Lorraine Whetstone, a coordinator with PAWS, writes: “Every animal needs medicines to keep them from getting kennel cough, fleas, heartworms, rabies. Every animal needs food. Every litter box, cage and kennel needs to be cleaned. Water and electric bills need to be paid. Employees who’ve dedicated their lives to saving animals need their humble paychecks.”

You’re worried about having enough toilet paper. I’m worried about having enough litter.


Canned food is quickly disappearing from store shelves. Canned pet food is quickly disappearing from the shelter’s shelves.


But what’s really keeping the me awake at night, heartsick with anxiety, is this:


The Junkyard Dog Gift ‘n’ Thrift store, the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society’s major source of revenue, is temporarily closed. Our-low cost veterinary clinic is temporarily closed to the public. Fundraisers are being canceled or delayed. Generous animal lovers are losing their jobs.


And it’s happening just as money is needed the most.


It won’t be long before animal after animal will be dropped off by a crying owner because they can’t afford pet food, vet bills – even rent – anymore.


Meanwhile, kitten and puppy season is ramping up because many people still don’t spay or neuter. Hundreds of newborns will be dropped off, many needing to be bottle-fed with expensive formula.


All this on top of the daily norm: dog bites. Dogs running in traffic. Cruelty and neglect cases. Strays found with no microchip. Feral cats. Horses and livestock that need hay, expensive feed and vet care, as well.


This is a “perfect storm” that’s going to hit animals particularly hard.


As the “open intake” Okaloosa County shelter, we are required to take every animal brought to us – more than 7,000 per year. That number surely is going to skyrocket.


Every animal needs medicines to keep them from getting kennel cough, fleas, heartworms, rabies. Every animal needs food. Every litter box, cage and kennel needs to be cleaned. Water and electric bills need to be paid. Employees who’ve dedicated their lives to saving animals need their humble paychecks.


All this without our amazing volunteers who help so much, as it is not safe or advised by other sheltering experts.


I get it. Everyone is grappling with the rapid and ever-increasing impact of COVID-19. You need help. Businesses need help. Other nonprofits need help.


The homeless animals also desperately need your help. Please don’t forget about them.


You can donate on our website, or mail a check to 752 Lovejoy Road NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.


Lorraine Whetstone, PAWS Fundraising, Events and Volunteer Coordinator