Approximately 15 people turned out Sept. 23, for the official ribbon cutting for Treasure Hounds. Treasure Hounds originally began as a way for the Animal Protection Society to raise funds for its building expanse in 2016. Treasure Hounds was such a success shelter board opted to keep it going.
“Everything in the store is donated, everyone who works in the store is a volunteer,” said Cristin Felso, executive director of APS-FH, and now that rent is no longer paid, one hundred percent of the proceeds go toward the shelter. The only expense is a couple of men they occasionally hire to pick up and deliver the furniture.
Friday Harbor Chamber of Commerce executive director Becki Day, and the Town of Friday Harbor’s town administrator Denice Kulseth were on hand as well, welcoming the Animal Shelter into the business community, and congratulating them for buying the space.
“The store now funds operating expenses, staff positions and things that are difficult to fundraise or find grants for,” Felso explained. She added that real estate agents often call them when a moving sale is occurring, and advocate on their behalf, even opening the house for them when they need to pick furniture up.
“We looked around after the building sold, but there wasn’t really any other space that worked as well for us,” Felso said.
The location also houses its Pet Food Pantry, which provides pet food and supplies for those pet owners who are struggling financially. The pantry coordinates with the Friday Harbor Food Bank and Meals on Wheels to collect and distribute the food.
It has been a slow time for adoption, Felso said, which she attributes to the economy. After a rush during the pandemic, she said, some animals were returned, in part due to the inability to find homes that accept pets, a sign that even local cats and dogs are being impacted by the housing crisis.
In a rough economy, as veterinary costs increase, the shelter’s goal next year, according to Felso, is to offer wellness exams, including worming and flea treatment for low-income islanders.
For those considering donating to the shelter, the biggest needs are toys, kongs, and anything that enriches the animals’ time while they are looking for their forever home. Cardboard cat scratchers are always welcome, and they also go through a lot of fleece blankets. Donations of pet food are also handy. Felso said if the shelter does not use it, it goes to the Pet Food Pantry. Open containers are accepted, as long as contents and expiration are clearly marked.
Currently, there are 12 dogs waiting for their humans, and 30 cats and kittens. Treasure Hounds
“Treasure Hounds has helped with adoptions because people see the pictures in the store and then visit the shelter,” Felso said adding that the Treasure Hounds provides a great way to connect with the community.
“We are so grateful that the community rallies around us, and so grateful for our volunteers,”Felso said.