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9 posts from July 2012


Loving, gentle, good with children. If you were asked to picture what breed of dog fits this description, you might imagine a smiling Golden Retriever, a tail-wagging Labrador, or a cuddly Poodle. But you may be surprised to learn that we are talking about the American Pit Bull Terrier, a breed once known as the "Nanny Dog" for their loyalty and affection for children.

Baby Willis and Polly the Pit BullThis well-known breed has gained a less-than-favorable reputation over the past several years as Pit Bulls have become vilified in the media for their association with dog-fighting and other aggressive behaviors.

However, violence and aggression are not true to the nature of the Pit Bull. In general, Pit Bulls were raised to be very people friendly and form strong bonds with their families. Designed to have lots of energy and an athletic build, Pit Bulls require lots of exercise and usually excel at activities like agility and fly ball.

Tanya Mustard, a Pit Bull adopter and mother of three, wants everyone to know what wonderful companions Pit Bulls can make. "I couldn't imagine my life or my kids lives without our Pit Bull Terriers" she says. "They are the most loyal, devoted pets with so much heart!" 

While American Pit Bull Terriers and their mixes are not the right fit for all families, if you are considering one of these dogs as a companion, we highly recommend the following resources for learning about the breed and determining if a Pit Bull is the right dog for you:

    Bad Rap: BadRap.org
    Pit Bull Rescue Central: PBRC.net
    Animal Farm Foundation: animalfarmfoundation.org
    Also, check out our Resource Library for training tips.

Meet some of the wonderful Pit Bulls at PAWS!



Walking in to the Sunset Hill Veterinary & Rehabilitation Center in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, you might expect to see certain familiar sights—veterinarians in white coats, a clinical waiting room, vials of medicine, and maybe a nervous patient waiting to be seen. But Sunset Hill is not your ordinary vet.

Sunset Hill VetAgainst a wall of brightly colored animal photography prints and paintings sits a spacious "cat condo" with a purring two-year-old cat named Tessa inside. Thanks to a partnership between PAWS and Sunset Hill, the vet clinic serves as an off-site cat adoption facility where kitties like Tessa can enjoy a break from the shelter and be seen by potential adopters.

Since 2010, Sunset Hill has found loving homes for all twelve of the cats and kittens they have hosted, including four bonded pairs and several senior cats.

“Having this partnership with Sunset Hill has been so good for the animals,” says PAWS Cat City Supervisor Steph Renaud.

"The staff spend a lot of time with the kitties, and they work hard to make sure the cats are happy and being seen by possible adopters."

In addition to finding homes for the animals, Sunset Hill helps PAWS in other meaningful ways. Last summer, they arranged for three pet food companies to match any cat food donations their clients brought in. The result was a donation of more than 900 pounds of cat and kitten food for the felines at PAWS!

Sunset Hill is a full service veterinary clinic and rehabilitation center providing vaccinations, surgeries, and everything in between. They even offer hydrotherapy! PAWS would like to thank Dr. Alycia Lamb and her wonderful staff for their support and commitment to finding loving, forever homes for each and every cat they host from PAWS.

Visit the cats at Sunset Hill today!



Scrambling, tumbling and jumping over one another, nearly a dozen adorable kittens wrestle playfully in the designated "kitten room" at PAWS Cat City.  And there are more on the way.

Kitten-071112"We are literally overflowing with kittens!" says Steph Renaud, PAWS Cat City Supervisor.  "We have 15 little ones today, and we are expecting at least 18 more tomorrow."

Kitten season is arguably the cutest time of year, but it puts a significant strain on animal shelters across the country who are overwhelmed with an influx of kittens needing homes.

“We have a high number of kittens needing permanent homes this time of year,” says Kay Joubert, Director of Companion Animal Services at PAWS.  “We’re responding as best we can to make sure these vulnerable animals are taken care of.” 

If you have been considering adding a cat or kitten to your family, now would be a great time to do it!  Please visit our Adoptions page for more information about the animals available for adoption at PAWS, or to fill out an adoption form online.  We have kittens available for adoption at both Cat City and our Lynnwood shelter, so stop by either of these locations for a visit!

Find the perfect pet at PAWS today!



It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a year since I first met her, but one glance at her chart removes any doubt. Species: Anna's Hummingbird. Patient Number: 11-2241. Date of Admission: 08/15/2011. Yes, 11 months ago is really when she came into our care. It was undoubtedly the worst day of her young life because it began with an outdoor housecat using her as a toy. Fortunately, the cat did not take her life, but he did take some of her dignity by pulling out every one of her tail feathers.


Continue reading "The Waiting is the Hardest Part" »


The dangers are everywhere. 

Netting, monofilament line, hooks and other derelict fishing gear can be found in and around nearly every major body of water in Washington State. Much of it lies below the surface, invisible to us until some hapless animal gets hooked or entangled and drags it back into the light. The animals that manage to struggle out of the water and find help are the lucky ones. Many more that become entangled never surface again.

On July 10, a juvenile River Otter found good fortune in the midst of bad when he became entangled in a small section of gill-netting at Commodore Park in Seattle. A Seattle Animal Control officer was dispatched to the scene and was able to safely contain the otter and bring him to PAWS. At PAWS, Wildlife Rehabilitator Stephanie Herman and Rehabilitation Manager Emily Meredith were able to disentangle the feisty otter. The photo below shows Emily holding the section of netting that they removed.


Fortunately, the otter had not been entangled for very long. He was uninjured, healthy and, once unencumbered by the net, quite a handful.


The Seattle Animal Control Officer that had rescued the otter offered to take him back to his home. I assisted in getting the otter back into his transport cage, but not before donning a pair of kevlar-lined gloves. The otter protested his handling by doing his best to bite and by letting out an ear-piercing scream.


I placed the otter in his transport cage and sent him on his way. Hopefully he will be able to avoid a repeat of his experience with the fishing net, but as long as derelict gear is out there, the possibility remains.

To learn more about the dangers posed to wildlife by derelict fishing gear and how you can help, visit Derelictgear.org



Although I've been doing this work for over 17 years now, the speed with which some of our orphaned patients mature never ceases to amaze me. Naked, helpless baby songbirds turn into fully flighted fledglings in less than three weeks, and many small mammal babies grow to independence within six to twelve weeks.

I was reminded of this rapidity of growth earlier today when I went to check up on a pair of Townsend's Chipmunks that have been in our care since they were found orphaned on May 26. I first saw the chipmunks as they were being fed milk replacement formula on May 31. I took the following photo of one of them at that feeding.

Another photo that I took today, just 40 days later, shows a chipmunk that is now a capable sub-adult, nearly ready for release.

From a helpless, eyes-closed infant to an independent sub-adult in a little over a month. They really do grow up fast. 


Meet Kamila.

After a visit to PAWS five years ago, Kamila was inspired to help the adoptable animals in the shelter. She was moved to tears when she thought of the many pets waiting for forever homes, and decided that instead of receiving birthday gifts for herself, she would collect supplies for PAWS.

Kamila and KodaThe amazing thing is, she didn't do this just once, but has asked for donations instead of presents for five years in a row. It’s become a birthday tradition for her!

In addition to donating a multitude of supplies and funds to PAWS over the past five years, Kamila also convinced her parents to adopt one of the dogs at the PAWS Companion Animal Shelter.

Koda, a two-year old Blue Heeler and Husky mix, now has a loving, forever home with Kamila and her family.

Thank you, Kamila for your kind and generous spirit. You are truly a caring role model to all!





For most Americans, the Fourth of July holiday is a time for fun, family and celebration.  For our canine and feline friends, however, the holiday can be a nightmare.  As you make your plans to celebrate our nation's independence, please keep your pets in mind and follow some of these helpful tips to make sure that your cat or dog is safe and comfortable.

MugenThe booms and crashes of a big fireworks display may be fun for us, but for animals with sensitive ears, the noise can be too much.  The loud noises may also frighten animals, causing them to run away.  In fact, statistics show that 30% more pets get lost between July 4 and July 6 than any other time of year. 

Experts suggest keeping cats and dogs securely inside the home, shutting all windows and providing them with a quiet, comfortable place to rest.  If your pet is especially scared of loud noises, you can turn on "white noise" sources such as the radio, a fan or dishwashing machine.

If you are expecting guests, consider setting aside a room just for your animal with food, water and a comfortable place to rest.  Crowds can overwhelm your pet, and giving them a quiet space to retreat to will go a long way in helping them feel safe and relaxed. And if you are heading out to a community fireworks display, it is best to leave your dog at home as the activity and loud noises may overwhelm or frighten them.

For the "just in case" scenario, in the event that your animal does escape the house, make sure that they are wearing a collar with identification tags, and that all contact information is up-to-date. Also ensure that your pet's microchip information is current. 

For more holiday hazards, visit PAWS.org

Happy Fourth of July from all of us at PAWS!



There was a time when a Mallard duck could place her nest pretty much anywhere she chose. Ducklings are very mobile just a few hours after hatching, so even if the nest was far from water the mother duck could simply march her brood overland to reach it. This is no longer the case. Nowadays a duck that places her nest even a few hundred feet from a water source will likely have to run a gauntlet of fences, buildings, sidewalks, roads and myriad other human-created obstacles. And that is exactly what happens every spring and summer. The world the ducks live in has changed, but the ducks have not.

On June 19, a female Mallard in Redmond was walking her brood of eight ducklings from the nest to the water. She was heading in the direction of the Sammamish Slough, but she had to cross a very busy road to get there. The entire family's journey was cut short when a car plowed through their little procession. Mom and two babies were injured, and the other six ducklings ran about in a panic. A concerned motorist that witnessed the incident collected the mother duck and the two injured babies and then successfully rounded up the rest of the family. She brought them to PAWS for care.

Fortunately, the mother duck had suffered only minor injuries when she was struck by the car. Trauma from the impact caused some congestion in her lungs, but she recovered quickly over the course of a few days. The two injured ducklings fared worse. One did not survive, and the other is still recovering in our care as of this writing.

On June 27, PAWS Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager Emily Meredith and I returned the mother Mallard and her six uninjured ducklings to the wild. They were reluctant to exit their transport carrier at first, but as soon as mom decided to head for the water, her young quickly followed.


Once everyone was in the water, the babies stuck to their mother like glue. They swam off as a single unit and were later seen foraging together in the shallows.