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The Fur (& Feather!) Flyer

Established in 1965, HAWS assists over 6,000 animals and welcomes more than 31,000 human visitors annually. As an "open admissions" shelter we lead the community in animal welfare and assure sanctuary for all animals in need, regardless of age, health or temperament. HAWS is a non-profit, entirely donor-fund organization with an active humane education program, and both wildlife and companion animal rescue services for Waukesha County.

HAWS License #267280-DS

Going Home and Homecoming

shelter, rescue, pets, HAWS, fundraiser, raffle, football

Have you heard about our alligator?

About 2 weeks ago an actual alligator was caught in Big Muskego Lake and transported to HAWS.  While not the kind of "stray" we usually see, it wasn't completely unheard of here.  Exotics have their own fans, but most homes and people don't have the right housing for an animal that starts as small as 8" and can grow and grow and grow.  This particular 'gator was about 3 years of age and had already grown to at least 3 ft. - hard to keep THAT in an aquarium.

So where did it come from?  No, it isn't a native species - no need to add that to your list of worries.  And most assuredly it wouldn't have lasted the winter if not caught as it was.  He was pretty healthy when he got to HAWS, but already getting chilled from our cooler September temps.  So most likely Mr. Gator hadn't been in the lake too very long.

We'll never know exactly how he got into the lake, but we can guess.

Our friends at the U of Illinois and Greater Chicago Herpetological Society tell us that they fish about 100 or so alligators out of the Chicago River and area waterways.  Most often these are pets that were purchased as babies - under 12" and not even weighing a pound - by someone who thought it "would be cool to have a pet that no one else has."  Well, there's a reason no one else them as pets:  they aren't a domestic creature, and unless you live in a zoo or have vast experience with exotics, chances are you don't have the environment or means to meet their needs.

So what happens to the "cool" pet when it gets too big?  It gets dumped to fend for itself.  Bad idea.

This guy lucked out - our U of I friends will transport him to a southern state and more appropriate habitat.  He's gone home.

But let this be an educational moment: 
(1)  Do your homework before getting ANY pet - really understand what you're getting in to!
(1a)  Adopt from HAWS - we've got a great selection of adoptable pets and lots of resources and helpful people to make your relationship with your pet a long-term success.
(2)  If you can't keep your pet, call someone - like US at HAWS - rather than just letting your pet go.  We're here to help and we've got lots of friends and resources, too!

By the way - HAWS Homecoming is October 16th - get your tickets today!  And you don't have to attend our event to buy raffle tickets for our Big Game TV raffle - tickets are available at HAWS today.  For only $20 you'll get a chance to win a 42" LG flat screen TV.  Now THAT'S a game worth playing!


The Holidays are Coming!

fundraiser, holiday, pets, photos, Homecoming, adopt

We'll take a break for a moment from planning for this weekend's HAWS Homecoming event (you've heard about HAWS Homecoming, right?) to tell you about another neat upcoming HAWS event.

Holiday Pet Photos are coming!

No, we haven't even celebrated Halloween yet, but when you use pictures of your pet(s) for your Holiday Greeting cards and whatnot, you need them early.  So, think snow for a few minutes, get Fido and Fluffy all gussied up in their Winter finery, and c'mon over for a professional portrait.

Here's all the "poop" you need to know:

  • Pictures will be taken by members of the Unlimited Vision photography club, with all proceeds from the photos supporting the animals, programs and services at HAWS.  This is a Friends of HAWS-sponsored event!
  • Appointments are available on both Saturday, October 23 and Sunday, October 24, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. 
  • The $30 fee includes the photography sitting, one (1) 8”x10” print and two (2) 5”x7” prints. Pet owners will receive a CD of their photos for an additional donation of $5.
  • To reserve their session, pet owners should contact HAWS at 262-542-8851. Sittings will be in 15 minute increments.

By the way - did you really think we'd let this blog end without another plug for Homecoming?  It is coming up this Saturday, October 16th - and you can still purchase tickets by calling us at 262-542-8851, x112.  Don't forget, too, that you can buy raffle tickets at HAWS for the 42" flat screen TV we'll be giving away at the event.  Need not be present to win...but we'd love for you to join us!  (Hint, hint!)

The Kids are Definitely Alright

donate, fundraiser, event, highschool, DECA, students, adopt, pets, shelter, rescue

On Wednesday I joined HAWS' Mobile Adoptions Coordinator Lisa on a field trip to Arrowhead High School.  As you may have read in a past blog, the AHS DECA students decided to raise money and awareness for HAWS as part of their homecoming celebration, "Hawkfest."

The students and their faculty advisor presented HAWS with a check for $2000!  Pictured at left are several of the DECA members, their faculty advisor Steve, HAWS adoptable puppy Trick and Lisa - gladly accepting this truly "big" check.
We are honored and excited to work with groups on events - the Arrowhead DECA group being a shining example of what can be accomplished.  The students did all the "heavy lifting" so to speak - as Lisa said, we just showed up at Hawkfest with our adoptables and had a great time!

Thank you, Arrowhead High School DECA students for making us a part of your 2010 Hawkfest.  You did a phenomenal job with your event and we were proud to join in the fun.  Moms and dads, the kids are more than alright - they're awesome.  Just ask us at HAWS and we'll attest.  Youth rocks!

By the way - if you'd like to do a "fun"draiser for HAWS or have the Mobile Adoptions Center visit your business, event, festival or meeting, please contact us.  Lisa can be reached at or at 262-542-8851, x201.  Be sure to schedule early...dates are filling quickly.

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