Wednesday, April 28, 2010

May I Ask A Favor?

The shelter where I volunteer has been helping abused, neglected, and homeless animals for over 45 years.

PAWS started as a dream of Westport, Connecticut resident Betty Long in 1962. Since then, the organization grew from a small in-home operation that rescued homeless dogs to what it is today, still a small-scale operation, but one with its own facility that is firmly no-kill, and serves both the feline and canine populations in our community.

Over the last year or so, through the economic slump, PAWS probably faced its worst financial challenges. As people lost their homes, they were forced to surrender their animals in record numbers as they moved into new places which didn't allow pets. That's a topic for another discussion...

Our numbers soared well beyond our limits, but as other shelters were turning away animals we kept making room. How could we not? If the tables were turned, we wanted to know someone could help us find a home for our pets. Animals shouldn't have to die just because someone loses their home! Some people might call this irresponsible of us, biting off more than we could chew; others might see it for what it was: a temporary situation. There was a very large bump in the road, and we had to get over that bump. 

Of course, as healthy animals were being left with us, so were those who needed extraordinary care. For example...

Sammy, the gorgeous black cat with proptosis. He needed to have his eye removed, pronto. The horrible pain this poor guy must have been in! Sammy is so sweet; he's more like a puppy than a cat. Look at him sticking his tongue out for the camera. You'll notice that his left eye is missing. :(  

And Truffle, with her stomatitis, another terribly painful condition. You just can't leave these things untreated. And look at that face!  

And it seemed like kitten season lasted all year! At one point, I think I counted over 65 kittens. Yikes! Thank goodness for good samaritans and foster homes.

On the canine side, we had more than our share of surprises! From dogs like Snoopy, hit by a car,  left on the side of the road. Multiple broken bones and a series of operations to fix him up (although you can't tell from this picture!). He's a goofy, big puppy who found a great home!

And the day we took in 17-year-old Zoe, who was probably dumped since she was found wandering the streets. She's deaf-ish, blind-ish, and she's the love of the kennel!

Ernie, the world's cutest puppy, was dumped in our lobby, dying. Parvo it was. His was one case of many we would see last year. After a stint at the emergency vet (since these people dumped him on the weekend, thanks a bunch), Ernie not only flourished, he was the sweetest little guy in town. Another quick adoption, following his recuperation. He's on his way to his CGC!

Then there was Donna's laryngeal paralysis. Her owners kept letting her roam the very busy streets until we talked them into letting us keep her. One day, she went into respiratory distress and we provided her life-changing surgery. She found a wonderful home and now goes to work with her mom on a horse farm every day!

The stories go on and on. Fortunately, we're able to save so many furry lives! And the feeling is goooood. But the associated costs? Not so good... 

You've probably noticed a new button just above Skelly's. If you can, please click to donate to PAWS - Pet Animal Welfare Society of Norwalk, Connecticut. You can visit their website (which sorely needs updating!) for more information and to see some of our pets available for adoption.

And I hope you'll share this with your friends, if you choose. It's a great place, a "true" no-kill shelter. We don't kill for space, or if an animal has been there for a certain amount of time; it's just not like that. I wouldn't ask if I didn't believe in this organization. We're not a public relations machine; we're grassroots and for the animals. Period. For reals. 

Thanks, everyone. I know in your hearts, we have your support, and that means the world!

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