PAWS of Grays Harbor remains closed to the public during the pandemic, but plenty of activity is still going on — including a whole lot of playtime.
Using coronavirus safety protocols, the staff and a loyal cadre of volunteers are diligently caring for the 37 cats and two dogs at the Aberdeen no-kill shelter that still need permanent homes.
“We are here to help the best we can while still keeping everyone safe,” said Executive Director Dana Staab-Erickson. “Although the shelter is ‘closed,’ we are here and operating.”
Adoption applications still are being accepted online, and visits are being scheduled. Previous adopters also are still welcome to call and set up after-care such as nail clipping and flea treatments.
The group recently started accepting new animals again after shutting that down for several weeks. However, since the shelter is still technically closed, they do ask that people call ahead to make an appointment for dropoffs to ensure everyone’s safety.
With the shelter population so low right now, each animal is receiving more one-on-one attention than it might have otherwise. This also has bred some creativity.
“I love how the volunteers are finding alternative ways to exercise the dogs,” said PAWS board member and official photographer Marcy Merrill. For example, she said, they toss a ball up and down the stairs for Henesey, a young German shepherd mix who’s extremely full of energy. And Pat Pierce, known as the shelter’s “Alpha Dog,” has come up with different ways to hang toys in the play yard to keep things interesting for the dogs.
“As far as the cats go,” Merrill added, “they can be entertained with a piece of string, and simply don’t want to be bothered by lowly humans and their weird ideas.”
General Manager Tracie Steiner has been involved with PAWS for 20 years and continues to work tirelessly behind the scenes during the shutdown. “I think the shelter is faring well,” she said. “We have a very caring staff that truly love these animals 100%.”
Still, as a nonprofit organization, PAWS needs continuing help from the community. In addition to the various avenues for donations listed with this article, PAWS is organizing a Virtual Walk/Run/Bike in partnership with Pets 2 the Rescue.
To register, visit pets2therescuewest.itsyourrace.com/register between now and June 15. There, you can select which activity you’re planning and name “WA PAWS of Grays Harbor” as your beneficiary. The full $10 registration fee will go directly to PAWS.
As participants go out to perform their individual walk/run/bike activities, they are encouraged to post photos on Facebook and Instagram, tagging #PAWSofGraysHarbor and #Pets2theRescue.
“Pets 2 The Rescue reached out to us and wants to help animal rescues all over the country,” said Staab-Erickson. “This is a great opportunity to participate in a healthy activity and support local animals in need.”
Direct any questions about the shelter’s activities and services to the staff at 360-533-1141.
How you can help
With the shelter’s income drastically reduced during the shutdown, employees’ hours have been cut and other cost-saving measures have been taken. PAWS is relying heavily on donations to get them through these tough times. All contributions are tax-deductible. PAWS’ tax ID is 23-7174196.
Donate funds: Visit pawsgh.org and click “Donate Today,” or mail a check to P.O. Box 451, Aberdeen WA 98520.
Amazon Smile: Visit pawsgh.org and click “Amazon Smile.” Once you sign up, shop like normal and PAWS of Grays Harbor will receive donations from Amazon as you make purchases.
Amazon Wish List: Visit PAWS’ Facebook or Instagram site, or search “PAWS of Grays Harbor Wants and Needs” on Amazon.com to view the list. All items purchased there will be sent directly to the shelter.
Drop off supplies: Drop off pet food, blankets, towels, etc., at PAWS’ front door during the day, and someone will be there to take them inside. They accept new and gently used items and new or opened bags of food. All donations are welcomed and will be used.
Foster a pet: Visit pawsgh.org and fill an adoption application with “Foster” as the pet’s name. PAWS will email you to schedule a meet.