WAG Newsletter | September 2023

September 22, 2023

Unleash your Heart!

Our annual gala has evolved over the years. From a small (but mighty!) event at the Hilton in Downtown Vancouver to a multi-room auction and dinner at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion - then an intimate dinner at an estate in the country to a pandemic-induced virtual gathering. Last year, the reimagined Unleash your Heart Gala and Auction returned in its new home at ilani and the event was bigger and better than ever.

Through its many forms, Gala always been known for one thing: it's the party of the year! Gala is more than a big party, of course; it's a critical fundraiser that helps fuel our mission to rescue, return, restore, rehome, and reconnect one animal at a time. And this year's event is on track to once again exceed expectations. 

Our team has been hard at work for months planning this special evening. And when we kick off Unleash your Heart Gala & Auction on October 7, it will be filled with all the fun you've come to expect from the event (with a few fun surprises along the way). Guests will experience a special night with great food, wine, and around 700 of our closest friends! And when you join us, you'll not only have a great time, you'll feel great knowing that your support of Gala helps pets in need right here in Southwest Washington.

The live and silent auctions are filled with a carefully curated selection of packages. You'll bid on local and international travel, unique experiences, arts and culture, sports packages, and items to pamper yourself and your pet. There's something for everyone at Gala - and just being there is exciting enough. But if you're itching to see what's up for bid in this year's live auction, check out our Live Auction Preview. And don't forget about the Virtual Silent Auction.

So many sponsors, donors, staff and volunteers have come together to make this evening possible. We're especially grateful to our presenting sponsors Columbia River Veterinary Specialists and ilani for their tremendous support of our work.

Tickets are now available. Join us for this special evening and make a difference for the animals in our community. 

Get Tickets

Join Us

October 7, 2023
ilani, Cowlitz Ballroom | 1 Cowlitz Way, Ridgefield

6:00 pm | Social Hour & hors d'oeuvres
7:00 pm | Dinner & Auction - 
Unleashed After Party following program

Cocktail/semi-formal dress is recommended. Make your evening a true getaway with a room at ilana Hotel! Special rates are available for Gala guests.

The Virtual Silent Auction

The fun of Gala isn't limited to the night of the event. It actually starts a week early with our Virtual Silent Auction, open September 29 - October 7. Attendance at Gala isn't necessary to participate in the silent auction, so even if you can't be with us that night, you can still support the event and hopefully snag something special for yourself! More than fifty packages have been thoughtfully designed for Gala and there's something for everyone. This year's packages include items local and international travel, great dining opportunities, and special items, and so much more.

But you don't have to wait to see what's in store for bidding - you can check out the Silent Auction preview right now! You can register and get develop your bidding plan so you're ready when the Silent Auction opens September 29. And our team will be updating the package listings daily, so make sure to register and check back to see what tempting items have been added. 

Register and Preview Now

A special thank you to our longtime friend and Virtual Silent Auction sponsor Go with Ro Real Estate

Bringing Wellness to Community Pets

We all know how much it means to have a pet in our life, and for folks experiencing homelessness, their pet is a lifeline, a source of stability, and a constant companion. And in turn, their pets love and rely on them. While some of our neighbors may sometimes have limited access to the resources other pet owners may have, the love they share with their pets is no different than the love we feel for our own. 

On August 10th, HSSW participated in a Wellness Clinic at Open House Ministries, where six of our dedicated staff members and 15 volunteers provided wellness care to pets of families experiencing homelessness. With other service groups in our community, the clinic was just one component of Open House Ministries annual block party. The event provided resources and basic services for families who need them, and we were honored to be there to support the pets they love. (Read more from our friends at The Columbian.)

In just four hours, our dynamic team served 66 pets from 51 families, where we provided vaccines, deworming, flea and tick treatments, microchips, and general examinations. Our trained staff consults with each pet owner to determine their pets basic needs, and when possible, provides references for affordable and free care resources such as spay/neuter programs, emergency medical care, and other services. Additionally, our Wellness Clinics provide free pet food, cat litter, collars, leashes, and other basic pet supplies to families and pet owners.

Support for all animals in our community is a cornerstone of our strategic plan, and helps ensure that our community remains one of the safest for pets. And by investing in our community pets, we can help keep pets at home with the family they love. And this work carries additional benefits beyond those for the individual pets and their families. By supporting pet owners in our community, we're also helping to reduce unnecessary surrender of pets because their family is unable to access care. This has a downstream benefit for all pets in our community, ensuring that our space and resources in the shelter are prioritized for those animals who have no one to care for them. 

This work - in coordination with our Community Solutions programming - helps us support a healthier and happier pet population throughout our community and brings us closer to our vision of a community where everyone loves and cares for pets. 

Learn more about our commitment to the community and all animals in need - check out our Path Forward 2025 Strategic Plan.

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