It all started with a casual comment made in jest by a Yamhill County Dog Control officer – Why don’t you start a humane society?
You see, Julie Julson and her husband Joe had recently moved to McMinnville. Their dog had died not too long before, and Julie, a great dog lover, was anxious to find another.
She went to dog control and was shown three brindle puppies that were scheduled to be euthanized. They told her she could have them for free if she took all three – Julie went home with three puppies. She decided to keep two and put an ad in the newspaper to find a home for the third. There were many responses, and the pup was soon in a new home.
When she realized that the typical fate of homeless dogs in Yamhill County in 1973 was euthanasia after a short holding period, she decided she could find homes for more dogs. She began bringing dogs home, housing them in her garage and later in other foster homes, and then arranging adoptions.
On one trip to pick up dogs, the officer jokingly said, “Why don’t you start a humane society?” It wasn’t long before Julie, and her two assistants, Susan Aker and Debbie Tuck, formed a board of directors and established the Yamhill County Humane Society on February 27, 1975.
As the dog and cat rescues continued and increased, the board realized a permanent shelter was needed. Amberwood Kennels on Loop Road became available for sale in October 1979, and the board turned its efforts to fundraising and arranging financing. They finalized the $175,000 purchase on March 15, 1980. The shelter officially opened on June 1 that year under the new name Evergreen Doe Humane Society, a name chosen to honor two major donors, Evergreen Helicopters of McMinnville and the Marguerite Doe Foundation of Santa Barbara, California.
The humane society offered an alternative to the euthanasia of homeless dogs and cats so widely practiced at this time. In 1975 the YCHS was the only no-kill animal shelter in Yamhill County and the only shelter in the state that handled cats. Instead of disposal of unwanted dogs and cats, the homeless animals were lovingly cared for and rehomed.
Over forty years later, this organization (renamed Homeward Bound Pets in 2003) continues to rescue homeless dogs and cats and find them adoptive homes. We honor our founder Julie Julson as well as all the board members, employees, volunteers, and local supporters through the years. It was their great love and compassion for homeless animals and the desire to save lives that kept them committed and sustained this organization.