There’s a steady stream of adorableness coming into PAWS right now—kittens, puppies, and a myriad of baby wild animals — each one precious, each one homeless. We are full with new little ones, and that troubles me. It means there are still many people who don’t yet understand the importance of spaying and neutering their companion animals. It means that grown cats and dogs having experienced the trauma of being abandoned or lost and brought to a shelter will have a harder time now grabbing the attention of an adopter and finding a new home. And it means wild animals are continuing to be made orphans by well meaning, but ill informed members of the public. It means our work is not done.
That is in part why last summer, the PAWS board of directors and staff embarked on a strategic planning process to ensure that PAWS remains vital and focused on making an increasingly important contribution to improving animals’ lives. We felt it imperative for us as an organization to take a comprehensive look at where we are, where we want to go and decide how we can realistically get there. We asked many of you to provide your perspective and feedback. There was a surprising degree of consensus in what you had to say. You believe our greatest strengths to be the expertise, dedication, and passion of our staff and volunteers, our reputation, name recognition, mission, and commitment to the animals. You see PAWS uniquely positioned as a strong leader in animal welfare in the Puget Sound region, and effectively carrying out much-needed advocacy work and direct care of both companion and wild animals. You spoke of the need for more money and community support and better facilities for the animals and the people who help them. And you strongly affirmed our outreach and humane education programs as a critical element of PAWS’ work, and the need to expand our efforts.
The board and staff have reaffirmed our mission of advocating for animals through education, legislation and direct care, and articulated new core values and an exciting, new vision (see page 15). We invite you to join us on our journey. Together we can continue to make a significant, positive difference in animals’ lives and subsequently our own.