The 6th annual Ocean Shores Woof-a-Thon takes place this Saturday, Aug. 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in a new location, on the football field at North Beach Junior/Senior High School.
Event founder Wilma Spike calls it “the most fun day of the year for your dog — and you.” Like many events along the North Coast, it’s a party with a purpose. In five years, the local non-profit organization has donated more than $55,000 to pet related charities and activities in Grays Harbor County.
“I’m thrilled that we’re in our 6th year,” Spike exclaimed. “It promises to be a fun day for everyone, especially dogs, and we anticipate giving another $10,000 or more” to four beneficiaries.
After five years, Spike has stepped down as president of the non-profit’s board of directors, although she remains actively involved. Along the way, she’s created a successful niche in the public’s mind. The event this year has attracted more than 40 sponsors and supporters.
“I’m very grateful that wonderful volunteers have stepped up to make sure that there would be a Woof-a-Thon this year,” she said.
Nancy Oakes has taken the helm and brings over 30 years of experience with non-profit fund raising and animal rescue work, experiences she described as “heartbreaking and heartwarming, time consuming, and the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.
“It’s a real privilege to be able to help Woof-a-Thon this year. It’s always tough to step into the shoes of a founder, and I’m hoping I’ve done justice to Wilma’s idea and vision, and to the animals,” she said.
She thanked everyone involved, but noted especially board members Donna and Mike Preston and Jan Guertin and husband Bob, who “have all been just fantastic … worked tirelessly to pull it all together … they are amazing!”
The event includes a variety of vendors, free treats for both dogs and their people, free bottled water for people, wading pools, water dishes, an ice cream truck, a sticker-free area, mosquito repellant, face painting, tarot card readings, music by DJ Charlie Baer and more.
One of the popular fund-raising highlights is a raffle of a variety of elaborate, themed gift baskets, more than a dozen this year. Another traditional activity is a dog walk for which participants have collected sponsor pledges they donate to Woof-a-Thon. The walk will be on the track that encircles Lt. Jim Davis Field at North Beach High, and those participating receive prizes based on the donations they’ve collected.
A new feature this year honors the memory of Woof-a-Thon’s mascot and “logo dog,” Pearl, Spike’s beloved blue merle Pomeranian who “crossed the rainbow bridge” earlier this year. The Annual Pearl Memorial Award will be given “to an individual who assists vets, animal control, or rescue groups by continuously opening their home and heart to care for animals through fostering and caring for injured dogs or cats until they can be adopted out to a loving home,” according to the organization’s website.
Woof-a-Thon beneficiaries this year, and their websites, are:
West Coast Search Dogs of Washington, www.westcoastsearchdogs.org
Harbor Rescue, www.harborrescue.net
Gentle Paws Hospice &Sanctuary, www.gentlepawssanctuary.org
PAWS of Grays Harbor, www.pawsgh.org
More information on the event and the non-profit organization is available online on their Facebook page, Woofathon, and their website, www.oceanshoreswoofathon.org.
Ocean Shores Woof-a-Thon Schedule
Saturday, Aug. 12, North Beach Jr./Sr. High School
10 a.m. Event open, Participant Registration &prizes.
10:45 a.m. Blessing of the animals with Pastor Collette Gould.
11 a.m. Search and Rescue Demo – West Coast Search Dogs of Washington.
11:30 a.m. The WALK, Shop our vendors, Meet our beneficiaries &sponsors.
12:30 p.m. Agility Demonstration with Jennifer Evans.
1 p.m. Mutt Contest. Prizes for all sorts of fun competitions.
2:15 p.m. Awarding of the Pearl Memorial Award.
2:30 p.m. Raffle closes &tickets drawn.
3 p.m. Event ends