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
Some days at HAWS are even more amazing than the rest…
Often we don’t know the impact we have had on another person. But every day at HAWS we get a chance to see how animals affect us.
There is the joy of new adopters, the sadness when someone must say goodbye to their best friend. The frustration during an early training class…the pride when we figure each other out (despite the language barrier)! Pets remind us of what is important. And they are the best at making us feel loved and appreciated.
We were contacted in July by ABC’s 20/20 news magazine. They were doing a story (which aired on September 26) and wondered if they could spend an afternoon at HAWS? Next thing we knew we were welcoming World News anchor David Muir to our shelter – and we’ve got the picture to prove it! (David is at the far left in the group picture.)
But, the reason they chose to visit HAWS has resonated with us far more than the brush with celebrity and fame.
The segment they were taping featured the young Waukesha girl who was attacked in the “Slenderman” case. Turns out, this young survivor – Payton – has found strength and joy in part from something very simple: She loves to visit HAWS, and especially to play with our adoptable cats. Her mom remarked how the old spark and smile comes back when they are at our shelter. David noted in his voice over that HAWS is “her favorite place in the world.”
Makes sense to us! Animals don’t have an agenda – other than to play, snuggle, eat, love and be loved. There is a reason why we call them true companions and our best friends. They give without expecting anything in return.
That day in August was a gift in several ways – a young girl reminded us humans why animals are worth so much, and the cats at HAWS were able to help her on her journey from victim to survivor. We are honored to have played a part…and wish her the brightest of futures, because she’s just what a “humane society” is all about!