Dear Friends,

As we approach the holiday season, our thoughts naturally turn to family. It’s a time we celebrate the road we’ve travelled, and share the excitement that is the future.

But what is it that truly makes a family? For me, family means more than shared relations; it means shared values. PAWS is just this type of family – one with a common bond that drives us: our love and respect for all animals.

Animals like the Great Blue Heron on page eight. This young heron arrived at PAWS Wildlife Center in June with a broken leg, injured as he attempted his first flight from the nest. By August, his leg was healed, and I had the privilege of witnessing his return to the wild. As part of the PAWS family, I’m sure you’ll agree that the sense of fulfillment and pleasure we derive from caring for animals is often beyond words, and thus, why should their “good-byes” be any different? For me, knowing that this majestic bird is gracing our skies, living a wild and natural life, is more than enough thanks.

PAWS had the great sorrow and distinction of saying good-bye to another majestic animal this past August – Ivan the western lowland gorilla. For those of you who have been involved with PAWS for many years, you may recall Ivan’s story, whose solitary confinement in a Tacoma shopping mall captured our attention more than 25 years ago. With Ivan’s passing, we revisit his story on page ten as a reminder of the amazing change a caring community can inspire.

Whether we are celebrating animals like Ivan, whose life we impacted so many years ago, or the animals who have yet to arrive at our doors this year, I am deeply grateful to have each and every one of you in our PAWS family. As different as we all may be, our shared values are reflected in the stories you will find inside this edition of PAWS magazine.

On behalf of PAWS, I am honored to share these stories with you.

Happy holidays to you and yours,

Annette Laico
Executive Director

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