PAWS Across America

Through PAWS Across America, the Animal Welfare Society in Maine receives adoptable companion animals from other shelters and rescue groups in need of help placing their animals. In many parts of the country, there are far more animals in shelters than are adopted to the local population. PAWS Across America helps save these animals’ lives.

Working with other non-profits, including rescue and transport groups, AWS brings these animals to Maine. Transporting animals from low demand locales to high demand locales is an extraordinary collaborative effort of the entire animal welfare community. We are honored to play a part in saving the lives of thousands of pets each year.

When the program began in 2002, our focus was on “highly adoptable” pets; animals that would be the easiest to find homes for in Maine. Only dogs were involved, particularly puppies. Within the past 5-8 years, cats and kittens have been included, as the demand for felines in Maine exceeds the supply of local pets, due to the success of spay/neuter.

In the past few years, the focus has again changed. Paws Across America is not just about young, healthy pets anymore – all pets deserve to be saved and though our program, we have capacity to help. Companion animals such as senior dogs and cats, cats with feline immunodeficiency virus and dogs with medical concerns make the journey to Maine, receive the medical care they need, and find a home through our Adoption Program.

In any given year, AWS receives up to 2,000 pets through Paws Across America. Over the years, pets have come from all over the country and world, including 11 US states and territories. We continually seek out new transport partners to grow our our life saving efforts.

Paws Across America operates on the basis of space availability, and local animals are always our  priority. When space in our kennels is available, we are proud to extend our services and care to animals throughout Maine, New England and beyond. AWS is also an emergency placement partner for both the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States. These national organizations rely on placement partners to provide shelter and adoption services for animals displaced by natural disasters.