PAWS, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society, located north of Seattle in Lynnwood, Washington, is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless cats, dogs and other wildlife. According to its website, the PAWS mission is to rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife, as well as to shelter and provide adoptions for homeless cats and dogs, while educating the public to make a better world for animals and people.
History. PAWS was founded in 1967. Its first thrift store began as a simple rummage sale in the basement of a Lynnwood building. Locals embraced the idea of an organization raising money to spay and neuter animals and soon began bringing the fledgling animal welfare group abandoned cats and dogs. A companion animal shelter was built in 1968, and by 1970, it became the first shelter in the state to require spaying and neutering of all adopted animals. PAWS continued to grow, incorporating the rehabilitation of injured wildlife. The PAWS Foster Care Program was instituted in 1995. By 2008, PAWS had cared for more than 200 different species of animals.
The people. Virginia Knouse was a founding member of PAWS in 1967 and served as the organization’s president until the early 1990s. Today, PAWS continues to be guided by a board of directors as well as an operational staff. A corps of volunteers is essential to the organization’s success. Volunteers, according to PAWS, donate more than 50,000 hours of service annually. Volunteer positions include dog walker, cat room attendant, wildlife bird nursery caretaker or even post-surgery clinic assistant. All volunteers must be 18 years or older; however, PAWS does have some special volunteer opportunities for younger children, including animal fostering.
The work. PAWS cares for sick, injured, abandoned and abandoned cats, dogs and wildlife. PAWS fosters animals, helps with pet adoptions and offers assistance with feral cats. It provides low-cost spaying and neutering for low-income families, plus offers free pet behavior help and assistance in obtaining pet identification tags and licenses. PAWS is the leading animal advocacy organization in the state of Washington.
The numbers. PAWS Cat City in Seattle paired its 6,000th cat in 2004 with an adoptive family. In 2006, the Foster Care Program saw the 11,000th companion animal assisted while the treatment of wild animals passed 95,000 animals. The 50th black bear cub was rehabilitated and returned to the wild in June 2007. By 2008, PAWS had cared for more than 100,000 wild animals.