City Living: Among the Animals – Adopting Pets is Easy in Seattle

Precious at the Seattle Animal Shelter

Printed in City Living, Seattle
May 24, 2011
Copyright Pacific Publishing Company

As many of us know, the responsibility of pet ownership is a commitment to care for an animal for a lifetime. But when it’s time to expand your family to include some furry (or in some cases, scaly) friends, what are the options for meeting a new family member?
Since I’m a new resident of the city of Seattle, I decided to investigate some pet-adoption opportunities close to home.
When folks consider adopting an animal, they may immediately think of their local animal shelter — in our case, the Seattle Animal Shelter. This facility, located in the Interbay neighborhood, is snuggled in the valley between Queen Anne and Magnolia. It’s easily accessible from Fremont, Ballard, Belltown and downtown for that special day when it’s right for you or your family to find a cat, dog, rabbit, ferret, snake or guinea pig.
In fact, the Seattle Animal Shelter houses nearly any domesticated animal in distress, but they primarily have cats, dogs and rodents for adoption. However, I did meet a couple of snakes during my recent visit to the city shelter.

Seattle Animal Shelter
Mike Kokernak, animal-care officer at the Seattle Animal Shelter, said that people should do their own research before adopting a pet. Families and individuals need to consider the exercise and nutritional needs for animals they are considering adopting.

"Star", the guinea pig at the Seattle Animal Shelter

New pet owners should understand the time commitment required and the financial commitment to buy all necessary pet supplies, pay for veterinary care and cover any emergency costs that arise.

Once you have identified a potential type of pet for your lifestyle, you can meet the cats, rabbits and rodents and inquire about the dogs at the Seattle Animal Shelter (adoption hours are noon to 6 p. m., Wednesday through Sunday). Typically, there are around 30 cats and 15 dogs at the shelter, but the Seattle Animal Shelter utilizes a network of dedicated foster families who provide care for an additional 100 cats and 15 dogs.

While more suitable families are always needed for pet adoption, the Seattle Animal Shelter has implemented an aggressive spay/neuter program to avoid the animal overpopulation crisis that affects so many municipal shelters in the US.  As is typical for pet adoption, you will fill out an adoption application and discuss your choice with a shelter staff member. When everyone agrees a certain pet is a good match for your home, it will be time for the exciting trip home.  Information on adoptable pets can be found on-line at

Max Mobile
The city shelter is far from the only source of wonderful pets. The Seattle Humane Society (SHS), located in Bellevue, holds meet, greet and adoption events in Seattle neighborhoods using its Max Mobile. This 38-foot adoption center on wheels makes afternoon visits to stores such as Whole Foods locations (including stores in University District and South Lake Union on Thursday, May 26, and Friday, May 27, respectively).

The Max Mobile will also be at pet supply stores in West Seattle, Queen Anne and Madison Park neighborhoods in June.
On a recent Saturday morning, the Max Mobile was parked in front of Mighty-O Donuts in Tangletown (Wallingford). Potential adopters greeted cats and dogs alike. The friendly, little dogs got a chance to stretch their legs during their day out on the town, and community members had the opportunity to meet some wonderful pets awaiting homes.

The Seattle Humane Society has about 140 cats and 70 dogs currently for adoption, and while the SHS knows that it can’t claim to save every animal, it has been successful in saving 95 percent of all animals that come into its care with the help of foster homes and transfers of animals to sanctuaries and fellow rescue groups. In this way, the SHS continues its mission to find safe and appropriate, permanent homes for their animals.

Check out the Seattle Humane Society Max Mobile schedule to find out when the mobile adoption center will be in your neighborhood. The schedule is on-line at

Komal at PAWS Cat City

The Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) provides adoption services for homeless dogs and cats out of its Lynnwood facility. However, PAWS also operates a bright and airy adoption center in Seattle’s University District. This satellite location, known as PAWS Cat City, provides a stimulating environment for cats, including complex scratching posts, loft sleeping areas and big windows for feline sun bathing.
New adopters meet with the PAWS staff to fill out a “Meet Your Match” form, an animal-adoption program designed by the ASPCA to help PAWS staff identify a feline temperament that would best match your lifestyle and personality.
According to Mark Coleman, PAWS community-relations manager, the organization has had excellent success matching cats and people using this program. In one such case, a medical doctor with very little free time was matched with an exceptionally independent cat that only wished to be petted once a day.

O'Ryan at PAWS Cat City

PAWS has more than 60 cats who await adoption, although not all are living at PAWS Cat City. Last year, PAWS adopted out 2,200 cats and 781 dogs through Cat City and its Lynwood PAWS location.
Check out PAWS Cat City at 5200 Roosevelt Way N. E., Suite B, in Seattle, or view all animals for adoption on-line at

Other groups
While the convenience of local shelters and adoption centers provide a wonderful resource for Seattle residents, you can also find adoptable pets through smaller rescue groups. Many of these groups post their animals for adoption on-line at

When the day comes for you and your family to seek out a new companion, take a moment to visit these websites to learn about the specific needs of the type of pet you are considering and then enjoy the search.

Christie Lagally is a freelance pet columnist who writes a blog at

Copyright Pacific Publishing Company.


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