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PAWS Connections

Cats with Differences

Born with a deformity to his hind legs, Spyro and his siblings quickly found loving homes after PAWS took them in.

Find Loving Homes


hat do you say when you receive an email like this from the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control?

“I am reaching out to our cat rescue community for three beautiful ‘stray’ cats that have quite a unique deformity.” If you’re Lisa Hockins, PAWS Shelter Manager, you say, “Tell me more!" Whenever possible, we go out of our way to bring in dogs and cats who need extra care to get adopted,” says Hockins. “PAWS is that safety net to give these loving animals the chance they need.” While x-rays revealed severe congenital deformities to the cats’ hind limbs—dislocated ankles, malformed legs, missing toes, and atrophy of the tail—notes indicated the playful kittens motored around with various versions of scooting and used a litter box normally.

Hockins consulted with PAWS Veterinarian Dr. Liz Vincenzi to see about bringing them to PAWS and soon three “very nice, loving cats” arrived. The only “difference” Dr. Vincenzi found from her exam was that these cats had difficulty walking long distances and negotiating stairs. They also required a large litter box with low sides. “I knew we could find them homes because of the amazing adopters we get at PAWS,” Dr. Vincenzi explains. But her first area of concern was the URIs (upper respiratory infections) each of the cats was fighting. They were placed on antibiotics and went to foster homes to get stronger. Dr. Vincenzi’s suspicion that PAWS adopters would see past the trio’s differences was quickly confirmed. Two of the cats went home the very day they went up for adoption, and the third was adopted by her foster parent who couldn’t imagine life without her. — CONTINUED INSIDE

Please deliver to a friend of animals at this address. 15305 44th Ave W PO Box 1037 Lynnwood, WA 98046

Non-profit Org U.S. Postage Paid PAWS

Cover Story - continued One of those loving homes belongs to Julia Campbell and Erik Keevan who had taken a day off to look for a friend to keep their cat Stella Luna company. “We were looking for local shelters in the area that had a good reputation and found PAWS,” says Keevan. “When we met this spunky boy, we knew he would make the perfect friend for our Luna, and a great addition to our family.”

PAWS volunteer photographer Merina Burda says Spyro “played a lot like every other cat I’ve photographed” despite his differences.

To see additional video footage related to this story, visit

Spyro’s doting parents secured a small ramp to make it easier for him to cuddle with them on the couch. But that doesn’t mean he needs much help. “Spyro uses his knees to move around, or scoots himself along using his front paws,” says Keevan. “When he wants to get someplace fast, he has no problem flying across the room like a little torpedo. He uses his energy to zip around and makes sure that he's always where the action is.”

Passionate Teen Produces PAWS Cast


ophia Banel is the type of teen who likes to put her unique mark on things. When she learned that the minimum age to volunteer at PAWS is 18, Sophia considered other ways she could use her skills to help animals. That’s how PAWS Cast—a series of six short films featuring teens demonstrating their love of animals— was born. Hosted in the kid’s section of, the PAWS Cast project is described in Sophia’s own words: “Each episode features a young person and his or her animal companion. The interviewees share anecdotes and funny stories, and describe how animals have changed their lives.” Sophia was introduced to PAWS when she was just five. “My grandma and I would visit PAWS Cat City at least once a week to play with the kittens. We eventually found Katie (now 12) and brought her home.” Katie’s adoption was an important milestone in Sophia’s life and she wanted more people to experience that same joy of welcoming an animal in need into their family.

At age eight, Sophia was donating her lemonade stand earnings to PAWS.

At the age of eight, Sophia placed her lemonade stand in a high traffic area outside her home to intercept Fourth of July revelers —proceeds to benefit PAWS, of course. When Lola, the Banel family dog, was adopted from PAWS in 2016, Sophia’s passion was reignited.

Sophia filming PAWS Cast Episode 4: "Sam".

“I have always adored art and photography so I approached the PAWS staff and they helped me develop a plan for producing and sharing a series of podcasts," Sophia explains. “Not only do the PAWS Casts capture the power of the humananimal bond, but Sophia serves as an example to young people that the sky's the limit when it comes to creative ways to help animals,” says AJ Chlebnik, PAWS Education Manager. “When I am filming and editing, it makes me so happy to see the huge smiles on the faces of the interviewees and the pure happiness that lights up their eyes,” says Sophia. “Being able to see this close up and capture it on video has shown me the power of this bond, and how much joy it brings to the world.” Sophia says the PAWS Cast project has served as the “perfect laboratory” to practice her video skills. She plans to study visual storytelling when she enters Tufts University in Boston this fall.

For a direct link to all six of Sophia’s Paws Cast episodes, visit


Taps Partners to

Save Bear

Shown in her enclosure at PAWS, this 260-pound female American Black Bear is healing from life-saving surgery to fix a pelvic fracture.


hile most American Black Bears in Washington are denned up in early December, a 260-pound adult female was coping with a fractured pelvis and fighting for her life after being struck by a vehicle on the Kitsap Peninsula. Today, she is recovering at PAWS Wildlife Center, the sole permitted rehabilitation facility for American Black Bears in Washington State, and all signs point to a release back to the wild this spring. “The bear owes her new lease on life to a team of animal experts who said, ‘Yes!’ when asked to help,” says Jennifer Convy, Director of PAWS Wildlife Center. “The nature of the fractures in an animal of this size, and the importance of maintaining the birth canal in a female, required the skill of specialty-trained veterinary surgeons and a much larger operating room than we have at PAWS,” explains Convy. The first call went out to Woodland Park Zoo. They volunteered their large surgical facility, radiology equipment, two highly-trained veterinary technicians, and an ambulance to safely transport the bear. The next call was to long-time partner Veterinary Specialty Center. They provided a board-certified surgeon and radiologist with experience fixing pelvic fractures.

“Saving wildlife takes more than a single organization. It takes a vital community— all of us—to save wild animals and their wild places,” explains Darin Collins, Director of Animal Health at The Woodland Park Zoo. On December 13, the team from PAWS, Woodland Park Zoo and Veterinary Specialty Center surgically secured the pelvic fragments into proper alignment with two metal plates. After the full-day procedure, the bear was returned to PAWS and placed in an enclosure on a straw bed to recover. That very same evening she was standing and gingerly using all four legs. Since returning to PAWS, the patient has been eating and walking between periods of sleep—even playing with chunks of Seattle snow placed in her enclosure. In mid-January, she was examined to ensure proper healing. “It was important to get an up-close look to ensure the incision was healing and there was no sign of infection,” says Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen, the PAWS Wildlife Veterinarian overseeing her care. “We also checked range of motion and that looked good.” “This bear’s resilience and the heroic effort of our partners have provided her the best hope for a second chance at a life in the wild,” says Convy. “We’re optimistic she’ll make a full recovery and be released back to the wild this spring.”

Assisted by staff from Woodland Park Zoo, Dr. Mark Garneau (far right), a board-certified veterinary surgeon from Veterinary Specialty Center, performed the surgery.

PAWS Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen monitored the bear's vital signs during the ambulance ride.

Thank you for making this

wildlife success story possible with your support of PAWS! To see additional video footage related to this story, visit

From the heart Dear Friends,

PAWS CEO Annette Laico, in the silhouette of the Skagit River, lifts the carrier door and sends a juvenile Bald Eagle back to the wild.

PAWS’ Mission PAWS is a champion for animals —  rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife, sheltering and adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating people to make a better world for animals and people.


mini magazine

There’s nothing quite like the longer, lighter, warmer days of spring to rejuvenate us. It’s also a busy time in the natural world as wildlife offspring appear in abundance in our shared environment.

We can all make our communities safer for fragile wild babies and their families:

PAWS can receive dozens of wild orphans brought in by concerned citizens in a single day. Sometimes, these babies don’t need to be rescued; many wild animal mothers will leave their young alone for long periods of time. If you find a wild animal that seems abandoned or injured, please call PAWS Wildlife Center at (425) 412-4040. A trained staff member will help you determine if the animal needs help and guide you through next steps. From April 1 through September 30, our busy center is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Help is also available online at found-a-wild-animal.

• Drive with care on dark roads.

Batur Oktay, President Leslie Chandler, Vice President Strom Peterson, Secretary Jen Evans, Treasurer

Writer: Laura Follis

Chief Executive Officer Annette Laico

Photographers: Sophia Banel, Jeff Brown PAWS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies on community support to carry out our work to help animals. PAWS, PAWS Cat City, PAWSwalk, and Bark in the Park are service marks owned by the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). © 2019 Progressive Animal Welfare Society. Privacy Policy: PAWS respects our donors’ and friends’ confidentiality. Although on rare occasion we may send you materials from another organization, we never release our mailing list. PAWS is a member magazine. Membership is available with a donation of $35 or more. For change of address notification, call 425.787.2500, x261.

Follow us

• Keep trash in secure containers equipped with sealable lids. • If animals are nesting in your attic, wait until late spring or early fall when the young leave the nest to permanently repair access holes. • Don't feed wildlife.

With gratitude,

PAWS Wildlife Center

Board of Directors

Associate Editor: Amanda Van Kleeck Graphic Designer: Lynn Jefferson

• Put caps on chimneys and seal up any holes in the entrances to your house.

Annette Laico Chief Executive Officer

Christy Cheever, Jill Jones, Damian King, Leila Kirske, Dora Leung, Jaime Puracal, Karen Trujillo, Jennie Warmouth

Issue 2, Spring 2019 Editor in Chief: Laura Follis

• Keep your cat inside— especially important in spring and summer when baby birds are on the ground learning to fly.


15305 44th Ave W PO Box 1037 Lynnwood, WA 98046 Contact PAWS: 425.787.2500 Adoption Information x435 Animal Cruelty x861 Donations x652 Foster Care Program x822 Hours and Address x410 Lost and Found Pets x565 Volunteer Information x230 Wildlife Center x817 PAWS Cat City: 206.782.1700 5200 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite B Seattle, WA 98105

We need helping hands


abies need aroundthe-clock care and orphaned wild babies are no exception. If you would like to help us fulfill our mission to rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned animals for release back to the wild, please consider volunteering during baby season at the PAWS Wildlife Center.

More information at

Don’t Miss These Upcoming Events MAR

31 APR


PAWS Academy NEW Wildlife Seminars First seminar of a series “Reunited, and it feels so good!"

PAWS Wild Night Annual gala event to benefit animals


13 SEP


Catio Tour Seattle Annual tour of catios in the greater Seattle area

PAWSwalk Annual 5K Walk and Run event

Profile for PAWS

PAWS Mini Magazine Spring 2019  

PAWS Magazine communicates the work PAWS does to carry out its three-fold mission: rehabilitating orphaned and injured wildlife, sheltering...

PAWS Mini Magazine Spring 2019  

PAWS Magazine communicates the work PAWS does to carry out its three-fold mission: rehabilitating orphaned and injured wildlife, sheltering...

Profile for paws_wa