They weren’t lost in Hurricane Harvey, but newly arrived dogs and cats at the PAWS shelter are still, indirectly, refugees from the Texas disaster. Already, they’re finding new homes.
“We saw Bear and instantly fell in love with him,” said Lori Brush, of Edmonds, whose family on Saturday adopted a 9-month-old bearded collie mix from PAWS in Lynnwood. The nonprofit is an emergency placement partner for the Humane Society of the United States.
The bearded collie mix was sent to PAWS, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society, from a shelter in San Antonio, Texas. Renamed Bernard F. “Bernie” Harvey by his new owners, the dog was among 14 that arrived Aug. 30 at Seattle’s Boeing Field on a Wings of Rescue flight. That charity group transports animals from places with overcapacity facilities to shelters that will find them homes.
On Friday, 17 cats were flown from Texas to Paine Field and delivered to PAWS. Another 20 Texas dogs arrived Sunday in a converted school bus. Laura Follis, a PAWS spokeswoman, said that by clearing out shelters in Texas, pets displaced by floods there will have safe havens until they can be reunited with their owners.
“These dogs were already in shelters when Harvey hit,” Follis said. Texas facilities that sent them include the Boerne Animal Shelter, Kendall County Humane Society, Dancing Dog Rescue, the Right to Live, and Bandera County Animal Control.
“Quite a few have already been adopted and others are in foster care,” said Annette Laico, CEO of PAWS, who expects animal transports from Texas to continue for a couple of weeks.
On Friday, Texas dogs at the Lynnwood shelter included Jack, a beagle mix described on his paperwork as “a bouncy but sweet puppy,” and Sandy, an Airedale-Wheaten terrier mix.
Brush and her 12-year-old daughter, Annalise, took to Bear when they stopped by PAWS after seeing news about the Texas dogs. Soon, her husband, Kenneth Brush, and daughters Chloe and Gabby, 18 and 17, had a chance to meet the pup. The family’s 16-year-old German shepherd mix died about a year ago.
“It’s going wonderfully,” Lori Brush said Tuesday. “It took him the first couple days to realize this is home. He’s really relaxed and playful. He loves to fetch, go on walks, and play with his squeaky toy. My daughter has trained him to sit, lay down and come.”
Her youngest daughter has a bone disease, she said. Brush said the pup will help “get her out walking and playing.”
Pet adoption comes with a cost. Fees at PAWS, which runs the Lynnwood facility and Cat City in Seattle’s University District, range from $50 for senior cats to $225 for young dogs. The Edmonds family paid $225. “He was microchipped, neutered and up on all his shots. I felt the fee alone paid for all that,” said Brush, a creative arts facilitator at the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett.
This isn’t the first time PAWS has taken in pets from areas hit by natural disasters. “We helped with Hurricane Katrina, flooding in Baton Rouge, and the tornado in Joplin, Missouri,” Laico said.
The Lynnwood nonprofit has an ongoing relationship with animal agencies in Texas and California, where there are more dogs and cats in shelters than people willing and able to adopt them. “We’re fortunate the Puget Sound area is very dog- and cat-friendly,” Laico said. “Typically, the average length of stay for dogs here is five days. That’s pretty remarkable.”
People at PAWS are watching developments of Hurricane Irma and wildfires in Eastern Washington, with the possibility of more shelter space being needed. The influx from Texas has brought with it a greater need for donations and for animal foster homes, Laico said.
“There’s always a wonderful outpouring of love people have during a disaster,” Laico said. There might not be enough pets from Texas for everyone who wants one, she said, “but it brings them into the shelter where they can fall in love with another pet.”
The PAWS facility is closed for adoptions on Wednesdays, but animals will be available later this week.
For an Edmonds family, the pup now called Bernie “brought the life and love a dog brings to a home,” Lori Brush said. “Our hearts definitely go out to all the victims in Texas. This is one little way for us to help.”
How to help
Lynnwood-based PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society) is sheltering dogs and cats from Texas to help make room for pets displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Learn more about adopting pets from Texas, becoming a temporary foster home for an animal, or donating to the nonprofit at: www.paws.org