GIG HARBOR, Wash. — Heartwood Haven is an animal rescue and sanctuary in Gig Harbor.
"It all started with one rooster who we rescued from a cockfighting bust, and he was such a personable character and we fell in love with him," says Executive Director and Co-Founder Kate Tsyrklevich.
Tsyrklevich runs the rescue with her wife, Hope Hilman, and a small group of dedicated volunteers.
Since opening in 2017, they've rescued hundreds of farm animals - rehoming some, while taking care of others at their sanctuary. Their small team takes care of the animals every day, and in the midst of COVID-19, farm life is even tougher.
"Because of COVID and events being canceled, we've had a dozen events canceled and fundraising is a little tight right now due to uncertainty and so we came up with these cool ideas," Tsyrklevich says.
Right now, their big fundraiser is the Olympets Photo Contest.
People can submit photos of their pets doing "Olympic" activities, with a donation - and then, their friends and family can donate to vote for their photo.
1st place, or Gold winners, will receive a one week stay at The Imperial Resort in Waikiki. Silver wins a Microsoft Surface Go 2 Bundle, and Bronze wins $150 cash.
The Heartwood Haven crew works day and night to help farm animals find safe, secure homes.
"There's a lot of animals to take care of. We take care of between 50-200 per days, and so it's a full-time commitment for both of us. And it's a lot of work," Tsyrklevich says.
In fact, the rescue appeared in a recent KING 5 News story, after they rescued 47 roosters from a cockfighting ring. They were given three days to find homes for almost fifty roosters - and they made it happen.
"That right there is where rescue really gets you. It makes you tear up, and makes it worth it in the end," Tsyrklevich says.