Wendy Kang is stepping down after 11 years as the executive director of Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center to work at Oakland Veterinary Hospital with her husband.

“I have a mixture of feelings,” Kang said. “I’m excited about what’s next for my life. To be honest, I’m also excited to see where Saving Grace will grow next. I’m really excited to see where that person will lead the organization. At the same time, there are a lot of wonderful people that I will miss working with every day.”

Kang came on board of the pet adoption center toward the end of its fundraising campaign for a new building, which was completed in 2010.

She called it “one of my favorite parts of my tenure.”

Kang is also proud of the shelter’s high go-home rate. Saving Grace takes in more than 3,000 animals each year and 90% of those animals go home with a person, whether its back to their original owners or an adoptive family.

As executive director, Kang has been in charge of managing the shelter’s growth, realizing its vision and supervising operations, fundraising, marketing, strategic planning, financial planning and oversight, program development and implementation, and assessment and evaluation.

Kang said the important part was always putting animals first. Something she hopes to see in the next director as well.

“A love of animals is a must,” Kang said. “The animals are at the core of our mission, so our next executive director must put animals first.”

Kang and her husband, Gene Koo Kang, have two dogs and two cats — all adopted from Saving Grace.

“There have been times that I have seen an animal that I really wanted to adopt, but then they went home with people who were a much better fit,” Kang said. “How awesome is that?”

She will join her husband’s veterinary clinic to do administrative work so her husband can focus more on being a veterinarian.

Kang said she’s happy to remain in Douglas County and working for the health and welfare of animals.

“I have always wanted to work with my husband in his veterinary practice but I have stayed with Saving Grace because I care so much about the organization,” Kang said. “But now, I feel the time is right for Saving Grace and for me to make this change.”

She said she’d like to remain involved with Saving Grace in some capacity.

“I have loved animals since I was a kid,” Kang said. “I can’t think of a time that that wasn’t a part of who I am.”

Kang will remain the executive director until a replacement has been found. Applications for the position will be accepted until July 10.

“We have a terrific staff and a terrific group of volunteers that are motivated and dedicated to do what’s right for the animals,” Kang said. “They’ll continue to do an excellent job of running the shelter and taking care of the animals. That is the thing that gives me the confidence to know it’s OK and allow someone else to step in.”

Applicants should have experience in growing a fundraising program, board development and the ability to cultivate leadership skills. Cover letters and resumes can be sent to board@savinggrace.info.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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