355 posts categorized in "Cats & Dogs"

By Kellie Benz, PAWS Staff

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 homKobo7e 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.Kobo6

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 Kobo4PAWS, 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. 

By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

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 25225414 & adopter Phoebe ROF

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 good news was he’d been neutered – something we’re strong advocates for here at PAWS, particularly in the case of cats who have access to the outdoor 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!

Longfellow shaved

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)!

Longfellow in sweater 2

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.

Looking for your perfect match? See who's waiting at PAWS.

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


By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

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!

Can't see Porter enjoying playtime in the water? Watch him on our Vimeo channel instead.

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.

Find your Porter todayadopt.

Donate now and help us continue providing a safe place for companion animals in need until they find their forever families.

By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

When "Hokie" first arrived at PAWS, he was a stray – name unknown, suffering with fleas, un-neutered, and without a microchip to help our in-house detectives (aka our Companion Animal Services team) find his true home.

All we knew from the person that brought him to us was that they found him in a Mukilteo neighborhood (in fact, as we know now, just a few blocks from his real home).


As with all stray cats and dogs who arrive at PAWS with no identification such as a collar, tag or microchip, this handsome tomcat was kept on a stray hold for 72 hours, just in case his guardian came to call.

When no one did, and the 72 hours was up, he legally became adoptable. Our veterinary staff neutered him, cured him of his flea affliction, and he was ready to find his brand new start!

Very quiet and a little nervous around people, newly-named Hokie went to hang out at our Cat City location in Seattle’s University District – where he was introduced to the cat colony lifestyle and company of the feline kind.


It only took a couple of weeks for a visitor to fall for him and begin the adoption process. But this was going to be no ordinary adoption.

Adoption Advisor Terri was on the front line that day, helping with the paperwork: “I was in the middle of adopting out Hokie when one of our volunteers said to me, "You see that guy over there? He says that’s his cat." Naturally, it's the one for whom I'm halfway through the adoption."

"After finding out the process for returning an animal to its owner, I sat down with this young man and starting talking to him. He knew where the cat had been picked up as a stray, about how old the cat was, when he went missing, and that he wasn't neutered."

"Then he went out to the car and came back in with his mom. When she walked into the room, they both burst into tears, and this quiet cat jumped off of his perch and started meowing his head off seeing his people again. They spoke to him in Russian and called him by name. It was awesome!”

This miraculous turn of events led to the happiest possible ending for Hokie. The adopter about to take him home graciously chose another sweet boy so that Hokie could be reunited with his family.

Before heading home to Mukilteo, our staff and volunteers were able to talk to Hokie's family about the benefits of indoor-only and/or directly supervised outside time for cats, both of which help keep our beloved kitties (and wildlife) safe and secure.

Now neutered and microchipped, the future looks safer for this cat-about-town. Since being fixed, he's less likely to be struck by wanderlust – and, if he does go walkabouts, he’ll be more likely to find his way home.

Learn about the benefits of spaying and neutering.

Lost your companion? Find out how PAWS can help.

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


By Kellie Benz, PAWS Staff

Her eyes draw you in. The expressions she has; hopeful but weary, happy but nervous. It’s mostly the hopeful and happy part of her that makes you instantly like her. Once she knows you've seen her, her tail begins to wag. Not a small wag, a wide sweeping side-to-side wag that makes all of her little body sway back and forth almost knocking her over. 

Betty Blue2

This is Betty Blue. She’s 6 years old—we estimate—and, despite every scar that marks her coat, she keeps putting her faith in humans.

It’s the scar that surrounds her muzzle that you notice first. That one is a deep scar that crosses her snout, then divides down both of her cheeks. That’s the puzzling one, the one that breaks your heart when you imagine how it could be that no one noticed her pain.

Once you step up to Betty Blue—and how can you not with that clumsy wag of hers—that’s when you see the real damage of human unkindness.

On her back, starting between her shoulder blades and slicing right down her spine, is a scar so thick and wide that you have to believe someone, anyone with a heart, saw that she was in need. 

Surprisingly, no one did. Because that’s not what saved her.

You see, Betty Blue is who saved Betty Blue. To be specific she saved her puppies but, in doing so, she saved herself too.

Betty Blue is from northern California and, after giving birth to a litter of pups in a field alongside a canal, she reached out to strangers for help. When a group of workers gathered nearby, she bounded towards them, urging them to help her with the babies she had lovingly kept safe.

The workers surmised that the birth had recently occurred, yet who knows how many days she waited for help?

Inspired by her motherly instinct to save her little ones, the workers scooped up the vulnerable pups and Betty Blue and got the whole family to a local shelter. Heroes for heroes as they say. Problem was, the shelter didn’t have room for a grown mom dog and her litter of pups.

They did, however, have a partner in the shelter world and that partner was PAWS.

“As soon as we knew she was on her way, we started reaching out to our community to help,” explained Kay Joubert, Director of Companion Animal Services. “Our shelter staff prepared for her arrival and our Foster Care team contacted their emergency foster homes in anticipation of the puppies’ needs.”

For their car ride north, Betty Blue and her puppies were wrapped up and safely crated with warm blankets, and given lots of food and water.

That’s when new troubles began. Busted tires, engine problems, inclement weather, and road closures plagued their trip. Through it all, Betty Blue kept nursing her defenseless little ones every leg of the tumultuous journey.

“We knew they were having some problems along the way, but we were ready for Betty Blue and her family,” Kay added.

2015-03-06 15.14.36

After 18 grueling hours, Betty Blue and her puppies met the PAWS volunteer transport team in Washington State. Her babies—by then weaned—were received in PAWS Foster Care and sent to homes where they could grow stronger, able and ready for lives with new families.

Betty Blue herself was hurried into PAWS' veterinary clinic for a check over.

“With everything she had been through, she was remarkably healthy.” Kay explained. “The scars on her body had healed and left marks only she knows the source of and, with any luck, will soon forget.”

While her healthy puppies thrive in the safe homes of loving foster parents, Betty Blue rests up and recovers. Her sad, scary days are now behind her.

She doesn't have to go it alone any more, now she has a team of friends looking out for her just like she looked out for her pups.

At PAWS, little Betty Blue wins over every animal caretaker she meets. That wiggly-waggle of a tail, those expressive eyes and that hope she has is contagious.

She reminds you that, despite what you’ve been through, it’s the future that matters the most.

For Betty Blue, we can’t wait to see who will come along and make her future as bright as her hopeful eyes. 

Are you just the person to give Betty Blue her forever home? Find out more about her and all the other companion animals we champion here.

Would you like to join the ranks of our PAWS Foster Program? It's for anyone who has the home and an open heart for animals in need. Find out about our next orientation class here.

By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

Adopted by Estelle and her husband back in April 2013, the once-fearful Maki has blossomed into a playful cuddle bug. We caught up with Estelle recently and she gave us this wonderful update on life since becoming a PAWS parent!


What made you decide to adopt from a shelter?
My husband and I wanted to give a forever home to a shelter cat and specifically, we wanted to adopt a "less adoptable" adult cat.

We adopted from PAWS because we’ve made donations in the past and are avid followers of this local non-profit.

What was it that most attracted you to Maki?
Maki needed very specific living conditions: the only pet, in a home without children with a predictable environment. She was a perfect match for our life choice.

The fact that Maki wasn't cooperative during the visit didn't stop us from wanting to adopt her. If anything, it made us want to take care of her even more. I knew that with time, her and I would become best friends.

How would you describe her personality?
Maki is a gentle little cuddle bug at heart, she loves to be held and be kissed behind her ears and, now that we’ve won her heart, she sleeps by our side every night.

She loves to play hide and seek, loves to pounce, and loves to place her feather toys all around the house for us. She’s a little kitten at heart, so playful!


How was your adoption experience with PAWS?
I’m amazed at how accurately PAWS outlined her personality and what was best for her. 

Our success was a combination of what we had to offer and PAWS’ dedication in finding the right homes for the pets waiting for adoption. 

Tell us about your first journey home and how Maki settled in.
Maki was stressed from all the changes that had happened in her kitty life in such a short time, and she was very scared initially. Soon after arriving home, however, her instincts took over and she went in all the rooms to explore and smell.

All in all, it took about a year for Maki to adapt to her new home. It was hard for her to trust that this change in her life was beneficial to her.

We learned to be patient and gentle with her and let her decide when she’d had enough interaction. Hissing, biting, hiding became less and less frequent and she gradually became more and more confident and relaxed.

What have you experienced together since Maki came home?
Maki and I are very attached to one another. When I am home, she follows me around everywhere! She thinks my husband and I are big kitties and she loves to play tag with us. She is of course better at it than me. We also race each other up the stairs but once again, she always wins!

Our living room is her playground and we often watch the squirrels and birds out the window together. She loves to wake my husband up in the morning by walking all over him!

How has Maki changed your life?
Maki has taught me to let go and relax; because she can sense stress, it was important that we learned to be attentive to our levels of stress in our interactions with her.

Maki also taught me to never give up. I had times where I thought that Maki would never open up to us, but I never stopped wanting to be her human friend. I am glad I was patient with her and let her adopt us at her own pace.

My husband mentioned that, when she hears my car pull up in the driveway, she runs to the door meowing and when I open it, all I see my little furry girl with her tail up, ready to be picked up for a snuggle. This moment always brightens my day.

She taught me that trust from a furry friend is a precious gift, earned from a real connection heart to heart. I love her to pieces.


Any advice for people considering adopting a cat?
I think that the key to a successful adoption is to assess and understand the needs of the cat you want to adopt and make sure that your home offers the best conditions to raise a happy cat.

Don't be discouraged by the bumps on the road helping your feline friend adapt to her new home. It can take years for an adult cat to reach true happiness. Let your kitty build a relationship with you. Trust her to bond with you and the day she will, it will be for life!

If you come across behavioral issues, don't stay alone with your questions and concerns, you can find great support and advice in so many places: PAWS, for instance, has a behaviorist and variety of online resources. Above all, keep the faith—very simple changes can turn a scared kitty into a happy feline.

Finally, when you adopt an adult cat, unlearn all your assumptions and start over with that special little friend that you brought home! Praise and reward verbally and with treats—just like dogs, cats love to please too!

Estelle—we're so very thankful that Maki found you and your husband! Your kindness, patience, honesty and encouragement will be an inspiration to many other families looking to adopt. Wishing you all many play-filled years ahead!

Find your Maki todayadopt.
Donate now and help us continue providing a safe place for companion animals in need.

By Kellie Benz, PAWS Staff

If you’ve ever spent an hour in an animal shelter, you can attest that the smiling, happy faces eager to greet you are the ones you notice first. It’s all so very human of us to be drawn to the strangers who are just happy to meet us. Who can blame anyone? We all just want to be liked.


But not every personality is excited for new people.

It happens, from time to time, that a companion animal in our care just needs some get-to-know you time before their true personality comes shining through. Right now, Rambo is that guy.

Rambo holds a lot of magic that he just won’t reveal to strangers. We’ve talked to him about holding back his magnificence, but being Rambo, he refuses to listen.

What we’ve now learned about Rambo—since he began his stay with PAWS back in July of last year—is that he’s an enigma and he likes it that way.

He pretends like he’s content, but we know he wants his own home and his own special someone who can see his awesome.

We know this because every day we watch Rambo begrudgingly suffer through the many curious cat adopters who are drawn to PAWS Cat City.

Some meet him with cooing enthusiasm, a decidedly unpleasant greeting for our Rambo. He prefers to set the tone of interactions, and he usually chooses the 'off' button.

He loves to play, but he prefers to decide when, what toy and for how long the play will last. He doesn’t take kindly to strangers making suggestions.

We know that he wants his own home because we end each night at PAWS Cat City watching him lumber his fluffy black and white-ness from his own private cat condo to his overnight room.

There, he settles in for yet another night of his over 6 months stay knowing that, tomorrow, he starts it all again.

You can see in his eyes that he finds the task of pretending to be interested in strangers a burden of his current circumstance. We here at PAWS have tried to take the burden off of Rambo.

We’ve highlighted him on Warm 106.9’s Wet Nose Wednesday (watch his moment in the spotlight below), we’ve made him a featured pet, and we’ve created #RescueRambo then splashed his hashtag and pictures across our social media.

Can't see the video embedded above? Click here to watch it on YouTube.

Still, his perfect match eludes us.

So we thought it was time to reveal a secret. Like most grumbly grumplepants, Rambo’s mysteries aren’t that mysterious at all. “My favorite thing about Rambo is how his eyes light up when he sees me coming and he runs to the door to greet me,” explained Steph Renaud, our resident cat aficionado and PAWS Cat City Supervisor. “What he lacks in first impressions, he makes up for in his ability to bond, and his intelligence.”


It seems fitting that, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, we reveal the truth about our biggest-hearted lovebug. 

Forgive us, Rambo, for telling the world what we know to be true about you. He may have a big coat of the fluffiest of fluffy black and white fur, but we think his heart is twice that size.

Interested in Rambo? A little warning, he’s a slow slow get-to-know, so only those with high levels of delayed gratification need apply.

We can promise you this—the big payoff of Rambo’s heart leaping at your arrival home is worth every second of patience.

Could you #RescueRambo and be his one and only? Check out his official profile here and come on down to PAWS Cat City today!

Read about the adoption process at PAWS.
Help us continue providing a safe haven for companion animals in need. Donate now.
Meet all our current companions patiently waiting for forever homes.

By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

Since they first met in October 2011, Laura and PAWS alumnus Daisy (now Boomer) have been inseparable, and we're hugely thankful that this perfect match came to be. We recently caught up with Laura to find out how life has been since they headed home from PAWS.


What made you decide to adopt from a shelter?
It was never a question for me to adopt from a shelter. I know there are a lot of different opinions on this, but for me it just seemed like the right thing to do.

How did you first find out about Boomer?
My friend was working for PAWS at the time and helping me navigate the adoption process. I came into PAWS one night for the second or third time, with one dog in particular in mind that I was pretty certain I was going to adopt that day. PAWS even 'held' the dog for me for a few hours. But I was a little late and when I arrived at the shelter after work, that dog was being adopted by another family.

I was pretty bummed, but my friend told me that dog had a sister who happened to be visiting that night from her foster home, and took me back to met her. It was Boomer, known as 'Daisy' at the time.

What was it that most attracted you to Boomer?
Honestly, she was a little funny looking and overweight and not feeling well, and just so quiet and sweet. It was love at first sight. I was really certain about what kind of dog I was looking for and she met all my requirements!

How was your adoption experience with PAWS?
It was really great! I had met other dogs up for adoption while I was looking through a couple other private foster agencies, and I found them really hard to work with. When I got to PAWS, it was nice to be trusted and also see how well they take care of their shelter animals. I felt really good about supporting PAWS.


Tell us about your first journey home and how the “settling in” period went.
I came back to pick up Boomer a week or so later, since she needed to be spayed and recover from kennel cough before I could take her home. She was still on pain meds and healing from her surgery when I came in, so she was a little out of it.

My PAWS friend came with me for moral support, which was really awesome because I was pretty nervous. We stopped by the pet store for some basic supplies and then went home to settle in and watch the Seahawks game. She was immediately a BIG Seahawks fan and has been a loyal 12th Dog ever since. Go Hawks!

FYI, Boomer's namesake is Sharon Valerii from Battlestar Galactica—she's a scifi nerd just like me, so it was a natural fit.

What have you experienced together since Boomer came home?
Sometimes Boomer seems like a big dog trapped in a little dog's body. There's not much that she wouldn't do with me—snow camping, hiking, road trips, jogging (watch us on Instagram post-jog), paddle boarding, river tubing, sailing, visiting the farm, watching football—and she's a snuggling BOSS! You name it, she's usually game.


Other times I think she's part cat. She actually sleeps in a cat bed. I've never met a dog who could sleep so many hours of the day! It's not uncommon for me to have to drag her out of bed in the morning.

Every day is a funny moment with this one. But some of my favorites are watching her sunbathe which we call 'Rotisserie Boomer,' (example, right) and when she incessantly nibbles on the covers. I have not been able to figure that one out, but it's hilarious.

How has Boomer changed your life?
I can't even remember my life pre-Boomer. I honestly feel so lucky every day to have her in my life. Every morning I wake up to her burrowed under the covers and then she pops her head out to say hi and have her morning snuggles and play a little.

When we go camping together, she even burrows down to the bottom of my sleeping bag and stays there through the night. I don't even know how she breaths down there but she keeps me warm on cold nights in the woods, and that is definitely life-changing.

Any new year’s resolutions you’re working on together?
Boomer and I have both vowed to get more sleep in 2015. Sometimes the 23 hours she usually gets just doesn't cut it, ya know? The struggle is real.

Laura—thank you for this wonderful update, and for being an animal hero to Boomer. Wishing you both lots of sleep-filled days through 2015 and beyond!

Find your Boomer todayadopt.
Donate now and help us continue providing a safe place for companion animals in need.

By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

As we celebrate the holiday season, we're thankful for the many hundreds of people who have given a PAWS cat or dog their new start in a loving, forever home. People like Gabrielle, who adopted Barnabas in March of this year. 

What made you decide to adopt from a shelter versus purchase from a breeder?
I've always felt very strongly about adopting animals as opposed to purchasing from a breeder. The two dogs that my family owned were, unfortunately, from backyard breeders. Both had severe health issues and it was very difficult for us all.

One of my favorite quotes sums me up well; 'Saving a dog may not change the world, but for that one dog its world changes forever.' I’ve had people tell me I'm not going to make a difference, but for every animal I help save, I make a difference to them. The difference between life and death. 

How did you first hear about Barnabas?
My friend was looking to adopt a dog. She asked me to help look online, and I stumbled across this handsome Pit Bull type dog. I had just lost my previous dog, an 11 year old 170lbs Saint Bernard, to bone cancer. He was the ‘man of the house’ so to speak, and it just seemed incomplete without that once he passed on. The timing was perfect.

Can't see Barnabas playing with his toy? Try watching on YouTube instead.

What was it that most attracted you to him?
I adore Pit Bull type dogs. They have so much love to give, and they get so much hate in return. At first, the thing that attracted me to him was his looks. A solid, but kind faced dog.

When I met him, he was aloof. The volunteer told me that Barnabas had had a lot of visitors, but none clicked. I understood that he didn’t think this meet and greet was going to lead anywhere. It was hailing, he was cold and just wanted to go inside.

When the rest of my family came back that afternoon to finalize his adoption, the look in Barnabas’ eyes when he saw we came back was the saddest and yet most touching thing I had ever saw. He didn’t think I was coming back. I did.

Tell us about your first journey home and how the “settling in” period went.
Barnabas loves car rides, but the journey home was a bit much for him. He clung to me like velcro, I had to sit in the back seat because he was trying to climb up to the front.

Once we got home, he sniffed around a bit and then climbed on his dog bed and slept the whole night. I live right next to a large expanse of woodland area, so I took him for a walk the next morning.

It honestly didn’t take Barnabas very long to settle in. He caught on to the routine very quickly; walks in the morning, followed by breakfast at 8, then a food coma nap, a lunchtime walk, stuffed Kong in the kennel, training and playtime in the afternoon, dinner at 7, bedtime.

I learned that Barnabas does not like kennels. They scare him, so my vet prescribed some anxiety tincture for him to help with that. That has been our largest hurdle. Training has been a breeze, he’s a social butterfly, and welcomes all that come through my door. We are currently working with a Positive Reinforcement trainer to help with his anxiety toward the kennel.

Does Barnabas have any fur friends at home? 
I have Lola, rescued from Seattle Humane Society in August 2012 when she was just 8 weeks old. I’m convinced that her energy could power an entire house, and she is extremely toy and food motivated.

I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about the introduction. Barnabas is an older fellow and Lola is a bit rude when it comes to greeting other dogs. She loves them, she just never learned how to greet them in a polite manner.

The introduction surpassed all of my expectations, in the best way!


Lola didn’t rush at Barnabas, and Barnabas respected Lola’s space when she didn’t want to play. It’s like they knew this was the breaking point, if either dog didn’t get along it wasn’t meant to be.

Well, it sure was meant to be because they act like lovestruck teenagers. Barnabas will seek her out just to lay his head on her shoulder. Lola who, before she met Barnabas, was the world’s worst cuddle and introvert, actually enjoys Barnabas cuddling with her. 

What have you experienced together since Barnabas came home?
Barnabas snores louder than a bear in hibernation. I swear one of these days he’ll shake the house down!

He knows the word ‘Bath’ and if he hears it he'll promptly hide under my bed. I am currently desensitizing him toward the bathroom. We have ‘parties’ in there, where he gets lots of praise and treats, sometimes even a stuffed Kong. That seems to be helping quite a bit.

I have a young nephew who sometimes comes over, and Barnabas is in love. His paperwork said that he lived with a 1 year old toddler, which is around how old my nephew is. Barnabas will groom him, and share his toys with him.

He hates water, and looks like a small hippopotamus when he swims. If Lola, who loves water more than life, jumps in the lake Barnabas will pace and bark until she comes back to shore. He’ll groom her and won’t let her out of his sight after that.

Barnabas loves tortilla chips. He is usually an extremely polite dog, he won’t stare at you while you’re eating, if you leave food on the ground he won’t touch it, but if you have tortilla chips in your hand you better watch out! The first thing to come is the drool. It’s like someone attached a waterfall to his lips. Then comes the small, pitiful whines and the big brown eyes.

Can't see Barnabas taking a treat? Try watching him on YouTube instead.

How has Barnabas changed your life?
In so many ways! He taught me to never lose my patience. I never yell or raise my voice at the dogs, I am a strictly Positive Reinforcement dog trainer, but arguments between humans happen sometimes. These upset Barnabas so much that he’ll climb into my lap and groom me, like he's trying to calm me down. He'll stay there until the argument has passed.

He taught me that no matter how ‘scary’ one looks, a kind heart almost always wins people over. He also taught me that some people are too afraid to see past the intimidating looks, and that that is okay. They aren’t ready. That's just fear. He taught me that cuddles fix everything, especially when you get to cuddle with your two best doggy friends.


How will you celebrate the holidays?
Lola and Barnabas will get a dog friendly but festive dinner, and have gifts to open. Lola unwraps her gifts herself, I'm curious to see if Barnabas will do the same! 

What’s going to be in Barnabas’s Christmas stocking this year?
It's a tradition in my family to hang stockings for everyone. Yes, everyone! I have a stocking made for Lola, and am in the process of sewing Barnabas'.

We stock them with cookies from our local pet shop (the only local one that doesn't sell puppies, I don't want to support that!), and toys.

Barnabas will be getting a dog tag with his name and information on it, because he lost his other one on a hike. Lola is getting a pack of kong squeak tennis balls, her absolute favorite.

Thank you for being an animal hero to Barnabas (and Lola!) Gabrielle—wishing you and all our wonderful adopters a very Happy Holidays, and lots of fun adventures in the years to come!

Find your Barnabas todayadopt.
Donate now and help us continue providing a safe place for companion animals in need.

By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we're thankful for all the wonderful people who visit PAWS with adoption in mind, and give our adorable adoptables a second chance at life—including Steph, who came into Summer's life in September 2013. 

What made you decide to adopt from a shelter?
My family always got our pets from shelters so, from a very young age, I learned the importance of adopting animals in need rather than buying them from breeders.

Summer 2

How did you first find out about Summer?
I found her on the PAWS website. I loved her description and thought she'd be a perfect fit for me.

Summer was the name she came with and it seems to fit her so well. She answers to her name and even comes when we call her.

What was it that most attracted you to her?
I first fell in love with her look. She's a largish girl, half fluff, with a very pretty coat and face. Summer also has the personality I wanted in a cat; mellow, people loving, cuddle bug, and talkative.

The way she was described online was fairly spot on, which was very helpful to me in choosing between the options I had.

How was your adoption experience with PAWS?
A member of staff had had a lot of one on one time with Summer so I was able to chat with her to get more info about the kitty I was taking home.

Her previous owner had also filled out a long survey detailing a lot of information about her, so I was able to learn a lot about her that I couldn't see while she was in the shelter.

The meet and greet rooms were nice for getting a little time with the cats one on one. Checking out the colony rooms was fun too.

Briefly tell us about your first journey home and how the “settling in” period went. 
Summer was in her little cardboard kitty box and was very quiet. She would put her little paw out of one of the holes to reach out and touch me in the car. When I got home I had my bathroom all set up for her to spend her first few days settling in. I opened up the box and she started to purr, and gave me a dainty little mew.

Summer hung out in a hooded cat bed for a bit. Since she was so relaxed I decided to open the door and let her explore if she wanted. It wasn't long before she cuddled with me on the couch, then flopped on the floor on her back with her white tummy all exposed. It certainly didn't take long for her to get comfortable!

What have you experienced together since Summer became a part of your family?
We actually moved across the country together this summer, as I got into graduate school in North Carolina.

Summer 3

Five days in the car may have been rough with any other pet, but Summer did it like a champ! It took until day 3 for her to decide she was done with it and start yelling at us to go home (see picture below)!


I've also discovered she's not a very good huntress. I told her that since the new apartment had a pet rent of $10 each month she would need to kill some of the bugs we were finding in the house. The south is full of bugs.

Well, she tried, but she prefers to find the bug and cry while sitting next to it until I come over and squish it.

How has Summer changed your life?
She's given me a greater appreciation for older cats. When I was choosing between her and other potential cats, several people told me it was foolish to get an older pet as I wouldn't have as much time with her as I would a younger pet.

If I'd listened to them, I wouldn't have gotten Summer and that would have been a shame. She is perfect for me and brings me so much joy.

Any Thanksgiving plans?
If she has her way, Summer will be eating all of the turkey!

Thanks for sharing your story Steph, and for being Summer's animal hero! 

Find your Summer todayadopt.
Donate now and help us continue providing a safe place for companion animals in need.