PAWS Magazine

Issue 56, Winter 2003

Donor spotlight: Bunola Erickson

Bunola Erickson, warmly known as "Bunny" at PAWS, is a very young 81-year who has been a donor since 1983. She regularly gives to PAWS, and sends a note with every check saying, "this is for the animals, thanks for the work you do – Bunny." Wanting to know more about her and why she supports PAWS, we called and offered her a tour of the shelter and wildlife center, but she turned us down saying, "oh I couldn’t do that, I’d want to adopt all those little animals and I just can’t afford it!"

So we went to visit Bunny at her lovely home in Everett, Washington, where she lives with "Squeaky" her well-fed and watchful canine companion. Bunny has always shared her life with animals, including an adventurous cat that sailed regularly with her and her late husband aboard their 42 ft. boat. Bunny loves animals and minces no words when commenting about those who harm or mistreat them—she is a real advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Bunny regularly "gifts" to 10 animal welfare organizations, including PAWS, "because people can fend for themselves… it’s the little kids (her affectionate name for animals) who need the help." Her generosity and compassion are beyond compare and we are proud to have her as a member of the PAWS Circle of Friends. Thank you, Bunny!

Spotlight: Wildlife senses

Our senses are our windows to the world. Our perceived reality at any given moment is created by what we can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. But you need only walk a dog, and watch the way he stops to sniff every object, to realize that different species have very different sensory capabilities. Our own limitations make it hard for us to imagine the reality created by another species’ senses, even with a species as familiar to us as the domestic dog. Reality is subjective, and every species has its own.

Imagine being able to sit in a tree in complete darkness and easily pinpoint the location of a mouse on the ground using sound alone. This is reality for a Barn Owl. Imagine being able to tell the shape, size, distance, and texture of a surface by listening to the way sound waves bounce off of it. This is reality for a bat. Imagine being able to locate a Meadow Vole travel corridor by seeing the ultraviolet light reflected by the vole’s urine trail. This is reality for an American Kestrel. Imagine being able to follow a faint scent on the wind to its source, miles away on the ground. This is reality for a Turkey Vulture.

All of the preceding examples highlight animals with certain sensory experiences that are very different from our own. Attempting to imagine them is an interesting exercise, but it likely does not touch on the true reality of the animals’ experience. As much as we know about what they are able to sense, there is one thing we can never do. We can never experience their reality.

Volunteer spotlight: Stephen Beard

For more than two years, Stephen Beard has faithfully volunteered his time in the PAWS Development Department. He comes in every Tuesday and tackles a variety of seemingly mundane but critical jobs—from entering data, filing, preparing mailings and painting signs to helping with all types of events and even building items for Bark in the Park. Stephen has contributed more than 360 hours working in the development office and on our special events.

Special events and Stephen Beard just go together. "At first, I thought that volunteering in the shelter would be my first choice," says Stephen, "but I quickly found out, after volunteering in development, that I enjoy doing just about anything for PAWS, and the job of development office volunteer is so varied and flexible. I care for the animals, both wild and companion, and I’m concerned about their welfare. I believe in the organization and volunteering is my way of contributing."

Stephen’s consistency, willingness, and energy have contributed a great deal to PAWS’ success. Thank you, Stephen, for all you do for PAWS.


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