WILMINGTON — As dogs and cats wait for their fur-ever homes, plenty of locals are on hand to care for them.
PAWS Humane Society, Inc. is a no-kill, non-profit animal welfare organization, located on U.S. 68 North, that houses both cats and dogs.
The volunteer-based staff does their part taking care of the animals by feeding, checking their well-being, and socializing with the animals. Before adoption, the animals will be checked by a veterinarian, get vaccinated, and are spayed or neutered.
“We have 92 animals in our care, with 13 of them being dogs,” said Mary Jane Johnson, PAWS adoption coordinator.
Johnson, along with PAWS President Theresa Reed, Treasurer Debbie Duquette and Secretary Sarah Gerber — formed the organization after the original shelter — the Wilmington Area Humane Society (WAHS) — closed its doors.
“The four of us (along with other board members) wanted to keep it going because we love animals and we want to make sure they’re taken care of,” said Reed.
Not all the animals stay at the shelter; many are fostered with volunteers and other rescues.
“Most of them are cats because this is kitten season,” said Reed. “We’re just overwhelmed with the kittens and we just do the best we can for them.”
Because of instances like this, the rescue really hopes the message of spaying and neutering pets becomes more prominent.
“Last year was bad and this year is turning into the same thing,” said Duquette. “They have all these kittens, pregnant cats, and they want the shelters to take them. Every shelter and rescue is in the same situation.”
The group said last year was “especially bad” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gerber, herself, recently fostered her second set of kittens.
Johnson said there have also been a lot of pets dropped off due to people not being able to find another house that allows pets.
Social media has been a big factor in spreading the word about the animals they have and for making people aware of spaying and neutering. They’ve also worked with the community, including arranging adoption days including at the World Equestrian Center.
All in a day
As for the daily tasks, “There are a lot,” said Gerber, including keeping the facility clean and maintaining the well-being of the animals.
“There are four shifts a day,” said Gerber. “Two of those are play shifts, the other two are feed shifts. But even with play shifts, you have cleaning to do because animals get messy.”
The cleanup tasks usually always include picking up animal feces, doing laundry, and sweeping up animal hair.
They also have coordinators who help with animal medications and taking them to vet appointments.
A play shift may not be all fun and games — some dogs or cats may have be kept away from others due to behavior.
“It is a full day every day,” said Gerber.
How to help
To become a volunteer, visit their website https://bit.ly/3qxH0uF and fill out their volunteer application.
Those full days require not only a lot of help but supply too. Among the pet supplies, they’re seeking dry puppy food and adult dog food, dry and canned kitten and cat food, and cat litter.
Cleaning supplies needed include toilet bowl cleaners, dryer sheets, laundry detergent, disinfecting wipes and disinfectants.
For a complete list of donations needed and to fill out a volunteer application visit their website pawshumane.weebly.com.
PAWS is also on Facebook: @pawshumanesocietyinc .
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574