PAWS of Coronado recently hosted a volunteer event at Ferry Landing to celebrate them as well as to educate Coronadans interested in volunteering with the organization on how to get involved. PAWS, which stands for “Pacific Animal Welfare Society”, was founded in Coronado in 2003 by Dorothy “Louise” Shirey and has become a grassroots institution in Coronado that pet owners and animal lovers on the island rely on. .
I had the chance to speak with PAWS’ new Senior Director of Fund Development, Jennifer Stein, who gave me a tour of the facility. “I handle volunteers and community outreach, as well as fundraising and things like that,” Stein explained. “Right now we are in the process of revamping, implementing a new volunteer structure and a new volunteer appreciation system, as well as working on new outreach events.
At the recent volunteer event at Ferry Landing, Stein explained, “I wanted to do something to show our appreciation for our volunteers that we have as well as reach out to get new ones. The Navy provides a ton of volunteers for their hours of service, and we will try to partner with the school district to develop internships or find ways to work with high school students. PAWS of Coronado has a veterinarian on staff at their facility that students can observe, but Stein also mentioned that there are a variety of ways students and volunteers can help the organization, from photographing animals to assistance in writing biographies. “We have all these opportunities that just haven’t been taken advantage of yet and we’re trying to go for it,” she told me.
“We also did a kind of demonstration and explained what our different staff roles are, including for our dog trainer who works with our behavior dogs,” Stein continued. “We talked about adoptions, foster care, and all the ways people can volunteer that go beyond just working with animals.” Volunteers are required to attend a PAWS Volunteer Training session before they can help ensure they are equipped to follow the correct protocols with animals. “We want the safety of our community, the safety of our volunteers and of course the safety of our animals. So you learn how to leash dogs, pet cats, not touch animals, things like that,” she explained.
There are also age limits for working with animals; you must be eight or older to spend time petting the cats at the facility and an adult to walk the dogs. Children can join an adult in walking a dog, but the adult must be the one holding the leash and must also undergo training beforehand. For those wishing to assist in the facility, a volunteer application can be submitted via the PAWS website, after which staff will contact you with further information on attending a training event (the upcoming volunteer training at is currently scheduled for April 16 – submit a pre-request to attend).
Fostering is another way to volunteer and help PAWS animals become more adoptable. “We only see the animals here at the facility, so fostering is a great way to help us learn more about them in a family environment and help them become more adoptable,” noted Stein. Learn things like if an animal greets you when you come home, if it plays well with other animals, etc. are all information that can be added to that animal’s biography and help them find the perfect match for them and those who adopt them. Photos and videos taken of a foster animal can all be shared on the PAWS website and social media to help that animal as well.
Stein also mentioned other ways people can offer support, such as donating money or supplies directly to the facility or designating the Pacific Animal Welfare Society as your Amazon Smile organization. “You don’t have to come [to the facility] or volunteer to help,” she commented. “We received nearly $2,000 through Amazon Smile alone, and we have a wishlist on Amazon where people can send us what we need directly.” The PAWS website also details the types of supply donations they will accept, from toys and leashes to cleaning supplies. “Anything that people bring that we can’t use, we also bring to a shelter in Tijuana,” Stein added. “Everything is used.”
PAWS of Coronado also offers unique offers and benefits for Coronado pet owners and those who adopt from the shelter. “Thursdays and Saturdays are our community clinics – we now offer them weekly instead of bimonthly,” Stein commented. The clinics offer pet owners a place on the island for their pets to get vaccinated, as well as microchipping and pet licensing services at a discounted resident rate. “Rabies vaccines are only available on Thursdays as that is when our vet is there to administer them, but all other basic vaccines and services are offered on both days of the community clinic” , she added.
“We’re also one of the only facilities to offer a lifetime care program,” Stein said. “It’s for our older or more difficult-to-adopt dogs who have more complicated needs due to illness or other issues.” When a person adopts a dog enrolled in the Lifetime Care Program, PAWS will provide financial support to address any pre-existing issues the dog has on adoption day. “You bring the animal here, we treat it and give you all the medicine, everything for a special diet…everything is provided for you so that the dog can have a normal life,” she explained further.
The organization also has a behavioral specialist who does home visits after adoptions to do in-home training for adopted animals to help them settle into their new homes with their new families. “This service is included in your adoption fee because we believe it is an important part of helping to keep this adopted animal in your home. Our Lifetime Program and Behavior Specialist are therefore key and unique to Coronado.
City funding, donations and grants all help support this program and the overall mission of PAWS. “We are creating and building easier ways to give right now, like the ability to donate by credit card when we attend events and revamping our website for a complete refresh,” said noted Stein.
PAWS will be attending a few upcoming events to engage with the community, including the Flower Show and Silver Strand Luau in April. “We will definitely be hosting the Dog Mayor event this year,” Stein also mentioned. “We will definitely need help with campaigning and this year we would like to involve art students to do an art chalk walk. I would also like to have something to invite the community to visit and meet the dogs as a “come meet the candidates” thing. Stein says the Dog Mayor event has helped them raise anywhere from $11,000 to $25,000 in the past, and they’re hoping for similar support this year.
Stein also works with the board to develop and gain approval for new events and fundraising ideas that would involve the community. “The more we can engage with the community and teach things like animal behavior, the more we can help these animals find forever homes and keep our facility from becoming overcrowded,” Stein commented.
To learn more about PAWS of Coronado and how to get involved and support the organization, visit their website at https://pawsofcoronado.org/ or contact Stein directly by email or by phone at [email protected] org or 615-522-7371.
FLIGHT. 112, NO. April 14 – 6, 2022