By Rebecca Walkup
The Promoting Animal Welfare Society was founded in 1992 to reduce the abuse, overpopulation and euthanasia of animals in the greater Muskogee area.
PAWS’ shelter at 4321 E. Hayes St. was built in 1999 with a bequest from the Steve Yaffe estate. The shelter is open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Dorothy Farmer volunteers as the shelter’s executive director, assisted by two part-time paid staff members and numerous other volunteers.
The no-kill shelter houses up to 40 dogs and 15 cats and places an average of six animals with families each month.
Prior to adoption, all pets are vet checked, immunized and groomed, and those that are old enough are spayed or neutered.
When animals arrive at the shelter, they receive medical care if necessary at the Animal Medical Center. The clinic provides discounts for PAWS on medical care, sterilization and vaccinations.
The cost to adopt a dog is $100, and the cost to adopt a cat is $70. Photos of pets available for adoption are displayed on PAWS’ website and at Petco and Orscheln Farm and Home.
Potential owners are encouraged to research pet breeds and characteristics to determine what type of animal suits their families and households, and then to visit the shelter’s “get acquainted” room. This safe area provides a space for potential adoptees to meet and play with an animal they are interested in adopting before a decision is made. Getting acquainted affords an opportunity to learn whether the animal is well suited to the adopter before the trip home.
PAWS also offers a low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination program.
Pet owners in need of assistance with these costs can call the shelter at the beginning of each month.
PAWS schedules the appointment with the Animal Medical Center and pays part of the cost of the sterilization and vaccination.
The organization also maintains a pet food pantry and supply closet for owners needing short-term assistance with these items.
Annual membership dues, grooming and boarding services, and sales of merchandise with the PAWS logo help fund the shelter’s operations and owner assistance programs. PAWS also has several fundraising events each year, including Animal Fest in October and the Paws and Claus pet photography opportunity in December. Yaffe Iron and Metal provides a dumpster at the shelter for collecting aluminum, a significant source of funding. Cans can be left on the shelter’s porch, and the staff will place them in the dumpster.
PAWS is always looking for volunteers and board members to help advance its work, and it has opportunities for people who need to complete community service hours to fulfill scholarship requirements or a court order.
For information about PAWS or to become a volunteer, call Farmer at (918) 686-7297 or visit the website, www.pawsforadoption.com.
To recommend a program for a column, call Rebecca Walkup at (918) 683-4600.