Seattle Humane ushered in a new era by opening the doors to its larger, state-of-the-art shelter and veterinary teaching hospital. Two years later, the nonprofit is once again advancing to the next stage of being a leader in animal welfare, announcing a nationwide search for a new Chief Executive Officer following the departure of David Loewe.
During his tenure, Loewe championed the new facility and oversaw the transition from the former undersized building to the current updated shelter. The impact of this move can be seen in the numbers tallied by Seattle Humane during its first 24 months in its improved environment — more than 12,100 spays and neuters performed, more than 15,400 animals taken in by the shelter, and more than 15,650 pets placed in homes.
“Our organization has been saving lives and completing families since 1897, and we want to keep doing so for the next 122 years,” said Seattle Humane Board Chair John Wenstrup. “This facility is an important part of our plan to better serve our community, and our first two years here have shown that we can evolve.”
Seattle Humane’s evolution in the new building has been dramatic. Where veterinarians once performed surgeries in a converted janitor’s closet in a building without enough electrical capacity to run an X-ray machine, the new building boasts a modern veterinary teaching hospital with two surgery suites and six surgery tables. Where volunteers once washed every pet dish and litter pan by hand because the old facility didn’t have the electrical capacity or space for dishwashers, the new facility has two kitchens with commercial dishwashers. And where staff, volunteers, and animals once crammed into a 28,000-square-foot work space, they now have a 57,000-square-foot shelter with eight outdoor dog exercise yards.
“It’s hard to truly convey how much better this facility serves our needs,” said Lisa Drake, Chief Operations Officer (COO). “I worked in Veterinary Services in the previous shelter, and we regularly bumped into each other during surgery because of how small the space was. While we are always looking to improve, this facility has — both in terms of space and equipment — allowed us to grow our ability to provide quality care.”
After completing the goal of expanding Seattle Humane and leading these expansive first two years, Loewe has withdrawn from his role, and the board is looking for a new visionary to even further advance the organization.
“David helped position us as a true shining light in animal welfare that goes beyond the borders of our shelter, our county, and even our state,” Wenstrup said.
Loewe joined Seattle Humane 14 years ago as a volunteer after he adopted his cat, Tucker, from the shelter. He stepped into the COO role in 2008 and rose to the CEO role in 2010. During his tenure, Loewe oversaw process changes that increased the shelter’s life-saving rate from 77 percent to one of the nation’s highest at 98.4 percent.
“It’s been an incredible journey and an honor to work alongside such an amazing team,” Loewe said.
The Board of Directors has convened a search committee and tasked it with selecting a recruiting agency that can assist in identifying the best candidate to lead Seattle Humane into its next stage. The committee is interviewing prospective firms this week. In the interim, Seattle Humane is being led by a collective of board members, including John Wenstrup, Franz Lazarus, Janette Adamucci, Aaron Knudsen, Lynda Silsbee, and Peter Segall.
“While we’re proud of our past, we’re not done moving forward,” Wenstrup said. “Instead, we’re looking at what we do, how we do it, and asking, ‘How can we be even better — for our animals and for our community?’ Yes, we have this amazing facility, but we also have more than 3,000 dedicated volunteers, 21,000-plus donors, and a phenomenal staff, and we’re looking forward to learning from them to better poise ourselves to make an impact in the Puget Sound region and beyond.”
Impact of New Facility in 24 Months:
- 4,360 pets were surrendered by their owners to Seattle Humane.
- 9,443 animals were transferred into Seattle Humane from local and national shelters that were either overcrowded or in crisis after such natural disasters as wildfires or floods
- 15,411 animals total were taken in by Seattle Humane, either through owner surrender, transfer, or recovered strays.
- 12,178 animals (both from the public and from the shelter’s own population) were spayed or neutered in the new veterinary hospital.
- 8,795 animals spent time recovering or receiving training in Seattle Humane’s foster care program.
- 12,632 animals were adopted through Seattle Humane.
- 15,659 animals were placed into homes by Seattle Humane either through adoptions, return to owners, or working with partner shelters that had a demand for a specific animal.
By the Numbers:
- 142 — Dogs that can be housed in the new facility, which is a 39 percent increase from the previous building.
- 206 — Cats that can be housed in the new facility, which is a 34 percent increase from the previous building.
- 29,000 — More square feet in the new facility compared to the previous building.
- 7 — Years it took to raise the funds for and plan construction for the new building.
- 18 — Months it took to build the new shelter.
- $28 million — Amount donated to the community through Seattle Humane’s capital campaign for the new shelter.
- 1972 — Year Seattle Humane started operating in the previous shelter.
- 1897 — Year Seattle Humane was founded.
New Facility’s Highlights:
- Streamlined floor plans keep dogs and cats separate throughout their stay.
- An advanced heating, cooling, and air filtration system keeps pets comfortable and prevents the spread of diseases and odors.
- More isolation units decrease the spread of infectious diseases.
- An auditorium accommodates education programs, staff functions, community classes, grief support groups, and more.
- Dog kennels are designed to minimize animals stress and/or prevent reactive responses to other dogs.
- State-of-the-art cat cubbies keep cats more comfortable.
- Two surgery suites host three surgery tables each for veterinary services.
- New teaching hospital to provide hands-on education and training for veterinary students with the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
- Heated kennel floors keep dogs cozy.
- Dog exercise yards have canine turf that’s soft on paws and is easy to clean.