How a Special Needs Pup Showed Phil Sorgen the Power of Seattle Humane
As a parent of two alumni dogs from Seattle Humane, Phil’s experience with the organization was personal from the start. Their first dog, Gracie, was adopted in the old facility while their second dog, Joey, was adopted right after the opening of the new campus in 2017. “We got to see the evolution of Seattle Humane, which was really cool.”
Joey is a 20-pound Chiweenie mix who was part of a transfer from Los Angeles. “He’s very sweet and bonded to Gracie.” As a Rhodesian Ridgeback and Australian cattle mix, Gracie couldn’t be more different when it comes to size. “Gracie tolerates Joey, but he’s more into her,” Phil laughs. Outside of connecting him with two beloved furry family members, Phil’s adoption experience sparked an initial interest in joining the board and introduced him to the crucial role Seattle Humane can play for many pet owners.
Gracie, now 11 years old, is a special-needs dog. Although she was completely healthy when first adopted as a puppy, she became lethargic and started dramatically losing weight at 9 months old. Through a stool sample, Phil and his family discovered a pancreatic insufficiency that made it impossible for Gracie to fully digest her food. “If not identified, it would have absolutely killed her.” Once they received the diagnosis, they were able to get her on pancreatic enzymes and she’s been eating with those enzymes ever since.
While thankful that he and his family were able to manage the costs connected with having a special-needs dog, “There are so many people that may have had to make the grueling decision to give her up,” says Phil. “The work that Seattle Humane does to support pet owners in need during situations like the one we had with Gracie is truly life changing. Our pets are such a bright spot in our lives and we want as many people as possible to be able to have that experience.”
Phil spent most of his younger years in Texas where he completed his education as well as started his career with Microsoft. Eventually, he moved to Seattle with his family and, outside of a brief international stint, they have been in Seattle ever since. “We really think of the Pacific Northwest as home. We love the outdoors and
, the quality of life, it’s just a great place to be.”
Outside of his work as a board member and being a self-described “crazy dog parent,” he’s currently a Venture Partner at Tola Capital and a lover of golf, the outdoors and hiking. He even summited Mt. St. Helens on a bluebird fall day last September. “It’s a challenging hike, but it’s even harder to get a climbing permit, so I felt lucky having a perfect day out there.”
Phil officially joined the Seattle Humane board in October 2021 and is excited to bring his 33 years of business experience, as well as explore ways that Seattle Humane can expand its role as a center of the community.
“As someone who strongly believes that every animal has the right to a great life, and that all people deserve the opportunity to be pet owners, I couldn’t be more thrilled about the vision and path forward for Seattle Humane.”