News 12 spotlights PAWS on National Dog Day

Aug. 26 is National Dog Day, a day to celebrate and spoil our pups of all breeds and sizes. The unofficial holiday first began in 2004 to raise awareness about the number of dogs in need of rescue and to encourage adoption. In honor of that, News 12 checked out some pups waiting for their forever homes at Pet Animal Welfare Society in Norwalk.
Walk into PAWS, and the first thing you see is the nonprofit's success stories. Pictures of smiling dogs who’ve been adopted fill the entrance.
“PAWS takes in the community's neediest animals, the neediest homeless and abused cats and dogs,” said Executive Director Ellen Simmonds. “And I couldn’t be prouder of that mission.”
PAWS began in 1962 and has only grown in the 60 years since.
“It's been an interesting time for animal shelters I think nationally,” Simmonds told News 12. She said shelters across the country saw a bump in adoptions during the pandemic, but at many places, that’s been reversing.
“On the macro level, we're finding more animals are coming in than going out. But on the micro level, particular to PAWS, we had a really good month,” Simmonds explained.
PAWS usually has 15-20 dogs up for adoption, but Simmonds said right now, there are seven. News 12 got to meet Scout, a cattle dog/pit bull mix; Sophie, a Siberian husky; Ellie, a miniature Pinscher mix; Henny, a terrier mix; and Levi, a pit bull mix.
PAWS also had two adoptions this week of dogs who'd been there a long time, Russell and Emma. The latter’s stay was over a year. It's those happy endings that are giving PAWS staff extra reason to celebrate this National Dog Day.
“They come here, either an owner surrender or from the streets...and they get shelter, warmth, food, but the most important is the care and the love that they get while at PAWS,” Simmonds said.
If you're looking to adopt or make a donation to a local shelter or rescue group, here are some of the ones in southwestern Connecticut: