Carmine: First, can you tell us a little about PAWS - when did the shelter open? What is the shelter’s mission?
Kevin: PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society), a privately funded, 501(c)3 non-profit, no-kill animal shelter located in Norwalk, CT, is dedicated to rescuing homeless animals and placing them in loving new homes. Since opening in 1962, PAWS has rescued, rehabilitated and re-homed thousands of stray, neglected, abused and abandoned animals. Many of the pets who come to PAWS would be turned away from other shelters because of illness or other “imperfections.” PAWS rarely refuses to accept an animal. It’s something that sets this shelter apart from many others.
Carmine: I think that is wonderful! Mommy adopted me from a no-kill shelter, too.
Mommy and I looked around the PAWS website and noticed that PAWS has both cats and dogs for adoption. On average, how many dogs and cats do you have at the shelter for adoption on any given day?
Kevin: Tracey and I work strictly with the cats, but yes, PAWS has dogs for adoption, too! On average, there are about 20 dogs and 90 cats at PAWS.
Carmine: How long can a cat or dog stay at PAWS?
Kevin: Animals stay at PAWS for as long as it takes for them to find their forever homes. Some are adopted quite quickly. Others are at the shelter for months, or even years, until they are adopted. For instance, Oracle the Cat just found her forever family after FOUR YEARS of waiting at PAWS!
Carmine: That is so good to hear. I am very glad Oracle finally found a forever home! I hope she and her new people have many happy years together.
Do you have any special needs or senior companions available for adoption?
Kevin: Yes, we have a number of seniors and special needs animals. Among them are:
- Dottie, a beautiful, blind senior kitty
- Sophia, a sweet senior lapcat who is hyperthyroid
- Lanie, a sweet, playful and affectionate senior dog
- Ian, a handsome, snuggly and silly FIV-positive mancat
- Zoey and Gracie, sweet senior kitty sisters
Carmine: Those are some precious babies! We are so glad PAWS cares for seniors and special needs cats and dogs while they wait for their loving forever homes.
What do you look for in a potential pet parent?
Kevin: The PAWS adoption process is very thorough, and begins with filling out a very detailed adoption application. Potential pet parents are also required to meet at least once with a PAWS adoption counselor at the shelter. Some people might find the process intrusive, or too long, but it is based in PAWS’ desire to make sure the animals are going to the very best homes possible, and that they will be loved and well-cared for forever.
Carmine: It's great that you screen adoptive parents so well to find the best forever homes for all the cats and dogs at PAWS.
How do you keep the fur babies comfortable and content while they wait on forever homes at PAWS?
Kevin: The PAWS volunteers and staff socialize with, play with, and interact with the animals every day. This provides stimulus for the animals, and also helps us get to know their personalities, behaviors and such. Knowing the animals on a deeper level gives us a better idea about which kind of home will be the best fit. It also helps the animals get comfortable with people, which makes them more adoptable. As far as living arrangements are concerned, all of the dogs have two-sided kennels, get walked several times per day, and get play time in the fenced-in yard. Cats who get along with others live in “open” rooms (with other cats, not to mention sofas, tables and cat furniture!). Cats who are not as fond of others, or who have special needs that make living in an open room impractical, live in two-sided cages with shelves. The cats in cages are rotated "out" throughout the day to makes sure they get to run around, stretch their legs, and socialize with their human pals.
Carmine: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about PAWS?
Kevin: As with any nonprofit, donations and volunteers are always needed. If you want to learn more about volunteering or donating to PAWS, click here. And you can also check out the three blogs written by PAWS volunteers about animals at the shelter: Animal Shelter Volunteer Life and Sundays at the Shelter are about the cats of PAWS, and Scratch My Belly is about the PAWS dogs. Last, but certainly not least, if you’re looking for a new best friend and live within reasonable driving distance from Norwalk, CT, be sure to check out PAWS.
Carmine: Thank you so much for your time, Kevin! We hope that everyone will go visit the blogs and that anyone interested in adopting in the Norwalk, CT area will consider adopting from PAWS!