FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Shelter & Companion Animal Questions

Wildlife Questions


General Questions

How did PAWS start?
PAWS was founded by a small group of dedicated people in 1967. Most prominent was Virginia Knouse, who served as the president of PAWS until the early 1990s. The founders were concerned about the tragedy of euthanasia at our communities’ shelters. They believed that the best way to prevent the euthanasia of animals in shelters was to encourage spaying and neutering, as PAWS does today. They founded PAWS to raise money for low-cost spaying and neutering of Lynnwood-area animals, initially by running a thrift store.

But the store quickly became swamped with cats and dogs brought in by people who assumed PAWS would be able to take care of them. Within two years, PAWS opened the companion animal shelter in, what was then, rural Lynnwood. As with many shelters in the country, PAWS also began receiving injured, sick and orphaned wild animals. In 1981 PAWS began to provide specialized care for wildlife. Since those humble beginnings in 1967, PAWS has found loving, responsible homes for more than 120,000 cats and dogs, cared for more than 100,000 wild animals, and helped countless others through advocacy and education. Read more about our history.

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How is PAWS different than other animal advocacy and animal welfare organizations?
PAWS is unique because of the breadth of our commitment to the animals in our community. There is no other organization taking a leadership role in direct care for sick, injured or orphaned wildlife and of homeless dogs and cats, and offering a central commitment to advocacy and education on behalf of animals. More than 200,000 animals have come through our doors since 1967, and it is this hands-on experience that gives us perspective on how best to advocate for them and educate the community.

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Is there a PAWS near me?
Throughout the United States there are several organizations with the name PAWS. However, all of these are separate organizations and have no affiliation with our organization, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society, in Lynnwood, Washington near Seattle. If you are looking for a PAWS in your area, try checking the list of other organizations called PAWS on the "Not the Right PAWS?" page .

To search for companion animal organizations near you, go to www.petfinder.com. For a list of wildlife rehabilitation centers contact the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA) at www.nwrawildlife.org or 320.230.9920.

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How do I make a donation to PAWS?
You can do one of three things: send in your donation by mailmake a secure donation online, or call the fundraising office at 425.787.2500 x261 to talk to someone about making a donation. More than 80 percent of PAWS' operating budget comes from gifts made by our friends in the community. Gifts are vital to help us fulfill our mission.

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What items can I donate to PAWS? Does PAWS have a wish list? 
You can help the animals in our care by donating items from our wish list. PAWS is not able to accept bags or cans of food that have been opened or are expired. Donations can be delivered to PAWS Wildlife Center, Companion Animal Shelter or PAWS Cat City during our regular business hours. We will provide you with a tax-deductible receipt for your contribution. Thank you for your support!

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Is PAWS recognized by the government as a non-profit?
Yes, PAWS is recognized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Our tax ID number is 91-6073154.

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How much money goes to fundraising and administration?
PAWS is committed to keeping our fundraising and administration costs as low as possible. This ensures that community support truly benefits the animals in our care—providing food, supplies, expert veterinary care, and love, and funds our education and advocacy initiatives. For more detail, PAWS' audited financial statements are available by calling 425.412.4038. You can also learn more about PAWS’ budget and work for the animals in our most recent Annual Report.

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How old do I have to be to volunteer?
You must be 18 years old to volunteer at PAWS on a regular basis, however we do have a few options for kids to volunteer with PAWS and lots of ideas on how kids can help animals every day.

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I want to volunteer– how do I go about this?
Visit the volunteer page where you can read about how to become a volunteer, link to descriptions of volunteer opportunities, and complete an online application. Opportunities include walking dogs, providing foster care, staffing outreach and fundraising events, taking care of cats, assisting with wildlife rehabilitation, helping with administrative tasks and more.

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Does PAWS teach classes?
PAWS has an Education Program where community educators and trained volunteers go to classrooms, clubs and other groups to teach youth about wild, farm and companion animals. We offer a variety of different presentations and interactive lessons to help youth better understand animals, foster empathy for them, and meet requirements for state and national science standards. Learn more about the programs we offer or call 425.787.2500 x258.

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How do I report animal cruelty?
If you are witnessing animal cruelty at this moment, call 911.

PAWS has no legal authority to intervene on behalf of abused and neglected animals., If you suspect animal cruelty or neglect, you should contact your local animal control immediately. Refer to our report animal cruelty page for tips on documenting and reporting animal abuse, Washington State laws, and other resources. See a list of Western Washington animal control phone numbers.

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Shelter & Companion Animal Questions 

I can no longer care for my pet, how can PAWS help?
Thank you for contacting PAWS about finding a new home for your companion animal. PAWS takes in guardian-relinquished dogs and cats on a space available basis, and only by appointment. Please refer to this page on our website http://www.paws.org/cant-keep-your-pet.html for information on how to re-home your animal yourself, when PAWS can help and take in your animal, and other resources. We would also recommend checking with other shelters. Please visit http://www.petfinder.com for a list of companion animal organizations in Washington State.

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I found a stray animal I need to take somewhere. What do I do?
It is important to take the animal to the correct shelter so she can be reunited with her family. If you found a stray cat or dog in the city limits of, Brier, Edmonds, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Shoreline or Woodinville, you can bring the animal to PAWS. Hours and Directions to PAWS. Strays found in unincorporated Snohomish County or the city limits of Lynnwood should go to the Everett Animal Shelter.

If you have found a stray animal, she should be taken to the shelter closest to the location where the animal was found. This will increase the likelihood that the animal will be reunited with her guardian and safely returned home. If you live in Western Washington, view a list of other local shelters.

If you don't find a shelter listed or you live outside of Western Washington, you should call information and see if there is a humane society or SPCA in your area. If that doesn't work, the best bet is to call the local police or sheriff department and ask where they take stray animals. Often it will be your local shelter and they should be able to provide contact information. In some areas, it may be necessary to call 911 to obtain information about where to take a stray animal. Be sure to indicate it is a non-emergency.

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How long does PAWS keep animals before they put them to sleep?
PAWS does not euthanize healthy, adoptable companion animals nor do we euthanize animals for space or simply because they have been in the shelter for a certain length of time. As an organization committed to the welfare of animals in our care, we euthanize companion animals only when all other reasonable courses of treatment and options for appropriate placement in a home have been exhausted. For every animal in our care, PAWS explores all avenues prior to recommending euthanasia, and remains committed to saving as many animals as possible.

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Does PAWS care for feral cats? What can I do about feral cats?
PAWS does not have the facilities to care for feral cats. You can contact local groups that work with feral and community cats. These organizations can provide information on trapping and altering feral cats or help with renting traps or surgery. For more information and for a list of feral cat organizations refer to our feral cat page.

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Where can I get a humane cat trap?
Traps may be rented from PAWS for a $10 a day or $50 a week rental fee, plus a $100 refundable deposit. You must come to the PAWS Companion Animal Shelter during the hours we are open to rent one. Other shelters may rent traps as well. Refer to our humane trap rental page for more information.

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What happens before a dog or cat gets adopted? Animals receive an initial examination to ensure they are not suffering from an injury or illness, and are vaccinated and given medication to address fleas and other common parasites. They are scanned for identification, and entered into our database. Some animals go to the foster care program if they are very young or after receiving medical care to further recover from an illness or injury. Next the staff and volunteers focus on getting to know each dog or cat so we can be sure we can help make a great match between the dog or cat and your family. Some animals will undergo additional behavioral testing, and all animals will benefit from enrichment in the form of toys, exercise and attention. To read all about it, check out our handout, The Path to a Forever Home.

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Why does PAWS meet with potential adopters?
PAWS wants to do everything possible to make sure families find the right animal to fit into their lifestyles, while helping the animals to find a home that best fulfills their needs. We engage in a conversation to learn about you, your household and what expectations you have for a new companion. Our team can share helpful information about animal care, behavior and successfully transitioning a new animal into your home. They will also share details about the animal’s in our care to help you find that right fit. Read more about our adoption process.

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Why does PAWS suggest adopting two kittens at the same time?  If there isn’t already a cat in the household, PAWS will often encourage adopters to consider adopting two kittens at the same time, or a kitten and a young adult cat. Since kittens need to learn appropriate feline behavior in the first several months of their lives, having another feline friend can help to temper normal behaviors such as scratching or biting so they don’t become a problem.

Kittens are curious and require lots of stimulation. A single, bored kitten will often entertain herself by chewing and climbing on things, or engaging in other possibly destructive or dangerous activities. These behaviors are usually reduced if a kitten has another kitten or cat to play with, and has frequent interaction with her human family.

If you choose to adopt just one young kitten, you may need to modify your schedule to allow more interactive time with your new friend. While toys are helpful for short periods of time, they are not a substitute for socialization which is imperative for a kitten’s healthy physical and emotional development. For more tips see the kitten section in our Resource Library.

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What is PAWS’ stance on declawing cats?  PAWS does not approve of declawing, a painful, surgical procedure that has long-lasting effects on cats. Per the American Veterinary Medical Association, declawing is the surgical amputation of all or part of a cat's toe bones and the attached claws. Once their claws have been removed, cats can no longer perform their natural stretching and kneading rituals. They become weaker as they age and may experience debilitating arthritis in their backs and shoulders.

Furthermore, cats without claws have lost their first line of defense, and therefore, live in a constant state of stress. They cannot fight off other animals or escape quickly from danger. They may also become biters because they can no longer use their claws as a warning. Declawing can also lead to issues with using the litter box. For more information see The Problems with Declawing.

Scratching is natural for cats, but it can be both annoying and destructive. Luckily, scratching behaviors can be modified humanely and effectively. See our page on Destructive Scratching for suggestions.

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Can I license my pet at PAWS?
At PAWS Companion Animal Shelter in Lynnwood, we can license your pet if you live in Brier, Mountlake Terrace, Seattle, unincorporated King County, Auburn, Beaux Arts, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Carnation, Clyde Hill, Covington, Duvall, Enumclaw, Issaquah, Kent, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Newcastle, North Bend, Redmond, Sammamish, SeaTac, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, Tukwila, Woodinville, & Yarrow Point.

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How do I update my contact information for my pet’s microchip?
To update your contact information, you need to contact the company who produced the microchip your pet was implanted with. If you are unsure about the brand of microchip, go to www.petmicrochiplookup.org and type in your pet’s microchip number. Once you determine what brand of microchip your pet has, contact the company directly to update your information. Some microchip companies charge a small fee to update your information, but it’s worth the cost to ensure you and your pet can be reunited if they become lost. Current contact information also helps to provide proof of legal ownership.

Regardless of what brand of microchip your companion has, it is imperative to update the registration with the shelter where you adopted and veterinarian if you move, change phone numbers or other contact information. A microchip is only useful if the registration is kept up to date.

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Does PAWS pick up dead animals?
PAWS does not pick up dead animals. Please contact your local animal control agency for assistance.

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Can PAWS spay or neuter my pet?
PAWS offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for qualified low-income individuals. Learn more about getting your pet spayed or neutered at PAWS. Also, see this list of other low-cost clinics in Western Washington.

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Can I bring my companion animal to PAWS for veterinary care? Can PAWS help me pay for my veterinary bills?
PAWS does not have a full-service veterinary center and cannot be responsible for veterinary bills or treatment of an animal after leaving our shelter. In Washington State, shelters are restricted from providing general veterinary services to privately owned animals. If you have questions about the health of an animal you adopted from PAWS, please review the information in your adoption packet, and be sure to take advantage of the free certificate for a veterinary exam. If you have further questions, you can contact us at 425.787.2500 x804.

PAWS does not have a program to help individuals cover the cost of their pets' veterinary bills, but provides some resources and ideas for getting help with veterinary bills.

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Can PAWS provide me with a veterinary or pet sitting/boarding referral?
As a non-profit organization with limited resources, PAWS does not have the ability to evaluate businesses and provide referrals or endorsements to the public. We do provide tips on how to find a pet sitter or boarding kennel and links to resources. 

If you are looking for a veterinarian, you can search for one in your area on the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association's website or the American Animal Hospital Association's website. As a caring guardian, please undertake full research before entrusting your companion animal to any service provider.

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I am having behavior issues with my new and/or long-time companion animal – can you help?
Please visit the PAWS to search for tips on solving behavior problems in our Resource Library. For animals adopted from PAWS, please review the behavior information in your adoption packet, or call 425.787.2500 x804 for assistance.

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Wildlife Questions 

How does PAWS help wild animals?
PAWS operates a wildlife hospital and rehabilitation center that includes a surgical suite, laboratory, an X-ray machine, a treatment and post-operative ward for recovering patients, and custom-built pools and enclosures to meet the needs of a wide variety of species. We have cared for more than 100,000 injured, ill or orphaned wild animals representing 260 species since we began wildlife rehabilitation in 1981. Our goal is to return the animals to the wild with the best possible chance of survival. We do not keep any wild animals permanently in captivity, for display or for educational purposes.

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.

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What is wildlife rehabilitation?
Wildlife rehabilitation is a profession 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 deemed successful, released animals must be able to survive on their own and be an integral part of their species population, i.e., recognize and obtain appropriate foods, select mates of their own species to reproduce, and respond appropriately to potential dangers (people, cars, dogs, natural predators, etc.).

Those animals who sustain injuries or illnesses that prevent them from living successfully in the wild are humanely euthanized to end their suffering. Wildlife rehabilitation is not an attempt to turn wild animals into pets. Patients are held in captivity only until they can live independently in the wild. Read more about wildlife rehabilitation.

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What do I do if I find an injured or potentially orphaned wild animal?
If you find a wild animal you suspect may be injured or orphaned, please contact PAWS at 425.412.4040. Our experienced staff will help you determine whether or not an animal needs assistance, and how best to provide that assistance. Also, refer to what to do when you find an injured or orphaned wild animal.

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What if I find an injured or sick animal after hours?
If you find an injured or sick wild animal after PAWS Wildlife Center has closed, please do the following:

  • Find a suitable container (cardboard box, pet carrier). Line it with a towel or cloth.
  • If you feel you can do it safely, throw a towel or a sheet over the animal so he can’t see you, gently pick up the animal (wear gloves), and place in the container. You don’t need to remove the towel, but loosen it. Secure the container to make sure the animal cannot escape.
  • Keep the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place away from noise and pets. For warmth, you can place half of the container on a heating pad that is set on the lowest heat setting.
  • Do not give the animal food or water. Leave the animal alone to rest.
  • Take the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, like PAWS, as soon as possible.
  • Please resist peeking at the animal. Before transporting the animal to our facility, you can check whether the animal is still alive.
  • Bring the animal to PAWS Wildlife Center as soon as possible.

Many wild animals can be dangerous to handle. Contact PAWS Wildlife Center at 425.412.4040 with questions about safely handling an animal you have found.

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If I touch a wild baby bird, will the parents abandon the baby?
No. It is a myth that birds will reject their young if they detect human scent. As a matter of fact, if the baby bird appears unharmed, it is best to put the baby back into the nest. If the nest is too high or you cannot find it, make a surrogate nest:

  • Find a container such as a small box or margarine tub.
  • Fill the container with leaves, paper towels or a clean, soft cloth.
  • Place the nest in the tree or bush closest to where the animal was found, out of the sun and rain, as high up as you can safely manage.
  • Place the animal (or animals) in the nest (wear gloves) and leave the area.

Learn more about what to do if you find a wild baby bird.

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Can I raise an orphaned wild animal myself? What do I feed a wild animal?
It is illegal to raise or keep a wild animal without proper state and/or federal rehabilitation permits. Rehabilitating wild animals also requires specific training. Average citizens rarely have the training to meet wild animals' physical and behavioral needs. Without proper training, you can do more harm than good. 

If you are interested in working with wildlife you can volunteer at the PAWS or another local wildlife rehabilitation center. If you find a sick, injured or orphaned wild animal, call PAWS at 425.412.4040. PAWS' experienced staff will help you determine whether an animal needs assistance, and how best to provide that assistance.

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How do I get rid of a nuisance wild animal?
Please call PAWS at 425.412.4040. A trained PAWS staff member will give you advice on dealing with the animal in a humane manner. There are all sorts of effective solutions to different human/wildlife conflicts that do not require the killing or harming of the animal. If you simply get rid of one wild animal without taking care of whatever it is that attracted that animal to your property, another will be drawn in by the same attractant and take his place. You can also read about various solutions to common problems and learn more about some specific animals, such as Raccoons, in our Resource Library.

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Is trapping and relocating a wild animal legal? Can PAWS trap and relocate a wild animal at my home, school, business, etc?
No, it is not legal in most cases. Neither citizens nor PAWS can legally trap and relocate wild animals. Relocation is perceived as a quick, effective and humane solution to resolving human-wildlife conflicts. It is, in fact, an ineffective, often inhumane and potentially ecologically destructive method for dealing with wildlife.

Ineffective: A new animal may quickly replace the one that was relocated. Effective long-term solutions can only be achieved by discovering what is attracting the animal and then removing the attractant (covering garbage cans, bringing pet food inside, sealing up potential denning areas in attics or under decks, etc.).

Inhumane: Many animals do not survive relocation. Animals who are relocated have to fight for new territories and are often injured or killed in the process. Relocation of a mother and her young is almost always futile, since it is often difficult for her to quickly find food, shelter, and a safe place to raise her young in unfamiliar surroundings. The mother may be forced to abandon her young for her own survival.

Biologically unsound: Relocation of wildlife to new territories can disrupt the wildlife populations that are already living there. Relocating wildlife may also introduce diseases or parasites into areas in which they did not previously exist.

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Can I keep a wild animal as a pet?
It is illegal in the state of Washington to possess a wild animal without a permit unless you are transporting that animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. (WAC 232-12-064)

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Will the wildlife in my neighborhood starve if I don’t feed them?
No. In fact, feeding wildlife can be detrimental for them.

  • When wild animals begin to depend on humans for food, their foraging skills may be diminished.
  • They may also lose their healthy fear of humans, which is important to their survival. An animal who no longer fears humans is also far more likely to come into conflict with them.
  • The food that humans tend to feed wildlife, such as leftovers from the dinner table, can cause serious health problems.
  • When food is easily available, wild animals may congregate in unusually large numbers. They may also produce more offspring, further increasing population density, and causing imbalances. This may also result in aggressive behavior among the animals and/or facilitate the spread of disease.

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Volunteer FAQ https://www.paws.org/get-involved/volunteer/faqs/   

What are the minimum requirements for being a PAWS volunteer?
Please refer to our Volunteer page for more information.

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How do I become a PAWS volunteer?
You must be 18 years of age to work with or around animals at PAWS. The first step to becoming a volunteer is to fill out a volunteer application.

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I want to volunteer at Cat City. Can I attend a new volunteer orientation in Seattle?
Our new volunteer orientations and our Cat/Dog skills classes are held in Lynnwood, WA. Once you have completed orientation and your skills class you will be able to volunteer at Cat City in Seattle.

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Do I need to have experience to volunteer?
No. PAWS provides on-site training that will prepare you for your volunteer role.

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Can I bring a guest with me to orientation?
To be fair to the other potential volunteers, all attendees need to be registered for orientation. We have a limited amount of spots therefore please be sure your guest has also registered for a new volunteer orientation.

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Is there a time commitment involved in volunteering?
Yes. If you're volunteering at our Companion Animal Shelter, there is a three-month commitment. If you're volunteering at the PAWS Wildlife Center, there is a six-month commitment. To learn the skills needed for your volunteer shift, it’s important that you’re present and able to make the commitment. However, for outreach and administrative volunteer positions, there is no time commitment.

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Volunteers are scheduled to volunteer every week. What happens if I want to go on vacation?
We have Google groups you can utilize to find other volunteers to cover your shift. We also have bulletin boards on-campus where you can post shift coverages.

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Do you accept court-ordered community service hours?
No. At this time PAWS does not accept court-ordered community service hours.

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I am under 18 years of age but I want to volunteer. What can I do to help the animals?
You must be 18 years of age to work with or around animals at PAWS. However, there are plenty of ways you can help if you are under the age of 18. You can ask your parents/guardian to become a foster familyhost a gift drive, or help out at PAWSwalk in the fall. learn more about how you can help the animals on our PAWS Kids page.

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What do you have available for group volunteering?
PAWS offers great team building opportunities by having work groups (minimum of five people) come in and help with various projects such as weeding, painting and small building projects. To learn more about our work group opportunities, visit our Group Volunteer page or contact Jennie Baxla at jbaxla@paws.org  

Why am I required to wear a PAWS branded volunteer shirt?
It's important that all our volunteers and staff are easily recognizable for several reasons. Members of the public need to be able to easily identify PAWS staff and volunteers and for emergency purposes all volunteers need to wear a PAWS approved shirt and nametag.

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Why do you have a volunteer registration?
To provide our volunteers with the proper training that gives the high level of care to our animals we require a volunteer registration. The cost is $20 and includes a name tag, a volunteer t-shirt and your training materials. The registration fee also covers the cost of a background check. Scholarships are available to those who cannot afford the fee.

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Can I bring my pet when I volunteer?
PAWS recognizes the value of having companion animals in the work environment and supports staff animals coming to work if certain considerations are met. Volunteers are requested to not bring their own animals on campus when they volunteer for several different reasons, including exposure to contagious illness, confinement and liability concerns as well as the need for proper introductions with staff dogs who may already be in the shelter.

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Do I have to work holidays?
The animals at PAWS require care each day of the year. When we are closed to the public, we may not require some volunteers to come in, but certain other positions are necessary. Any volunteer who works in cleaning positions or dog walking should plan on coming in if possible. Cat City assistants, clinic volunteers, and marketing team members can have the day(s) off. Kennel and cat room attendants are not required to come in, but we can certainly use their help to care for the animals during the day, and if they choose to come in, they get to spend their shift simply loving on the animals and helping with cleaning.

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Foster FAQ- https://www.paws.org/get-involved/foster/faq/

I need community service hours for school and I love animals, but I’m not 18 years old yet. Can I be a foster parent volunteer?

Teenagers looking to fulfill community service hours for school are eligible to receive credit for hours spent fostering animals. However due to insurance issues and safety concerns, only individuals who are at least 18 can sign up as a foster parent. 

Young adults and children can help with the foster animals’ in the home, but adults must be the primary caregivers. Talk with your parents to see if fostering will work for your whole family as well as your individual school requirements. For more information about our youth service requirements, please contact the foster care program at 425.787.2500 x822 or email foster@paws.org.

How often does a foster animal need to be brought in for check-ups?

Foster parent volunteers need to transport animals to PAWS in Lynnwood, WA on a regular basis for vaccinations, vet checks, weight checks and spay and neuter surgeries. Vaccination appointments and weigh-ins for kittens and puppies are scheduled every two weeks. Veterinarian appointments are scheduled as needed for each animal, generally every 7-14 days.

What if I’m unavailable to foster an animal when you call?

We will simply call another foster family. We want to make sure you feel like you’ll be able to give the time needed, so we don’t pressure you into taking an animal. You can foster as little or as much as you want. If you can’t foster this time around, we’ll just call you the next time.

Will a foster animal have accidents or cause damage?

Foster animals, like any other companion animal in your home, may destroy carpeting, drapes, clothing and other valuable items. Young animals are more likely to have accidents in the home based on their age. Preparing your home and the area the animals will stay in by removing valuable items and providing enrichment items (toys, climbing towers for cats, etc.) can prevent most accidents, but not all of them.

Do I need to keep foster animals separate from my pets?

Foster animals should be isolated from your own companion animals for the health and safety of both the foster animal and your own companions. A separate room or enclosed area, ideally with no carpet, often works best (like a bathroom, bedroom with no carpet or a laundry room).

Will PAWS treat my pet if he is injured or becomes sick because of a foster animal?

PAWS and all animal shelters in Washington State are prohibited by law from giving veterinary care to privately owned animals. If your animal becomes sick or injured due to interactions with a PAWS foster animal, you will be responsible for all medical care required.

I love the idea of being a foster parent, but I’m worried about how I’ll feel when it’s time for the animal to be brought back to the shelter for adoption.

It can be difficult to let go once you have become emotionally attached to a foster animal. Be prepared for tears and some heartache when you bring your foster animals back to PAWS, but remember foster families play a crucial part in helping unwanted animals get the permanent, loving homes they deserve.

Are foster animals ever euthanized?

Sometimes adoption is not an option for animals with some illnesses or behavior problems even after the animal has been fostered. PAWS will determine if other options, including transfer to an animal rescue group, are appropriate and available. Knowing that an animal you have fostered may need to be humanely euthanized can be very hard to handle. Please remember that the PAWS foster care team is always here for support, and will discuss the decision with you as appropriate.

What if a friend or family member wants to adopt my foster animal?

Thank you for helping find homes for your foster animals. Please keep in mind however, that the animals will not be available until their medical work, including spay or neuter surgery, is completed. Please refer interested adopters to the PAWS adoption page foster@paws.org to start the adoption process.

What if I want to adopt the animal I’m fostering?

This can happen when foster parents fall in love with the animals. If you wish to adopt a foster animal, please call the PAWS Foster Care Program at 425.787.2500 x822 or email foster@paws.org to start the adoption conversation as soon as you have made the decision. Your foster animal may already have an “adoption hold” for another person, and that information will be shared with you. Having available foster homes is crucial for saving lives, so we ask foster parents to consider how adopting a foster animal may affect their ability to continue fostering other animals in the future.