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Meredith H.
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Rating: 5

Getting to the heart of the matter

posted 5 years ago

I first heard of PAAWS a couple of years ago when I bought a cookie @ a local coffee shop to support the project. I later learned more through articles @ The Forum newspaper, where I'm a copy editor. Then I pushed to include Lori Magelky, one of the nonprofit's founders, in the "20 Under 40" special insert project when I served on the deciding committee.

I eventually became a volunteer, with my main focus to maintain our various Web sites and online communication. I have plenty of other ideas in the works in the realm of advertising, publicity and awareness, but have to tackle what I can due to my schedule. Like I said, the only con I have is I wish I had more time and resources to devote to furthering PAAWS' goals.

PAAWS is unlike any other shelter I've visited. It's apparent through all of PAAWS' practices and goals that the animals and animal welfare is the No. 1 priority. The facilities are kept clean daily, and the resident cats are very well taken care of and loved. Every decision, every case comes down to, What's best for the animal?

The volunteers I work w/ @ PAAWS are all selfless, caring individuals who donate their time and energy to helping as many cats and dogs as possible. There's Mel, who fosters kitten after kitten and patiently works to socialize them so they have a better chance of finding a "forever home." There's Carol Stefonek, who has spent countless hours live-trapping critters and who washed the cats' bedding every week. Carol Sawicki lends her organizational mind and leadership to keep things running smoothly. And Gail, she's the type who will get anything done she puts her mind to.

And of course, there's Lori, who helped me through a very difficult time when I almost lost my second cat who was a PAAWS cat @ the time, Oni, to anemia and feline hepatic lipidosis. That tumultuous week Lori worked hard to get Oni to eat and make sure she was as comfortable as possible, and once I brought her home Lori spent time w/ me @ my apartment helping me take care of her, and checked in on Oni when I had to return to work. Oni's eventual recovery would not have been possible w/o Lori.

The other volunteers whom I haven't named assist w/ surgeries, adoptions, administering medication, spending quality time w/ the resident cats, fostering and some adopting. The organization wouldn't work if it weren't for the people who keep it going. I have high hopes for PAAWS' future and will continue to do what I can to contribute to it.

Pros: Animal well-being always comes first; spay/neuters are top priority, helping to combat overpopulation; and shelter cats roam freely in their rooms, allowing for better interaction.

Cons: The only con I have is I wish I had more time and resources to devote to furthering PAAWS' goals.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful.

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Debra B.
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Rating: 5

PAAWS deserves a shelter makeover!

posted 5 years ago

PAAWS is a truly one of a kind facility in the Fargo-Moorhead area. It has an active trap-neuter/spay-and release program, and provides spay and neuters for companion animals at the lowest cost in the area. PAAWS is an entirely volunteer-run facility. No one is paid anything, not even the members of the Board of Directors or the veterinarians. This is in marked contrast to humane societies which have paid employees and whose bloated boards receive compensation (and, indirectly, community status and recognition) for their time and efforts.
I took one of my foster cats to be spayed at PAAWS as this is one of the few places that would spay a momma cat that was going in and out of heat and still might have had some active mammary tissue from nursing. Most vets in the Fargo area won't spay a cat until she is 6 months old, and they don't want to even look at a cat that might be in heat or lactating or even pregnant.
I feel that Humane Societes have an unfair advantage in this makeover competition as the average pet owner is more familiar with a humane society and more likely to donate time and money to such a society because of the associated name recogntion and expectation for the work that such a society does.
With a shelter makeover, PAAWS could extend its reach and perform more spays and neuters. It could also expand into the adoptions arena if its current facility had increased space to house highly adoptable animals that need a second (or third) chance at a loving new home. There are way too many homeless and unwanted animals in Fargo and nationwide, and these numbers would be drastically reduced if responsible pet owners spayed and neutered their pets and prevented accidental or intentional breedings.
So, PAAWS supporters, get online and upload photos and write journals! Get lots of friends to join as that is the way to get the most point value short of adopting a cat from PAAWS. New members don't have to be as active as some of us, but just joining Zootoo and designating Minnekota-PAAWS as your shelter designate for the makeover will be a big help!

Pros: Provides low cost pay/neuter to cats and dogs who may never see a veterinarian

Cons: Need a bigger facility to house more animals that are adoptable, and perform more spays and neuters

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.

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Lori P.
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Rating: 5

Very friendly and great expierence

posted 6 years ago

I heard about Minn-Kota through a friend when I was looking for a companion cat that would be good around kids.

I called them up one evening to see if we could come out and the woman on the phone was very friendly and said we could come over.

We weren't sure what to expect since I had never adopted a cat or been to a shelter. My friends had told me most places you can expect the cats to be in cages. When we got there the cats were all out and so friendly. There were a few that hid but did come down later the longer we were there.

The staff was very friendly and knew each cats personality very well. They were honest with us when we told them we had a young child. Looking out for the safety of the cats and also the child.

The environment was great we got to sit down and play with all the cats to see which ones "clicked" with our family. But one cat stood out and I knew she was meant for us.

We filled out paperwork and after they did landlord checks and other checks to make sure that we would have a home for the cat, we were able to take her home 24 hrs later.

We are looking to adopt another cat in a few years and I definitely would go back.

PS we miss all the other kitties there also

Pros: Was able to interact with all pets since they weren't in cages, comfortable enviroment, got to see how the cats interacted with other cats

Cons: Some cats were hiding so didn't see all the cats.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.

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OdieAnne
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Rating: 5

Best Place Ever

posted 5 years ago

I found PAAWS after volunteering for three years for another organization that will remain unnamed. I could not get over the difference between the two groups. I spent one morning at a meeting with the one group listening to them talking endlessly about forming this committee or that committee, while we all sat around doing nothing. To meeting with Lori who was on her way around town picking animals up, taking them in for surgery, helping out with everything while the animals were at PAAWS and making sure they got delivered back safely home. She was amazing! Here I was sitting around with the first group talking about what needed to be done, while she was out there actually doing it! Needless to say, I quit the first group and joined PAAWS. Unfortunately, not too many months later, my husband to a job out of state, so I don't get to spend time at PAAWS, but it is still my favorite place. To Lori and all the PAAWS volunteers - keep up the good work and thank you for being there! :)

Pros: Helping reduce the pet population and educate the ignorant

Cons: That they don't have more money and a bigger shelter so they can help more cats in need!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.

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Cherish2484
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Rating: 5

A great service to Fargo area

posted 5 years ago

I am so appreciative of the PAWS project. I have fostered kittens in the past and have spayed and neutured three of them through PAWS. I always had great experiences. I adopted my first dog about a year and a half ago. She was almost four years old, so neglected and had never seen a vet. I contacted PAWS in August to get information on getting her spayed and what vaccinations they could offer. I'm in college, and knew I had to wait until I bought my books at the beginning of the semester in 4 weeks (they were $900 the year before!) to determine when I could afford the service. I wasn't sure when she would be going into heat either, as the last owners didn't keep track and I was concerned about that being an issue also. They asked me a few questions about my income, and gave me the regular price for spaying a small dog. She then asked me what I could afford if I had to do it next week. I gave her a price and she signed me up for the last available opening the very next week. She said the sooner she received her rabies shot and was spayed the better and not to worry about the cost.
When I brought Angel in for her appointment the next week, they simply asked that I consider making a donation of the difference in cost (the discount they gave me) to the shelter when I knew I could afford it. I was so grateful to get her taken care of, and it sounds silly but I felt like the ability to get health care was such a great gift for this poor little dog who had received so little in her 4 years! (Next on the gift list was getting rid of her Old Roy dog food the old owners fed her! )The vet even called me during her surgery to ask if I would like him to remove her dew claws, which I guess they don't normally do, for $5 because he was scared that since she was now living inside they would get ripped off when she got her claws snagged in the carpet.
The facility is housed in a run down dirty warehouse type building. (Notice I said housed in, I'm not saying the facility was dirty. They do the best with what they have.) There is a small sign on the front, but it's nothing that advertises or draws attention to what's housed inside. The front office doubled as a recovery room, and space is very limited. All the more reason they deserve the ability to upgrade their facility. I honestly hope in the future I can expand on Lori's operation and open a PAWS in another community in need.

Pros: very accommodating, service-not money-is their motivation

Cons: small space, lack of "curb appeal?" to generate interest

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

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