Submitted by Orcas Animal Protection Society.
After nearly four decades of working on behalf of Orcas Island’s homeless animals and finding forever homes for hundreds of cats and dogs along the way, founder and shelter manager Marsha Waunch has announced her wish to step down. Her legacy will be celebrated at the annual wine dinner and auction at the Outlook Inn on June 15. A larger public celebratory event will be held at a later date.
In the late 1980s, a group of volunteers came together to provide foster homes for animals in need and reunite lost animals with their owners. Originally collaborating with the Animal Protection Society of the San Juans in Friday Harbor, the Orcas group, under the leadership of Waunch, decided to pursue the idea of a shelter on Orcas, leading to the incorporation of the Orcas Animal Protection Society in late 2001. Numerous events ranging from rummage sales to movie premieres were held as fundraisers.
As Elyse van den Bosch, one of the original members of the volunteer group, said of Waunch, “No matter how long the list, Marsha always got it done. Her position was ‘If we’re going do it, we’re going do it right.’”
In July 2000, two acres of land on Hope Lane were donated to the organization, and on Aug. 30, 2001, ground was broken. The grand opening of the shelter – debt-free and with sufficient funds to operate the facility for 18 months – was held on Jan. 25, 2003. APS has initiated a search for a shelter director. Details can be found on the organization’s website: orcaspets.org.