“Don’t knock it until you try it!” This old cliché is true for some things (pickled radishes taste FAR better than they smell) – and not so true for others (grizzly bear wrestling is NEVER a good choice). However, this philosophy is good to employ when making humane and animal-friendly choices for your life.
Upon leaving Montana and moving to Washington to work for PAWS, I decided to give vegetarianism a try – not as a permanent lifestyle choice, but as an experiment. PAWS promotes animal-friendly eating, and I wanted to practice what I was advocating. How difficult would it be for a lifelong meat eater to avoid eating it for an entire month in a place like Washington State? For the month of May, it was time for me to walk my talk.
Fake bacon, potato and buttermilk pancake brunch – Yum!
As a runner who needs to make sure that I get enough protein in my diet, I could easily substitute yogurt, tofu, chickpeas, beans, peanut butter and eggs to sustain my high level of activity and training. Buying groceries was not much of a challenge – even the most mainstream supermarkets now have at least a few vegetarian options in their aisles. It was not without its challenges though. Once I purchased “vegetarian” samosas from the store deli – only to find that they had ground beef in them!
My favorite comfort food can easily be made vegetarian, like these vegetarian nachos. Healthy? No way! Delicious? Absolutely!
I found myself cooking a lot more. A kind coworker lent me several vegetarian and vegan cookbooks. I experimented with making black bean and corn chili, pasta with spinach and tofu sauce, and soy meat spaghetti. All were delicious, although I did discover that nothing will make soy meat taste like real meat, and it is best to experiment with different spices to find the best flavor. My favorites were Cholula sauce, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder.
Me enjoying a delicious homemade vegetarian breakfast
The hardest part for me was choosing a place to go out to eat. Very often some of my favorite places had few, if any, vegetarian options on their menus. I found that Asian, Indian and Mediterranean restaurants were often the best options for finding meat alternatives. Late in the month I discovered the resources available at VegSeattle – a great place to look up local, vegetarian-friendly restaurants, as well as meat, dairy or egg substitutes. If you are eating vegetarian on a budget, this would be a great resource.
Naan bread, lentils and tomato soup from Central Market in Mill Creek make an easy veggie lunch on the go
As an educator with PAWS, I teach kindness, empathy and compassion toward wildlife and companion animals. Eating vegetarian is a choice that can benefit farm animals, your health, and the environment! Although I don’t see being a vegetarian as a permanent lifestyle choice for me, it has caused me to be more thoughtful and intentional about the food choices that I make. Even eating vegetarian once or twice per week can make a big impact. To use another cliché, practice makes perfect. And it’s not that difficult! If I can do it, anyone can.
Read more about the benefits that vegetarianism can have for you and for animals on our website and on other vegetarian-focused websites, like Meatless Mondays.
Living in the Seattle area we see crows almost daily. They stroll nonchalantly out of the road just in time to avoid our cars, dive bomb us if we walk our dogs a little too close to their nest, and put on a nightly show of force by the thousands if you happen to drive home on I-405 near Bothell.
Crows have successfully established themselves here and are comfortable with the city lifestyle. Naturally they are adaptors; they are a species that can take advantage of areas where two habitats meet. In our case, it is our wonderful green spaces and the cityscape. They still rely on natural food sources and shelter but have learned how to utilize human subsidies.
Crows are easily adaptable partly because they are omnivores. They eat whatever is available including insects, amphibians, earthworms, nestling birds, eggs, and saltwater invertebrates such as clams and mussels. They also scavenge dead animals and garbage as well as eat wild cultivated fruits and vegetables.
Crows are also extremely intelligent; they can solve problems and puzzles and once they learn, they never forget. They also never forget a face and can distinguish between what they perceive to be good and bad humans.
Crows have a complex family system and are very social. Each season, at least one offspring will stay with the parents through the next nesting season to help care for the new nestlings by bringing food and guarding the nest. At night in the late summer, fall and winter, crows gather from many miles to form communal night roosts.
Currently it is baby crow season in the Seattle area. Since May 15, we've received more than 100 juvenile crows at PAWS Wildlife Center. Some were severely injured and did not survive. Some were reunited with their families. Many others are being raised in our baby bird nursery and some of these have since been released.
Many of the baby crows we receive are taken by people who think they are injured. Because crows fledge from the ground instead of the nest, they spend several days on the ground before they can fully fly.
Fledgling crows are frequently very similar in size to adults but they have blue eyes (below).
If you see a fledgling on the ground who does not appear to be injured and the parents nearby, it is best to leave it alone. This is a time when they are learning essential survival skills from their parents. If the baby crow appears to be injured, please call PAWS Wildlife Center or another local wildlife rehabilitation center for assistance.
By Kate Marcussen, Community Education Coordinator
In just the last four months, since January 1st, 829 scouts, siblings and adults have joined us at PAWS for a Scout Program. From Daisies to Cadettes, to Tigers to Bears, scouts have been lining up to get a taste of what it is like to help animals.
We could tell you exactly what they’re up to while at PAWS, but we’ll let them tell you for themselves what they thought!
“It could have just been longer! She really enjoyed it! It wasn’t just info about specific animals, but also helped her think more about conservation.” – Girl Scout Troop Leader
“Empowering educational aspect. Just right for the girls to understand and provoke more thoughtful reflection on their own later.” – Stephanie, Scout Troop Leader
“This is so much fun! This is even way more fun than movie night!” – Daisy Girl Scout
[When asked “Please tell us your scouts’ favorite thing about the program”] “How much the girls enjoyed it!” – Alex, Girl Scout Troop Leader
“The girls loved making a special connection to a favorite animal…it was fun to see!” Girl Scout Troop Parent
Activities moved at an age appropriate pace. Interactive.” – Carissa, Scout Troop Leader
[When asked “One way we could improve this program”] “How is that possible? PERFECT!” – Cat, Girl Scout Troop Leader
We can’t thank the scouts and adults enough who have participated in our programs, as we appreciate their support in helping to make the world a better place for animals.
There are so many delightful reasons why you might be considering a new feline friend to add to your home. Their soft purr, the comfort of kneading paws, their warm, fluffy fur to bury your fingers in … and then there’s the fun of watching a cat zoom around chasing toys, jumping in and out of bags, boxes or whatever sparks their silly antics.
Whatever your reason, we hope you’ll put these motives into action this June by adopting a feline buddy during National Adopt-A-Cat month. All month long, the adoption fee for select cats, like Socks, will be only $25!
We have many deserving cats in need of a good home, and after June 8th, even a few with a Texas accent! In early June, we’ll be helping some over-full shelters in the Lone Star state by receiving in cats who will be flown here thanks to our friends at Wings of Rescue.
Want to watch some cat antics right now? You can enjoy the activities of the available cats or kittens in one of the colony rooms at Cat City via our live streaming “Cat Cam”.
Socks is a sweet and friendly guy ready to meet his new family! He has lots of energy and loves playing with wand toys! He would do best in a home with teens/adults who can give him all the interactive play he wants! He would like to find a canine free home with lots of comfy beds to lounge in! Socks tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). FIV cannot be transmitted to humans or dogs, and has an extremely low transmission rates to other cats. Cats with FIV should be kept indoors only and as either an only cat, or in a household with other FIV positive cats. Cats with FIV can live a normal life for many years. His adopter should be prepared to work with their veterinarian on monitoring the health of Socks.
It’s Endangered Species day! This is the time to acknowledge the importance of conservation, to recognize what we as a nation are doing to facilitate conservation, and to protect endangered species and their habitat.
So, what does it all mean? What classifies an animal or plant as being endangered? How did this all start?
It is estimated that in the United States more than 500 species of native plants and animals have gone extinct since European settlers first colonized the area. And species are still under threat to becoming extinct in modern times with habitat loss, climate change and human population growth. The rapid loss of species did not go unnoticed and concerns about the whooping crane decline prompted Congress to pass the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1966 which was replaced by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973.
The purpose of the ESA is to protect and recover imperiled species and to preserve their habitat. The ESA is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who are responsible for land and fresh water organisms, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, who are responsible for marine life.
There are many categories under the ESA but the two main ones are endangered and threatened. Endangered means a species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant part of its range. Threatened means a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.
In the U.S., more than 1300 plant and animal species are currently listed under the ESA; some are right here in Washington. We have more than 50 species of plants and animals that are listed, a species of concern or are a candidate to be listed. This includes Gray Wolves, Northern Leopard Frogs, Nelson’s Checker-mallow, Grizzly Bears, Northern Spotted Owls, Oregon Silverspot Butterflies, Pygmy Rabbits, Bull Trout and Western Snowy Plovers; just to name a few.
Thanks to the protection from the ESA, plant and wildlife species are on their way to recovery and several have been successfully delisted with the most famous of course being the Bald Eagle. And that is a reason to celebrate!
If you are in the Seattle area and looking for a place to join the celebration, Magnuson Park is hosting an Endangered Species Day garden celebration in their children’s garden on May 20 from 10am until noon. King County Master Gardeners, Children's Garden Committee members, and volunteers from Seattle Works and other groups will be doing simple garden stewardship activities such as weeding, mulching, and watering, as well as planting native Milkweed plants in our Butterfly Garden!
Springtime means flowers and usually more rain showers, but it also means that local shelters and our out-of-state partners will be filling up with kittens, mother cats, puppies and ‘mama’ dogs.
The PAWS Foster Care Program embraces these new arrivals, providing them a safe spot, specialized care and comfort. Our foster families eagerly welcome the tiny kittens who are still too young and too small to be adopted. Many of these feline babies need two to three weeks of care in a foster home before they are ready for adoption. Their short stay allows foster families to help quite a few kittens throughout the spring and summer. Last year, dozens of kind-hearted families helped over 1,200 kittens!
Despite this amazing life-saving effort, we still find ourselves in critical need of foster homes to take in a mother cat or dog who is still with her babies. In the early part of spring, we get numerous mama cats with tiny babies who are too small to be separated from the nurturing care of their mother. Foster homes help these four-legged families for four to eight weeks, depending on the age of the kittens or puppies. This differs from the typical week or two stay in foster because younger kittens and puppies need to stay with their mothers until they are at least 6 weeks old. “It’s an amazing experience seeing the kittens grow, play, and prepare to leave their mother for their own home and family,” shared seasoned foster parent Ashley Morrison.
Having more foster homes to care for entire four-legged families doesn’t apply just to cats. PAWS receives many appeals from eastern Washington and out-of-state partners requesting we take in more and more litters of puppies and mother dogs. We want to say yes to their pleas for help, so PAWS is looking for at least 25 more homes who can help with dogs and young puppies.
You might be thinking, wow, I don’t have the space for a whole litter of puppies and an adult dog. Don’t worry! Our foster care team will match you up with the right size and quantity of canines who need a temporary “bed and breakfast” to call home. And if you have plenty of room in your home and heart, you might be the hero to help with our greatest need, fostering larger breed dogs.
During the spring and summer, the PAWS Foster Care program manages over 200 animals in foster care. These amazing foster’s apartments, condos and homes serve as a vital component in our ability to save more lives. The arrival of Spring means now is the time we need you to join us in this fun, furry, and life-saving work! Find out information of becoming a foster parent here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. . Springtime will never be the same for you again!
Frogs, bears, kittens, and owls. Hummingbirds, otters, raccoons, and dogs. What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by celebrating all of the furried, feathered, finned and scaled animals we share this world with?
At PAWS, we are people helping animals. In order to truly help animals, we also need to love and help the earth. In celebration of Earth Day 2017, some fourth grade students in the PAWS Kids Who Care education program would like to share some ways we can all make this world a better place for animals, people, and the environment.
April 17 is National Bat Appreciation Day so here at PAWS we are celebrating all things bats.
Bats are in the Chiroptera family which includes about 1,240 species around the world; 40 of which are found in North America. The Pacific Northwest is home to 14 species, of which the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) is the most common (below). Bat species feed on a variety of things from nectar to insects to mammalian blood. All the species living in Washington are insectivores meaning they feed only on insects.
Because bats are active at night, insectivorous bats eat predominately mosquitoes, nocturnal beetles and moths. They are considered extremely important for pest control. A single bat for example can consume up to 2,000 mosquitoes in one night.
Some species of bats are pollinators much like bees and hummingbirds. In fact, they are very important pollinators in tropical and desert climates for plants whose flowers open at night. Bats feed on the insects living in the flowers as well as the nectar, and over 300 species of fruit depend on bats as pollinators including mangoes, bananas and guava.
PAWS Wildlife Center is no stranger to bats. On average, we receive about 50 bats a year; some of them are babies who fell from their nursery colony, some are brought in for rabies testing if there is a chance of human contact, and others are sick or injured and need care.
Bats roost in rock crevices, tree hollows, mines, caves and a variety of anthropogenic, or human, structures. In our area, they do not roost in large colonies like they do in the eastern North America where there can be thousands of bats in a single cave.
Bats in eastern North America are seeing large population declines because of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) which is a devastating disease caused by a fungus that grows on the wings and muzzles of hibernating bats causing them to come out of hibernation early. The disease was first seen in New York in 2006 and has since spread to 30 states and 5 Canadian providences killing an estimated 6 million bats.
In 2016 Washington joined the list of states affected with WNS when a Little Brown Bat (below) was brought to PAWS Wildlife Center and died in care. It was confirmed that he did indeed have WNS. Since then the state and federal agencies along with wildlife rehabilitation centers in the area are being very vigilent, monitoring bats that come in for care as well as bats in the wild to document any more cases. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking anyone who comes across a sick or dead bat or find a group of bats to report it to them. Information about that can be found here.
If you want to attract these critters to your yard, there is a simple way to do so; by building them a bat box. Since bats are nocturnal they need a safe place to roost during the day. With deforestation and the spread of urban areas, they are losing their habitat so it is more important then ever to provide safe roosting structures. You can purchase a premade bat box from several places online or you can build your own. Here at PAWS Wildlife Center we will be building and installing our very own bat box in the new PAWS wildlife garden space. The best time to hang them is in mid April when bats are starting to come out of hibernation and looking for new roosting areas and places to raise their young.
For bat house building resources and ideas be sure to check these sites out:
Last month we talked about the importance of native plant gardens, how they benefit wildlife and some gardening tips. Now, we are taking some of our own advice and creating a native species garden learning experience here at PAWS Wildlife Center.
Our property is home to many wildlife species. Some of which are here throughout the year such as Spotted Towhees, House Finches and Pacific Wrens (Above left, center, right respectively) and others arrive in the spring to raise their families like Dark-eyed Juncos, American Robins, and Black-capped Chickadees (Below left, center, right respectively). Many bird species have already returned this spring and are staking claims on territories and searching for mates. This may be very similar to what happens in your backyard habitat every year and a few enhancements can provide natural food sources and shelter for safety.
At PAWS Wildlife Center we are sprucing up our entrance to not only include a demo native species garden but also artificial homes for birds, bats and bees and examples of humane ways to keep wildlife out of your vegetable garden and what natural animal deterrents really work. We are currently in the beginning stages and have drawn up our official layout, have constructed a raised garden box and have installed our very own catio (below).
We can’t stress it enough that anyone can include features in their yard to support native wildlife and promote living with our wild neighbors humanely, even in small spaces. We hope this will inspire others to enhance their backyard habitat for their wild neighbors as well.
If you are still looking for references to help you get ideas for your backyard habitat here some we recommend:
Local gardening organization:
Tilth Alliance – great resources on many gardening topics and classes, kids section
Who doesn’t love puppies?! They are adorable, fun to play with, and of course there’s puppy breath! Raising a puppy isn’t all tummy rubs and playtime though, there is some actual work involved. After all, you will be shaping and teaching your puppy to grow into the best dog she can be. But how do you start?
Puppy proofing before bringing home your new pup is always a good idea. Make sure all valuable items are out of reach, but also be aware of any items that could be dangerous for your puppy to chew on. Puppies love to chew as it’s natural, but they don’t always know what is a dog toy and what isn’t. If you do catch your puppy chewing on an inappropriate item, gently remove it and give them an acceptable chew toy. Make sure your puppy has plenty of fun toys to keep her occupied, and praise her when she is chewing on them.
It’s also a good idea to closely supervise your new puppy in your home. That way you can make sure she is staying safe, plus you learn their ‘cues’ for when they need to relieve themselves. It’s important to remember a puppy under 6 months can only ‘hold it’ for a couple hours, and will need to go out for frequent potty breaks, especially after play sessions or when waking up. Sticking to a regular schedule will help your puppy to learn. Accidents are normal, and you should never punish your puppy for having one.
Puppy classes are a fun way to start socializing your puppy with other dogs and new people too. Socialization is key to raising a well-adjusted puppy. All puppies under 6 months should experience new things every day. Not only should they interact with people and dogs, but new experiences and places too. Make sure to always have plenty of treats on hand. If your pup seems afraid, go slow and pair the new ‘thing’ with plenty of yummy treats to make it a good experience.
Remember that you are in charge of shaping your puppy’s behavior, and what you do now will impact your puppy for the rest of her life. Visit our resource library for additional hints on helping your puppy to become a great dog. Start training early, be consistent, and have fun!