By Rachel Bird, PAWS Animal Behavior Lead

Who doesn’t love puppies?! They are adorable, fun to play with, and of course there’s puppy breath! Raising a puppy isn’t all tummy rubs and playtime though, there is some actual work involved. After all, you will be shaping and teaching your puppy to grow into the best dog she can be. But how do you start?

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Puppy proofing before bringing home your new pup is always a good idea. Make sure all valuable items are out of reach, but also be aware of any items that could be dangerous for your puppy to chew on. Puppies love to chew as it’s natural, but they don’t always know what is a dog toy and what isn’t. If you do catch your puppy chewing on an inappropriate item, gently remove it and give them an acceptable chew toy. Make sure your puppy has plenty of fun toys to keep her occupied, and praise her when she is chewing on them.

It’s also a good idea to closely supervise your new puppy in your home. That way you can make sure she is staying safe, plus you learn their ‘cues’ for when they need to relieve themselves. It’s important to remember a puppy under 6 months can only ‘hold it’ for a couple hours, and will need to go out for frequent potty breaks, especially after play sessions or when waking up. Sticking to a regular schedule will help your puppy to learn. Accidents are normal, and you should never punish your puppy for having one.

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Puppy classes are a fun way to start socializing your puppy with other dogs and new people too. Socialization is key to raising a well-adjusted puppy. All puppies under 6 months should experience new things every day. Not only should they interact with people and dogs, but new experiences and places too. Make sure to always have plenty of treats on hand. If your pup seems afraid, go slow and pair the new ‘thing’ with plenty of yummy treats to make it a good experience.

Remember that you are in charge of shaping your puppy’s behavior, and what you do now will impact your puppy for the rest of her life. Visit our resource library for additional hints on helping your puppy to become a great dog. Start training early, be consistent, and have fun!

Looking for a furry friend? Take a look at our available animals

Make a donation and help us continue creating happy endings for companion animals in need.

Become a foster parent for puppies and kittens in need.

By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

Biologist and theorist E.O. Wilson once said “Biological diversity is the key to the maintenance of the world as we know it...Eliminate one species, and another increases to take its place. Eliminate a great many species and the local ecosystem starts to decay.”

In the coming week, PAWS is celebrating the National Wildlife Federation’s National Wildlife Week. This educational program is used to get the word out about all the wild animals, big and small, who live together.

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Biodiversity is defined as the variety of life in the world or in a habitat or ecosystem. It is important because it boosts ecosystem productivity where each species plays an important role. Greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms, including us.

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Right here in Washington there are hundreds of native wildlife species that we coexist with. From the seabirds wintering off our coast to the songbirds at our bird feeders to the ever-elusive coyote. These species all play an important role in the environment that they live in.  Seabirds are indicators of the health of the marine environment.  They will be the first to be affected if something is wrong because they spend most of their life at sea and rely on marine resources for food. Songbirds protect trees and other plants by preying on insects that chew leaves and harm forests. Coyotes are a keystone predator that have positive effects within an ecosystem by keeping natural areas healthy. They regulate populations of smaller predators in turn allowing the prey of smaller predators, like birds, to survive. 

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In a changing world, it is important for us humans to better understand and celebrate this biodiversity.  We can even help promote it in our own backyards and communities by planting wildlife gardens and taking injured and orphaned wild animals to wildlife rehabilitation centers like PAWS for help.

In the past five years PAWS, has returned more than 5,800 animals back to the wild encompassing more than 165 different species. We returned these animals back to the wild so they can once again be active members within their population to help preserve the biodiversity in Washington. 

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Help us celebrate by checking back each day this week on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for patient updates, inside looks and information about species we are currently treating at PAWS. 

Happy National Wildlife Week!!

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help

Interested in a career in wildlife rehabilitation? Check out internship/externship opportunities at PAWS

By Kate Marcussen, Community Education Coordinator

I never thought life would come to spending Friday nights in the roofing aisle of the home improvement store deciding which type of roof my cats would like best. Many people may consider this a strange preferred Friday night outing, but for me, it was the ultimate in excitement because we were finally building our very own catio!

For those who are unfamiliar with the phenomenon, a catio is an outdoor enclosure for cats. They have become a popular way to provide outdoor time for cats that is safe for pets and wildlife.

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Building a catio had always been on the ever so long “to do” list. Providing our two rescue cats, Tommy and Benjamin, with the opportunity to go outside and enjoy fresh air, while staying safe, was a must. It was also very important to us to protect the wonderful wildlife that visits our yard, especially the birds. Our resident Spotted Towhee particularly dislikes the cats as he follows the cats while they are outside on leashes, no more than 5 feet behind at all times, scolding them with alarm calls.

We set out to build a DYI catio. With access to basic tools such as a hand drill and miter saw, we knew that it could be done. We aimed to stick to a goal of spending under $200. The catio would be connected to a basement level window so the cats would have easy access. We drew up a plan of a 9-foot-long, 2-feet-wide and 2.5-feet-tall window box.

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Then we hit the aisles of the home improvement store. To be budget conscious we used wood 2x4's and 4x4's for the structure’s frame. We chose hardware cloth to use as fencing for its durability, clean and simple design, and low cost. For the roof we wanted polycarbonate, but it didn’t come in 9-foot pieces. After debating if we could fit the 12-foot long size pieces in the car (who were we kidding?) we decided to go with two smaller sizes that we could overlap.

The building process took us a couple of long weekends, a couple more trips back to the home improvement store, and a total of $172.63. After painting the catio to match the exterior house color it was time to get it into place. In a fit of excitement, I actually made us do this at 7:00 p.m. on a weeknight with headlamps on!

As I opened the downstairs window for the cats to enter their new digs, they cautiously looked up at me with expressions of “wait I can go outside alone?!” They both jumped out into the catio and paraded up and down the catwalk with tall, confident tails wiggling with excitement.

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Tommy and Benjamin still struggle with the idea of a cat door and the realization that they need to use their heads to push the door open. But after finally pushing through, they come running back inside, wild from the crisp air and they proceed to run laps around the house in delight. I’d say all the late nights in spent at the hardware store were well worth it, and something tells me that the Spotted Towhee would agree.

You can see this catio along with many others and learn more about why catios are such a great option for keeping cats and wildlife safe during Catio Tour Seattle 2017! Register now

Want to know more about our education programs? Find out here

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By Ashley Welch, Wildlife Admissions Specialist

Join PAWS Wildlife Center in planting a native species garden this spring and summer!

Why are native species gardens important?

Local wildlife is facing habitat loss and fragmentation in King and Snohomish counties. Providing natural food and habitat sources using native plants will not only give you a front row seat to view our spectacular wildlife, but also support our local wild animals.

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Decide which species you want to attract to your garden.

Native species gardens can attract and support a wide variety of animals from small mammals, such as Douglas Squirrels or Little Brown Bats, to birds including Anna’s Hummingbirds, Black-capped Chickadees and Dark-eyed Juncos.

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You will also likely be supporting invertebrates such as butterflies and bees, which are important pollinators! Check out the Xerces Society website to learn how to support bees locally and the North American Butterfly Association website to learn how to support butterflies in your home garden. You may even be able to apply to become a Certified Butterfly Garden.

In addition to providing native plants, you can also provide artificial homes for wildlife. There are many resources available to show you how to build homes for bats, bees, and birds.

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(Left to Right) Bird Nest Box, Tree Squirrel Nest Box, and Bee Nest Box.

Gardening Tips

  • When building a native species garden, try to use natural methods for controlling pests – using pesticides can actually harm our native wildlife.
  • Add a water source to attract native wildlife, but make sure to keep it clean!
  • Work with knowledgeable staff at a local nursery specializing in native plant species
  • Be careful when providing bird feeders, they may do more harm than good to our local wildlife.
  • If your garden will include vegetables or fruit, prepare to either share your garden with local wildlife or find humane solutions to deter them from entering your garden.

If you are having difficulty finding resources that apply to your situation, please call PAWS Wildlife Center at 425-412-4040 for assistance. Keep in mind it is not always possible to keep out all of the local wildlife, but there are natural ways to minimize attractions.

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An easy way to keep out visitors from vegetable garden is using wire fencing and netting.

Local Resources

Once you build your native species garden, sign up for the PAWS Shared Spaces Program to provide a starter home for newly released wild animals rehabilitated at PAWS Wildlife Center!

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help

Interested in a career in wildlife rehabilitation? Check out internship/externship opportunities at PAWS

By Ashley Rammelsberg, PAWS Staff

You’ve probably heard it before: spay and neuter your pets. This phrase has been iterated so much that for some it risks losing meaning. So, for World Spay Day on February 28, 2017, we want to talk about why this surgery is essential for keeping your pet healthy and happy.

World Spay Day began in 1995 as a response to an ever-present issue– pet over-population. A female dog can have two litters a year, averaging 10 puppies per litter. Cats can have up to three litters per year, with between four and six kittens per litter.

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That averages to 20 puppies per year and 15 kittens per year for every intact pet. Then those puppies and kittens who are not “fixed” begin to have babies as soon as four months old for kittens and five months old for many dog breeds. If you multiply that by the number of pets, that equates to a massive number!

After thinking about the math, it becomes apparent why it’s essential to spay or neuter your pet, but there are other, less obvious reasons as well. Many people believe that if a cat is kept indoors there is no need to spay or neuter them, but cats who go into heat can display aggression or destructive behavior. It also only takes one escapade as a feline escape artist for your female cat to become pregnant, or for your male cat to impregnate a female.

The cycle of cats and dogs going into heat but not becoming pregnant is also associated with pyometra, a serious type of uterine infection which can ultimately be fatal. Spaying or neutering an animal early on helps prevent this. Spaying or neutering at an early age can also reduce the amount of breast tumors that occur on animals.

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It has been shown that “fixing” an animal early is best, and leads to a quicker recovery. Generally, an animal can be spayed or neutered at two pounds or two months of age. Animals who are altered early have a much lower instance of complications, and altering before marking behaviors start occurring usually prevents these behaviors from happening.

If you’re ready to be a hero to your furry friends, we’re here to help!

PAWS offers low-cost spay or neuter surgeries to pets of qualified low-income individuals. We spay and neuter cats, dogs, kittens, puppies and rabbits. We are working to help end the suffering of unwanted and homeless animals in our community by preventing unplanned litters. On average PAWS performs 2,316 spay and neuter surgeries per year. Spaying and neutering is good for the community and a great way to help our animal friends live longer, healthier lives.

Sources:

How Early Can My Cat or Dog Get Pregnant?

Looking for a furry friend? Take a look at our available animals

Make a donation and help us continue creating happy endings for companion animals in need.

Become a foster parent puppies and kittens in need.

By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

Update on February 21, 2017: 16 gulls who were affected by the Tacoma die off event at the end of January were released back into the wild last week thanks to help from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Port of Tacoma.

We are still treating 17 of the Glaucous-winged Gulls from the Tacoma die off event. They are all regaining strength and have moved to outside enclosures.


We often see gulls flying in the sky in the Seattle, taking strolls along the beach, loafing in parking lots, and floating in the waves of Puget Sound. But have you ever wondered more about them? Gulls are one of nature’s boldest birds and there are 22 species that call North America home.

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Although there are so many different species they are often lumped together and referred to as “seagulls” but this is a misnomer and an inaccurate depiction of where gulls actually live. They don’t actually go out to sea but stick to more coastal areas in lakes, rivers, marshes and cities.

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The gull species we are currently treating at PAWS are Glaucous-winged Gulls and Glaucous-winged Gull hybrids. Yes, hybrids. Gulls species sometimes mate with gulls of other species producing hybrids. In our area Glaucous-winged Gulls (below left) mate with Western Gulls (below right) as their breeding grounds overlap; these gulls are often called Olympic or Puget Sound Gulls (below center). Hybrid gulls will have characteristics of both species and can sometimes be hard to identify.

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Glaucous-winged gulls are a large gull with a white head and underparts. Their back if silvery gray and their wingtips are medium gray with white spots near the tip. They also have pinkish legs and adults have a yellow bill with a red spot towards the tip. Their wingspan is four to four and a half feet wide and they weigh approximately two and a half pounds. When they are young chicks they are a sandy color with brown spots to blend in with their surroundings.

Glaucous-winged Gulls are colonial nesters who make their nests in large groups on coastal cliffs, rocky islands and sometimes on flat roofs. They forage on fish and marine invertebrates and scavenge on carrion (dead animals). They capture food near the surface of the water or on shore and often steal food from other seabirds. They are opportunistic foragers and will eat whatever food is available which is why they do so well in more urban environments.

The oldest recorded Glaucous-winged Gull was at least 23 years old. It was banded in British Columbia in Washington in 2001.

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help

Interested in a career in wildlife rehabilitation? Check out internship/externship opportunities at PAWS

By Katie Amrhein, Community Education Coordinator

As I sat down in my chair with a strong cup of coffee, notebook and pen in hand, I knew I had an important day ahead of me. It was Humane Lobby Day, a chance for animal advocates from around the region to meet and speak with state representatives and senators about the bills and topics most important to us.

Navigating the Washington State Capitol campus in Olympia, I found myself in awe. It is not often that someone like myself, who spends most of my days surrounded by children eager to learn about animals, gets to sit down across from a Washington State Senator.

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However, lo and behold, when you bring up the topic of animals, the stories unfold. A legislative assistant enthusiastically shared about the cats she has adopted from PAWS over the years. One Senator adopted her favorite dog from PAWS. Through these stories, it becomes clear that animal welfare topics are bipartisan issues. Everyone has a story, and the importance of taking the time to listen and share cannot be overlooked.

Animal welfare issues are incredibly important to us here at PAWS, and we make sure that our legislators and policy makers know that. However, we cannot do it alone. By taking the time to voice your opinion, you are engaging with your elected officials so they can best represent you and your positions.

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Visit your local representatives and senators in Olympia, give them a call, write a letter, or send them an email. Check out our Legislative Watch for information about the bills that PAWS is supporting that can directly improve the lives of animals. Take a look at our Action Toolkit for specific ways that you can get involved.

By supporting humane legislation, we can work to help animals through positive, powerful legislation.

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue championing for animals in need.

Inspired to take action for animals? Here are some suggestions for things you could do

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By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

2016 was another busy year at PAWS Wildlife Center.  We treated more than 4,500 patients (some pictured below); 250 more patients than in 2015.

Some were patients we don’t see very often at the Wildlife Center including a Great Egret, a Guadalupe Fur Seal, a Virginia Rail and a Warbling Vireo. And others were common species including eight Bobcats, over 1,100 baby birds, 20 Cooper’s Hawks, and over 150 Dark-eyed Juncos. 

A special thank you to over 300 volunteers who donated thousands of hours of their time in 2016 feeding, transporting, caring for and cleaning up after our patients to ensure they have a healthy environment in which to grow and heal.  

We also want to thank people like you for your continued support so far 2017 is stacking up to be another busy year and we could not do it without you!

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Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help

Interested in a career in wildlife rehabilitation? Check out internship/externship opportunities at PAWS

By Kendall Graham

The holiday season represents a time of plenty for many families; big dinners, holiday pastries, warm drinks and spending time with loved ones. In the animal kingdom, this season represents quite the opposite.

Some animals migrate to more prosperous climates, while others bundle up and wait for spring. The wildlife who are determined to stay through the cold use various techniques to combat the harsh elements, one of which is torpor. Some of our biggest and smallest patients in our wildlife hospital utilize torpor to survive through the harder times.

Torpor can be related to “sleep mode” on a computer. It is an energy saving state initiated by lowering the metabolism. Many smaller species will enter a state of torpor daily, for example hummingbirds. Hummingbirds naturally have a high metabolism and body temperature, therefore they expend lots of energy during the day. At night while resting, hummingbirds go into torpor to conserve energy.

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As with all torpid states, metabolism slows along with a reduction in breathing rate, heart rate, blood flow and body temperature. A body in torpor could even reach ambient temperature, which in the winter time can be near freezing. Despite these extreme changes, the small hummingbird is still able to wake itself in the morning to begin its day.

If prolonged or extended, the state of torpor is called hibernation. This term usually conjures images of large bears sleeping through subzero temperatures in a warm cave. In actuality, hibernation is not as continuous or even necessary for bears as once believed.

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Misconceptions relate torpor and hibernation events to a drop in temperature, but even animals in temperate and tropical climates will hibernate. The true cause for animals to go into a torpor or hibernation is the decrease in food availability.

Bears in zoos, and even some of our bear patients here at PAWS, will not hibernate because food is provided year round. To prompt a bear in captivity to hibernate, caretakers must slowly diminish their meals.

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Even the length of hibernation can change, as the animal will only halt its bouts of hibernation when there is food to sustain its survival. Bears in Alaska, who are exposed to harsher, longer winters, will hibernate for longer periods of time than bears in Washington, who experience much milder conditions. Instead of expending energy to find the scarce amount of food in the winter seasons, bears wait for food to regrow and return.

While wildlife is experiencing a torpid state, they are extremely vulnerable and unable to respond to their surroundings. If you do find any wildlife who is unresponsive or gives you cause for concern about its well-being, please call our wildlife hospital at 425.412.4040. Our expert staff will be able to advise you on how to provide the best help for the animal.

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help.

Interested in a career in wildlife rehabilitation? Check out internship/externship opportunities at PAWS.

By Kate Marcussen, Community Outreach Educator

Ever heard that saying “you can’t teach an old dog a new trick?” Well here at PAWS we’d have to disagree. You’re never too old to learn!

2017 is our 50th anniversary year, and even after all those years of caring for more than 245,000 animals, we are still learning new things. Our expert staff and volunteers strive to keep up on emerging best practices in the fields of wildlife rehabilitation, companion animal welfare and education, and we realize that education within our community is just as important as within the organization.

Education programs at PAWS don’t just focus on kids, we aim to keep our adult community just as informed. These  community education events for adults cover a wide variety of topics aimed at keeping you up to date on best practices. Having a little fun is also mandatory!

Cooking with PAWS: Go Vegan held for the first time last March educated participants about animal friendly diets and their connection to animal welfare through a hands-on cooking demonstration with a local chef, including a tasting. If you missed it, you can download the recipes.

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Cat Behavior 101 and 201 continue to be our most popular adult events. Well, we all know our feline friends have very high expectations of their people! Participants learn about how to better understand their pampered felines, including how to solve common household challenges such as litter box usage and introductions to new pets and people.

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Baby on Board held at Brightwater Environmental Center last April was a fabulous introduction to baby season at PAWS Wildlife Center. Presented by our very own naturalist and wildlife expert, Jen Mannas, participants learned about what it takes to care for orphaned wildlife patients at PAWS, how to provide “baby proof” habitat in your own backyard, and how to know if a baby animal needs help and when to leave them alone.

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Looking to the future now, and fast approaching on January 25 (6-7 p.m.), we’re excited for Forever Fido—the perfect event for any dog lovers in the Seattle area. Our canine behavior expert, Caren Malgesini, will provide tips on ensuring your dog is living the happiest, healthiest life possible, and she’ll also answer any canine questions you might have. Held at Seattle’s Dogwood Play Park, your four legged friend is also invited! Register for this event today!

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Author Tim Johnson captured it perfectly with “There is no end to learning, but there are many beginnings.” Whether you strive to be the best pet parent to your dog or cat, or to provide that dream backyard habitat for our wildlife, keep learning, as you can never know too much.   

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