Are you doing a research report on PAWS or animals? Are you curious about learning more about PAWS? We can help with these frequently asked questions.
If you don't see what you are looking for, you can try typing in the topic of your question in the upper right hand corner of every page on this website.
- How did PAWS start?
- Is there a PAWS near me?
- What items can I donate to PAWS? Does PAWS have a wish list?
- Can PAWS help me with a donation drive?
- Where does the money I donate go to?
- How old do I have to be to volunteer?
- How do I report animal cruelty? What can PAWS do to help?
Shelter and pet questions
- What is spaying and neutering? Why is it important?
- I want a pet. How do I know what kind I should get?
- I found a stray animal, what do I do?
- Why do dogs bite?
- What is a microchip and why is it important?
- Is it okay for a cat to live outside?
- What does my pet need to be happy?
- Does PAWS put the cats and dogs to sleep if they don't get adopted?
- How does PAWS help wild animals?
- What do wild animals need to be happy?
- What is wildlife rehabilitation?
- What do I do if I find an injured or potentially orphaned wild animal?
- If I touch a wild baby bird, will the parents abandon the baby?
- Can I raise an orphaned wild animal myself?
- Can I keep a wild animal as a pet?
- Will the wildlife in my neighborhood starve if I don't feed them?
- How does my family get rid of a wild animal we think is a problem?
PAWS began with a small group of compassionate women in 1967. Leading the group was Virginia Knouse, who served as the president of PAWS until the early 1990s. These friends were worried about pet overpopulation and decided they would raise money for what they believed to be the best solution: spay and neuter surgeries. In 1981, PAWS began to provide specialized care for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in addition to cats and dogs. Do you want to know more? Read a more detailed story about our history.
PAWS is a popular name and throughout the United States there are a number of organizations with the name PAWS. However, all of these are separate organizations and are not related to our organization in Lynnwood, Washington near Seattle. If you are looking for a group called PAWS in your area, try checking the list of other organizations called PAWS.
You can help the animals in our care by donating items from our wish list. Please know that PAWS cannot accept bags or cans of food that have been opened or are expired. Donations can be delivered to PAWS Companion Animal Shelter and PAWS Wildlife Center during our regular business hours. Thank you for your help!
It is an awesome idea to have a donation drive to help PAWS! You are so kind to think of it. Learn more about how to organize a supplies drive.
About 80 percent of the money donated to PAWS goes directly to caring for animals here, for things such as food and medical care. It also goes toward education programs, like the ones we do with kids, and to help other animals in the community through changing laws. The other 20 percent pays for costs of operating, like electricity and building maintenance.
You must be 18 years old to volunteer at PAWS on a regular basis, however, there are still a lot of other things you can do to help animals. You can also check out some of our volunteer opportunities for kids at PAWS to explore all of your options.
PAWS has no legal authority to investigate animal cruelty and neglect-we do not have an investigative or animal control unit. We can provide resources to people to report cases of animal cruelty and neglect. If you think you see animal cruelty, get an adult you trust and together you can call your local animal control. Refer to our animal cruelty page to learn more. Remember, animal abuse is against the law which is why it is important to report anything you suspect.
Shelter and pet questions
Spay and neuter are the names of simple surgeries that prevent dogs and cats from having babies. Spay is the surgery for girls and neuter is the surgery for boys. Dogs and cats are put under anesthesia so they don't feel any pain, just like people are during surgery.
These surgeries are important because there are too many dogs and cats and not enough homes. One of the biggest challenges homeless dogs and cats face is the problem of pet overpopulation.
Whether it is your first pet or you have others at home, adding an animal to the family is a big decision. Pets require a lot of care like fresh food and water, exercise, a safe place to sleep, and love. Each one is different and has a unique personality. To make sure you are ready to be a new pet guardian, learn more about choosing the right animal for you.
If you see an animal you think has no home, remember these three steps:
- Don't touch. Animals who are afraid or hurt may harm you by trying to protect themselves.
- Call an adult you trust. Get your parent or guardian to help you with the stray animal.
- Call PAWS. It is important that a stray animal is brought to the right shelter and PAWS might not be the right place. You and your trusted adult should call PAWS at 425.787.2500 x850 before bringing in any animal you might think is lost or homeless or see a list of other shelters and agencies in Western Washington.
There are several reasons why dogs might bite someone.
- Fear or surprise
- Pain or sickness
- Protecting their property
Learn more about these reasons and what to do to stay safe.
A pet microchip is a tiny computer chip about the size of a grain of rice. Each chip has a different code that is linked to all the information about the animal's family. This information can be read by a special scanner. Microchips are important because if an animal gets lost, shelters and veterinarians can scan the chip, read the code number and contact the animal's family. The microchip is injected just under the skin of an animal. It is a one-time procedure that is similar to a shot. Read more about microchips.
It is best to keep cats indoors where they can be safe and healthy. There are a lot of dangers for cats who are allowed to roam outside. They can be hurt by cars, dogs, wild animals or mean people. They can also get into poison or injure themselves on broken glass or rusty nails. Cats can also harm wild animals when they are outside. To understand more about cat care, read about some kitty do's and kitty don'ts.
Just like us, all pets have basic needs and deserve to be happy. It is important to learn about these things before you get a pet so you can be ready to provide the best possible home. Read more about pets to understand what your animals need to be happy and healthy.
PAWS does not put any healthy, adoptable dogs or cats to sleep and we never put an animal to sleep just because they have been in the shelter for a certain length of time. PAWS is committed to saving as many animals as possible and always does their best to help an animal before choosing euthanasia.
PAWS has cared for more than 100,000 injured, ill or orphaned wild animals representing 260 species since we began wildlife rehabilitation in 1981. Our goal with all wild animals is to return them to the wild with the best possible chance of survival. We do not keep any wild animals permanently for display or educational purposes.
PAWS has a wildlife emergency hospital and rehabilitation center. That means we care for sick, injured or orphaned wild animals when they cannot take care of themselves and survive. PAWS cares for wildlife so that they can have a second chance to live freely in the wild. PAWS also educates adults and children on how to peacefully co-exist with wild animals, works to pass legislation to protect wild animals in Washington State, and provides practical humane solutions for solving conflicts with wildlife. Learn more about the PAWS Wildlife Center.
Wild animals are happiest when they and their habitat are treated respectfully. It is important to learn about wild animals so that we can live together peacefully. Learn more about wild animals to understand what wild animals need to be happy and healthy.
Wildlife rehabilitation is a career involving the treatment and care of sick, injured or orphaned wild animals with the goal of releasing them back to their natural habitats in the wild. For rehabilitation to be considered a success, the released animal must be able to survive on their own in the wild. Learn more about wildlife rehabilitation.
If you see an animal you think is injured or possibly orphaned, remember these important rules:
- Don't touch. Wild animals are naturally afraid of humans. If they are hurt, they may bite or scratch you. They may also have diseases.
- Call an adult you trust. Get your parent or guardian to help you with the wild animal.
- Call PAWS. Have the adult call PAWS at 425.412.4040. Our experienced staff will help you determine what is best for the animal.
No. It is a myth that birds will reject their babies if touched by a human. Birds do not have the best sense of smell so it is very unlikely that a bird will notice a human scent. The best thing you can do if you find a baby bird who has fallen out of the next and appears unharmed, is to get an adult you trust to help you return the baby bird to his nest. If you cannot find the nest, call PAWS Wildlife Center at 425.412.4040 for help.
It is against the law to raise or keep a wild animal without the proper licenses and permits. Rehabilitating wild animals requires specific training and special education. Without the right training, humans often do more harm than good for a wild animal.
No. It is illegal in the state of Washington (and many other states) to have a wild animal in your possession unless you are transporting that animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Keep yourself and the wild animals safe and happy by leaving them in the wild to live and care for their families in their natural environment.
No. In fact, feeding wildlife can be harmful to their well-being.
- When wild animals depend on humans for food, they can lose their skills to search for their own food.
- They may also lose their healthy fear of humans, which is important for their survival. An animal who no longer fears humans is far more likely to come into conflict with them. If wild animals are comfortable coming up to people, this can be dangerous for people, too.
- The food that humans tend to feed wildlife, such as leftovers from the dinner table, can cause serious health problems because it is not the right food.
For even more information, check out the effects of feeding wildlife.
Please talk to your parents or guardian and have them call PAWS at 425.412.4040 or have them read information on having a wildlife problem. A trained PAWS staff member will give your family advice on dealing with the animal in a humane manner. There are all sorts of effective solutions to different human/wildlife problems that do not require the killing or harming of the animal.