To promote and protect the rights and well-being of all domestic animals and wildlife, and to foster greater understanding of animal welfare and animal rights through education.
PAWS is an all-volunteer, non-profit animal welfare
organization, founded in Wakefield, MA, in 1982 by the late Esther Nowell.PAWS grew out of Wakefield’s Canine Control
Committee and now responds to various types of animal-related needs in the
Greater Boston area—especially north and northwest of Boston in Eastern
Middlesex and Southern Essex Counties.
Although our name, PAWS, Protection of Animals in Wakefield
Society, implies a focus on animals, our mission and our services are equally
geared to the health and welfare of the people in our communities as should be
evident from our primary services, listed below:
HUMANE RESPONSE LINE
We have a 24-hour answering service, linking our members and the public to our
volunteers to help the caller find answers to their questions and potential
solutions to their animal-related issues and needs.
PET ADOPTIONS AND RE-HOMING
We match pets and people for companionship and assist families who can no
longer care for their pets. Adoptions promote the human-animal bond, increase
the well-being of the pet owner. Rehoming provides a second chance for the pet and provides the family comfort
that their pets will be well-cared for and adopted into pre-screened,
LOST AND FOUND ASSISTANCE
We help families search for a lost pet,
individuals who have found a stray pet, and friendly strays to either find
their homes, or new ones.
We work with the community to ensure that pet guardians have access to
affordable spay/neuter and vet-care options for their companion pets.
FERAL COLONY MANAGEMENT
We work with the community to ensure
that free-roaming cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and provided with
food and appropriate shelter. Colony management improves the lives of the cats
and reduces the possibility of nuisance problems and disease that might affect
We host speakers and educational opportunities and provide literature and other
educational material at meetings and community events. Our programs provide information and resources for teaching people about pets,
pet care, wildlife and other topics that promote an understanding of humans and
non-humans living together.
Some of our accomplishments from this last year include:
1. We took in 218 new animals and found homes for 166 cats, 10 dogs, and 1 rabbit. Our new adoption center partnership at PetSmart provided increased exposure for our adoptable animals.
2. We spayed or neutered, vaccinated and cared for 246 animals, including more than 50 free-roaming cats in our communities.
3. We work with VCA Wakefield Animal Hospital and Park Street Vet Clinic to provide low-cost rabies vaccinations and microchips for more than 100 pets at spring and fall clinics.
4. We responded to over 3500 inquiries, providing access to our services to people from all over NewEngland, including 19 requests for financial assistance for families whose pets needed medical care that they could not afford, and over 400 calls about lost or found pets.
5. We provided KIND News subscriptions to 1943 Wakefield elementary students and sponsored the Wonders of Animal Life program for all fifth grade students in Wakefield schools. This program provides a series of presentations by local animal-related experts and includes topics such as Eyes on Owls and Living with Coyotes.
This year, our goals are to
1. Deepen and extend our relations with current donors and encourage financial support from new individual and corporate donors and foundations.
2. Increase our ability to provide for abandoned or surrendered pets who need medical procedures or long-term care.
3. Provide financial assistance to needy families so they do not have to surrender their pets.
4. Increase educational programs, events, and opportunities to reach out to greater numbers of people and provide information about animal care, humane living and and opportunities available to help individuals provide for their family pets.
5. Recruit and train new volunteers, especially in leadership roles, to ensure long-term sustainability of PAWS.
1. Raise an additional $25-35,000/year to cover increased medical
costs due to rising costs of medicine and vet care, an increase in the number
of elderly and ill animals being surrendered and an increase in the number of
feral or stray cats that need medical care before they can be returned to their
colony or rehomed (if friendly).
2. Recruit, train and support additional foster homes so we can
help more animals. To do this, we propose to increase our publicity budget by
about $1000. In addition, we will need to budget about $1000 to support foster
homes with equipment, food, and other pet supplies.
3. Engage a new Volunteer Coordinator to recruit, interview, and
train new volunteers and to manage our volunteer program. Strong leadership for
this part of our program will help us respond more quickly to volunteering
offers and to match these individuals with the many tasks involved in running
4. Improve the accessibility and visibility of our website and ensure
that it is in sync with our primary database. (Estimated cost: $1000)
5. Enlist a development manager/consultant to review and
improve our fundraising initiatives, recruit and train a development team, and set
up an ongoing, sustainable program. (Estimated cost: $8-12,000 over several years)
following qualities are examples of what I believe makes PAWS unique in the world
of animal welfare:
are an all-volunteer organization with a $90,000 budget that is used
exclusively for the direct costs of caring for the animals and providing our
a foster-network, our animals are cared for in the homes of our volunteers and
are loved members of the foster family until we can find the appropriate
forever home for each of them.
adoption team is known for carefully matching pets and people, with the goal of
making everyone happy.We get very few
returns. However, if an adopter is no longer able to care for a pet adopted
from PAWS, we always find a way to take the pet back into foster care or
otherwise find another solution for the situation.We have accepted returned pets who were
adopted as much as 10 years ago.
though our core area consists of a few towns north of Boston, we respond to
requests from all over New England.We
have been praised for our quick responses, even when we are not in a position
to directly provide a solution for the caller.We make it a priority to help everyone within our jurisdiction and we do
everything we can to help people outside our area by recommending organizations
in their area and other resources for their needs.
We are committed to our animals and to our
community because we believe healthy animals populations make for healthy
citizens and a healthy environment.
Board Chair Statement
As Board Chair and President of PAWS, I am responsible for
shepherding the organization through the many challenges of animal rescue
work. Our Humane Response Line gets
dozens of calls/emails per day and behind each call is a human story. Sometimes it is a person whose beloved pet
has been lost. At other times it is
someone whose parent has suffered a debilitating medical event and who now must
rehome an elderly pet. Or perhaps it is a
resident concerned about an injured animal they have seen, or a female stray
with kittens delivered in a downspout. And, sometimes, it is the town officials
calling for our help with pets left behind as a result of foreclosures or
evictions or a landlord whose tenants have left pets behind.
As an all-volunteer organization that does not have a
physical shelter, we are constantly juggling to meet all the needs of the
people and animals in our communities. Our foster homes sacrifice a little more
space to fit just one more cat or a litter of kittens. Our Response Line Team works hard to return
calls and emails on the same day that they come in. Our adoption team makes appointments to meet
potential adopters and tries to help them find a good match for their wants and
With the help of a terrific team of volunteers, we vet new
volunteers and foster homes, interface with the local animal control officers,
discuss finances with our veterinary partners, write grants, solicit donors,
and do all the things many salaried professionals do in nonprofit and for
profit organizations with budgets our size and larger.
This is a labor of love and one of commitment to caring for the
animals as well as the people of our core communities.What keeps me at this grueling and time
consuming work? What is my remuneration
if it is not dollars and cents? It is
the small victories as well as the large ones.
It is kittens like Monica, born with a cleft palate and
needing specialized surgery, who is now healthy, and happy in a new, loving
family. Or Toby, the two week old kitten
found injured at a construction site. Or
Saffron, the one-day old kitten brought in to a local vet by a Good
Samaritan. All of these babies needed
bottle-feeding and round-the-clock care in order to survive…and they got it
from our volunteers.
It is about Beary, a sweet elderly dog who could no longer
be cared for by his elderly owners but now has a wonderful new home while her
previous owners have updates on her life when they call in to check on
Finally, it is about all those cats roaming neighborhoods,
the ones too wild to be adopted, that we spay, neuter, and release back to
their colonies. Instead of spreading
disease and multiplying, they are all vetted and cared for.
These are the challenges that face us and the experiences
that make this no-pay job the most rewarding one I have ever had.