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12 posts from November 2011

November 18 was release day for an orphaned seal pup that had been in care at PAWS Wildlife Center since August 10.  The pup had been brought to PAWS by a NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Stranding Network volunteer who had found him struggling on the beach at a busy resort in Union Washington.  In the three months that had passed since he came through our doors, the seal had gone from being a thin, sickly, 15-pound pup to a chubby, 51-pound juvenile.  Healthy, feisty and an expert at catching fish, he was now in prime shape to take a second shot at a wild, free life.

The sun was shining as Wildlife Rehabilitator Steph Herman, Online Communications Coordinator Whitney Allen and I pulled into the parking lot at Dosewallips State Park.  The beach where we were releasing the seal was a quarter-mile away down a winding trail, but when we checked on the seal it was clear that he could smell the nearby saltwater.  He was pressed up against the door of the carrier, eager to get out.


We strapped the seal's carrier to a hand truck for the journey to the beach.  It was two hours before high tide and it was predicted to be a very high one with a peak of +11.7 feet.  When we emerged from the woods and walked out into a marshy meadow that overlooks Hood Canal, the area was already filling in with water.  As Steph, Whitney and I traversed the 100 yards or so across the meadow to the release site, the water gradually got deeper. 

By the time we reached the steep dropoff at the beach we were standing in about a foot of water.  This was no problem for the seal, nor was it a problem for me because I was wearing boots.  It posed a slight problem for Steph (below left) and Whitney (below right), however, because they were wearing sneakers.


Other than ten very cold toes, the seal release went off without a hitch.  As you can see in the photos below the seal emerged from his carrier, explored his new surroundings and eventually headed out toward deeper waters.  We all wished him luck and squished our way back to the truck.





This Friday take advantage of our black Friday special! All black or mostly black cats and dogs have a discounted adoption fee. Welcome a new friend into your family and give them the second chance they deserve. You can't put a price on companionship.

Erika 052PAWS Cat City is looking for more volunteers. In addition to being catnip-friendly, applicants must have a gentle touch, posses strong toy skills, and be prepared to spend three hours a week cuddling cats and kittens. If you’re 18 or older and willing to make a three-month commitment, volunteering with the felines at PAWS Cat City could change your life…and it will certainly change theirs. In exchange for your time, our cats will teach you everything to know about love, caring, and the value of giving back.


There’s no experience required, and those three hours a week of cuddling will make a difference in the lives of hundreds of cats. Fill out a volunteer application today.


Northern-Flying-Squirrel-1You may recall the four Northern Flying Squirrels featured in the August 30 PAWS blog.  I am happy to report that those four squirrels, along with two other orphaned kits raised at PAWS, are now climbing, running and gliding free in the wild.

On November 4, I closed the six flying squirrels in the nest box they were sharing here at PAWS and drove them to a large, forested piece of King County Parks property near Woodinville.  With the assistance of King County Parks personnel, I secured the squirrels' nest box high up on the trunk of a large fir tree deep in the forest.  I then removed the small screens I had placed over the entry holes on the box to keep the squirrels inside during transport.

It was about 2 pm when we attached the squirrels' nest box to the tree.  Since flying squirrels are strictly nocturnal, it was not surprising to us when the squirrels chose to stay Northern-Flying-Squirrel-2put rather than coming out to explore immediately.  But we did see one brave soul peeking timidly out the door, no doubt wondering what had happened to the cage walls that had limited his movement for the past several weeks.  I have no doubt that as the sun set over the forest, six new inhabitants eagerly emerged to assess their new home.


Welcome to the third installation of Adoption Success Stories Round-up featuring four heartwarming happily-ever-afters for six amazing felines!

RosieWe are totally in ♥ with our new gal cat Rosie from PAWS Lynnwood, whom we adopted during PAWS free adoption month last June. She's enriched our lives and filled the gaping holes in our hearts! We were very despondent at the loss of our beloved boy cat Luke, who'd recently died from complications associated with feline diabetes! I visited PAWS & found our girl there. PAWS is awesome!!! We've since sent donations and have delivered cat food to that PAWS location & will continue to support PAWS whenever we can. They've changed our lives for the better and Rosie's too!




Snickers-and-LuckyI just had to say thank you again for blessing me with my two kittens, Snickers and Lucky. (Formerly known as Kiki and Kody from the PAWS Cat City in the U-District.)

They were very frightened and scared when I met them for the first time.  Lucky was VERY protective of Snickers and if you got near either of them, all you got was hissing.  I wasn't sure how they'd turn out. But as a brother and sister duo, it was obvious they needed to be adopted together, so I took a chance! 

It took a lot of love and attention, but they've progressed very well.  They are both playful and loving.  They love sleeping on my lap and curling up with me in bed.  Snickers is playful as ever and even reserved Lucky is coming out of his shell and playing.  I don't regret taking a chance on them at all! I love them so much! Thank you!



Lani-and-PukaWe adopted Lani and Puka (named Heidi + Rowen at the Shelter) at the PAWS Cat City on Roosevelt Way.
We love the 6 year old sisters.  They are so sweet and have settled right into our home. These indoor cats are great company for us.
Thank you so much for all of your help in making this adoption happen.
Marsha & Rob









Miss-QI submitted a survey over the weekend and forgot to include photos of the cat I adopted a few months ago. Her shelter name was question mark. I have renamed her to Ms. Q.  She is an excellent addition to our family.  Each day she gets more and more comfortable around the house, yard, and other cat.  She is actually licking the other cats face, it is soo cute. She loves belly rubs, chasing toys and eating her meals.  She's gained a couple of pounds since she's been here. 
Thanks again.


SSHA-112711Sharp-shinned Hawks are extremely agile fliers.  They often fly at high speed through seemingly impenetrable foliage, adeptly avoiding collision with a single leaf or branch as they pursue the smaller birds on which they prey.  As maneuverable as they may be, these birds can't avoid what they can't see.

Depending on the angle of the light, windows often act more like mirrors.  When windows reflect plants, sky, grass or other features of the nearby environment, birds are unable to distinguish between these and the real thing.  So a bird flying full-speed toward the branch he believes he sees in the distance instead ends up flying headlong into a pane of glass.  A Sharp-shinned Hawk played this scenario out to its inevitably painful conclusion in Des Moines, WA on October 12.  After the collision, the homeowner to whom the window belonged scooped up the stunned hawk and brought her to PAWS.

SSHA-112711-in-raptor-mew,-Upon arrival at the wildlife center the hawk was weak and quiet.  Her head was tilted slightly to the right and blood was present in her mouth.  She was also holding her left eye closed.  Depite these injuries, the Sharp-shinned Hawk had not suffered any broken bones, and hopes were high that she would make a full recovery.  The wildlife rehabilitator on duty administered fluids and other supportive care to stabilize the hawk's condition.  She responded well, and by the next day she was alert and making short flights.  It was clear, however, that she could not see out of her left eye, so we called in Veterinary Ophthalmologist Dr. Thomas Sullivan to fully assess the bird's vision.

Dr. Sullivan detected no damage in the Sharp-shinned Hawk's eyes.  He concluded that the loss of vision was due to an injury in the brain.  He suggested that her vision might return in time as her head trauma fully resolved.  Fortunately, that is exactly what happened.

During the two weeks that followed her eye examination, the Sharp-shinned Hawk slowly began to recover her vision.  By November 1, she was flying rapidly around her flight enclosure, expertly avoiding branches that were hanging in her path.  Now fully healed, she is ready to return to the wild.  By the time you read this she will have been released.

Visit our wildlife common problems page to find out how you can help prevent birds from striking your windows.            

Nov 08

Meet Chuck

Meet-Chuck-BigA big, goofy, ball-playing lovebug, Chuck embodies all the best that Labs have to offer!  At seven years old Chuck plays extremely well with people and dogs big and small.  A happy-go-lucky guy, Chuck just wants to have a good time, play with his companions, get some belly rubs and enjoy a happy home.  If you’re looking for a true, loyal family member, then look no further than Chuck.

The kids in Miss Jennie Warmouth's 2nd grade class at Spruce Elementary fell in love with lovely Belinda's sweet (and vocal!) personality. They wrote this adorable adoption profile to help her find the home she deserves. Come to PAWS Cat City where you can fall in love with Belinda too!

Belinda2If you want a cat with a beautiful voice . . . then BELINDA IS THE ONE FOR YOU!

She will meow to say, “Pet me please!” and “I love you!”

She will meow to say, “You are my friend!” and, “You’re nice…especially when you rub my ears!”

She is cute and she is cuddly. This little diva loves, loves, loves attention and pets and ear rubs and belly rubs! Are you a good listener who likes to pet soft and warm kitties? Then you should come meet BELINDA today!

Harry – Purebred Basset Hound – eight years old

Harry2There is just something about Basset Hounds, with their long bodies and floppy ears. Maybe it was the way he waddled over and looked up at me with his droopy eyes, but when I saw Harry in his kennel this week, I could not resist spending some time with him.

Opening the door, Harry tries his very hardest to jump up onto my legs, but I am fairly certain with his body type, there are certain physical limitations that he just will never be able to overcome. Despite his very best efforts to reach my knees, he eventually gives up as I start scratching him behind the ears, definitely one of his favorite spots.

Time for a walk… sort of. Harry is a curious pup, and definitely wants to say hello to every person and dog he walks by. He is a total social butterfly, so it took us a while to actually get out the door. And even once we were outside, Harry makes it to just below the trailhead, stops and gives me a look to say, “You want me to do what?” I get down onto one knee and he quickly runs over and nuzzles into my side waiting for attention. I can’t resist and quickly realize he would much prefer to just spend some time getting scratched than waddling around the trail.

Harry would be a great addition to any family. His calm and friendly demeanor is great around every person and dog he meets. He is looking for the perfect home that is ready to keep him happy by making sure those ridiculously huge ears get plenty of attention.

Puget Sound and the Pacific coast serve as wintering grounds for a variety of birds that spend their summers on freshwater lakes.  Among the species that make the journey from freshwater to saltwater and back again are many that are so highly specialized for aquatic life that they are are incapable of taking flight from solid ground.  Unfortunately, when viewed from the air, light reflecting off of wet pavement looks very much like light reflecting off of a body of water.  Some birds are unable to tell the difference until it is too late.

Such was the case with a migrating Horned Grebe that was transferred to PAWS Wildlife Center on October 29 from Northwest Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Bellingham.  The grebe had been found floundering around on a road on Lummi Island.  The impact, and his subsequent attempts to walk on the asphalt, had caused abrasions on the grebe's feet and lower legs.  He was also thin and slightly anemic.  Fortunately, the radiographs that we took of the bird showed that he had not broken any bones. 


The Horned Grebe was feisty despite his ordeal.  His feather condition was good and his waterproofing was intact.  He readily ate mealworms and small fish that we offered to him.  After only four days in care the grebe's weight had increased by 15 percent, and his anemia had resolved.  On November 2, we helped him finish the last leg of his journey to Puget Sound.


Wearing gloves to ensure that his feathers were kept clean, PAWS Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager Emily Meredith place the Horned Grebe gently in the water.  He began kicking excitedly as he saw his winter home laid out before him.


Once he was in the water, the grebe swam a short distance away and then paused to flap and shake his feathers back into alignment.  He then ran on top of the water and took to the air, making a short, looping flight around the bay.


The grebe landed very close to the spot from which he had taken off, and then he noticed that he was not alone.  Another Horned Grebe had spotted him and was swimming steadily toward him.  The grebe we had just released seemed eager to make this new bird's acquaintance, and he swam to meet the oncoming stranger.


When we last saw the Horned Grebe, he and his new companion were swimming and diving side by side.  His transition back to the wild was complete.