PAWS 2016 in Review: 36,000+ Saved and Served

Thank you for being a part of a record-breaking year! In 2016, PAWS served more animals than ever before through rescue, adoption, spay/neuter, and low-cost veterinary care.

This year has brought us even closer to achieving our mission of making Philadelphia a place where every savable pet has a home. Our efforts are working: Philadelphia’s pets are being saved in record numbers and fewer are entering shelters in the first place.



In 2016, PAWS:

– Rescued 2,910 homeless pets who would not have survived otherwise, setting a new lifesaving record! Sherbet (above) was one of them: this gentle 2-year-old former stray found safety at PAWS and now has a loving home.

Served more than 33,000 animals at our low-cost Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinics, where we offer basic services to help struggling pet owners care for and keep their cherished companions. Terry (below) visited our Grays Ferry clinic with owner Mary to be examined for a cough.



Marked the 10th birthday of the beginning of our lifesaving efforts. The celebrations will continue in 2017 with a special event and more: stay tuned!

– Performed thousands of spay/neuter surgeries, preventing the birth of unwanted litters and reducing the number of animals entering shelters. Cammie (below, in her owner’s arms) received her spay surgery at PAWS.



– Continued to serve as the city’s largest rescue partner, filling every available space in our shelters with at-risk pets from Philadelphia’s animal control facility.

– Saved hundreds of the most vulnerable kittens and gave them all the care they needed to grow and thrive. PAWS’ in-shelter kitten nurseries and foster homes provide a safe haven for the smallest kittens who are too young or ill for adoption. Happy (below) found a loving home this summer after growing healthy in PAWS foster care with his siblings.




– Rescued cats with treatable illnesses who were the most at-risk in the crowded city shelter. We took them in, provided them with safe, comfortable housing, and gave them needed veterinary attention for as long as it took – sometimes months – to become healthy and ready for adoption.

– Rescued dogs and provided them with training, behavior enrichment, walks, and playtime to give them the best shelter stay possible and prepare them for life in new homes. Melody (below) thrived in our care this summer before finding a forever family.




It’s been a record-breaking year of lifesaving thanks to the hard work of PAWS’ supporters, volunteers, foster parents, and countless others who contributed in so many ways to help Philadelphia’s neediest pets.

2016 made it clearer than ever that we are making significant and sustainable progress, but we have so much further to go. Thousands of animals still need our help. PAWS is 100% donor funded, so everything we accomplish is thanks to the generosity of animal lovers like you.


Join us as we embark on even bigger efforts in 2017. They won’t make it without you.

Photos by Devon John Photography and PAWS volunteers.

PAWS Celebrates Its 10th Birthday


Join us in marking an exciting milestone!

PAWS began in 2006 as a small, volunteer-based group with a big dream: to make Philadelphia a place where every healthy and treatable pet is guaranteed a home. At the time, more than 30,000 animals entered the city shelter each year, and only 11% made it out alive.

Since then, PAWS has grown into an extraordinary community of thousands of volunteers, adopters, foster parents, volunteers, donors, supporters, and staff who are working together to save lives. Today, nearly 80% of the city’s shelter pets are finding loving homes, fewer animals are entering shelters in the first place, and Philadelphia is within reach of becoming a no-kill city.




Founded as a donor-funded division of the city’s animal control shelter, PAWS is now an independent rescue organization serving over 37,000 animals each year. As Philadelphia’s largest no-kill shelter and provider of low-cost basic veterinary care, PAWS operates two Adoption Centers and two high-volume Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinics. PAWS is 100% donor-funded and depends on the generosity of its supporters to continue saving lives. Every year, PAWS serves more animals than the year before.
Learn more about PAWS’ journey toward achieving our mission:


We have a lot in store to commemorate this milestone, so stay tuned! We’ll soon announce details on a special 10th Birthday Party for the PAWS community to celebrate all we have accomplished together. In the coming months, you’ll learn about some of the many extraordinary volunteers, fosters, supporters, and staff who make PAWS what it is. And since we still have much work to do, we’ll also share ideas about how you can join the effort to save the pets who need you most.


10th Annual PAWS Mutt Strut a Huge Success


10/23/2016: Thank you to everyone who joined us for our best ever Mutt Strut on Sunday, October 23! After our original date of Saturday was rained out, nearly 2,000 animal lovers came out to The Navy Yard for a sunny and beautiful day.

We are thrilled to announce that together, we set a new fundraising record: the Mutt Strut raised $122,000 for homeless animals! Proceeds will fund PAWS’ lifesaving efforts and enable us to rescue and serve more of Philadelphia’s neediest pets. Thank you to the attendees, sponsors, volunteers, vendors, teams, and everyone who contributed to this incredible day.



Six PAWS dogs were adopted or found foster homes at the Mutt Strut, including Grey (pictured below). Lots of additional applications were received, resulting in more dogs leaving the shelter in the days to follow!



Mutt Strutters enjoyed a scenic walk in The Navy Yard, a dog agility course and “Ask the Trainer” with Opportunity Barks, canine lure course, costume contest, talent contests, “Ask the Vet” with VSEC, delicious food, pet caricatures, pet photos with Shutterbooth, paw print painting, raffle, a variety of vendor booths, and more. WMMR DJ Matt Cord served as emcee, and the Mummers kicked things off!



See official event photos here: find yourself and your mutt along the walk!

Enjoy this video of the day’s festivities:


Congratulations and thanks to all the participants and teams who raised funds!

  • Top Individual: Allison Lamond
    Runner Up: Andrea Frank
  • Top Team: PAWS Volunteers
    Runner Up: Team Woof Pack

Proceeds from the Mutt Strut will enable us to rescue and care for thousands of homeless pets in the coming year. We were so proud to be surrounded by the people who make our work possible, and we are deeply grateful for our community of caring and generous partners. See you in October 2017 for the 11th Annual PAWS Mutt Strut – details to come!


Photos by Katie McMenamin Photography

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 dedicated volunteers who contribute their time and passion to help bring Philadelphia closer to becoming a no-kill city.


Volunteer Spotlight: Jen Lawson 

Jen Lawson began volunteering in 2008 walking dogs in the shelter and helping out at adoption events throughout the city. Pretty soon after beginning to volunteer, she took a weekly shift at the Petsmart in South Philadelphia where we house cats for adoption.

“We have a tight-knit group of amazing volunteers who are really dedicated, and many of them have been doing their shifts for several years. I feel lucky to call them my friends! We never lose sight of the fact that we’re there to make sure the cats are happy and healthy and that we find the best possible homes for them as quickly as we can.”

In 2009, Jen became the volunteer leader of the Petsmart location and still volunteers there today, while also helping to process applications, lead adoption events and manage the scheduling of the volunteers at Petsmart.”

I’m so grateful that PAWS exists and that I have the opportunity to do what I do. It adds more meaning and purpose to my life and I could never give it up. It’s like breathing.”

We are so happy that Jen feels that way and are so grateful to have her as part of our team.  We are so lucky to have her!


Volunteer Spotlight: Roberta Diamond

Roberta became a PAWS volunteer in 2012 when she started caring for the kittens in our kitten nursery who were too small to be adopted. During that time, she was also a volunteer at a PAWS adoption site in Petsmart, taking care of the cats there while they waited for homes. Now, she is part of a team of volunteers at our Northeast Adoption Center and Wellness Clinic that takes care of the kittens (and sometimes their moms!). When we asked Roberta why she volunteers, she said, “The easy answer is that it is fun. Volunteering at PAWS gives me a chance to do something that I always wanted to do – work with animals.  I’ve met some really nice people at PAWS, and I’ve made a lot of new friends. ” Roberta takes great care of the kitties at PAWS and we are so lucky to have her as part of our team.





Volunteer Spotlight: Linda O’Brien


Linda became a volunteer in July of 2010 at PAWS’ Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic. Over the years, she has become a vital part of our team. Behind the scenes, Linda performs vital administrative work for our adoption and foster programs that has helped make thousands of loving matches a reality. She also works adoption events, volunteers with the dogs, and helps our adoptable animals shine by creating their online profiles. She says, “I enjoy getting to know the dogs to take glamour shots of them and show their best sides/personalities to get them adopted.” When we asked Linda what else she enjoys about volunteering, she said, “I love the camaraderie and working with staff who always go the extra mile. While it’s all about the animals, it’s the staff and other volunteers who make volunteering such a great experience.”

PAWS is so lucky to have Linda as part of this team and we hope to have her for many more years to come!



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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