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Note of thanks from PAWS

By Staff | Dec 23, 2020

To the editor:

As we come to the end of 2020, it can’t be soon enough, much of which we would all like to forget. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a horrendous ordeal for us all, some more than others. Yet, with vaccines now arriving, we realize there is always reason to be grateful and thankful. Something PAWS (Protection of Animal Welfare Society) is thankful for this year, due to the pandemic, very few animals were abandoned! We are always grateful for the many people who helped our effort over the last year, especially all of our contributors and adopters. We are also happy that with such an active hurricane season, we avoided a direct hit this year. However, we still had passing storms to contend with, especially Sally that brought record rainfall and flooding in August, but by comparison to other areas, we all should be thankful.

You may remember from last year’s PAWS note of thanks the story about the white cat that lives on the Sanibel Causeway Island nearest the high span. That’s Tobie and he’s been living out there for about four years now. He was captured as a feral cat by someone at a trailer park on Pine Ridge Road and taken to Lee County Domestic Animal Services as part of its Trap/Neuter/ Release program. Huge appreciation to Yolanda Rivera and Rose Dakos for visiting him every night with a wonderful dinner! He is so lucky to have such kind people to care for him, and now he has grown to appreciate their kindness and has become very friendly, loving to be scratched, rubbed and petted. We would love to find someone to adopt or foster him, so that at long last he would finally have a real home! While he’s much safer out there than he would be on Sanibel or Captiva — no gators, bobcats or coyotes — it’s just not the same as a home, where he would be safe from storms, vehicles, people, et cetera.

Over the years, PAWS has provided for the needs of many animals, some for very long periods of time. The majority are cats, as dogs are usually claimed rather quickly. In most years, many young, injured and sick animals come our way that need veterinary care, medicines and intensive home care. We’ve provided for litters of kittens, as well as adult kitties and found wonderful homes for all of them. Joan and Jim Bajek continue to foster kitties for us; they are our only foster. Joan has spent an enormous amount of time with one cat, and he’s becoming a wonderful kitty. If anyone is able to foster kittens, cats or dogs, contact PAWS at sanibelcat@yahoo.com or 239-313-6918 or 239-699-6310. We are so grateful to these great folks for providing a home and caring for our babies. There is no facility on Sanibel to house lost and abandoned animals. It can be really difficult to find a home to care for them until we find their people or, as in most instances, find families to adopt and give them a forever home. We are so very thankful for all they have done and continue to do. Kudos to Joan and Jim!

We would like to thank our fabulous local veterinary care providers, Dr. Mark Mathusa at Beachside Animal Clinic and the VCA Coral Veterinary Clinic in Fort Myers. They provide quality care to our animals. Special thanks to Dr. Michael Rohlk, Mary Ann and Nick at the Rohlk Animal Hospital in North Fort Myers. I discovered the hospital when helping out with the Trap/Neuter/Release program. It provides excellent services and care and a great discount for non-profits, which is very helpful when you have a half-dozen animals to vet at once. A big thank you to all the folks who donated financially and in other ways to support our PAWS animals. Without the help from our community, we would not be able to continue to provide for these domestic animals that are in need of shelter and care.

Special appreciation to the Center 4 Life. Each year for the past 10 years, it has hosted the Annual Justine Smith Memorial Bridge Tournament and donated the proceeds to PAWS, which was one of Smith’s favorite charitable organizations. Special thanks to our local newspapers, the Island Reporter/Sanibel-Captiva Islander and the Island Sun, for donating space for pictures and stories about our rescues in their weekly papers. This is how we manage to reunite some of our PAWS animals with their families. In the event we don’t locate their people, their pictures and stories help us locate a new forever home.

Thanks to all the island businesses that display our PAWS donation boxes on the counters: Bailey’s General Store, Huxter’s Liquors and Bank of the Islands. Special thanks to Footloose H20 Outfitters at Jerry’s Shopping Center. The staff make it part of their job to continuously collect the largest amount of funds for us! Special thanks to Linda as she goes out of her way to ensure folks are aware of the donation box! What they do is so appreciated. If you own or manage a business on Sanibel or Captiva and would be willing to have one of our donation containers, please let us know.

If you’re considering year-end charitable contributions, please think of our domestic animals and donate to PAWS. Veterinary care, especially critical care hospitals, are extremely expensive. PAWS is a 501(c)3 non-profit, established in 1987. We operate solely by financial contributions and donations from folks living or visiting our islands and surrounding area. Checks can be made payable to PAWS and mailed to P.O. Box 855, Sanibel, FL 33957. Your canceled check is your receipt, but if you prefer to have a letter, please contact me at sanibelcat@yahoo.com or 239-313-6918 or 239-699-6310.

Here is hoping 2021 will be a much better year! Thank you.

Pamela D. Sullivan