'Twas several nights before Christmas, and all throughout PAWS, homeless dogs and cats are finding new homes in time for the holidays, while our overwintering wildlife patients are safe in the care of our dedicated rehabilitators.
There's also an animal out there who's working harder than ever during the holiday season and who—though rarely given a second thought by most adults—is on the minds of many of the kids we're welcoming to our education programs right now.
When fourth grade students in a recent Kids Who Care program were asked to choose a favorite animal and consider how to meet that animal's basic needs, most students chose an animal like an owl, squirrel or cat.
One student chose a reindeer. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, to be precise.
He may seem like a fictional creature to you, but to some kids, Rudolph is the epitome of an amazing animal who we share the world with. After all, he has the same basic needs as all other animals. He needs food (carrots), water (normal water), shelter (North Pole), family (Mrs. and Mr. Santa Clause), space (horse’s barn), and exercise (running in the air).
So, this holiday season, remember all the creatures, big and small, who we share the world with. And consider how all of these different animals can provide opportunities for kids to connect with them and want to help.
Whether it be the squirrel in your backyard, the dog curled up at your feet, or the reindeer flying through the night sky on Christmas Eve, let's celebrate the ways kids and adults show compassion and help animals.
If you feel inspired to give, consider donating to support our education programs, such as Kids Who Care.
You can find out more information about scheduling a Kids Who Care program in your school here.
Rob and Raquel adopted Nova (previously Hilda) in May of 2016. During the past eight months Nova has made friends with her two feline housemates while settling in to her forever home. They have already gone on many adventures together, and buried a few bones along the way.
What made you decide to adopt from a shelter? We really liked the idea of rescuing rather than going to a breeder. It just seemed like a more responsible action.
What brought you to PAWS? Two reasons. First, Rob used to volunteer there in the cat room, so he knew the approach PAWS takes to making sure the right pet gets the right owner, and the excellent care they receive up until that point. Second, adopting from them creates space for other animals in need to find their new home. It’s a win-win really.
How did you first find out about Nova? We really lucked out, honestly. We were interested in a German Shepherd and had only recently seriously discussed adopting a dog. We had seen some postings of other dogs on the PAWS website and decided to stop by and see if any would be a good match with us.
There were several dogs we had some possible interest in, but we were still on the fence. As we were walking out of the kennel area we saw Nova walk past with someone. We followed them back to her kennel and staked it out until we were able to get some time to play with her. She had just arrived so she didn’t even have her papers up yet. Talk about perfect timing!
Nova and Zoey cuddling
What led to her name change? Haha well, I'd like to call my girlfriend, Raquel, and myself avid gamers. But I would be wrong if I did that—it’s definitely just me. However she likes to watch this one game that I play—Heroes of the Storm. One of my favorite characters within that game is called Nova. The name just fit her well, so we went with it.
What was it that most attracted you to her? We loved her mix of German Shepherd and Siberian Husky. Her gorgeous coat, pointy ears, crazy curly tail, and different colored eyes are absolutely beautiful.
Once we had some play time with her, we also fell in love with her behavior. She wasn’t loud or defensive about food when we were interacting with her. She also wasn’t too high energy, which was important based on our housing.
Nova and Raquel taking a nap
How would you describe her personality? She’s a gentle princess. Doesn’t bark much, plays nicely with her sisters (two tortoiseshell cats). She hates getting her paws wet in the rain and will protest when we take her out to potty in the wet.
How was your adoption experience with PAWS? About as great as one would expect. They were very honest and upfront about anything. So good, in fact, that Rob did a 24 hour video game marathon (did we mention he likes to play video games?) on twitch to raise money for PAWS. We were able to raise $125 which we were thrilled about! Stay tuned as we may be doing this again in March of 2017!
Briefly talk us through your first journey home and how the “settling in” period went. It was a transition at home for sure. Rob was definitely over-protective of the cats when they would interact (which didn’t happen for quite some time after getting her). It took a little bit for things to settle, and a lot of hard work. But now there is definitely a “pack” mentality in the home that all creatures understand.
Rob and Nova on a camping trip
What have you experienced together since Nova came into your life? We love to camp—a lot. In fact, the day after we got her we took her on a Memorial Day camping trip with us (up near Skykomish). She loved it! But the story gets better. Among the many toys we brought with us for her that trip was a bone (we weren’t sure what she liked yet, so we gave her plenty of variety). When we gave the bone to her in the campsite, she promptly buried it.
Fast-forward about two months, and we were up camping at the same campground again. We brought her to the site where she had buried the bone. Not only was it still there; she walked right up to the spot and dug it up. She carried it around proudly for everyone to see before burying it, yet again, in a different site. I’ll have to get back to you next summer to see if she digs it up again!
We also took her out in the recent snow, and she had the time of her life!
In honor of our current patient of the week and the large number of herons that were recently spotted in Edmonds our species spotlight this week focuses on Great Blue Herons.
The Great Blue Herons is the largest heron in North America with a wingspan of 5.5 to 6.5 feet, height around 4 feet and weigh roughly five pounds. They are year-round residents of Washington and can most frequently be seen anywhere there is a wetland.
They are known for their patience; you will often see them standing very still staring into the water for long periods of time. This is how they hunt; they stand very still or move very slowly waiting for prey to swim or fly by. They are carnivorous and mainly eat fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, insects and sometimes even other birds.
Great Blue Herons are solitary except during the breeding season when they typically nest in rookeries with other herons. One of these rookeries you can see in the spring and summer at the Marymoor Park.