By AJ Chlebnik, PAWS Education Programs Manager

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Anyone who has ever worked with teenagers knows that they are often a challenging audience to reach. But anyone who has worked with teens also knows that they are an unstoppable force when engaged in something they are passionate about. And, passion is what drove a local teen filmmaker to create one of PAWS’ newest features – the PAWSCast.


PAWSCast 1: Livvy – Livvy has two dogs and two cats. What does she think is the most important issue facing animals today? Watch to find out!

Sophia Banel is a teen filmmaker from Seattle and has always been an animal lover. Last year, her love for animals led her to work with PAWS to create a video series by teens, for teens. PAWSCast features local youth and their favorite animal companions. Sophia believes that animals can change lives and shows just how important they are to us through a series of short videos. The videos feature a variety of dogs and cats and the humans who love them. The videos also give teens a chance to learn what animal issues are most important to their peers. From animal testing to animal abuse to animal adoption, young people are passionate about making the world a better place for animals. Want to learn more and see how you can help? Check out the first episode of PAWSCast and go to the PAWSCast webpage for more episodes!


PAWSCast 2: Gabriella – Gabriella loves her dog Ernie. Find out why dogs are so important to Gabriella and how you can help!

Two of the programs at PAWS that help young people take action for animals in a very real way are our Teen and Preteen Programs, held 4 times a year at PAWS Companion Animal Shelter in Lynnwood, WA. During the Teen Program (for 13-17 year-olds) and the Preteen Program (for 9-12 year-olds), young people can sign up to spend a part of their day doing service projects and learning about how we care for animals at PAWS. Past activities have included building baby bird nests and bear climbing gyms for our Wildlife Hospital, decorating cardboard cat carriers for future adopters, and learning how we evaluate dog behavior and make the perfect match for pets and families. Want to sign up? Click here for a calendar of upcoming events.


PAWSCast 3: Hannah – Hannah’s dog Bailey needed a forever home. Listen to Hannah tell the story of how Bailey found his family.

Have your own idea for helping animals and want us to support you? Contact us at for ideas and suggestions or visit our webpage here. Make a short film or send pictures of your project and we may even feature you on our website. What are you waiting for?! Take action for animals in your community today.


PAWSCast 4: Sam – What is Sam’s favorite thing about his pets? Find out!

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.

By Katie Amrhein, PAWS Education Coordinator

The birds are out, the sun is out, and the cats are out (in their catios), which means it’s almost time for PAWS to host the fourth annual Catio Tour Seattle on Saturday, July 28th from noon to 4pm. For one day only, attendees will have VIP access to some of the most creative, luxurious, and posh feline pads on this self-guided tour that runs from West Seattle to NW Seattle.

Catios are enclosed cat patios that allow cats to enjoy the sunshine, watch birds, and feel the breeze. Catios also keep cats safe from the many dangers of the outdoors, including cars, people, dangerous chemicals or poison, and diseases.

Piku and Rivi's Windowside Wilderness

Catios can range from simple to sophisticated, whether built by a catio construction company, such as Catio Spaces, or done as a DIY project. On this year’s Catio Tour, Instagram star @Piku_the_siberian will be generously showing off her catio in Queen Anne. Her catio, named Piku and Rivi’s Windowside Wilderness (above), sets the mood for all seasons with party lights wrapped around the interior and removable weatherproof vinyl sheathing.

Chateau Gato_Thor cat

Visitors will also have the chance to visit Thor, a charismatic cat whose throne includes a Magnolia tree enclosed in a striking octagon catio called Chateau Gato in West Seattle (above). A tunnel connecting the catio to the house is held up in the middle by a Madrona tree trunk salvaged from a neighbor’s yard.

General Catio Tour photo

A peppy senior on PAWS’ Fourth Annual Catio Tour Seattle-18-year-old Smidgen- serves as a testament to the health benefits of a catio. Cats with catios are much less likely to get lost and they live longer than outdoor cats. The multitude of dangers faced by an outdoor cat can significantly shorten their lifespan, while an indoor cat or a cat with access to a catio could easily live to be 10 or 15. Free-roaming domestic cats also kill large numbers of birds in the United States every year and take heavy tolls on native reptile, amphibian, and mammal populations.

General Catio Tour photo2

For more information or to register for Catio Tour Seattle, visit A $10 registration fee supports PAWS’ life-saving work to rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife, find cats and dogs their forever homes, and educate people about compassion for animals.

Registered participants will receive a Catio Tour Guide Book with addresses, information about each catio, and access to valuable resources for enriching the lives of cat companions. The event is hosted by PAWS and sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States, Catio Spaces, and Seattle Audubon.

Unable to attend this year’s Catio Tour Seattle? We are holding a friendly competition to name the catio displayed on the PAWS campus and the ceramic kitties residing inside. If your names are selected by PAW staff, you'll receive a cat goodie basket. Please answer some survey questions and submit your name suggestions here!

By Rebecca Oertel, PAWS Cat City Manager

At PAWS Cat City, we welcome everyone to our location with our name—“Hello, and welcome to Cat City”!


Above: Available cats and kittens get a window view of potential entering adopters.

Our unique store front creates a dynamic adoption experience for our adopters and allows us to cater to the individual needs of each cat. The foundation of our adoption process is listening to our adopters. Everyone has a story and we work hard to understand theirs. Some visitors need additional education, some need a shoulder to cry on after losing their beloved pet, some need to show you photos of their other cats while you’re getting to know them. It all contributes to our knowledge of an adopter and improves our ability to recommend specific cats. This approach helped the Cat City team to place over 1,300 cats into new homes last year.


Retail cat 1

Above: The colony environment allows each cat to show their personality to potential adopters.

That kind of adoption success is one reason why PAWS was selected in the spring of 2018 to participate in the Cat Pawsitive Pro Initiative, created by Jackson Galaxy, cat behaviorist, and host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell”.  This ingenious program uses clicker training with positive reinforcement to address common challenges that cats have in shelters. Shelters can be an overwhelming place for cats, full of unusual smells, sounds, and sights that often make it challenging for them to put their best paws forward when meeting adopters. While staff and volunteers in the shelter get to see the potential in every cat, it is often difficult for an adopter to take that leap of faith when they don’t get to see it for themselves. The really beautiful thing is the Cat Pawsitive Program enables each cat to show their potential.

Retail 1

Above: Example starter kit being offered during our "Whole Kitten Caboodle" June campaign.

To celebrate Cat Adoption Month, PAWS wants everyone to know that we can be your “Whole Kitten Caboodle”. We have created a variety of starter kits for adopters who are taking home a new feline friend and need all the basic supplies, while our retail space offers a wide range of toys and supplies for all cat lovers.  Whether you are looking to adopt, want to spoil your kitties at home or get gifts for your friends, you can support PAWS by shopping at our locations in Lynnwood or Seattle. 

Read more about Adopt-A-Cat Month and view our "Whole Kitten Caboodle" Starter Kits.

Looking for a furry friend? Take a look at our available animals

Make a donation and help us continue creating happy endings for companion animals in need.

Become a foster parent for puppies and kittens in need.

By Jeff Brown, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist

It's winter here at the PAWS Wildlife Center and the halls are much quieter this time of year.  
The four yearling Black Bear patients are hibernating so they aren’t making a sound.  Bear1

Staff and volunteers also must work quietly as to not disturb them. The bears are housed in enclosures that are kept dark to help mimic their natural dens. The main difference for these patients is that they aren’t denned up with their mom. Care in this state is quite simple as bears do not urinate or defecate while in their dens. This adaptation keeps bears safe from wild predators and allows them to recycle nutrients and conserve water.

Hibernating bears sign
Above: One of the signs reminding staff and volunteers to be mindful of the sleeping bears.

The term hibernation for bears has often been debated because their “sleep mode” state differs from other true hibernating species. A bear’s body temperature doesn’t decrease to the ambient temperature like a ground squirrel or a bat, and is only about 10 to 12 degrees lower than their normal body temperature. This means that they can arouse from this state relatively quickly. However, bears do reduce their metabolic rate so their breathing and heart rate are much slower. The debate regarding the proper term may continue but bears’ adaptations to winter are no less amazing. Check out this NPR story to learn more about their body’s response to prolonged rest.


Above: The cubs at PAWS before they went into hibernation.

Our patients are not the only bears hibernating of course. Bears all over the Pacific Northwest are denned up right now. For all of us that live in the wildland-urban interface (areas near or surrounded by unoccupied land), we must not relax our bear safety precautions. Bears, especially in the lowlands of western Washington, can come out of hibernation during warm spells in winter. In fact, bears won’t hibernate at all in some areas along the coast. It all depends on food availability.  If bears do emerge from hibernation, they might be looking for quick calories in your garbage. Wildlife managers recommend that we maintain bear-safe garbage cans, clean barbeques, and continue other bear safe practices all year round.

Bear safe garbage can

Above: An example of a bear-safe garbage can.

The bears at PAWS will likely come out of hibernation earlier than most bears in the wild. They will start to stir in the next two months and we will return to normal bear care routines. Wild bears usually emerge in April but that can depend on elevation, snowmelt, and many other factors. As we look forward to spring, it’s important to start planning now to prevent conflict with bears. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website has great info about living with bears including this video, Western Wildlife Outreach provides services to King County and has a great cheat sheet for reducing bear conflict.

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help

By Jeff Brown, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist

A few week's back we admitted into our care a Northern Flying Squirrel that was attacked by a cat and carried into a house. We rarely see these little, wild neighbors as they are nocturnal. They don’t hibernate in the winter but they may group up in tree cavity nests to stay warm. A good way to support cavity-nesting animals like these squirrels is to promote and maintain snags. If you have a hazardous tree on your property, for instance, think about hiring an arborist to transform it into habitat rather than removing it.


By Anya Pamplona, Animal Services Manager 

Every October for National Adopt-a-Dog Month, the shelter staff at PAWS puts special emphasis on hidden gems, - those dogs who need some extra help getting noticed. Maybe they’re shy. Maybe they’re a senior. Maybe they need a more experienced adopter. October is their month to shine with reduced adoption fees, profiles on the website, and the subject of twice-weekly social media posts. Four hidden gems were discovered and adopted at PAWS during National Adopt-a-Dog Month. They are all shining strong in their loving new homes. 

Funny thing is these hidden gems also happen to be staff favorites. Why? Well because they are hidden gems, they often don't get noticed and adopted right away so we get to know them better. And because we're animal experts, we can see the awesomeness underneath the exterior of a scared dog. Or the wise beauty of a gray-muzzled senior. We take them under our wing and keep them safe and feeling loved at PAWS. 

Sweet and slight 10-year-old Ralphy was just what his new mom was looking for – "I'm a senior with a bad shoulder so I wanted a small senior dog that I could walk and bathe."


Cocoa Puff
Ten-year-old Cocoa Puff, renamed Macy, "just needed a lot of love" said her new mom. 

No matter what, PAWS is committed to finding our hidden gems loving homes all year 'round. Here are the top four reasons to adopt a hidden gem:  

  • Senior dogs provide companionship without the hassle of crazy puppy or teenage antics. Housebreaking? Mastered. Chewing your favorite shoes? Never! Couch potato Sunday rooting the Seahawks to another win? Sounds perfect to them.
  • Have you ever been misunderstood? Probably. And some of the dogs who need an experienced adopter are misunderstood too. Which is why they are searching for someone who “speaks dog” and will understand what they need. By putting your knowledge and experience to good use, you’re helping show them that people will listen to them and provide them with what they need. And who doesn’t love that? 
  • There is no better feeling than watching your shy, reserved dog slowly start to trust and build their confidence.And knowing that you are the reason they are making progress, makes every pet parent's heart burst with pride. These dogs just need love, patience and a person who believes in them.
  • Unconditional love. All adopted dogs, hidden gems or not, know that you’ve given them a second chance. And they seem to love you all the more for giving them home they deserve.


Donut on her way home with a family who recognized her special qualities.  







By Jen Mannas, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist

On July 28th a Great Blue Heron was rescued after spending several days stranded in a backyard. The homeowners suspected something was wrong but did not have the means to catch the bird on their own.


Luckily two PAWS staff members were in a park nearby releasing some swallows. PAWS does not typically conduct wildlife rescues because we simply do not have the man power, but every once in a while we make an exception if we are in the area.

Upon our arrival, the heron was standing on one leg on top of an old tree stump. It was apparent that his other leg was broken but the extent of the break was not obvious. We only had one chance to catch him; if we miss and he takes flight he would most certainly get away and we would have no way of finding him again.


With a little luck and some skill we were able to net the bird in one try.  Once in hand we could see the extent of his injury.  It was an open fracture in his right tibiotarsus. Humans don't have a tibiotarsus, in fact bird legs and feet are very different from ours. We have a few of the same bones but bird bones are fused differently and are more elongated. The tibiotarus is found below the femur and consists of the tibia fused with the upper bones of the foot. 


The tibiotarsus fracture seemed so bad at first glance that we thought it would not be treatable and the heron would never regain use of that leg.  Herons, of course, need full function of both of their legs to survive in the wild since they spend so much time standing in water stalking their prey.  If regaining full function was not possible this bird would have to be humanely euthanized.

Back at PAWS the heron was examined right away by a rehabilitator. Luckily the tissue and most of the bone at the fracture site was still healthy; he was given pain medication and scheduled to see the veterinarians the next day. 


After an exam, radiographs and some discussion amongst our vet team they decided to go ahead and try to surgically mend the fracture. This would involve a long, sterile surgery. 


During round one of surgery a section of necrotic bone was removed from the leg to promote healing and the fracture site was sutured closed to protect the healthy bone and tissue. This round of surgery had to be aborted early due to the patient not responding well to anesthesia. The heron was put on antibiotics and his fractured leg was secured with a splint.

The second round of surgery was attempted two days later and after an hour it was a success. An external skeletal fixator, with five pins, was placed in the leg at the fracture site to hold the bone in place while it healed. 


The heron was housed in our hospital ward for four days post-surgery to limit his movement, allow the fracture site to stabilize, and so we could keep a close eye on him. 


Post surgery he was very weak and stopped eating.  Our rehabilitation staff had to work very hard to help him regain his strength.  He was given fluids, medication and tube fed several times a day.  He started knuckling his right foot when he stood and a specialized shoe was made to help with foot placement. Miraculously 10 days after surgery he started eating on his own again and regaining strength.       

He wore the fixator for a total of 19 days and as he healed he was gradually given more space.  


Once the fixator was removed he needed a little more time to regain strength and be monitored.  We needed to assess his ability to stand, perch and land after a flight.

Thanks to all the efforts of our veterinarians, rehab team and volunteers he was released back to the wild, in a wetland close to where he was found, on August 29. 


Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help

By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Natuarlist

If you're looking for a way to have fun with your pup and help PAWS, register to walk or run at PAWSwalk on Saturday, August 26 at Marymoor Park in Redmond.


Proceeds from PAWSwalk, one of our biggest fundraisers of the year, help us 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 receives over 4,000 wild animals belonging to as many as 260 different species. Our mission is to rehabilitate sick, orphaned and injured wild animals so that they can be released and become a functioning member of their wild populations once again. 

Collage landscape

Currently we are treating more than 180 patients including three young Bobcats, 12 Western Pond Turtles, four Harbor Seals, three Black-tailed Deer, a Great Blue Heron, two Bald Eagles, and 41 Raccoons just to name a few. 


All of our patients arrive with different needs; from the food they eat, to the medical attention they need, to the amount of time they require in our care. PAWSwalk supports these needs by providing the funds to keep our facilities in top shape as well as purchase necessary food and medication.


This summer we have rehabilitated and released hundreds of animals back to the wild and with your help we can continue our lifesaving work. Be sure to stop by the "Wildlife Theater" at PAWSwalk to get a behind the scenes look at the work we do at the Wildlife Center.  

Bald Eagle 171053 Release 05262017 JM (24a)

Back to PAWSwalk. PAWSwalk is a really good time. Not only will there be a 5K fun run and walk, you can also try out your pup’s skills on the agility course, kick your feet up and relax in the beer and mimosa garden, take a break to pet some cute puppies, and sample delicious food from the food trucks.



Be sure to visit our wildlife experts at the Wildlife/Education Booth, located near the Beer and Mimosa Garden. Experts will be answering questions about the Wildlife Center and Education Department. You can study bio facts, create a window cling to help birds, learn about wildlife-friendly gardens, check out volunteering opportunities, and even pick up a free box of Girl Scout cookies courtesy of our friends at Girl Scouts of Western Washington. Not only are Girl Scouts of Western Washington an official sponsor of PAWSwalk, but our education team has been working closely with them to develop an affiliate program where scouts can earn animal badges at PAWS.   


PAWSwalk might be just around the corner but there is still time to get involved. You can register here to be a walker and set up your very own fundraising page. Live far away? Register to be a virtual walker. Registration, which includes an official PAWSwalk t-shirt and bandanna, is $25 per adult; $15 for children 12 and under. Day-of-walk registration for adults increases to $35. 

Website header_poster dog

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help


By Katie Amrhein, Community Education Coordinator

“It feels amazing to help animals who are in need because they don’t have their own voice.” It is not every day that one meets a 12 year old who is changing the world, one dog treat at a time.

Isabelle reached out to PAWS this past winter because she wanted to make homemade dog treats, sell them at a local dog park, and donate the money to PAWS. As we got to know Isabelle, we learned that her love of animals started at a very young age, and she wants to spend her life helping animals.


  Isabelle1_ServiceProjectIsabelle demonstrates making her homemade dog treats in her kitchen. Once complete, they get packaged up and embellished with paw print ribbon.

For the dog treat bake sale, Isabelle researched healthy dog treats, used her own dog as a taste-tester, and ended up with a delicious end product. She held her bake sale on an early spring day at a dog park, talking to visitors, hearing stories about other peoples’ pets (many of them PAWS adoptees!), and selling treats. She also received a surprise visit from her dad, who “came with warm drinks since it was kind of chilly, a donut for me, and my dog.” What a day!

Isabelle donated the money she raised to PAWS, and got a personal tour with her mom to see where her donation would be put to use. But the fun didn’t end there, because even though the minimum volunteer age at PAWS is 18 years old, there are other ways for teens to get involved!



Teens Helping Animals workshop explores the many ways they can get involved in helping animals. Isabelle teaches a dog to shake her hand.

Isabelle joined the Teens Helping Animals workshop this summer, where she had a chance to make baby bird nests for some of our wildlife patients, train an eager dog how to shake, and meet a few of our foster kittens.


Isabelle learned how to build a baby birds nest during the summer workshop.

What advice does she have for other teens and kids who want to help animals? “Sometimes, animals can’t help themselves, so they need our help. Wild animals, for example, can’t stop pollution, but we can, so things like that really help. I’m not old enough to volunteer and help at the shelter, but I still find other ways to help animals, so it doesn’t matter your age, just do what you can and try to find a way to help.”

Thanks for inspiring all of us here at PAWS, Isabelle!

If you know a teen or child interested in getting involved and helping animals, visit for some of our upcoming youth events, or contact the PAWS Education Team at and 425.412.4026.

By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

Working at a wildlife rehabilitation center is much like working in an emergency room.  It is fast paced, you never know what will come through the front door, and many patients need life-saving procedures and medication.  

Summer is our busiest time of year. We can receive in upwards of 50 patients in one day and the species can range from a baby hummingbird to a black bear. During this time of year, our rehabilitation staff doubles in size and we welcome 15 wildlife care and baby bird interns, veterinarian externs, veterinarian tech interns and hundreds of volunteers. The baby bird nursery is now open and we can have hundreds of patients in our care at one time at different stages of needed treatment. Many of our patients are awaiting surgery, others are babies being raised, some are still healing and require medication and others are being conditioned for release. 


Juvenile raccoon being weighed.


Although we are not open to the public until 8:00 a.m., our day starts hours before. The rehabilitation staff is the first to arrive followed by our interns, volunteers and additional staff members. The morning is spent getting caught up on the new patients who arrived the previous day as well as weighing, medicating and feeding the patients in the hospital ward. Feedings in our baby bird and mammal nurseries begin at 8:00 a.m. and continue until 8:00 p.m. with 20 to 100 youngsters being fed at different intervals throughout the day. 

Volunteer feeding baby birds.


The rehab staff meets with the veterinarian team each morning to discuss the patients in vet care and to exchange any updates. The vet team then sets the priority of each patient on their list by deciding who will be seen and in what order with special attention to the types of needed procedures, such as surgeries and rechecks. The team is on the move all day long seeing and treating patients to ensure they meet all of their needs.

Western Pond Turtle Procedure 09112015 JM (13)
Dr. Bethany Groves treating a Western Pond Turtle who has Ulcerative Shell Disease.


By mid-morning the center starts to get even busier with more staff and interns showing up that need to be updated on what has happened already that day. At this point, volunteers are busy cleaning cages, preparing diets, keeping up with the nurseries’ feeding schedule, making repairs and doing laundry.  

WL_BNC_0815_vol_RC (9)
Baby Bird Nursery volunteer folding laundry.


By early afternoon, a entirely new group of volunteers show up, the morning volunteers go home and the afternoon chores begin.  This means more feeding, cleaning, refreshing diets, medications and doing laundry.

Meanwhile, the seasonal rehabilitators are busy cleaning up after, enriching and feeding the bears and bobcats in our outdoor run enclosures. This can take hours and consumes most of their day.  The rehabilitators are giving exams to new patients and performing patient cage checks while volunteers and staff are taking patients out for release. In addition, our front-line staff are talking to visitors, checking in animals and answering the phone.  

Bald Eagle 160176 Intake 03062016 JM (7)
Rehabilitators giving a Bald Eagle its initial exam.


Some days we have volunteer work groups, led by our facilities manager, helping us with outdoor chores. Educational programs stop by to learn about what we do in the wildlife center and about the species we treat. New volunteer recruits are trained several times a week.

Microsoft Intern Work Groups 07062017
Microsoft intern work group.


At 5:00 p.m. there is another shift change and new volunteers arrive while early morning staff go home. The evening shift consists of more laundry, finishing daily tasks, taking out trash, cleaning the kitchen, refreshing diets, administering any medications and prepping for the next day.

At any point and time at the center, there can be between 10 and 25 people caring for patients, most of which are volunteers.  Without our dedicated volunteers, we would not be able to keep up the high quality of care that we provide to all our patients.  They are the backbone of our organization and we can’t express how much we appreciate them.

Deer Release  Monroe  111413 KM-21
Volunteers and staff releasing Black Tailed Deer.

Our day ends sometime after 10:00 pm when the chores are complete, animals are medicated and fed and the center is tidy.

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help