PAWS of Bainbridge and North Kitsap has two exciting changes in the works. It plans to move its current cat adoption facility from Miller Road on Bainbridge Island to a space in the new development in Lynwood Center (see cat weathervane at top of featured image). But even before that happens it will open a second, larger facility in Kingston.
According to PAWS Executive Director Mark Hufford, generous donor support is making these long-awaited changes possible. “The two-phase expansion will result in hundreds more cats and dogs finding loving homes every year, and hundreds of local families getting help with their pets,” he explained.
Hufford told me that the new Bainbridge cat adoption facility will be about the same size as the Miller Road one, but it will have several significant improvements. “Unlike the current space, it will have potable water, individually ventilated cages to improve the health and comfort of the cats, pheromone therapy to reduce the cats’ stress, and more parking.” Hufford said that the new space has to be finalized, but he expects the move to Lynwood will take place sometime in the first quarter of next year.
The facility in Kingston will be about three times larger than the Bainbridge space, serving PAWS’ larger constituency in the rest of Kitsap County: “Not only will we have plenty of room to expand cat adoptions, we’ll have an outdoor patio on which to host dog adoption events with other rescue groups, something we’ve been anticipating for years. We’ll also have indoor space for facilitating our pet food bank, and for holding pet-related education events,” said Hufford.
Hufford continued, “We have some additional fundraising to completely outfit the facilities, but this expansion is being made very affordable for us thanks to the generosity of Windermere Real Estate. Our Kingston facility will share the Windermere building on Lindvog Road, and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s easily accessible for folks, and the building itself is both modern and immaculate.”
Carter Dotson, owner of Windermere Real Estate/West Sound, said he’s proud to support the expansion: “Our realtors are excited that we’re supporting this because they’re all animal lovers, too.”
It’s no secret that every animal rescue group faces challenges with controlling illnesses and pathogens, just like in a hospital. “Our new facilities will be state of the art,” said PAWS Program Director Marylou Zimmerman. “These expansions will help us address our mission more effectively—presenting healthy, well-socialized animals for loving families, as well as encouraging healthy pets in the community with our spay/neuter and other community-oriented programs. Over the last four years, service requests for PAWS programs outside of the adoption program have grown an average of 25 percent a year. These new facilities will help us deliver all of our programs more efficiently throughout our entire service area.”
“The added adoption space,” said PAWS Board of Directors President Ona Karasa, “will ultimately result in about 300 additional pets finding loving homes each year, which is something that our whole Board and all supporters of PAWS should be excited about.” Often those are animals from overcrowded shelters or other rescue groups, or who need a little extra care before being put up for adoption, given that about a third of the cats that PAWS currently adopts out initially fall outside the “healthy/adoptable” range as defined by most shelters.
“This expansion couldn’t happen without the full support of the community,” said Karasa, “including individuals, businesses, and foundations. PAWS wouldn’t be thriving without broad, grassroots support from all types of donors, including children dropping off coins from lemonade stands, donors who commit $10 a month, ‘sustaining donors’ who demonstrate an ongoing commitment, and the dozens and dozens of volunteers who keep our staff costs low.”
The public is invited to an open house in the developing PAWS Animal Welfare Center in Kingston on November 9, from 4 to 7 p.m. The facility is located at 26569 Lindvog Road in Kingston, in the Windermere Real Estate building adjacent to Columbia Bank.
Photos courtesy of PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap County.