West Columbia Gorge Humane Society (WCGHS) is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, animal shelter located in Washougal, Washington.
Established in 1994, our programs and services are carried out by a small staff and over 100 volunteers who are dedicated to the welfare of animals in need from our community and beyond. Hundreds of animals and people are the recipients of our compassionate care and assistance each year.
To save the lives of pets and provide resources that keep pets and their people together.
Our vision is for all pets to live healthy lives, in loving homes.
WCGHS embraces and fosters a culture of kindness, respect, compassion and integrity towards all pets and people.
WCGHS is focused on bettering the lives of both pets and their people in our community. This is why we are committed to these tenets of socially conscious animal sheltering:
- Finding placement for every healthy or treatable animal.
- Ensuring unwanted or homeless pets have a safe place to go for shelter and care.
- Assessing the medical and behavioral needs of unwanted or homeless animals and ensuring these needs are thoughtfully addressed.
- Aligning shelter policy with the needs of the community.
- Alleviating suffering and making conscienctious decisions regarding euthanasia based on the health and safety of the animal.
- Enhancing the human-animal bond through proper matchmaking and post adoption support.
The Impact You Made in 2020
WCGHS believes that sheltering should be based on the principle that each animal is an individual with its own story. We believe that animals deserve the utmost respect and are cared for in the most compassionate manner. When animals are placed in our care, we take into consideration our capacity for meeting their needs, the safety of the community, and the quality of life of both pets and people.
Animals come to WCGHS through owner surrender and partner organizations. WCGHS is also contracted by the Animal Control division for the cities of Camas and Washougal to manage and care for stray dogs found in the community.
Our campus consists of two separate buildings; one for dogs and one for cats. We also have an extensive foster home network, and we operate an adoption center located inside our local PetSmart. Like all shelters, we have limited space and resources, but when we accept an animal into our care, we make a lifetime commitment to its well being.
By definition, WCGHS has been what is known as a “no-kill” shelter since its inception because of our over 90% save rate. We have chosen to no longer use the term “no-kill” to describe our mission due to backlash toward shelters who are unable to meet this criteria. In parts of the U.S., and pockets of the Northwest, there are shelters who must euthanize healthy animals because they have no space or resources to care for them. By collaborating with these overburdened organizations, we are able to transport animals to WCGHS in an effort to save lives and place these animals in loving homes.
WCGHS relies on individual and corporate donations, as well as grants from foundations to fund our programs and services. We host two fundraising events per year: “A Tail to Remember” Dinner & Auction and “Hike on the Dike” – Walk/Run for the Animals. WCGHS does not receive any portion of dues or donations paid to national organizations or other humane societies. WCGHS operates independently of any other shelter group.
The People Who Make It All Happen
Micki Simeone, Executive Director
Delaney Edison, Director of Operations
Delaney was born in Texas and moved to the PNW as a child. From a young age Delaney knew she wanted to work with animals, which lead her to a veterinary medicine, where she worked as a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for over 5 years. Delaney made the personal decision to leave private practice to join the WCGHS team to give back to the community and help support and strengthen the human-animal bond. Delaney shares her busy household with her husband, two daughters, three dogs and three cats. When Delaney is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and crafting.
Peggy DiPrima, Development Director
Peggy joined WCGHS 4 years ago to curate our fall auction and signature event, A Tail to Remember. She brought with her 7 years of nonprofit event experience, as well as and 7 years Corporate Event Planning. She moved from Atlanta, GA to Ridgefield, WA 11 years ago with her husband, Frank, and her son Joseph. Her family shares their home with their dog, Biscotti, a WCGHS alumni. Peggy enjoys spending time with her family, playing games, visiting her family in Louisiana and wine tasting at the PNW’s many wineries.
OTHER KEY STAFF
April Nicholas, Dog Care Manager
April began volunteering for West Columbia Gorge Humane Society in 2011, and fell in love with the work and decided to make it a career. She trained with numerous canine behaviorists and trainers to better understand canine psychology. After purchasing a home in Washougal, she continued to pursue her passion for working with animals by joining the WCGHS team in 2016. Her professional background is in financial institution management and small business ownership. April shares her home with four rescued fur children and enjoys spending her free time exploring the outdoors with her dogs.
Jennifer Thoel, Cat Care Coordinator
Jennifer joined the team in October 2019 as our Cat Care Coordinator. Before moving to Amboy, WA, Jennifer lived in Las Vegas, NV and worked for The Animal Foundation, one of the largest open-admission shelters in the country. There Jennifer developed and managed programs for community cats and neonatal kittens which provided options and a process for positive outcomes from the shelter. These animals are considered some of the most at-risk animals, and by developing organizations first TNR (trap-neuter-return) program, she saved hundreds of lives and increased the shelters LRR (live-release-rate). Since she was young, Jennifer has had a passion for cats and dogs. We’re excited she has brought this passion, experience and skillset to the WCGHS team.
Jared Thorson, Animal Care & Training Coordinator
Board of Directors
Advisory Board Member