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PAWS for the holidays: the do’s and don’ts

By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff

Amidst the holiday season, people are searching for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. The comfort and happiness a pet provides may seem like an excellent choice, especially in a pandemic inducing isolation for many, yet animal shelters are discouraging people from surprising others with pets.

While a new pet can be a wonderful addition to a family, animal shelter Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Lynnwood warns they shouldn’t be given as a gift for the holidays. 

Director of Marketing and Communications for PAWS, Laura Follis, says adopting an animal should be considered a lifelong commitment and needs thorough consideration.

“It’s always best to involve all of the pet parent(s) to be in the adoption process,” said Follis. “A family can do this together as a post-holiday project. The idea of adopting an animal companion can be delivered as a gift but the actual process of adoption deserves more careful consideration and preparation.” 

If you’re interested in adopting a pet from PAWS, you can visit to review the available dogs and cats. They are open during special holiday hours, with appointments required to meet animals.

The animal shelter is asking pet owners to be mindful of potential holiday hazards, such as being aware of the toxicity of some holiday plants, the consequences of poorly secured Christmas trees and breakable ornaments, and extra electrical cords needed for lights and decorations.  

For a full list of holiday hazards, visit

PAWS is also celebrating community members existing animal companions this holiday season through its partnership with the Santa PAWS: A Holiday Photo Contest presented by Animal Medical Center of Seattle. 

“All of us at PAWS wish you well during these challenging times. Now more than ever, our furry companions are bringing joy and happiness to our lives,” said Follis. “PAWS is honored to celebrate our shared love of animals with you this holiday season.”

To support more cats and dogs find loving homes in the community, the organizations are encouraging a $10 suggested donation with each submission. As of December 14, 52 families have entered, raising almost $500 to go towards helping animals in need at PAWS. 

Entries have a chance to win a special gift basket from the local nutritional pet store Mud Bay. Animal Medical Center of Seattle will judge the submissions, choosing winning photos for the Overall Best Dog, Overall Best Cat, and Dog and Cat BFFs. 

“We can’t wait to see all the cats and dogs uniquely expressing their holiday spirit,” said Follis. 

Submit a holiday-themed photo of your dog or cat by December 31, 2020. Winners will be announced on January 8, 2021. 

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