parrots need homes just as badly as dogs and cats, and they live a lot longer.”

To learn more about Woofstock or if you want to do your part in helping man’s best friend, go to