Volunteer Spotlights

PAWS’ work is possible thanks to an extraordinary community of hundreds of volunteers who are involved in every aspect of what we do. Here are just a few of the incredible volunteers who contribute their time and passion to help bring Philadelphia closer to becoming a no-kill city.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jesse Ringel


Jesse began volunteering with PAWS in early 2010 after having adopted his first cat from the city shelter. “I love both of my cats, Dreya and Gizmo, but I had always been a dog person growing up, so I knew I had to get involved.” 
Jesse has been our Wednesday evening dog walking volunteer at our Old City location for many years. In 2015, he began leading the dog walking orientation for new volunteers.  “Promoting animal adoption and welfare has become a major part of my life. It’s such a rewarding experience to go to PAWS each week and help the dogs burn off a little energy, work on their manners, and ultimately get them adopted out to loving homes.”
Later this summer, Jesse will be leaving the PAWS family and relocating to a new city. He has been an incredible part of our team for many years, and although he will be missed, we wish him nothing but the best in his new adventure!


Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy Plover

26810851363_2935f26432_oKathy is a longtime PAWS volunteer who joined the PAWS family more than seven years ago. “I love everything about volunteering – taking care of the mom cats and kittens in the maternity room and walking dogs at the Northeast location, meeting other volunteers (I haven’t even scratched the surface there), and speaking with people about PAWS at events.”

Kathy has volunteered at all three PAWS locations, helped care for cats at an off-site PetSmart location, and represented PAWS at countless adoption events throughout the city. She has also adopted from PAWS! “I met my three best four-legged buddies while volunteering. Jingles in 2011, Gunner was my foster from 2013 (just 12 oz. when I brought him home), and Elvis came home in 2014 after I met his foster parent at an adoption event.” Kathy and her cats recently made a TV appearance to spread the word about PAWS!

Kathy’s dedication to the animals at PAWS is more than above and beyond and PAWS is grateful to have her as a volunteer!

Volunteer Spotlight: Allison Tipton

tiptoncatAllison became a volunteer in December of 2011 at our Old City Adoption Center, where she fell in love and adopted her cat Fat Man! “I first got involved with PAWS when coming to college because I missed my family pets and wanted to make a difference. Over time, however, my work at PAWS became so much more than simply getting my weekly “cat fix.” Through PAWS, I felt empowered to truly make a difference in the lives of the homeless cats and dogs of Philly, and to help potential adopters find a companion (or two!).”

She did more than care for shelter cats: she also helped match pets with new families, represented PAWS at adoption events, and assisted behind the scenes with administrative work. “I appreciated the sense of community and camaraderie present amongst the shelter staff, as well as so many in the amazing network of volunteers that regularly gave their time.”

Allison recently moved to Boston to start a new adventure. She was a wonderful part of our volunteer program for many years will be deeply missed by PAWS’ staff and animals!

Volunteer Spotlight: Lauren-Alice Lamanna

Lauren-Alice started volunteering in 2012 and became a very active volunteer immediately (even recruiting her boyfriend as a volunteer!). “When I started dating my other half Ryan (a fellow PAWS volunteer), I soon fell in love with his cat Baby (pictured) and realized just how much having a pet adds to your life, and what a valuable part of the family they are“, says Lauren-Alice. She volunteers with the cats at PAWS’ adoption center, represents PAWS at adoption events and even became an orientation leader to welcome new volunteers into the fold.

“Aside from the wonderful PAWS cats and dogs, what keeps me coming back is the amazing PAWS staff. Seeing how committed they are to their jobs and how deeply they care for the animals is inspiring to me. And of course, my fellow volunteers are a pretty fantastic bunch too!”


Stay tuned for more volunteer spotlights and join us at

Call for Submissions: PAWS Design Contest

Attention artists: design the next PAWS Mutt Strut t-shirt!

Tshirt0The winning design will appear on the official event t-shirt for the 10th Annual PAWS Mutt Strut, which will be held October 22, 2016 to benefit PAWS’ lifesaving efforts.

Submissions due: September 19
Finalists announced: September 20
Online voting: September 20-26
Winner announced: September 27

Send submissions to: Multiple submissions are welcome! PAWS will select finalists, then open public voting to determine the winner.

Design specifications:

  • Maximum 2 colors
  • Family-friendly, unisex design
  • Front of t-shirt only
  • Color of shirt will depend on winning design

Suggested text (not required, but please use only items from this list if you incorporate text):

  • 10th Annual PAWS Mutt Strut
  • October 22, 2016
  • The Navy Yard
  • Where Saving Lives is a Walk in the Park!

Logos (suggested but not required):

Pets find Homes for “Clear the Shelters”

On July 23, PAWS took part in Clear the Shelters, a nationwide adoption event that matched thousands homeless pets with new families. Here are some of the happy adoptions we celebrated here at PAWS. . .


The first adoption of the day! Xelanys and her daughter brought home Samantha, who had been rescued from the streets and now has a happy life ahead.



Ariel and her daughter adopted their new kitten Miss Clark, who was found as a West Philly stray at just a few weeks old and grew up in PAWS foster care.


This couple adopted a cat at last year’s Clear the Shelter event, and this time they came back to get it a friend!


Kareem waited two months at our adoption center for a home. Thank you to the Placid family for adopting him!


4-month-old Larry has been shuffled around a lot in his short life: he was found as a stray in West Philadelphia, rescued by PAWS, adopted, returned due to allergies, adopted again, returned due to landlord issues, then finally found his forever home with the Lin family. He has a new human sister who was very excited for her new playmate!


Rico had been adopted and returned several times before finally hitting the jackpot. He now lives happily in Fairmount with the Thomas family!


Every adoption meant another life saved!


Thank you, adopters!

Every pet that went home opened up a space for PAWS to rescue a new animal in its place. Thanks to everyone who has joined the effort to save lives!

Best Kept Secrets

Meet the PAWS cats who have been flying under the radar, waiting to be noticed! Cherry, Goliath, Cattleya, Sasha, Kitty, and Ninja are looking for a new start in life after being rescued by PAWS. To adopt one, visit or stop by our Northeast Adoption Center at 1810 Grant Avenue.

Special thanks to Aspects to creating these videos!
Sasha, a gorgeous 5-year-old who’s looking for a quiet home to relax in.

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Foster Parents Save Lives as Adoption Ambassadors

PAWS foster parents do so much more than provide a homeless pet with a temporary place to stay: they give them a new life!

PAWS is a participating shelter in Adoption Ambassadors, a nationwide initiative to increase adoptions by empowering foster parents and increasing placements. PAWS provides support in the form of vet care, supplies, one-on-one guidance, and more. Foster parents take the lead and find loving homes for their foster pets. The result is more happy matches made and more lives saved!

Melody is just one recent success story: after several weeks’ stay in our shelter without finding a home, she went into foster care with Alexandra and her roommates.


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PAWS Marks Six Years Providing Low-Cost Vet Care

PAWS-193000March 22, 2016: PAWS celebrated the sixth anniversary of opening our first Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic in Southwest Philadelphia.

In 2010, PAWS embarked on an effort to provide accessible, affordable veterinary care: a desperately needed resource. At the time, more than 30,000 homeless pets were flooding the city’s animal control shelter yearly: more than could be saved through rescue and adoption alone.

To truly make a difference in these staggering numbers, we needed to curb unwanted litters and prevent pets from becoming homeless in the first place. So, on March 22, our clinic opened its doors to offer low-cost spay/neuter surgery and basic veterinary care, giving struggling pet owners an alternative to PAWS-260000losing their pets or watching them produce one unwanted litter after another.

Six years later, PAWS now operates two high-volume clinics in Grays Ferry and the Northeast, which together have served more than 100,000 of the city’s neediest pets. The clinics also serve trap-neuter-release groups and other rescue organizations to help them do more of their lifesaving work.

These efforts are working: intake of stray and surrendered animals to the city shelter is steadily decreasing. Fewer pets are becoming homeless in Philadelphia, and more lives than ever are being saved. We’ll keep up the effort until every healthy and treatable pet in the city is guaranteed a home.

Help a neighbor in need: donate to PAWS’ fund for low-income pet owners. Your gift will help a struggling pet owner and mean the difference between keeping and losing a beloved pet.

Pictured: clinic client Terry with PAWS staff, and Miss Baily with owner Margo. Photos by Devon John Photography.




“Pit Bull Flower Power” Comes to Philly

The dogs of PAWS were crowned with flowers! PAWS recently hosted Sophie Gamand Photography who created portraits as part of a larger effort to promote pit bulls and shelter dogs in a positive light.

Here are some of the beautiful images that resulted:



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Melody, a 5-6 year old girl who was found as a stray and taken to the shelter after being hit by a car. She is now a happy and healthy three-legged dog and is ready to find a home. Adopt her!


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2015 in Review

sassyThank you to all our supporters for being a part of an incredible year! In 2015, PAWS served more animals than any year prior through rescue, adoption, spay/neuter, and low-cost veterinary care.

We are getting closer and closer to being able to call Philadelphia a place where every healthy and treatable pet is guaranteed a home. With so many pets saved and served, this year truly brought our dream into focus.  

In 2015, PAWS: 

Rescued 2,854 homeless pets who would not have survived otherwise, setting a new lifesaving record! Sassy (right) was one of them – she became homeless at 6-10 years old and is now safe at PAWS. Continue reading

Top 20 PAWS rescues of 2015

In 2015, PAWS saved 2,854 homeless dogs and cats. Here are some favorites to celebrate!


11221986_1000795286619417_7563066692881059290_oTucker, a rescued PAWS dog who donated blood to save shelter kitten Milkshake – read their story!



21783379718_17cce69e5a_o (2)Jinxy, the unforgettable cat who has more personality than we knew could fit in one animal. He took over the internet with #JinxyTakeover and continues to rule the adoption center like he owns the place. Adopt him!



bettyallanAllan and Betty Spaghetti
, who formed a special friendship during their time at PAWS. Both were adopted to loving homes and are doing well!


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PAWS Holiday Party: thanks for joining us!

pawspartyThank you to all who came out and helped us celebrate our exciting milestone! PAWS staff, volunteers, and supporters came together at Barra Rossa on December 18 to commemorate PAWS’ 100,000th animal served since 2009.

Not only was the event a celebration; it was also a fundraiser that raised $3,362 to kick off our effort to serve the next 100,000 pets who need us.

Special thanks to Barra Rossa, Tito’s Handmade VodkaLuxe Wine and Spirits, and Clashing Plaid for helping to make the evening a success.