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10 posts from April 2013


To Randi Hagen, resistance would have been futile. She had always wanted to work with animals, but didn’t think she could escape the desire to bring them all home with her. So in order to avoid the temptation of adopting every cat and dog at the shelter, she chose to donate her time to the animals at the PAWS Wildlife Center instead.

Volunteer Spotlight - Randi Hagen and Coyote pup“I knew it would be too hard to resist companion animals, so I was happy to learn about the PAWS Wildlife Center volunteer program,” says Randi. “With wildlife you don't have to worry about wanting to take them home with you!”

So far, says Randi, the experience has been incredible and, at times, adrenaline-inducing.

“Just after I started volunteering, I went up to feed the pigeons. However, I accidentally turned right instead of left into a small cage and looked up to see a Bald Eagle staring down at me!”

After making a hasty retreat, Randi was able to have a good laugh about the run-in. “I realized he could probably care less about me, but maybe I improved his self confidence knowing he could still scare the snot out of a silly human.”

Randi’s experience at the PAWS Wildlife Center has also been a moving one.

“There was a Coyote pup being treated in the ward,” recalls Randi. “He was very sick and suffering from a bad case of mange. He was such a sick pitiful little thing it nearly broke my heart, but what amazed and inspired me was his spirit—that he could be in such tough shape and still carry on.”

We’re happy to report that the Coyote pup eventually made a full recovery and was released back into the wild.

It’s these kind of experiences that keep Randi coming back to work with the animals week after week. When she’s not at PAWS, she works in a court office all day (which is why PAWS in such a nice change of pace, she says), then goes home to her dog and two cats. She enjoys hiking and being out in the quiet of the woods, and intends to travel around the USA “once I get old and rich enough to retire.”

Randi, thank you for your commitment to the wildlife at PAWS! Your dedication and your willingness to go the extra mile is truly appreciated by your fellow volunteers and staff. Thanks for being a volunteer!

Become a PAWS volunteer today!


Apr 22

Letting Go

On April 17, while I was on my way to release a River Otter, a reporter asked me if I ever feel sad while letting an animal go. It's a question I've been asked many times, and it's a valid one considering the charismatic nature of the animals with whom we work and the amount of time many of them spend in our care.

To be honest, sometimes the animals we receive are so adorable it seems nearly impossible that a human being could resist becoming attached to them. The otter I was releasing on April 17 is a perfect example. He came to us on May 25, 2012. He was only a few weeks old at the time, and he'd been stuck in a retaining wall for five days on the banks of Lake Union in Seattle. He was weak, dehydrated and in need of help. He was also heartbreakingly cute.


From the time the otter was admitted, we were committed to meeting his every need. He flourished under our care, growing into a sleek, sub-adult animal.


His charisma never faded. Although he no longer possessed the classic “big head/small body” cuteness of a baby, he had a very endearing personality that was hard to resist.


So was I sad when I stood on the banks of a beaver pond and watched the otter slip out of a transport carrier and into the water? The answer is an emphatic “no.”


No matter how cute and cuddly the animals with whom we work may appear, this isn't what defines them in our eyes. Our patients are first and foremost wild animals. They are independent beings with needs and behaviors inseparably tied to the habitats in which they evolved. In captivity, they can never fully express who and what they are. Their full potential can only be realized when they are set free.


Naturalist Edwin Way Teale once wrote, “Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals ‘love’ them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.” I was very present with the meaning of those words as I watched the otter we had raised returning to his normal life, and what I felt in that moment was about as far from sadness as emotions can get.


The halls of the PAWS Wildlife Center today were filled with the vocal protestations of our newest ursine patient. The three-month-old black bear was found on a beach in Charleston, OR, and it was his extremely loud bawling that first brought him to the attention of concerned people in the area. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officers observed the 10-pound cub until they were certain that his mother was nowhere to be found. Then they captured him and drove him to PAWS for care.

Black Bear 130422. intake exam 041913 KM-4

The cub was given a quick physical exam when he arrived, and he appears to be in good health.  Like the 86 other bears that PAWS has worked with, we will ensure that this cub grows strong and remains wild so that he has the best possible chance for survival when he is released next spring.

- Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist



Two weeks ago, the PAWS Wildlife Center received a call from a very confused park maintenance staff member at the Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park in Redmond. The employee had been conducting a routine sweep of the park, along one of their heavily used pathways, when she came across a Great Horned Owl chick sitting on the ground looking quite stunned. Directly above, she spied the mother owl and two other chicks peering down from the branches more than 50 feet above.

The park worker was concerned that the extensive fall had severely injured the owl, so she brought him to PAWS to be checked out. Upon arrival, the owl chick had already perked up significantly, but a low red blood cell count in the bird's initial blood work indicated that he was slightly anemic.

Great Horned Owl chick arrives at PAWS

Continue reading "Great Horned Owl Chick Finds His Way Home" »


GiveBIG 2013

GiveBIG is back on Wednesday, May 15!

In 2012, more than 37,800 individuals contributed $7.43 million to Seattle-area non-profits through The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG challenge. Once again, you can make your gift to PAWS stretch even further by donating online on Wednesday, May 15, 2013! GiveBIG is a one-day, online giving event which inspires people to give generously to non-profit organizations that make our region a better place to live.

Join us for this amazing chance to stretch your support for injured, orphaned and homeless animals through The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG event!

Here's how it works, in two simple steps:

  1. On Wednesday, May 15, visit PAWS’ page on The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG website
  2. Click on Donate Now, and then click Make a credit card donation

That's it! Every donation made to the non-profit organizations profiled on The Seattle Foundation’s website between midnight and midnight (Pacific Time) will receive a pro-rated portion of the matching funds (or “stretch”) pool. The amount of the “stretch” will depend on the size of the stretch pool and how much is raised in total donations on GiveBIG day.

Gifts made to PAWS through GiveBIG are fully tax-deductible. Please note, only gifts made on The Seattle Foundation’s website on May 15 are eligible for GiveBIG matching funds.

If you have any questions about GiveBIG, please do not hesitate to e-mail donations@paws.org or call 425.412.4024. Current Fundholders at The Seattle Foundation are encouraged to participate in GiveBIG, yet only donations made by credit card on the GiveBIG website on May 15, 2013 will be eligible for the stretch pool. 

GiveBIG to the animals at PAWS on May 15!



The PAWS main cat room is getting a facelift! The feline room at our Lynnwood shelter will be closing for a remodel on April 14 at 4 p.m. and will reopen on April 23 at 12 p.m. We'll be transforming old, cramped phone booth cubicles into a new, spacious room to house multiple cats in a more open and relaxed setting. We think the cats will dig it, and visitors too! 

Cat Room makeoverThe open-colony setting, with the cats staying in one large room rather than in cages, will provide an opportunity for visitors to interact with the cats, see how they interact with each other, and get a better sense of each cat’s unique personality.

The open floor plan will also allow the cats to freely move around and explore, alleviating boredom and allowing them to socialize both with others cats and prospective adopters in a relaxed environment.

Visitors will still be able to view and visit with adoptable cats in another area at our Lynnwood shelter during the remodel, and adopters can also visit our PAWS Cat City location in Seattle's U-District to see more available kitties.

Thank you in advance for your patience during our remodel!

Come visit the friendly felines at PAWS



Nothing feels better than a long, refreshing soak in the tub and an updated 'do. Especially when you really need it! For the dogs at PAWS, getting pampered is an extra special treat. Each dog receives thorough grooming and a brand new look when they arrive at PAWS, and it's all thanks to one very special volunteer.

Deborah grooming PAWS dog GenieMeet Deborah Jeanneret of One Dog At A Time pet grooming service. Rain or shine, Deborah makes the trip to PAWS every Monday to give the dogs fresh haircuts, a sudsy scrub and a head-to-toe makeover.

But it's not just about vanity—it's important for the dogs to put their best paw forward for potential adopters.

"The grooming service really does help our dogs get adopted faster," confirms PAWS Animal Behavior Lead Kristi Binau.

"When adopters see a ‘dirty' or matted dog, they may be less inclined to adopt that particular dog because of their appearance, and the added cost of paying for grooming once they bring the dog home" says Binau.

With every adoption and every dog finding a forever home, Deborah's hard work has paid off.

Thank you Deborah for your compassion and dedicated to the animals at PAWS!

Meet the available (and freshly groomed) pets at PAWS




If you love cool cars and helping homeless animals, then this event is for you!


The Red Square Car Show is an annual display of the finest automobiles in the greater Pacific Northwest. Hosted by Sigma Phi Epsilon, Cats Exotics and NorthWest Auto Salon, the Red Square Car Show features a broad spectrum of high-end exotics, import tuners, and classic muscle cars.

This year’s Red Square Car Show takes place on Saturday, May 4, 2013, from 12 noon – 4 p.m. in the University of Washington’s Red Square. For more information or to register your car, contact redsquarecarshow@catsexotics.com.

With food and refreshments available from popular Seattle food trucks Hallava Fallafel, Buns on Wheels, Moonie Icy Tunes, and My Chef Lynn, this event is sure to be fun for the whole family. Best of all, 100% of the proceeds from the Red Square Car Show will be donated to PAWS!

Join us at the Red Square Charity Car Show on May 4!



If you were to ask a child what they look forward to most about their birthday, you might expect the answer to be a party with all their friends, a delicious birthday cake or maybe a heaping pile of presents. But for nine-year-old Emily, her only birthday wish was a truly selfless one—to help injured, orphaned and homeless animals.

Emily and VioletSo when her 10th birthday came around, she decided to ask for donations to PAWS instead of birthday gifts! Emily was first introduced to PAWS when she and her mother rescued and brought in an injured bird to the PAWS Wildlife Center. She knew immediately that she wanted to help the animals in any way she could.

Emily has always appreciated nature and wild animals, and she and her family provide a loving home for her pet cat Violet. Because of her love of animals and her desire to help, Emily decided to ask for donations to PAWS in lieu of birthday presents for herself.

Thanks to her kind and giving heart, Emily made a generous donation of dog and cat food, toys and $100.

Thank you Emily for your kindness and compassion toward animals!

Here are more great ways for kids to get involved and help animals!