Rescue of the Month: PAWS

Rescue of the Month: PAWS

Celebrating 50 Years of Compassionate Animal Advocacy

By Susan Spisak

Happy 50th Anniversary to PAWS Animal Adoption Center, aka PAWS! PAWS is a Camden-based nonprofit that proudly serves the Midcoast communities. This milestone of animal rescue is significant, and they’ll still rely on their core values of compassion, advocacy, respect, education, and support while moving forward. Their vision is and will continue to be a humane world for every animal.
This no-kill shelter provides a safe, caring environment for animals who come to them as strays or owner relinquishments. In their 50 years, they’ve rescued, rehomed, and cared for countless pets. In 2023 alone, they rehomed 434 dogs and cats, microchipped 738, and reunited 72 pets with their families. PAWS also imports dogs, following Maine guidelines, from their partner, Road Trip Home in Georgia. Shelly Butler, MBA and Executive Director of PAWS said that in 2023, they rescued 77 at-risk pets from this southern effort. The PAWS staff then works hard to get them, and all their pets, paired properly and adopted quickly.
A welcome service that is now in-house and has been well-received is the PAWS Cares Community Veterinary Clinic. “Since opening the PAWS Cares Community Veterinary Clinic to the public, weå have provided care to 1,000+ pet owners from the community.  Additionally, we have helped more than 5,000 pets through our programs and services in 2023,” said Shelly.
She added that the clinic is open to anyone in need of veterinary care even if they struggle to afford the cost of care. This supports the staffers’ feelings that they’re not just advocates for homeless and unwanted animals, but they’re there to help families and their companion animals. “We offer routine and non-emergency care to cats, dogs, rabbits, and gerbils. We also offer spay/neuter, dental care, lumps and bumps testing, and removal as well as necessary testing and diagnostics,” explained Shelly. Additionally, CareCredit and Scratch pay are coming soon, both helpful to budget costs while keeping pets vetted and cared for. (PAWS Cares Community Veterinary Clinic, 207-236-7590.)
PAWS offers a “Safe Place for Maine.” Keeping pets and families together is their top priority, so there’s many supportive services for pet owners including short-term boarding and long-term foster for clients of partner organizations such as Knox County Homeless Coalition, New Hope Midcoast (formerly, New Hope for Women), Penbay & Waldo County Hospital, Penquis Social Services. and Meals on Wheels. They also have a Pet Food Pantry—see their website link below for the app.
PAWS is celebrating their 50th Anniversary on July 25th at the beautiful Cellardoor Winery. They’re looking forward to it and proclaim this, “The Golden Paw Gala will celebrate not only the last 50 years of animal rescue, but will open the next chapter as we seek to be a resource to the entire community.” Check the website for details at
Save Sunday Sept. 8th for their 19th Annual Wienerfest at Steamboat Landing. Watch their website for all the dates for many fun events. For info on PAWS, including adopting, donating, and much needed fosters and volunteers, visit




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