Downeast Dog News

Rescue of the Month: P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center

A Safe, Caring Shelter Serving the Midcoast
By Susan Spisak | Feb 01, 2021

Founded in 1974, P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center, aka P.A.W.S., is a Camden-based non-profit that serves the Midcoast communities. This no-kill shelter promotes humane values, and they provide a safe, caring environment for homeless dogs and cats. Their animals are strays from their contractual communities, owner relinquishments, and other state organizations. P.A.W.S. also imports dogs, following Maine guidelines, from southern rescue partners that pull at-risk animals from high-kill shelters.

The P.A.W.S. staff works hard to get pets paired properly and adopted quickly. Even with the 2020 crisis and three months without southern partner transports, they had 520 animal adoptions, said Shelter Director Meghan Austin. (Canine adoptions were about half of that number.) Executive Director Shelly Butler agreed, “As soon as dogs were in the door, they were out the door in nothing flat.”

Yet one yellow Husky mix named Rebel has remained an ongoing shelter resident. In fact, this handsome 7-year-old has been with them for almost four years after coming to them on a southern transport. Butler and Austin’s hope for 2021 is that they find Rebel’s human soulmate, and they live together happily ever after. (Rebel was adopted once, but it wasn’t a good fit. The family had small children and an active lifestyle, and this Husky couldn’t keep up.)

Rebel is cautious and needs someone willing to “date” him extensively – meaning plenty of shelter visits, so he can slowly bond with the interested person (or couple), and a friendship can bloom. To insure he thrives, he requires a petless, childless, low-key, and quiet environment. The ideal adopter will not be big on entertaining, but if guests are invited to the home, Rebel needs his own spot to escape the commotion. “He’s kind of like a cat in that sense,” laughed Butler.

While walks will help slim his figure – he’s 80+ pounds – he doesn’t require tons of exercise (he prefers a good nap). That said, a fenced yard for romping around or lazing the day away is imperative and will keep him mentally stimulated – he adores the outdoors, rain or shine. Know that due to allergies, he requires a grain-free, fish-based wet dog food. Check out his pics and a video at If you feel you may be his mate, fill out the application at previous link. A staffer will contact you if they feel an introduction is worthwhile. Their goal is to facilitate an adoption that will provide Rebel with his own person whom he can love, trust, and grow old with.

While Rebel may not be your match, Austin is expecting more pets soon on southern transports – watch their website for info – and meet and greets are by appointment only. They’re hoping to bring in many dogs this year, so additional fosters are necessary as the shelter only holds up to a dozen dogs (and 100 cats).

Butler noted that this past year fundraising efforts were hampered, so they’re especially appreciative to the West Bay Rotarians who not only crafted a wooded walkway over their exercise trails but tended grounds this past summer. And the Camden Rotary Club has underwritten their important Pet Food Pantry Food and Supply Assistance for residents of Knox County. They’re grateful to the community for monetary and donated goods (see their wish list at For more info on P.A.W.S., including adopting, fostering, and donating, visit

UPDATE: Rebel was adopted after this was written and printed!