Charlie the black lab mix is surrounded by his friends as he recuperates from his knee surgery at Welfare for Animals Guild’s Halfway Home Ranch in Sequim.
“Charlie and his brother Henry were surrendered by a lady who had a change in lifestyle,” explained Deb Bemm, vice president of the Welfare for Animals Guild (WAG) board.
“They are big dogs, and the lady was getting older. She knew we would take care of them and find them a home.”
Bemm explained that Charlie has to have 12 weeks of care, pain control and rehabilitation— WAG works closely with veterinarians who offer their expertise — and “there are volunteers coming in to be with (Charlie) off and on all day,” she said.
After Charlie recovers he will have surgery on the other knee and the process will begin all over again.
“He’s a real sweetie pie, too,” said Bemm.
Charlie is one of the dogs that WAG, a a volunteer run rescue and rehabilitation nonprofit funded by grants and donations, supports medically. According to board member Joy Brown, the average medical costs WAG tallies each year can run between $40,000-$70,000, and that this year the organization has already spent $60,000 on medical bills.
WAG is gearing up for their annual Dogtoberfest fundraiser set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, with an emphasis on “rescue and rehab,” according to Bemm.
The event will be virtual for a second year in a row, thanks to COVID restrictions. Like last year’s virtual event, WAG will host a silent auction, a “Raise the Paw” fundraising effort and, as in 2020, will get a boost from Tedesco’s Italian Fresh.
Tedescos will prepare and chill meals for supporters to pick up on-site for a $60 donation. The deadline for ordering is Wednesday, Oct. 13, and pick up at Tedesco’s, 210 W. Washington St., is between 11 am.- 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23.
Dinner choices include chicken piccata with potatoes and vegetables, or vegetarian penne asiatico. Each meal will include misto salad, roll and butter, and a chocolate decadence square.
Asiatico is “a classic creamy Alfredo sauce combined with a Thai sauce of red curry, coconut milk and lemongrass,” noted Tedescos’ co-owner Tina Thomson. “It blends into a delicious sauce with just a touch of heat. It is very popular.“
One advantage to the virtual fundraiser, organizers said, is that as many people who want meals can order them as opposed to the in-person event, which was limited by the space.
Baskets for the silent auction will be on display at Tedesco’s for bidding during pickup.
From now through the virtual Dogtoberfest event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 23, people can “Raise the Paw” online at the same link they can order a meal — accessed through the front page of the WAG website at wagsequimwa.com.
This year’s reservation donation of $60 per person will go toward providing medical care, training and general care for the “residents” at the Halfway Home Ranch as well as their foster homes, WAG representatives said.
About 60 people are currently devoting their time to keeping WAG operational. Most are volunteers, with three part-time staff and one full-time staffer living on site. WAG workers strive to provide a home-like environment for dogs who have major challenges in their lives.
The number of dogs that are cared for every year can average 120-130, according to Melanie Marshall.
Among other activities, volunteers keep company with the dogs, rehabilitate the sick, injured, or emotionally wounded, build play and living spaces and keep the grounds beautiful.
A highlight for staff at Tedesco’s Italian Fresh — which will celebrate its four-year anniversary in November — is the annual WAG fundraiser.
“We first got involved when we adopted a dog in 2017, (and) we recently began fostering another,” Thompson said.
“We admire and respect their staff and their army of volunteers.
“WAG is such an asset to the community, I don’t know how they do what they do, it’s heartbreaking at times, but they quietly put their heads down, and plow through, always keeping the best interest of the animals above all.
“COVID has severely impacted their in person fundraising events, so here we are pivoting to a ‘virtual banquet’ model. Hopefully, the community will follow the pivot to support their efforts, I have a feeling, knowing the Sequim community they will.”