Animal Shelter Needs Volunteers


January 20, 2021

A shortage of volunteers may once again be posing a threat to the future of the PAWS Animal Shelter in Chinook. In the interest of being thoroughly transparent with the community, Alissa Hewitt, Board President of PAWS, shared an announcement earlier this month.

"PAWS of Chinook is down to three core volunteers. We are unable to accommodate a full shelter until that number goes up. Because of this, effective immediately we will house only two-three dogs at the shelter at one time. We hope you understand how much we hate that limitation. For a small shelter, and the only shelter in all of Blaine County, we pride ourselves on the ability to help as many unwanted animals as we can. But we can't continue with the low number of volunteers we have," Hewitt said.

Despite her announcement, Hewitt assured county residents that the shelter is NOT closing. "We have been a part of this community for almost three decades and that presence will not come to a close any time soon. However, compassion fatigue is a real thing, and to make sure that we can hold on to the few volunteers that we do have, we must make sure that they are happy and healthy. We don't take this decision to scale back lightly, but we know that you understand our position. That being said, if you have just one hour per week that you can devote to volunteering, we would love to chat with you."

For over 25 years, PAWS of Chinook has assisted Blaine, Hill, and Liberty Counties. With its core of volunteers, the group is committed to "providing a safe, loving place to land for pets looking for their forever home. We are powered by a group of volunteers who put our resident dogs first," Hewitt claims.

Anyone interested and able to answer the call to volunteer at the Chinook Animal Shelter can reach Hewitt at 357-3316. Potential volunteers can also fill out an application on the PAWS website:

The rescue group's spay/neuter assistance program, however, is not affected by the current scale back in animals being accepted. "As one of many dog shelters, we understand the need to control pet overpopulation and disease. To combat this, PAWS dogs do not leave our shelter until they are altered, microchipped, and up to date on shots," Hewitt explained.

An announcement on the PAWS Facebook page recently suggested that spring will be here before we know it. To many, that season implies the thawing of snow and the gearing up for warmer weather adventures. However, to the animal welfare community, it means an abundance of unplanned and unwanted litters.

In response, Hewitt said: "Please do your part to control pet overpopulation. PAWS of Chinook offers spay/neuter assistance year round. Just head to our website, answer a few questions, and we'll get you set up!"

Other members who serve on the PAWS Board include Laura Kellam, Vice President; Brenda Jones, Secretary; Bonnie Weber, Treasurer/Director; Laura Kleinjan, Director; and Kailey Kleinjan, Director.

The animal shelter fills a need in the community, and it is currently in need of volunteers who treasure animals and are willing to share their time.


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