Partnership for Animal Welfare (PAW) is a non-profit group of volunteers chartered to facilitate the rescue and adoption of homeless domestic animals, mainly dogs and cats, and place them in loving and stable homes. Adoption shows are held in the suburban Maryland area every weekend to allow prospective owners to meet with the animals and with volunteers.
PAW is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The group is funded by tax-deductible donations and is run totally by volunteers. If you are able to help out by providing time, money or a foster home for a homeless pet, please contact us. You can check out information on fundraising, donating, and so forth through our web pages.
In the mid 1990s, animal rescue took a very different form. There were few foster programs in the area and most were specific to a particular dog or cat breed. Also, most were tightly linked to a specific shelter. A group of us who were volunteering for one such group took issue with a new policy that required animals be adopted by the foster or returned, and possibly euthanized if not adopted in a set time period. This was a devastating choice for fosters and people ended up adopting their fosters rather than having to give them back. So, a handful of us decided to incorporate an all-breed rescue group which would be able to help shelters throughout the area. Once in our care, these animals would be safe forever. We were officially incorporated in May of 1996.
Once we were a legitimate group, we set about working out arrangements with local shelters, veterinary offices, boarding facilities, and pet supply stores. We documented all our processes so that future volunteers would know how to do a vet check or a home visit and how to complete an adoption. We created contracts for fosters, volunteers, and adopters, and acquired a phone number and insurance.
In the mid 1990s, the World Wide Web was still mainly just used by universities and hi-tech firms. Our first foray into the World Wide Web was establishing a presence on an online public bulletin board called “rec.pets.dogs.rescue” to find a place for a dog named Maggie. A shelter with which we were working despaired in finding a place for this elderly but spunky girl. We posted her story and got responses! We gained two foster homes and two more active volunteers almost immediately, and Maggie went to a foster and eventually to a forever home. As a result, the Washington Post came to an adoption show to write about this new way of getting the word out and featured PAW in a two-page article with pictures. Other newspapers followed suit.
During this time, we were also expanding our volunteer base and networking with other groups. Our adoption shows were very different “back in the day.” Since the general public didn’t yet have access to the web, we relied almost completely on ads in newspapers to announce our weekly adoption shows. Being one of the few all-breed rescues in town, we were much sought after by pet supply stores and other venues to hold adoption events. We would have upwards of 30 animals at a time at such events, basically taking over the entire store. We used crates for all the animals, so we had to drag in our own crates and set them up before the show; then we would take the animals out as people came by to meet them.
Fast forward to today! PAW is an organization that specializes in finding furever homes for shelter cats and dogs. We continue to work with local shelters as well as high need rural locations. We hold three to four adoption shows per weekend, along with numerous special events such as attending Bowie Baysox games and hosting restaurant nights. We help to educate the community on the proper care and ethical treatment of pets. Each year, we train more than 160 new volunteers and find homes for an average of 150 cats and dogs. We have helped over 4750 pets since our inception. We hope to continue our mission for many years to come but cannot do this without all of our fabulous volunteers and donors!