Finding connections through a shared love of pets
Kathy’s connection to Seattle Humane all started at a Christmas party. As she was getting ready to leave, she started talking to a man named Dan Levine who happened to be on the Seattle Humane board. “I think he could tell my eyes popped out when I heard he was on the board for Seattle Humane because I’d always been interested in joining.” Shortly after, she received a call inviting her to the shelter. After meeting several board members and receiving a tour of the facility, she was asked to join. She is now in her 10th year as a board member. “I’ve seen a lot of change and I’m super happy with where everything is right now,” she says.
When reflecting on her most memorable moments as a board member, working on the Capital Campaign sticks out for Kathy. Throughout the campaign, which raised the funds needed to build the facility we have today, she played a major role supporting recruiting and fundraising efforts.
“It’s typically against my grain to ask for money, but when you believe in something so strongly, it’s a piece of cake.” Thinking back on the old facility, Kathy becomes emotional. “I could cry right now, just remembering animals coming out of surgery on the floor. I also had a lot of empathy for the staff at the time who were making the most of what they had access to for the animals.”
The Capital Campaign also provided Kathy with an opportunity to connect with Seattle Humane’s community and she appreciated how a love for animals brought people from all backgrounds together.
“You’re either an animal person or you’re not,” she says. “It’s just a bond that everyone can relate to if you love animals.”
When it comes to what’s next for Seattle Humane, Kathy feels strongly about supporting efforts to increase access and equity in pet ownership. When she first joined the board, she visited grade schools with the MaxMobile and saw the power of early interactions with pets.
“I think that the education platform is such an important starting point. Especially when it comes to teaching the importance of spaying and neutering pets and increasing opportunities for more people to connect with animals from an early age.”
The very first pet that Kathy and her husband John had together was a cat. Since John initially claimed not to be much of a cat person, Kathy decided the best way to build a connection between her husband and their new furry family member was to name the cat Miles after John’s hometown of Miles City, Montana. Her master plan worked, and this kicked off a family tradition that continues today with every one of their animals being named after a place in Montana.
Kathy’s four children also share a love for animals. “Growing up, the kids really wanted a dog and would put the Seattle Humane dog of the week up on my screen saver.” This push for a dog led their family to adopt their first dog, Scobey, during one of the wettest Januarys on record for Seattle. After many rainy morning walks with a sopping wet dog, Kathy asked herself, “What have I done?” she laughs. “But he ended up being the best dog in the world!” Over the years they adopted two dogs from Seattle Humane, as well as well as a dog they rescued from Fife, Washington. “He came from a really challenging background, but he got lots of love in our house growing up with our family of six that adored him.”
Today, with all of their children grown and a passion for travel, Kathy and John are exclusively a cat household. “I’m a cat lady now. It’s a little bit more peaceful, but I do miss having a dog sometimes.”