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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

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