Adrianna and Aleksandra adopted Abby from PAWS Cat City in 2011. She was seven years old at the time, a shy cat who had been in PAWS’ care for long enough to feign a lack of interest in people who came to visit. But the couple saw through Abby’s shyness to her mellow temperament, which they thought would be a great match for first-time cat parent Aleksandra. I recently sat down with Adrianna to talk about Abby’s life since her adoption.
What made you decide to adopt from a shelter? I am very passionate about no-kill shelters, and I would never purchase a pet—another living being; there are so many cats that need homes.
What brought you to PAWS? PAWS does a really good job with the adoption process in terms of caring for the cats, helping people find the right cat and making sure that the cats are adoptable. I also liked all the information on their website about the adoption process and finding the right cat.
What was it that most attracted you to Abby? True love? Love at first sight? I specifically wanted to adopt a black cat and an adult cat, because black cats are more likely to stay in shelters longer simply because they don’t stand out as much as other colors. When I saw Abby in the shelter I noticed that she was kind of hanging off to the side and she wasn’t very visible, but since I was looking for a black cat I noticed her.
How was your journey home and settling in together? She was amazing! She went into her carrier with absolutely no problem, and the staff at PAWS were very nice and helpful. When she got home she came out with her tail up, all curious and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. My sister was there to help me with the introduction to her feline housemate, Pedro, and separating them into two rooms at the beginning. I think being well educated about how to properly introduce cats helped a lot.
How would you describe Abby’s personality? She is a fluffy marshmallow of love. She’s given me so much happiness and she has the most wonderful purr. She’s just a mellow cat and likes hanging out, sitting in her cat tree and watching the birds. She’s very gentle and sweet, and she’s definitely smarter than Pedro. I’ve trained her to sit up and beg for treats.
How has Abby changed your life? She’s made me a more loving and contented person. She reminds me about what’s important in life and how to be open-hearted ... and of the importance of taking naps. The companionship she gives me is so deeply wonderful because I have a chronic illness that sometimes makes it difficult to even get out of bed. She’s like a little medicine cat. She can make me smile no matter what’s going on.
A lot of people worry about adopting older cats because of a concern about health problems or that they won’t have much time together. Has Abby faced any major health issues? She did have a bout of pancreatitis, but that resolved quickly. She has arthritis, but that’s well managed. As far as adopting an older cat, indoor cats can live to be 20 or older, so if you’re adopting a 10-year-old cat, you’ve got 10 years together.
What advice do you have for people considering adopting a cat? Be aware that it is a long-term commitment. It’s like having a child: You need to make sure you can afford it and that you’re willing to go the extra mile to get cat-friendly housing, and that you have time to spend with your cat. People have the misconception that cats are aloof, but they really do need a lot of companionship. I also think it’s important to consider a cat-only vet because cats are much calmer in this environment and the staff are experts in feline medicine.
If you’ve ever succumbed to the persuasive powers of an adoptable cat (or two, or more!), chances are Amanda’s experience with PAWS alumnus Malcolm will resonate with you. For those of you thinking about adding a feline friend to your family, her moving story of life with a senior cat may open up a whole new world of potentially perfect companions.
This is a letter to anyone considering the adoption of a senior cat, and to the people at PAWS who made this all possible.
When I adopted Malcolm he was seven and a half years old, with an arrhythmia of the heart and severe allergies to just about anything. However, to know Malcolm was to love Malcolm. This test has been proven several times, and he has a reputation for turning the most allergy ridden, insecure and unconfident human into a cat person.
He was amazing.
I was young when Malcolm chose me. I was 21, with only a part time job and a part time fiancé. I was two states away from my family, friends and the home I knew. I couldn’t afford his many ailments and I had every reason to say no. I even tried once. But in the end, there was no ‘saying no’ to Malcolm.
The day I brought him home was terrifying. I wondered if he would adapt well enough, if I was enough, if he could thrive in this home that I had built. Naturally, he walked in like he owned the place. In so many ways, he made me feel more at home there then I would have felt on my own. Every bit of love I gave to him, he returned ten times over. It was as though he knew that I would be his ‘forever home’.
Malcolm was work. As I mentioned, he was allergic to everything; laundry detergents, fleas, flea medication, pain medication, grains, and scented litter. And then there was his heart murmur to keep an eye on. Some days, it was more than I could handle. But Malcolm acted every day as though he was worth it, and by the end of even the hardest day, he proved he was right.
I’m not going to go into detail of the years of loss, change and growth that we went through together; but I will say that he was by my side every second. Making him my first priority always resulted in the best solution. I couldn’t go wrong.
Malcolm died of a heart attack last week. He was mine for only five years. Five years is a very short relationship to have with a pet, but for me and for us, it was five years of love and adoration.
A senior cat can have a lot of love to give. They can lend you the experience you lack, and they can be the most confident partners. Senior cats know more about themselves than we, as humans, know of ourselves. All you have to do is listen with your heart and trust that your best will be enough.
My senior cat was a success story. And though it breaks my heart to be without him, he has taught me a valuable lesson: never dismiss a life because of age or ailments. When I am ready to adopt again, I hope to find another senior. I hope that anyone reading this message will take my advice to heart.
Dogs have always been part of Janiece’s life so, when her beloved Dozer passed away in 2012, it was somewhat inevitable that life soon began to feel empty and the pull to get another dog became stronger. Little did she know the amazing and life-changing adventure that awaited her with Roxy, adopted in January 2013 and now about to become a fully-fledged Search and Rescue dog!
How did you find Roxy? I love telling this story! In November of 2012, my old dog Dozer passed away and I soon started feeling the pull to get another dog. Of course, everyone loves to help you find a new dog, so my friends at work were scanning all the adoption sites for me. A good friend at work (and prior PAWS volunteer) found a shepherd mix she thought would be perfect. I raced to PAWS after work to meet her.
Just talking to her through the kennel door I could tell she wasn’t the dog for me, but as I walked by Roxy something made me stop. I’d seen her previously on the website but she hadn’t triggered anything with me, until I saw her. I instantly knew she was supposed to be in my life.
It was too late to do a meet and greet that day, so I planned to come back the next day. When I got there another family was visiting with her. I was crushed and hoped they wouldn’t click with her. Luckily for me they didn’t and I got to spend some time with her.
She didn’t really care about me and was basically just a big puppy at that point. All she really knew was how to sit for cookies. She had A LOT of energy and was a little nippy (ah, the herding breeds!). I was hooked and put a hold on her. She came home the next day and settled right in on the car ride home.
What were some of the highlights of your first weeks together? Oh dear, I wish I could say it was a honeymoon from the beginning, but that was not the case! She tried to attack my cat Bailey (there was a baby gate between them), spent a couple months peeing on the floor, and was horrible with visitors. She was, however, a total sweetheart! As she settled into her new life, we worked through all those issues . She’s now great with the cat (they share my bed), never pees inside and loves meeting new people!
Were you looking for a Search and Rescue candidate when you started looking for a dog? I was not, but quickly realized after I got Roxy, this dog NEEDS to work! The Snohomish County K9 Team was hosting an open house, so I decided to check it out. We joined in 2013. Two years later, here we are and my life has completely changed!
How does the training work? In Snohomish County, you’re first a member of Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue (SCVSAR). There are training requirements at the county level including navigation, first aid, and wilderness survival. The county also has specialty teams, such as K9 and Equine, and each team has additional training based on their specialty. On average it takes 18 to 24 (or more) months to certify a dog. There’s no cost for the training, however you do have to purchase and maintain your own equipment.
What makes Roxy such a good candidate for SAR? She has high drive (she LOVES to play tug and “hunt” people), she’s bold, energetic and athletic. She’s that dog that will go all day, rest for an hour and be ready to go again. That’s the type of dog that drives you crazy as a pet but makes an excellent SAR dog!
What does the life of a SAR dog involve? Training, training and more training! Pretty much I just try to keep up with her. We do agility once a week, train with the team once or twice a week, and work on obedience, etc. in between. She also has regular doggie play dates with her friends. Down time to just “be a dog” is really important too. It’s easy to burn a dog out with too much training.
In additional to all of that, it’s important to keep your SAR dog physically fit. We ask a lot of them when they’re working and they need to be prepared for that. We do something active pretty much every day, sometimes that’s a run, a romp at the park or a good hike.
Any funny training moments you can share? She had a brief stint as a sled dog while we were training at Mount Rainier. I fell down and she was so excited to start her problem she kept going. I held on and went for a little ride. I think I see skijoring (a winter sport where you’re on skis and pulled by a dog/horse/vehicle) in our future!
What will the next steps be once you’re certified? She’ll be ready to deploy on missions. She’s currently working on her Airscent Certification, which involves working off leash in large areas. We’ve also done some disaster and avalanche training, and will likely continue to pursue that after she’s certified in Airscent.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to adopt a dog? First and foremost, make sure you’re getting a dog for the right reasons and you have the time to commit to dog ownership. Second, make sure you get the right dog for your lifestyle and be realistic about what that is. I see so many people get that “cute” working breed, then don’t give it a job. Those dogs will find a job, we’ve bred them to work. They may just decide that eating your couch or herding your children is the best job for them!
Get professional guidance from the beginning. Even if you’ve had dogs before, this helps get you and the dog off on the right foot. Give your dog time to adjust and try to see things from his/her perspective. Their entire world has just been turned upside down. Who knows what their history is? Their behavior is based on their past experiences, and that won’t change overnight.
Dogs of all shapes, sizes and personalities end up in shelters looking for that new forever family who’ll let their talents shine – whether those talents are delivering love through snuggles, creating laughter through fun times, or saving lives. Thank you, Janiece, for seeing Roxy’s potential and giving her the perfect career as well as the perfect home!
If you were following PAWS News back in March, you're sure to know the story of Betty Blue - a pit bull who gave birth alone in a field alongside a canal in California. Her courage, tenacity and unreserved faith in humans captivated and inspired all who met or read about her.
Today, an email from her new family has us reaching for the Kleenex to mop away those happy tears. Read on as Christine shares her family's first three months with this lovable lady:
Ms. Betty Blue…where to begin? We’ve had the pleasure of sharing our lives with Betty for just over three months and honestly we couldn’t be happier.
Betty’s an eager to please, not so little goof-ball, who knows she’s got us wrapped around her paw. Her clumsy gait and big happy smile are so endearing I can’t imagine our lives without her. A gentle love bug whose tail starts thumping the second you say her name, she’s brought much joy into our home.
Betty and Ella (our feline baby) co-exist better than I could have asked for, and I am so appreciative to PAWS staff, who spent a good hour talking me through proper cat/dog introductions. As I think in most households, our cat tends to call the shots, and Betty for the most part has been extremely respectful of Ella’s boundaries. I don’t see the two of them cuddling up anytime soon, but they co-exist peacefully together.
On a side note, when Betty first arrived we purchased three large dog beds for different rooms of the house; she immediately decided the tiny cat bed was the best option (pictured, below) and chose that instead (the fact Betty is 70lbs and doesn’t fully fit in the 10lb cat’s bed didn’t seem to bother Betty one bit).
Betty’s an avid swimmer who loves car rides, walks in the neighborhood park, and overnight camping trips; although why one would want to leave a warm comfy bed to sleep on the ground in a tent is still beyond her!
Betty’s left her mark on Cougar Rock Campground and Paradise at Mt. Rainier, and she’s been an excellent travel partner on our adventures.
Her grandparents live on beach front property near Hood Canal and she tries her best to swim straight out to sea whenever we visit. Try as she might, she still hasn’t figured out how to move the buoys, which I can only assume from her perspective look like giant toy balls. She also has a habit of dragging to shore driftwood double or even triple her size; what she needs a log that large for is still a mystery to us!
Betty’s still on medication daily, and will be most likely for the rest of her life. She has a bit of trouble going down stairs when excited, as her momentum and exuberance tend to get the best of her two front legs but—for the most part—Betty doesn’t let her injuries bother her.
We’ve introduced hydrotherapy sessions (pictured right), which are a fantastic workout for her and include massages while in a warm salt water pool.
While the weather’s still good though we’ll be trying to get her back in the ocean swimming as much as possible!
Since bringing her home, Betty has reaffirmed our decision to adopt every day, and we feel lucky to have her.
Thank you everyone was involved in her rescue and transport from California, and those who supported her care, we’re so grateful to share our hearts with her!
If ever proof was needed to reinforce the saying "those who say money can't buy happiness have never paid an adoption fee", this is it. Thank YOU Christine – we're so very grateful that Betty Blue found you.
In September 2012, Camille decided she was finally ready for the responsibility of a four-legged companion and began what she expected to be a lengthy search for the perfect partner. Little did she know she was only a shelter away from her happy union with a feline friend.
Three years on, Camille looks back on life with Harper (now Scout)...
What made you decide to adopt from a shelter? I didn't have a specific breed I was looking for and I wanted an adult cat. Plus, I know that shelters are overflowing with animals. It seemed like a no brainer to me.
What brought you to PAWS? I had been going to adoption fairs and scouring Petfinder.com for a couple months and was already well aware of PAWS.
When I finally got serious about adopting, I chose to go to PAWS in Lynnwood first because I lived close by...but I honestly didn't expect to find my cat that quickly! I assumed I would have to hit up a couple other shelters (including PAWS Cat City in Seattle) before I found "the one."
What was it that most attracted you to Harper? How calm and relaxed she appeared. I grew up with dogs and never had a cat before so I was really hoping to find one that wouldn't be too crazy.
While I was at PAWS I also considered another cat who was far more rambunctious when I had some one on one time with him. While he was adorable, I thought "Harper" was more ideal for a beginner cat owner. I was 100% correct! Her personality was what sold me, I honestly didn't even realize how pretty she was until I brought her home.
How did Harper become Scout? I've always thought it was a cute name ever since I read "To Kill a Mockingbird" back in high school. I told myself if I ever got a pet that Scout would be top on the list of names I would consider.
How would you describe her personality? She really has the sweetest disposition and is very affectionate. She's pretty social too and never hides from people when they come to visit. She likes to be the center of attention.
Just the other day, two guys from the cable company were over fixing some wireless internet issues and I swear she was flirting her fuzzy butt off the entire time! She's also a bit of a goofball... ok, more than just a bit.
Of course she has her sassy moments too, but those are few and far between. She's a sweetheart the majority of the time.
How was your adoption experience with PAWS? It was very positive. I was a little worried because I never had a cat, but I clearly did my homework before I got there so I think the gentleman that helped me with the adoption was pretty happy about that and knew I wasn't making a rash decision.
How was your journey home and settling in together? The whole drive home after the adoption she was meowing up a storm, but once I let her out of her carrier she went straight into exploring the whole house. After she finished she just relaxed and hung out with me the rest of the day...and it's been that way ever since!
I think I was more stressed out than she was when I first brought her home. I’d been talking about getting a cat for months, and when I finally did I couldn't believe she was there! I was just in awe of her and she wrapped me around her little paw in no time.
We bonded very quickly. She honestly behaved as if she's known me since kittenhood. She didn't hide under the bed or have any behavior issues due to a new environment. She settled in beautifully.
Any funny moments in your life together so far? There was a bit of kitty drama going on a couple months back. A neighborhood cat kept coming around our apartment looking up at our windows at night and Scout would lose her mind whenever she saw it. It was like Romeo and Juliet except Juliet wasn't interested and threw a temper tantrum whenever Romeo stopped by. Eventually Romeo got tired of rejection and had his revenge by peeing on Juliet's welcome mat. True story.
How has Scout changed your life? I've actually noticed I'm less stressed out and a lot happier. She's been a wonderful companion and whenever I'm in a bad mood, I just need to look at her and I can't help but smile.
What advice do you have for people considering adopting a cat? I still consider myself a "newbie" when it comes to cat ownership but I learn every day. Like not to freak out over every little thing. I didn't know that cats shed more than just their fur. When I found one of Scout’s claws (which, I'd later discover, was a claw sheath) in the carpet, I was so upset I thought she was hurt! Turns out it's totally normal and a good thing.
Most importantly, be sure you're ready for the responsibility and pick the right cat that’s going to be the happiest with what you can provide for them. It took me over 10 years after I moved out of my parents’ house to decide I was ready to have my first pet.
This animal will depend on you to take care of them and to keep them safe and happy. Trust me, if you’re able to do that successfully, the rewards will be well worth it. There's nothing like it in the world. The best decision I ever made in my life was going to PAWS that September day and adopting my girl.
Thanks for sharing this great story Camille, and for choosing to give a much-needed second chance to an animal in need. We're delighted to have helped you find your perfect forever feline, and wish you many more years of goofball-ness ahead! Readers, you can follow Scout (AKA @sillykittyscout) on Instagram.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I spent the first night that I brought Henry home (at PAWS he was Gru) just staring at him. I took pictures too and some video. I loved him instantly.
Henry, on the other hand, spent the first night testing each item of furniture. He tested the bed for stretch-ability. Could he get a full length body stretch across my mattress? Check.
Then he tested the couch for comfort. Was there an equal amount of room to curl up and sink into cushions? Check. Could he knead the blankets deep enough for his claws not to touch surface? Check. Was there enough distance from this odd lady who kept staring? Check. Double check.
While I was madly in love immediately, Henry was still assessing the situation. While I was posting to Facebook about my new family member, he was one-eyeing me with uncertainty. For me, we were family. For Henry, the jury was still out. He seemed to think it best to sleep on the final decision overnight.
“A cat needs to know its surroundings, so he or she is going to spend a lot of time sniffing,” explains Steph Renaud, PAWS Cat City Supervisor, “and perhaps, sneezing.”
That’s right, cats react to new smells and irritants too.
“Give them a chance to adjust to their new surroundings. This is their home and they’ve got a lifetime to discover it, so let them go slow and find their way on their own time.” Steph encourages. And, if they keep sneezing (like Henry did), bring that up with your vet on your first visit.
Naturally, you already know that every cat is unique and—of course—your new darling is the most interesting being who has ever existed.
For any questions about his/her behavior, the PAWS Resource Library is a thorough hub of online articles for most every cat preparation need you might have.
“There’s no better solution than love and patience.” Says Steph, “If you can remember this, then your latest family member will transition nicely to his or her brand new surroundings.”
As for Henry, he suffered just a few days of ‘everything’s-new-itis’, and it only took a little more than 72 hours to discover that he’s probably a birder at heart – more interested in cat food with bird as the base than fish (lucky for my local wildlife, Henry’s also an indoor cat).
Phew-y, gross, ick fish – according to the tiny panther I now work for.
Suffice to say, Henry’s home now and lucky for me, he seems to like it.
There’s a lot of dirty work involved in being a cat volunteer at PAWS. From cleaning litter trays and mopping floors, to dishing out cat food and tackling piles of laundry, it takes dedication, patience and—at times—a strong nose!
But talk to any of our dedicated team and it’s more than worth it. Because they get to enjoy the fun stuff too – think cuddles, muffin making, wand toy playing, and purring.
Our adorable adoptables’ way of saying thank you.
In celebration of June's Adopt-a-Cat Month, we asked our volunteers to take a selfie with their favorite adoptable kitty – the ones who have captured their hearts, who they find it hard to tear themselves away from after their shift has ended, and who will stay in their minds long after they’ve found their perfect forever home.
For many, choosing just one cat was a challenge in itself! Here are some of our favorites:
Amanda & Ophelia (above left): It's hard to resist sweet, outgoing Ophelia when she gives you her signature adorable head tilt, along with a little chirp to say "pet me!"
Dawn & Kate Bosworth (above right): Love this girl. Yes, she can be a little sassy, but she does have that cute cuddling face. HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THOSE CHEEKS!
Hillary & Poette (above left): This gorgeous girl has become pretty outgoing. When you look into her eyes your heart will melt! She's more than just your average black cat. Come visit Poette today and you'll see what I mean!
Les & Peanut (above center): Who loves ya, Peanut? Who doesn't!
Tammie & Fiona (above right): Fiona is a stunning girl with a mind of her own and desire to be an only kitty. She has a playful, attentive independence and infinite spunk!
We here at PAWS are the recipients of many stories that touch our hearts and motivate us to keep up the good fight for the health and welfare of all the animals in our care. We feel so lucky to have an open dialogue with every member of our PAWS community and thank everyone who shares with us.
Every once and a while, however, we receive a story in our email inboxes that makes even those who work in this field every day stop and dab away the tears.
This is one of those stories. Last week, we received this email from Seth who told us the story about his friend. We see no reason to edit or polish his email, instead we’re going to deliver it to you just as we received it. Our only caveat before you start reading, you might want to have your tissues handy.
Hi there, I adopted a puppy from your Lynnwood, WA location on March 2, 2001. His name was Damon but I changed it to Kobi. He was 7 weeks old when I brought him home. He was one of 11 litter mates that were surrendered with their mother from Snohomish County.
I tried to give him the most adventurous, and love filled life I could.
Yesterday at approximately 2:30 I said goodbye to my best friend of almost 15 years. It was by far the most difficult thing I have ever had to do but I believe it was time…as much as it hurts.
I just wanted to let you all know. He had a fantastic life of camping, rock climbing, running, chasing and catching Frisbees and playing at the beach.
There is definitely a hole in my heart now. His hips were just too painful for him anymore. He had fallen a few times recently and on the hardwood floor was unable to get up on his own. He laid there a few times in his own urine barking a very sad “somebody come help me” bark until we got home to help him. He was a sweet, sweet boy and I will miss him every day of my life.
Here are a few photos.
This was watching his last sunset the night before we said goodbye.
This was his last bike ride...yes that is a pizza box on top of him. He got rib eye, ice cream and pizza a few times during his last week and had pizza just before he took his last breath.
My sweet kobi-doobie-doo.
His last day at the beach. We got him this trailer last year due to him being unable to walk more than 100 yards or so but still wanting him to be able to get out and see the world.
Just an hour or so before I said goodbye to my best bud. I couldn’t have asked for a better pal.
Thank you for all that you do. Those precious animals deserve it.
Thank YOU Seth. From all of us at PAWS, we grieve with you, and are guided now by our gratefulness for the loving life you showed Kobi.
We'll post a few more of Seth's pictures of Kobi to our social media this week.
It’s standard practice that new arrivals at PAWS are given a quick wash and brush up before they settle into the cat colony or dog kennel that will be a temporary home until their new forever family comes calling.
In the case of one recent kitty, that quick wash and brush up was more of a top-to-toe makeover.
Longfellow came to us from Everett Animal Shelter. He was found as a stray, so we don’t really know much about his life – but he was so affectionate it was clear he’d been somebody’s cherished pet for most of his life.
The not so good news was that his time as a stray had obviously taken its toll on his good looks. Estimated to be around six years old, Longfellow was suffering with tapeworms, dandruff and had large mats in his beautifully golden fur.
In spite of his friendliness and—as we discovered—his love of riding on shoulders, without a makeover Longfellow was definitely lacking that “take me home today” appeal.
And that’s where awesome volunteer Rose Silcox stepped in.
The trained and certified cat groomer behind BetterKitty.com, Rose originally joined PAWS as a volunteer at Cat City, and is now “on-call” whenever we have a kitty who really needs a groomer.
Longfellow definitely fitted into that category, and so she set to work!
During his initial veterinary examination—a standard exam for all incoming cats and dogs here at PAWS—our vet clipped some of the mats out. Until, that is, Longfellow became too wiggly to clip anymore!
Rose took it from there and gave him what’s called a “lion cut”.
His body was shaved down to fuzz but the fur was left on his head, lower legs and the tip of his tail (see picture opposite, post-shave).
Some of the mats were so close to Longfellow’s skin, you could see irritation marks underneath where they’d been. We can only imagine it must have hurt to be pet in these places.
After a warm bath, Longfellow was ready to settle into his cat colony and start the search for a new forever family.
While he dried off, we made sure he was kept warm by temporarily using a kitty sweater – quite the fashion statement (though, from the look on his face in the picture below, we're not sure Longfellow felt the same)!
Needless to say, with his fresh new look, velvety fur, and affectionate nature it wasn’t long before Longfellow’s happy ending arrived in the shape of adopter Phoebe (pictured at top of story).
This kind of grooming can easily cost $70-$90 in a grooming parlor, an expense that can be a barrier to adoption for many. Thanks to the kindness of Rose, restoring Longfellow to his former beauty while in our care, he found his perfect match in no time.
And, given how much he craves human contact, Phoebe should have no problem maintaining his freshly-shaved coat as it grows back!
Do you have a skill/service you think might help cats, dogs or wildlife in our care?We’d love to hear from you! Email us.
Lovable labrador Odin (now Porter) captured the hearts of Suzanna and her husband Paul back in December 2012, and has kept them active and smiling ever since! Here's a sneak behind the scenes at how he's transformed their lives over the past couple of years...
What influenced your decision to adopt from a shelter? For us there really was no other option. We believe strongly that shelters are the only option when looking for a family pet.
What brought you to PAWS? We both knew about PAWS from experience and knew it was a reputable place to find a dog.
How did you first find out about Porter? When we visited PAWS, we saw several dogs we liked, including another black lab named Pilgrim. We found Odin and Pilgrim in the quarantine section—recovering from kennel cough—and took them both for a test drive.
Pilgrim was a very quiet, likeable dog and easy on the leash. When we saw Odin in his kennel, he looked up at us and gave us a full body wag!
Odin pulled on the leash, and when we threw a ball, oh my, he was so focused on retrieving that ball and bringing it back to us. We laughed and were instantly drawn to him.
Ultimately, Odin’s personality won out. We decided to name him Porter, after Suzanna’s favorite kind of beer.
What was it that most attracted you to Porter? He really had us with the full body wag and his attention to fetching. He has a very loving and playful personality and is always in a good mood.
How would you describe his personality? Happy, sweet, attentive, social, eager to please. And he loves to eat!
How was your adoption experience with PAWS? Quick and easy! The one trick we learned was asking to see the pets in the quarantine area.
Tell us about your first journey home and how he settled in. When we left PAWS we visited a pet store to stock up on dog supplies, and took his first picture (see above). He was pretty excited!
He seemed to adapt to the house and our habits very quickly. We stayed home with him for the first couple of days but soon after we were able to leave him alone all day while we were at work with no issues.
Porter sleeps in the living room in his kennel with the door open, and at about 4 a.m. every morning we hear him walk over to our bedroom door and lay down resting against the door. When we get up, he’s right there wagging his tail and greeting us, ready to get on with his day!
How have you spent time together since Porter came home? Some of his favorite things are Kong’s, bones and, of course, his Chuck-It fetcher! Porter shows his Labrador Retriever heritage by his wicked attention to fetching at the dog park, where he is the most focused and consistent fetcher of any dog we’ve ever seen there.
He also loves to swim. We first learned of this during a walk around Green Lake, when he started pulling hard as soon as we got close to the water. At one point, we were either both going in or I could let go of the leash — so I let go and off he went charging into the water!
One time, he swam so much in Rattlesnake Lake fetching sticks that he sprained his tail! It was all better after a couple of days of rest.
How has Porter changed your life? You can’t help but be in a good mood with Porter around. We consider ourselves very lucky to have him in our lives. He is a wonderful walking and hiking companion, and helps keep us active.
What would be your advice for anyone thinking about adopting a dog?
Visit shelters and get to know the dog before you choose to adopt.
Consider your lifestyle, and the personality of the dog, carefully to ensure a good match
Be patient and willing to put the time in.
Realize that owning a dog is a responsibility.
Remember that dogs are very loyal but they will depend on you to take care of them.
Suzanna and Paul—thank you for giving Porter his second chance, and such a loving and energetic life! We wish you many fetch-filled adventures together as the years go by.