Chris’ WeSNiP Story
Christine Haulgren | Information & Registration Coordinator
When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, my family got a dog and I decided I wanted to be a dog vet when I grew up. I started reading and taking notes from our family encyclopedias. But that got very depressing pretty quickly because, after all the cool photos and descriptions of the different dog breeds, it was all about dog diseases. Hm, not at all what I was looking for. I soon moved on to other interests.
Many years later and married I discovered I was actually a cat person, and when our first cat-child, Lloyd J. Moon, became desperately ill with a heart ailment I made a deal with God that if my cat didn’t die I would apply for a job at the Cat Clinic (it made sense at the time). He didn’t and I did.
In 1985 while working at the Cat Clinic, I became a founding member of an organization that formed to help a large number of homeless restaurant cats in the Fairhaven historic district (the Fairhaven Kitty Committee) after a friend of mine had been struggling to feed them all single-handedly. I discovered up close this alternate and completely unfamiliar “shadow world’” of feral cats. I started trapping the cats like crazy, rehoming kittens and relocating the adults — some to a sanctuary I established on private county property (filled to capacity in just months), some to friendly barns (they all ran away). It started dawning on me in a big way that we could not address the cat homeless issues without access to vastly-expanded and affordable spay/neuter services. So I asked the universe to show me how this could be accomplished. When Pasado’s Safe Haven’s Spay Station started making trips all the way up to Ferndale, Washington, I became a passionate (OK obsessed) volunteer, doing anything I could think of to help. When after 2 years they discontinued visits to this area I was heartbroken.
Then in the spring of 2008, Patricia Maass, whom I knew slightly from volunteering with the Alternative Humane Society, called me and said that Pasado’s wanted to know if we wanted to use one of their Spay Stations, and oh, by the way, they would pay us to run it……….
It has been the professional experience of a lifetime to have participated in WeSNiP’s birth and now continuing evolution on the path to eliminating euthanasia (and it’s twin, abandonment) of healthy cats and dogs in Whatcom County. It is pure joy tempered with amazement to watch the significant improvements year after year in the Whatcom Humane Society’s statistics. Who knew previous roadblocks could be addressed —lack of income, transportation, education — in such a short period of time! I was prepared to work for a very long time without expecting much return in my lifetime in this arena. To get so far so fast, and to feel the daily waves of gratitude from the pet owners we’ve helped has been beyond rewarding and humbling. So, be careful what you wish for — it just might find you.