50 posts categorized in "Kids"

By Kate Marcussen, Educator

Most visitors to PAWS are looking to adopt a new family member or are lending a helping hand to a wildlife patient in need. But there’s another group that frequents the PAWS campus as well. They might be small, but they sure are mighty. Kids!

Since the start of the year, 720 kids have participated in education programs at PAWS to learn more about companion animals and their local wildlife. What do they do while they are here? Take a glimpse into the world of kids at PAWS

Each program tours our shelter to visit the cats and dogs waiting to find their forever home, or stops over at our wildlife hospital lobby to take a peek at our current patients through live hidden cameras. 

EducationTour_KSAbove: Kids enjoying a tour of our companion animal shelter

Through games, activities, and imaginative play, kids learn about the responsibilities of having a pet, and how to be kind and gentle towards each and every one. 

They even help the dogs and cats at PAWS be adopted! By creating mini advertisements highlighting an animal’s best features, they draw the eyes of potential adopters to their kennel.

Poster+ROertelAbove: Learning how to be gentle with cats (L). and a mini advertisement for an adorable adoptable (R)

Hands-on experience with wildlife biofacts gives kids a chance to explore wild animals up close and learn about what makes these creatures so awesome.

As backyards go, ours is the perfect place for an adventure! Kids learn about what wild animals need in their habitat in order to survive, and how they can help.

Artifacts+BackyardAbove: Examining biofacts (L) and exploring PAWS' backyard (R)

They even get to pretend to be wildlife rehabilitators, and when provided with the right vet tools, major surgery has been known to take place...

Injured-StuffiesAbove: Injured animal stuffies, post-surgery

Have a child in mind who would think “this is the best day ever!”? Visit the kids section of our website to learn more about the programs offered, and take a look at these upcoming programs:

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 | Homeschoolers
Companion Animals are Cool | 10-11:30 a.m. | Ages 7-10

Friday, November 11, 2016 | Schools Out: Veterans Day Program
Animal Superpowers | 1-2:15 p.m. | Ages 6-7
PAWS Champions | 3-4:15 p.m. | Ages 8-10
Preteens Helping Animals | 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | Ages 11-12 

Want to know more about our education programs at PAWS? Find out here.

Inspired to take action for animals? Here are some suggestions for things you could do.

Keep up to date with our news. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.

By Katie Amrhein, Educator

The start of another school year is rapidly sneaking up on us, and with it comes the release of more wildlife patients, a myriad of happy adoption stories at our companion animal shelter, and the return of our education team to classrooms throughout the community.

Our volunteers are also just as busy as ever helping staff care for all the animals who need our help.

Volunteering opportunities at PAWS are available to people who are 18 years of age or older. But we frequently get calls and e-mails from enthusiastic teens asking if there are ways they can get hands on with the work that we do. 


Usually we talk them through how to organize fundraising drives or help spread awareness of animal welfare issues among family and friends, and encourage them to sign up to volunteer with us when they turn 18.

That is, until now!

We've listened to these animal champions and have developed an exciting new opportunity which enables them to get directly involved in helping animals at PAWS this fall. 

Introducing... our Teens Helping Animals Workshop!

Taking place over the course of two Saturday mornings this fall, September 24 and October 1, this workshop is offered to teens between the ages of 13 and 17.

Participants will have the chance to explore different animal welfare issues facing both wildlife and companion animals - learning about careers helping animals (click this link and the video below to watch two careers videos created at PAWS), meeting other young animal advocates, and working together on projects to create lasting change for animals in the community.

Can't see the video above? Watch it on YouTube instead.

Teens will engage with the work that PAWS does through hands-on service projects and activities, including making enrichment items for our wildlife patients and creating a PSA (Public Service Announcement) to share what they have learned.

What better way to get started helping animals than by signing up for Teens Helping Animals? The first day of the workshop will be held on Saturday, September 24 and has a wildlife focus. The second day, on Saturday, October 1 will focus on companion animals. A program fee of $30 helps cover the cost of the workshop. Space is limited so visit our events page today to register!

Want to know more about our education programs at PAWS? Find out here.

Inspired to take action for animals? Here are some suggestions for things you could do.

Keep up to date with our news. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.

By Melissa Moore, Education Programs Manager

With Memorial Day behind us, it seems that summer might finally have arrived.

The education team at PAWS are busy preparing for a new early childhood program for children aged three to five years, scheduling scout badge classes, as well as getting ready for community education classes and outreach events. With our eyes on our computers and our bags packed full of brochures and craft supplies, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s happening outside our window.

Summer means sunshine and playing outdoors, barbeques and baseball, beaches or backpacking. It can be a time of family gatherings and vacations. As you make plans for the upcoming season, I encourage you to not only get outside, but to take a child with you. Introduce them to the beauty in nature and make time to go exploring with them.

750 Female Rufous Hummingbird at Salmonberry flower
A female Rufous Hummingbird at a Salmonberry flower

Rachel Carson
, groundbreaking author of Silent Spring (1962) said, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” 

We all spend too much time in front of electronic screens, interacting with keyboards. It would be good for us to get outdoors. Time spent outdoors can help counteract some current childhood issues like obesity and decreased attention span. In adults, time outdoors has even been linked with increased creativity and improved moods.

750 melissa pic 1

Perhaps the most important reason to get outdoors is to observe the wonders of the natural world and to better understand the beings that live around us.  

This morning, as I took my dogs outside before work, I saw a beautiful (and tiny) flash of yellow and red in the trees outside of my house. A brilliant little bird glanced my way briefly, then zipped into the trees and a loud chorus of chirping played for several seconds where he disappeared.

A moment later the chorus stopped and the little bird was back on his tree limb. Right there, above my head, a Western Tanager had fed his nest of babies!

750 Western Tanager
Western Tanager

A family of birds was going about their lives, raising their children, and probably enjoying the sunshine as much as I was. I felt as though I had shared a short moment with this beautiful creature, and you can bet I’ll be watching for him and his brood every morning from now on!

As I entered the reality of my day, I also realized that it’s moments like this that motivate every youth education program that I present. At PAWS we strive to help children experience moments of connectedness with other beings. These moments are the seeds of empathy, the ability to understand the world through another animal’s eyes. Empathy leads to kindness and compassion, “helping behaviors” in the words of psychologists.

750 Great Blue Heron, Nisqually NWF, 020213 KM-11
Great Blue Heron

I think Rachel Carson may have had this in mind when she wrote, ”The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” 

We couldn’t agree more, and hope to see you outdoors this summer!

Conserving Land; Preserving Human Health by Howard Frumkin, M.D., and Richard Louv
Psychology Today

By JaneA Kelley, PAWS Staff

Pets can be great for children: Not only do they help kids to learn about empathy and compassion, but they teach responsibility as well. Studies have even shown that pets can help children to be healthier by strengthening the immune system.

April 26 is National Kids and Pets Day, which makes it a great time to share some tips to help kids live together happily with dogs and cats.

Fuji and Gala the cats with their new family
PAWS cats Fuji and Gala went to a forever home with a small child.


  1. Children under the age of five should never be left alone with a dog or cat. At this young age, they are still learning how to interact properly with pets, and they need your attention and guidance to do so.
  2. Teach your children about cats’ and dogs’ body language. This will help them to understand your dog or cat and avoid accidents or injuries. There are some great pictorial guides available on the internet so kids who are still learning to read can get to know things like the signs of stress or relaxation.
  3. Teach your children to “be gentle with the dog” or “be gentle with the kitty.” That is, no tail-pulling, no chasing or grabbing.
  4. Don’t allow your child to grab a dog’s or cat’s toys away or disturb him while he’s asleep.
  5. Use a baby gate to separate your dog and your young children when your dog is eating. A baby gate can also give your cat a “safe room” if she wants to get away from the kids for a while.
  6. Make sure your cat has plenty of high places where she can observe children without being in their immediate reach.
Goose with his new family
PAWS dog Goose went to a forever family with a number of kids.

Our animal behavior lead at PAWS, Rachel Bird, offers this advice on how to get kids involved with caring for their animal companions.

  1. Let them help with feeding your dog or cat. “Feeding animals helps in the ‘bonding’ process,” Rachel says. “Animals really respond to the person giving them food! I like to mix it up at home, and I will rotate between my children to give them all a chance to feed everyone or hand out treats.”
  2. Let children play with cats using a laser pointer or wand toys. This allows the child to be a safe distance from the cat in order to avoid accidental scratches or bites, and both are having fun.
  3. Children benefit from getting involved in obedience classes for dogs. “Usually, kids love to learn how to teach a dog new tricks,” Rachel says, “so it’s just a matter of teaching him how to teach them.”
  4. Older children can take your dog for walks or clean litter boxes. These chores teach children about some of the responsibilities involved in having an animal companion, and will make them better pet guardians when they become adults.

How have you helped your children learn how to care for your dog or cat? Please take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments.


Find out more about companion animal behavior and welfare in our online resource library.

Thinking of introducing a new companion to your household? See who’s waiting to meet you at PAWS!

Fostering a dog or cat can be a great way to see if you’re ready to introduce a new furry friend to your home. Find out more about our foster care program.

By Katie Amrhein, Community Outreach Educator

In the middle of a PAWS education program, an 8-year-old boy walked up to me, reached into his pocket, pulled out a $10 bill, and quietly said, “I want to give this to PAWS to help the animals.” This moment, and countless others like it when children are moved to take action to help animals, is the reason I teach. A better world for animals and people starts today, with you and me, and carries into tomorrow, with the next generation of youth.

750-Kids Who Care_020316_educ_kids_TA (19)

Frances Moore Lappé once said, “Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want.” When a child makes a choice that celebrates a better world for animals, they are doing so from a place of empathy and compassion. In order to feel driven to help animals, children first need to learn about, understand, and feel connected to animals through positive relationships and interactions. And so, through games, art, stories, sharing, and problem-solving, I teach.

750-KWC_031616_educ_kids_biofacts_TA_ROF (127)

I teach children that crows are incredibly intelligent. I teach children how to understand the ways dogs communicate with us through their bodies. I teach children that raccoons have adaptations that help them survive in our ever-changing urban ecosystems. I teach children what it means to be a responsible pet guardian. I teach children that cows have the same basic needs as rabbits.

750-2_KWC_031616_educ_kids_biofacts_TA_ROF (19)

I teach children that each and every one of their actions, everything from recycling to talking to their parents about getting a microchip for their cat, has an impact, and they can choose actions that celebrate a better world for animals. I teach children to care, not by forcing it upon them, but by providing space for them to connect to animals and choose to care.

750-KWC_031616_educ_kids_biofacts_TA_ROF (138)

And so, when an 8-year-old boy walks up to me and says that he wants to donate $10 to help the animals at PAWS, I know that he has learned that animals deserve a better world, and that starts today, with you and me, and carries into tomorrow, with him.

PAWS is people helping animals. The people that will be helping animals tomorrow are the youth of today. And so, I teach.

By Melissa Moore, Education Programs Manager

750 KidDog1One of my favorite moments of any week here at PAWS is when I open an envelope return addressed from a local classroom.

I am one of three educators at PAWS fortunate enough to be able to visit classrooms full of students, work with scouts in badge programs, and give tours of PAWS to small groups of children. Not only do we have the opportunity to share PAWS’ message of kindness and compassion towards animals with local youth, but the students also share their energy and passion for animals with us.

PAWS offers unique programs for different age groups and interests. However, we also offer one special program, Kids Who Care, that is six hours long and delivered over the span of six visits.

In the first few Kids Who Care classes, we discuss responsible care of companion animals, including microchipping pets and spaying or neutering. We even address difficult topics like puppy mills. A student favorite is a board game called Happy Cat, Sad Cat, through which they learn why keeping a companion cat indoors is better for the cat and for wildlife.

In the fourth and fifth class visits, the topic switches to wildlife and the students get to handle real skulls and feathers, among other biofacts. They use student-sized field guides and learn about how wild animals become injured.


The students write in their Kids Who Care Journal after each class, answering questions, writing opinion pieces, and making up stories about animals. It is truly an interdisciplinary class that reaches students on many levels.

750 KidThanksLast fall I presented Kids Who Care to a group of fourth graders at a Snohomish County elementary school. At my second visit, upon seeing me in their classroom as they came in from recess, two girls ran excitedly to me and gave me hugs! I was charmed by the fact that they were pleased to see me and were not bound by the “correctness” of a formal greeting that we adults usually are.

When I look at the thank-you cards and notes we receive from students after their Kids Who Care class is over, I can feel how they have connected to the subject matter, and it makes every day better.


Are you a parent or teacher? Learn more about our humane education programs here.
Do you want to help animals? Find out some simple things you can do every day.
Need some help with your homework? Visit our Homework Help page for answers to questions about our shelter, pets, and wildlife.

By Jen Mannas, PAWS Naturalist

Welcome to a new segment we, at PAWS, like to call What’s Happening in Washington, where we bring you news about what's happening in our area relating to wildlife—including research, events, and ways you can get involved.

The month of February brings the 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). From February 13th to 16th The National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are asking citizen scientists like you to help them count birds.

Every year the GBBC is conducted all over the world. In 2014, 142,051 participants from 135 countries counted over 17 million birds encompassing 4,300 different species. Pretty impressive!

Participation is easy, open to all age groups, and is a fun family activity. Register online for the GBBC, count birds in your yard for at least 15 minutes on one or more days during the GBBC and then enter your results on the GBBC website. It’s that simple.

You can even explore what others are seeing all over the world and take a look at the bird photographs submitted in real time.

Bird Collage

The data collected from the GBBC gives researchers a snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds all around the world. These counts are then combined with data from other projects to help researchers gain a better understanding of bird biology.

They can gain insight into how weather influences bird populations, changes in bird migrations, how diseases are affecting bird populations and how species diversity has changed.

At PAWS Wildlife Center we feel connected to this project because we receive almost two thousand backyard birds from the Seattle area every year.

Some of the birds you see in your backyard may have even been treated at PAWS (recent patients are pictured, right).

PAWS is happy to be participating in the GBBC this year and will be counting the wild birds living at our Lynnwood campus.

Lets all get outside this weekend, count birds and be citizen scientists! Let's see if we can get Washington in the top ten for the total number of participants in the United States (last year we were #14 with 3,356 participants).

For more information about the GBBC, and to get tips on how to identify bird species, please visit the official GBBC website.

Happy Birding!





Help backyard birds in need. Become a Bird Nursery Caretaker at PAWS.

Make a gift and help us continue providing a safe haven for injured and baby backyard birds.

Interested in a career caring for wild birds? Check out our Avian Wildlife Rehabilitation internship.

By Amy Webster, Community Education Coordinator

So long summer, hello fall!

Summer had an amazing finish with PAWSwalk on September 6, a spectacular, fun, sunny day filled with passionate animal lovers and dogs of every shape and size.


Thank you again to the generous sponsors, dedicated walkers, volunteers and event goers who made this such a successful event and memorable day.

We also enjoyed seeing you at the Puget Sound Birdfest and the Monroe Swift Night Out. Both were wonderful celebrations for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Our Service Learning Workshops continue to be a great way for youth to volunteer their time to help the animals at PAWS.

We’re also starting a club for teens and will be holding an information meeting for those interested in learning about PAWS and how they can make a difference for animals. 

Sign-up to learn more about all our youth volunteer opportunities.

With the start of the new school year, our educators will be delivering lessons of compassion and responsible care for animals in classrooms and the community.


October will include visits to Picnic Point Elementary in Edmonds and South Shore K-8 in Seattle. 

Interested in having PAWS visit your child’s school? Here’s the complete list of presentations we offer.

We look forward to seeing you in your community soon!

Help educate others in animal welfare and humane education—volunteer.

Help us continue inspiring the humane educators of the future—make a donation to PAWS.

Keep up to date with all our event news—follow our Events blog.

By Amy Webster, Community Education Coordinator

Summer is a busy time for community outreach and education, not least because it's when we're out and about encouraging people to sign up for our annual PAWSwalk! Here's what we've been up to this month, and what you can look forward to in September.


We’re all about PAWSwalk right now, and have enjoyed meeting supporters old and new at our Path To PAWSwalk events through August.

From fundraising at Chico's in Alderwood Mall to awareness raising at Whole Foods Market in Redmond and Bellevue, it's been a blast!

Riley the Raccoon also made his PAWSwalk appearance to help remind shoppers to sign up for our biggest community fundraiser of the year.

Don't worry, if you missed Riley on the road you can see him at PAWSwalk on September 6 at Marymoor Park!

In other event news, we welcomed new participants to our youth service learning workshops. Are you under 18 and looking to help out at PAWS? Sign up to receive updates on youth volunteer opportunities.

As the weather cools and school starts again, we have many exciting events coming up:

Saturday, September 6: Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds 
Nature lovers and bird enthusiasts from all around the region come to celebrate the diverse variety of birds found in the Puget Sound area with guided nature walks, expert speakers, and exhibits. The event runs September 5-7, and PAWS will be there 10am to 5pm on Saturday the 6th so come see us!

Saturday, September 13, 2pm-3:30pm: Kids Helping Animals Workshop (8-13yrs) at PAWS
Come discover the many ways that kids can help animals. We will make toys for our shelter animals, practice how to help injured wildlife and make enrichment items for our recovering patients, learn the basics of fundraising, and play games illustrating how even simple choices can have big impacts. Parents and guardians are welcome to attend. RSVP here.

Saturday, September 13, 5pm to dusk: Monroe Swift Night Out
Come watch as thousands of Vaux’s Swifts return to the Wagner Center chimney as they migrate south for the winter. An amazing site—watch as one of the largest congregations of birds swoop into the chimney in just minutes! This family event will have vendors and activities for all so bring a lawn chair and enjoy one of nature’s greatest shows.

The Humane Education team will also begin delivering classroom programs throughout the community. Interested in having PAWS visit your child’s school? Here’s the complete list of presentations we offer.

Another packed month of opportunities to learn about wildlife, companion animals and the work we do here at PAWS! We look forward to seeing you out and about.

Help educate others in animal welfare and humane education—volunteer.

Help us continue inspiring the humane educators of the future—make a donation to PAWS.

Keep up to date with all our event news—follow our Events blog.

By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

You probably know by now that PAWSwalk is our biggest fundraiser of the year. You probably also might think that it only helps PAWS rescue thousands of cats and dogs. But did you know it also helps care for thousands of wild animals too?

Each year, PAWS Wildlife Center cares for over 3,000 wild animals from as many as 260 different species. Our main goal is to rehabilitate sick, orphaned and injured animals so that they can be released and become a functioning member of their wild populations once again. To do that, we rely on the donations raised at PAWSWalk every year.

Wildlife at PAWS - August 2014

Today, we are caring for over 200 patients at PAWS Wildlife Center. This summer alone, we have taken in and helped River Otters, Bald Eagles, American Robins, Virginia Opossums and Eastern Cottontails, a Bobcat, Harbor Seals, Mallard Ducks, Hummingbirds, Raccoons, owls, deer, a frog, weasels, swifts and many many many more. In, fact some of the animals in our care have made the news, and another one has been part of an ongoing story.

All of these animals come to us with different needs; from the food they eat, to the habitat they live in, to the medical attention they need, to the amount of time they will be in our care. PAWSwalk helps us support these needs by providing the funds to purchase food, medication, and medical supplies as well as upkeep facilities so we can continue to help these amazing creatures.

Because of PAWSwalk - and PAWSwalkers like you - we have been able to rehabilitate and release hundreds of animals this summer including River Otters, a Western Screech Owl, grown birds from our baby bird nursery, orphaned opossums and squirrels, a Peregrine Falcon, a Creeping Vole, and a Townsend’s Chipmunk, just to name a few.

With the support from people like you who join in our annual PAWSwalk we are able to continue helping animals of all kinds. So, register for PAWSwalk today and come join us at King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA on September 6th! It’s a great way to have fun and raise money for animals. It will be a wild time!

Want to help care for wildlife at PAWS year round? Volunteer.

Help us to continue providing a safe haven for rehabilitating wildlife - make a donation.