When we arrived in Oklahoma for our #38 state on the Adventure Of A Lifetime tour, we noticed right away the amazing amount of land! Oklahoma is the 20th-largest state in the United States, covering an area of 69,898 square miles, and we were overwhelmed with its beauty, its diverse climate varying day by day, and its Indian heritage.
In such a large state, it was hard for us to pick just one deserving rescue or shelter to highlight. However, when we saw the many rescue animals on the Facebook page of PAWS N Ada in Ada, Oklahoma, we had to stop because there was no doubt that they should be recognized for all they do.
We wondered what made this rescue do so much for animals and people in their community. What made them keep going and keep caring despite all the obstacles they encountered? Meet the faces behind a wonderful rescue in Ada, Oklahoma on this latest episode of Stop Hounding Me with Ashleigh Winton, Shelter Manager, Tiffany Lane, President Of The Board, Susie Jiru, VP, Jane Johnston, Treasurer and also of course available adoptables, Viper and Candy. We are sure you will agree, their sense of humor says much about the way they accomplish so much.
PAWS N Ada (Pontotoc County Animal Welfare Society) has a mission statement that inspires.
“To save the lives of unwanted pets by changing the way our community views animal shelters and adoption. We strive to provide an educational and family friendly atmosphere that will change their future one pet, one family, and one generation at a time.”
The first thing we noticed was how much the animals under their care felt at home. Certainly, this is no easy feat under the circumstances they are faced with. According to Ashleigh, the shelter’s manager, their facility also houses the animals brought in by Animal Control. So they are “2/3 shelter 1/3 pound. Once they are checked in to our side we do not euthanize them, they stay with us until they are adopted or a rescue is found.”
If there was ever a shelter that felt like “home”, this is it. The staff, board and volunteers WANT people to visit for many reasons. If someone wants to come in just to pet dogs, they are welcome! If they just want to talk or help with chores, that is welcome too. They want everyone in this community to feel like this is a place of refuge. Because the more love that is spread through these doors is contagious. It makes residents WANT to get involved to help animals and it shows them the importance of taking care of their own as well. We loved the comfy crates when we walked in and even the permanent resident shelter dog, Cesar who let himself out to greet us!
Truly, he found a soft place to land after being returned numerous times. They didn’t give up on him, but instead found where he belonged. With them.
There is one question we often ask ourselves when we visit shelters. Where are all of these animals coming from? It seems like such a simple question, but how do so many animals end up homeless, unwanted or as strays? Then, to add to that question, why is there an overabundance of puppies and kittens? We discussed that with the rescuers at Paws N Ada.
In the community that they serve, they are faced with the task of servicing over 30 square miles. Stray animals are constantly being picked up by animal control, not reclaimed, or with no identification. One of our fans told us the story about how they rescued their baby from PAWS N Ada after he was hit by a car. They gave Bella Lagos necessary medical treatment and therefore a chance at a forever home.
They also have residents who surrender their pets due to the inability to take care of them as they age like mother and daughter here, Sassy and Susie, 10 and 8 years old. As we were visiting, we noticed how calm and comfortable they were here, even after what they had been thru. This says volumes for a shelter and we know that they will find the right family for these girls.
PAWS N Ada truly believes that if they are not here for their community and even those that feel they need to surrender their pets, the next time they need help, they will not come to them. In order to help, animals rescuers often have to put their own feelings aside and render no judgement. It is for the best of everyone involved, but so hard to do. We ask you, could you do this? Not all people can, and that is why it is so very important to give the ones that do our thanks.
PAWS N Ada makes diligent efforts to educate the community, young and old, on the importance of spaying and neutering. As with all successful rescues and shelters that we have visited on this trip, THIS is their first line of defense. Preventing unwanted puppies and kittens from ending up in the shelter system enables them to have room for other animals in need. Providing low cost options for residents to spay and neuter their animals is a real need in this area, and they work with local vets in order to accomplish this. They also related to us about the focus of education. Education in the community on the proper way to care for pets starts with the children. PAWS N Ada not only brings dogs to visit local, area schools but they teach them the importance of spaying and neutering along with letting them visit the shelter to play with the animals and help out as well. This certainly benefits all involved!
PAWS N Ada was incorporated in 1982 as a nonprofit, charitable organization. And since that time, they have seen many changes in their area and even internally. To reach the success of where they are today is only due to caring people who want to make a real difference. No animal shelter or rescue is without their share of disappointments, changes for the better, or reorganization. But they must have the support of their local community and beyond by way of donations, volunteers and fosters. They are always in need of collars, leashes, food for cats and dogs, treats, toys, towels and paper towels. While we were visiting we saw caring residents bringing in supplies, and volunteers bathing animals with love. How it warmed our hearts! They also need volunteers for adoption events. Anything you can do helps!
Every single animal in your local shelter or rescue has a unique story and here in Ada, Oklahoma at PAWS N Ada, there was certainly one handsome boy that we hoped our article and video would help. Meet Viper who has been at this shelter for two years! Why?! He is amazingly striking and beautiful with an upbeat personality.
Viper was abused in his previous life and is very scared of children. He loves adults though and other dogs. According to PAWS N Ada’s website, they do not want you to confuse his name, Viper, with the personality of a snake (viper). The staff actually named him Viper because his sleek black coat shines like a new Dodge Viper car. Viper has one blue eye and one black eye that makes for a very striking appearance. He is much more handsome than his picture shows him. Black dogs are very hard to photograph, but we KNOW how handsome he was and how carefree he was when running in the shelter’s expansive outdoor area. Oh, how we long to find out that one of our fans decided to give this boy a forever place to run.
Taking care of their animals at PAWS N Ada goes beyond that day of adoption. More than any other rescue or shelter we have visited, we see how diligent they are in following up with the new, adoptive parents. Why? It takes a big investment to rescue an animal, not only monetarily, but emotionally. They do follow up phone calls and checks that go above and beyond to make sure their furkids are placed in the correct home and that they are doing well. By keeping meticulous records and knowing their adopters thoroughly, they are able to ensure these animals have less of a chance of being returned. They also believe the right home is out there, even if it is beyond their area. They often transfer animals to other rescues or homes, but only after much research and again, follow up.
From the meticulously clean environment at PAWS N Ada (the cleanest shelter we have ever visited), to the sunshiney cat room, to the beautiful outdoor area, our Oklahoma rescue pick delivered.
All of these outside appearances may be impressive, but the most important are the people who care here…the people who come in every day despite what they might have saw the day before. THESE are the people in Oklahoma who make a difference for their animals and the people who live here as well.
But in order for them to keep going, they must free up more space. That means they need fosters to make room for another life saved. They need donations to keep operating. And they need your support, whether that means sharing an animal from their Facebook page, or supplies. What else can we do to support PAWS N Ada if you are not in Oklahoma? That’s simple. Use them as inspiration to make a difference where YOU are. Because the fight to end animal homelessness cannot be won by one rescue or one shelter. It is going to take us all, doing what we can in a happy, positive way!
Certainly, one life saved would be worth our trip this year, but even more so, it would be to inspire you to make a difference. Thank the people at PAWS N Ada for doing what they do where they are. Now do what you can do where you are.
We thank Ashleigh, Tiffany, Susie, Jane and ALL the animals at Paws N Ada for allowing us to spend the day with them in beautiful Ada, Oklahoma!
PAWS n Ada is a 501C3 and receives very little public funding. Every penny donated counts!
1200 SANDY CREEK DRIVE, ADA, OK 74820