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14 posts from June 2010

These Black Bears were coming dangerously close to people's homes, because one homeowner was feeding them regularly, a dangerous situation for both the humans and the bears. This week's tragic story out of Oysterville, WA is another in a long series of examples of the consequences of feeding wildlife.

It is undeniably exciting to see wild animals up close and personal, and feeding them will certainly bring them closer, but problems quickly arise when wild animals begin to see humans as an easy food source. Their natural wariness of humans decreases, and soon the situation becomes dangerous for both humans and animals.

In the case of Oysterville, an area homeowner was feeding piles of dog food to Black Bears. Understandably, their neighbors had safety concerns when 10 bears began frequenting the neighborhood and showing no fear of humans. The end result of the homeowner’s choice to feed wildlife was that five of bears had to endure the stress of capture and relocation and another five had to be euthanized because they were dangerously habituated to humans.

We go to great lengths at PAWS to ensure that the bears and other wild animals in our care do not become habituated to humans. The best defense a wild animal has is a strong aversion to humans.

Feeding wild animals and decreasing their fear too often results in dangerous situations for the humans involved and tragedy for the animals. Please, do not feed wild animals.


We are pleased to proclaim that Sophie, PAWS long-time resident royalty, has finally found her forever kingdom.

For those of you who may not know Sophie’s story – she was surrendered to PAWS in May 2009 when her guardian passed away. The staff and volunteers took extra care in making sure that Sophie was adjusting comfortably by giving her a condo room at the shelter in Lynnwood, her own private suite at PAWS Cat City in Seattle, as well as some quiet time away from the shelter in a foster home. Months went by and still no permanent home for Sophie.

Alas, last Wednesday, June 16, her luck changed forever. Catherine happened to walk by PAWS Cat City and read Sophie’s story in the window. After a night of contemplation, Catherine whole-heartedly decided to adopt Sophie - giving her a quiet place to lounge, a person to love, and a new castle to live out her days. And all of PAWS rejoiced!

Queen Sophie is now in the comforts of her very own home, being pampered and loved by Lady Catherine, and soaking up her happily ever after.

You may remember last summer PAWS took in two tiny, one-pound orphaned beaver kits. One was found, weak and alone on a sandbar in the Cedar River. The other was orphaned when a jet ski killed her mother.

We are thrilled to update you that the beavers have thrived. They grew to a healthy 30 pounds each, and were released on the Heernett Environmental Foundation’s 850-acre preserve in Tenino. The Foundation generously agreed to welcome the beavers, and check their progress from time to time.

Weighing only about one pound each when admitted, the beaver kits grew up together at PAWS Wildlife Center. By the time they were released, they had spent more than a year in PAWS’ care.

As the beavers matured they practiced their construction skills. All of the wood around the hide box in the background was placed there by the beavers.

A floating lodge that staff built is serving as a temporary home for the beavers. PAWS Wildlife Facilities Caretaker Jim Green and Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager Dondi Byrne get the lodge ready at the release site.

After they were placed in the lodge, the beavers came out to explore. Having had minimal human contact at PAWS, they were wary of the people who were there to wish them well. Everyone soon left so the beavers could explore in peace.

KOMO 4 News also came out to the beaver release site. Watch their coverage here:

Because of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there has been a lot of discussion about washing oiled wildlife. There is also a frequently aired commercial for Dawn dishwashing detergent that touts the product’s effectiveness for cleaning oiled wildlife. It’s accurate. Dawn is commonly used for washing oiled animals, but the commercial is lacking this crucial disclaimer: “Folks, please don’t try this at home.”

OiledSootyShearwaterJune162010 Washing oiled wildlife, especially birds, is as much about technique as it is about the product. For example, PAWS recently received a Sooty Shearwater who had been found oiled. The bird was washed with Dawn prior to being brought to PAWS. He was oil-free, but the soap hadn’t been properly rinsed away. This meant that the bird still got soaked to the skin when placed in water because the soap residue disrupted his waterproofing.  The shearwater was re-washed and properly rinsed at PAWS and is now on the road to recovery (see video below).

Caring for oiled wildlife is a very involved process. An animal’s health must first be assessed to determine whether or not he or she is medically strong enough to undergo the stressful washing process.  The water must be a specific temperature and hardness, the proper concentration of Dawn must be used, the animal must be washed thoroughly and rinsed in a specific manner. Lastly, the animal is thoroughly dried in a specially designed pen with a warm air dryer set at specific temperatures.

As you can see, it is not as simple as you might think. You must have the proper knowledge, experience and legal permits. The best thing you can do is get oiled wildlife to a licensed wildlife care professional immediately so treatment can begin as quickly as possible. Whatever you do, folks, please don’t try this at home.

In the video: PAWS Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager Dondi Byrne and PAWS Wildlife Naturalist Kevin Mack rewash an oiled Sooty Shearwater that was improperly washed with dish soap after being oiled.

Four baby kittens2 Each year PAWS relies on compassionate foster dads (and moms) to save the lives of more than 1,000 puppies, kittens, dogs and cats who simply need a temporary place away from the shelter to rest, recuperate or grow up a little.

So today, in honor of Father’s Day, we’d like to express our heartfelt appreciation for all of the foster dads who change litter boxes, give medicine, travel to veterinarian appointments, and provide a safe and warm place for the most vulnerable animals at PAWS. Thank you!

Summer is the time we rely on foster volunteers the most. If you’d like a flexible and rewarding way to help animals, this could be the job for you. We are particularly in need of people who can foster dogs. Learn more about becoming a foster care volunteer today.

Two sleepy puppies 2

We here at PAWS are not even close to being tired of watching baby bear videos. And we're betting you're not either.

So here's a 17-second video clip of the baby bear you previously saw here, and the two cubs who came to PAWS shortly after (background info on them here).

Especially watch the cub on top about 10 seconds in. So cute!

The three cubs are being cared for together, so the individual cub won’t be lonely, and so all three will grow up with others of their kind.


On Sunday, June 27, PAWS will have a float in the annual Seattle Pride Parade – and we want you to join us!

We are inviting our fabulous supporters to walk alongside the PAWS van, and your canine friends are welcome too. Here are a few things you should know:

  • Pride The time commitment will be from approximately 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • All dogs participating must be “parade-appropriate”: well-socialized with other dogs and people, friendly and able to handle a very energetic environment for up to four or five hours.
  • Friends and family are welcome. If you know someone who has adopted from PAWS, invite them too. We’d love to see as many alumni as possible!
  • No dogs? Not to worry – if you don’t have a dog to walk with, there will be a limited number of volunteer positions available “sans-canine” –just let us know.
  • Dogs only please! Kitties, iguanas and other companion animals must stay at home.

All parade participants (dogs and people alike) must be registered ahead of time. Contact me with your questions and to sign up at eblackford@paws.org or 425.787.2500 x833.

For more information on the Seattle Pride Parade and festival, visit www.seattlepride.org. Can’t join us for the Pride Parade? Don’t worry – PAWS will also be taking part in the annual Greenwood Seafair Parade on Wednesday, July 28 as well! Just e-mail me to let me know you are interested.


Watch as Steph gives a fun and speedy 360-degree tour of one of the open-colony cat adoption rooms at PAWS Cat City. Can you spot all the cats?

Then, stop by to visit the kitties and consider adopting one during Adopt a Shelter Cat Month to take advantage of our adoption fee discounts.



Nancy is just one of the beautiful companions
available for adoption at PAWS Cat City.

During the last couple of months, we received many wonderful updates from some of our PAWS adopters. Many of our volunteers, staff, and foster parents have experienced the joy of getting to know many of these animals. We love hearing how our beloved PAWS alumni companions are doing in their forever homes and we thank you for keeping in touch!  Here are a few of the recent stories we’ve received.


Sophie – A 1-year-old Pit Bull mix adopted 3/28/10

Thanks for calling and checking on Sophie. She is so sweet, we love her. She is doing well with her new home and puppy training classes. She’s even met some friends at doggy day care which she will be going to 1 day a week.
Here she is with our 17-year-old cat. She loves him...he tolerates her!!

 Sophie Sophie 2



Paulina – A 6-year-old cat adopted 4/03/10, who had been at the shelter since January.

Our family adopted Paulina on April 3 and we wanted to send an update. We renamed her Bella, because she is a pretty princess (the name has nothing to do with the Twilight series, I assure you!). The first few days with us, she was shy, and hid beneath our blankets at the end of the bed. Now, after three and a half weeks, she is "at home." She still won’t explore the rest of our 3000sq. ft. home and stays mainly upstairs, but, as I sit here writing this, she is running around, chasing a noisy toy ball! Who thought she was playful? She absolutely LOVES chasing and attacking things! It's adorable. Bella and my 10-year-old son are buddies and she loves his gentle nature. She is perfectly healthy, happy and we're in love with her.

Raina, Jeff and Aidan
Paulina Paulina 2  



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