Strut Your Mutt!

It’s the 20th Annual Strut Your Mutt Dog Walk to benefit the AWS Sadie Fund! Each year, we spend more than $150,000 on medical care to prepare our pets for adoption, and we need your help! All money raised at the walk through registration, pledges, business sponsorships and donations is dedicated to medical care through […]

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Spay and Neuter

Through spaying and neutering, you can help your dog or cat live a happier, healthier, longer life.  Both procedures can safely be performed at as early as 12 weeks of age.  If you or someone you know is struggling to afford to have a pet spayed or neutered, we may be able to help.  Contact […]

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Adopt

The Animal Welfare Society wants to help you find the best pet possible for your family. Placing an animal into a loving home is the most rewarding part of our work.

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Donate

With the help of caring individuals, the Animal Welfare Society is able to provide more than 3,600 homeless animals each year with medication, food, and expert care from our loving and professional staff.

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AWS Summer Camp

Limited space still […]

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Adopted!

We are all so happy for Gracie!  She has been a long […]

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What's It????

AWS volunteers are working hard collecting, cleaning […]

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Sneak Peek!

It’s almost time for the annual Antique Show and […]

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Like us on Facebook

Like us on Facebook for updates right in your Facebook […]

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The Story of Betty

When I first saw Betty, I barely noticed her. She […]

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Foster Homes Needed

Fostering pets that are not ready for adoption is […]

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Dog Obedience Options

Ever wish your precious pooch would follow your […]

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Thank You!

GREAT NEWS! We were the top vote getters again this […]

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Leashes & Gentle Leaders Needed

6 foot, nylon leashes and medium gentle leaders  for […]

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The Story of Betty

When I first saw Betty, I barely noticed her. She looked very unremarkable. All I saw was an ordinary looking, chunky lab mix, mostly black, with some white on her muzzle.

She was neither an adorable puppy, nor a sleek, exotic looking greyhound, nor a muscular, wriggling-with-affection pit bull entreating you to cuddle.

She was just an ordinary looking dog.

Then I read her information card.

It said that Betty was six years old and had spent three years in a shelter in Louisiana.

I was filled with sadness. Half of this dog’s life had been spent in the confines of a Louisiana shelter.

Betty was no ordinary dog.

At that moment, I made it my mission to “totally love on” Betty whenever I came to the shelter.

The first time or two, I took her out for a walk and petted her, Betty interacted in a very subdued manner. It was if she had resigned herself to her lot in life. It was if she had decided she was going to make the best of a bad hand life had dealt her.

But gradually Betty  Dog came to life. After a few visits, she would leap up in the air and wriggle with joy when I came around, knowing it meant: A) going for a walk, B) getting scratched and her belly rubbed, and C) hot dog slices.

As the weeks went on, I fell in love with Betty and her sweet, soulful personality.

Although I loved seeing her and was probably as thrilled to see her as she was to see me, I was saddened that no shelter visitors seemed to be looking at her.

Then one day as I put her in the back of her kennel, I heard a man’s voice say “Oh, here comes Betty.”

What,  I thought, someone is here to see Betty?  Even better, the voice sounded  excited about the prospect.

Because the back of the kennels are cinder block with only a tiny window to look through,  I couldn’t see who owned the voice. I went around to the front of the kennel and there stood a big, friendly looking man named Steve,  along with his partner, Jen, along with their teen-age boy Raymond and little girl Abby. I asked them if they knew Betty. Steve said they had seen her at their last visit and were considering adopting her.

While I was thrilled that someone was interested in Betty, I also hoped it wouldn’t be just anybody, but rather people who would truly treasure this sweet dog.

Not wanting to hover as they talked about and interacted with Betty, I left them and went on to walk other dogs. Later, I sought them out, both to extol Betty’s virtues, and to experience them with her.

Steve and Jen told me how during their last visit, they had zeroed in on Betty, despite the many adorable puppies that were available. They shared their concern that Betty, not being an adorable little puppy and being rather quiet and unassuming, was being overlooked by other visitors. That was one reason why they were initially drawn to her.

I shared with them that Betty reminded me of that kid in school who wasn’t “one of the cool kids” but when you made the effort to get to know them, you discovered they were an amazing person and they became the most amazing friend.

They too saw that in Betty.

Their tender spot for Betty as somewhat of an Under Dog and their appreciation of Betty’s sweet nature and gentle charm made it clear that these warm-hearted people would make a wonderful family for Betty.

What convinced me that this would be the ideal family for Betty, though, was what happened when Steve hunkered down so he could get closer to Betty.

As soon as he did, Betty became a Surface to Steve Missile, launching herself at him. She licked him right on the mouth. First, I had never seen her that affectionate with anyone except me, and second, his response to being licked on the mouth by a dog not his own—laughter—made it clear: this is the family for Betty.

We talked some more and then I left, so they could talk amongst themselves.  Later, when I walked by with another dog, they said they were going to go in and talk to the staff.

Later, as I was leaving the shelter, I saw them getting into their van.

“We’re going to get our dog Luca to see if he and Betty get along. If they do, we’re going to get her,” they told me.

The next day, when I came to the shelter, I made a beeline for Betty’s kennel.

What I saw, and how I felt, reminded me of one of my favorite movie scenes ever. It comes from the movie Good Will Hunting.

If you’ve ever seen Good Will Hunting, you might remember that touching scene near the end of the movie, when Ben Affleck’s character knocks on the door of Matt Damon’s character’s apartment, signaling that he’s there to pick him up to go to work. When there’s no answer, Chucky (Ben Affleck) peers into Will’s apartment’s window. The apartment is bare.

Will is gone.

Chucky smiles knowingly. You see, earlier in the movie, there’s a scene where Chucky and Will are taking a break from their work at a construction site. Chucky is challenging Will to break free of this life and make use of his incredibly gift—his one-of-a-kind mathematical mind. He tells Will that, even though Will is is best friend, the favorite part of his day is when he knocks on Will’s door in the morning to pick him up, because every time he does that,  he hopes that Will won’t be there, that he will have just up and left, “no goodbye…no nothin’.”

As Chucky peers into the empty apartment, he smiles because he knows that the empty apartment means that Will has just taken a step to a much better life.

As I looked in Betty’s kennel, and saw two puppies instead of Betty, I too smiled, knowing what it meant.

The new occupants meant that after spending half her life in a shelter, Betty had closed that chapter and  had just begun a new chapter. This chapter would be about living with a loving family who clearly adored her.

While Betty’s story is particularly sweet for me, given who she is and what she went through, her story is in many ways “every pet’s story” at the shelter.  She symbolizes the amazing joyful change of fortune in animals’ lives that shelters, their donors, and their volunteers make possible.  Shelters truly are places of new beginnings.

By: David, AWS volunteer

Epilogue: Steve Caya and Jen Cheplic graciously agreed to a photo and video shoot several months after adopting Betty, so I could capture Betty’s new life. Steve also sent pictures of Betty in their home. Is it safe to say Betty is now living the Good Life?

betty&luca

About Steve Caya and Jen Cheplic: Not only did Steve and Jen give Betty a new life, Steve and Jen continue to support AWS by buying their dog treats from the shelter store and still stop in with Abby to visit the dogs. Thank you Steve and Jen for all that YOU do.

bettywithfam

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Adopted!

We are all so happy for Gracie!  She has been a long term resident at AWS (more than 2 weeks) and was adopted by a lovely family!  Big shout out to volunteers Karen and Bruce for driving her to her spa treatment with Carrie at Bark Avenue so that she would look “just so” for her new family!

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Now Hiring

Animal Care Technician and Staff Accountant.

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Stonewall Kitchen Donation

We are grateful for the ongoing support of our friends at Stonewall Kitchen! Last week, we were presented with a check for $5,000 to help care for our animals and help them to find great homes. We’re so fortunate to have such wonderful neighbors and supporters! Thank you Stonewall Kitchen!

 

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AWS Summer Camp

Limited space still available!

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Sneak Peek!

It’s almost time for the annual Antique Show and Sale at Kennebunk High School the weekend of August 2 & 3.  AWS volunteers have been busy collecting, cleaning, researching and pricing donated vintage and high quality collectibles of all kinds.  Here is a sneak peek!I

If you have glassware, china, pottery, small articles of furniture, frames prints, fun/interesting decorative items or collectibles you would like to donate, you will be supporting a great cause! Please call Fran at 207-985-3721 or Liz at 207-967-4962 to arrange for pick up or drop off.   Please no appliances or yard sale items.

coca_cola_sign1951heissey_punch_bowl

 

 

 

 

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What’s It????

AWS volunteers are working hard collecting, cleaning and pricing items for the Antique Show and Sale at Kennebunk High School on August 2 and 3.  Sometimes they ask themselves… “What’s It?”  If you know what this item is (specifically) email Liz if you have the correct answer you will win an AWS Cookbook (must be picked up at the show.)

Not sure what this is??  Keep watching, we will change the item for the contest regularly.

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Dog Obedience Options

Ever wish your precious pooch would follow your commands a bit more precisely? How about perform a few tricks to entertain you and your family? Sounds like you’re in need of a Dog Obedience Class. At the AWS, we offer a variety of Obedience Classes at different levels and for different ages to help train dogs of all shapes and sizes. The classes are open to all dogs, not just ones adopted from the AWS. However, AWS alumnae do receive a discounted fee for the classes. Our available classes include:

Basic Obedience – The best place to start for your canine. For dogs 5 months of age and older. Let us teach you how to teach your dog.

Beyond the Basics with Agility – Now that your dog has completed a basic obedience class challenge them to go beyond!  This class includes agility, games, obedience challenges, and lots of fun!

Puppy Social class – For dogs 5 months of age and younger. So many puppies have been adopted from AWS that we are offering more classes for these young learners.  They will learn new skills, overcome obstacles, and have some fun playing with their peers.

Click here to visit our Behavioral Training page to learn more about the classes, view the class schedule, and register your dog.

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Thank You!

GREAT NEWS! We were the top vote getters again this year on Kennebunk Savings‘ Community Ballot. A BIG thank you to our dedicated supporters who voted for us and to the bank for their amazing generosity!

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Like us on Facebook

Like us on Facebook for updates right in your Facebook feed!

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Leashes & Gentle Leaders Needed

6 foot, nylon leashes and medium gentle leaders  for our volunteer dog walkers.  See our wish list on Amazon.

When you shop at smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com and choose Animal Welfare Society as your non-profit, AmazonSmile Foundation will donate .5% of your purchase to AWS.  It’s that simple.  You get the same prices, selection and shopping experience, plus, you help the animals in our care.  Learn more.

When you shop at smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com and choose Animal Welfare Society as your non-profit, AmazonSmile Foundation will donate .5% of your purchase to AWS.  It’s that simple.  You get the same prices, selection and shopping experience, plus, you help the animals in our care.  Learn more. – See more at: http://animalwelfaresociety.org/home_page_promo/amazonsmile/#sthash.63k2UVsU.dpuf
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Foster Homes Needed

Fostering pets that are not ready for adoption is great way to make a difference. Our foster program allows us to care for many more animals than we could if they had to stay at the shelter. Many animals require more involved or long-term care. These cases are placed into foster care in volunteer and staff homes and return to the shelter when they are ready for adoption.

All you need is a safe place in your home — away from family pets — and lots of love. AWS provides everything else, including beds, toys, food, litter and medical care; you name it! If you are interested in getting involved with our foster program, please fill out a  foster application and submit to our Foster Coordinators.

Cat/kitten foster: We have many dedicated volunteers who take kittens, pregnant moms, and moms with newborn kittens into their homes to give them a good start in life. Last year, AWS cared for more than 1,800 cats and kittens.

Medical foster: At AWS, we go above and beyond for the animals in our care. We spend thousands of dollars every year on tests, surgeries, and follow-up treatments. While recuperating, these animals are susceptible to illnesses and stresses in the shelter environment. They heal faster and become stronger much more rapidly while in a foster care environment. We rely on caring volunteer and staff homes to give these animals the best chance possible.

PAWS foster: Our PAWS (Pets and Women to Safety) program is a confidential program that provides foster care to animals in need of a temporary home due to a domestic violence situation. Foster homes are kept confidential and require a minimum time commitment. Foster homes can specify what type of animal they would prefer to foster.

Unable to foster but want to make a difference? Consider being a volunteer.  Download a volunteer application.

 

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