It takes a village to raise a shelter animal
By COLLEEN ARMSTRONG
Islands Sounder Publisher, Editor
June 11, 2012 · Updated 3:11 PM
Willy and Smokey Joe were the ultimate greeters.
They purred, they pawed, they showed their bellies.
For the past three months, Islanders Bank sponsored a “cat of the day” from the Orcas Animal Shelter. Willy and Smokey Joe – who has since been adopted – were the staff favorites.
“What a great way for a nonprofit and a local business to help each other. It’s great because of the exposure that is gives – to both entities,” said shelter director Marsha Waunch. “Any businesses that has an animal, people respond to them well.”
The Orcas Branch of Islanders Bank recently decided to get back into volunteer work, first working with the food bank.
“It was a huge success and has resulted in employees continuing to provide volunteer work at their establishment,” said Dyan Holmes, assistant vice president of the bank. “When our partnership with the food bank ended, we pulled together some more names of non-profits and took a vote. We are an animal friendly bank and all the employees adore them.”
Staff members created a drop off bin where pet supplies could be donated. They also selected an animal to showcase at their teller stations and desks. Some of the shelter’s student volunteers created a display board of animals looking for homes and decorated coin bins for donations. The shelter also dropped off visiting felines, who roamed the lobby and welcomed patrons.
“The community response was amazing and made it apparent that it really was a great organization to take the time to work with,” Holmes said. “We were able to help one dog and seven cats find a home. Some of these cats were animals that had been with the shelter for many years … We even had some new relationships develop because they had heard of our work with the animal shelter.”
It was also a learning experience for staff members, many of whom were not familiar with the facility. Waunch gave them a tour of the shelter and time to meet with the animals.
“If you haven’t had a chance to meet Willy you are missing out,” Holmes said. “You will have to stop by APS and see the ‘Willy Walk.’”
The cats’ last day at the bank was May 31. Holmes says their next collaboration will be with Orcas Angels.
“Businesses and non-profits working together is important because it raises awareness of the services that are here on Orcas Island,” she said. “By utilizing someone’s business hours to showcase your nonprofit you are gaining that extra visibility that may not be seen on an everyday basis. Additionally, it develops new volunteer relationships between community members and the nonprofit.”
– Orcas Animal Shelter is always in need of clumping cat litter, dry and canned cat food and bleach.
Contact Islands Sounder Publisher, Editor Colleen Armstrong at email@example.com or 1-360-376-4500.