In Shanghaiist’s Philanthropist feature, we highlight individuals and groups doing interesting things to make the world a little bit of a better place. Recently, we paid a visit to Paw Pals Animal Rescue (PPAR), one of the few lesser known animal rescue groups in Shanghai.
While there are several groups working in Shanghai now to help adopt out cats and dogs (as you’ve probably gathered from our Pet of the Month posts), the city has very few actual shelters. That’s why when we find one, it’s really worth highlighting. Paw Pals Animal Rescue (PPAR) is located in Minhang district, almost an hour away from the city center – nestled in a house-cum-shelter in a tranquil neighborhood. We decided to go take a look and see how they do things.
PPAR was originally founded in 2007 by a group of individual animal rescuers, but many of the founders left due to the difficulties of running the shelter. Thereafter, the shelter has had various heads but is currently under the management of Mr. Zhao Luyang. Until today, the group still maintains their original objective of providing for a mid-way home for rescued cats before they are adopted.
Since their establishment, the group has rescued more than 300 homeless kittens and cats, and have placed most of them in loving homes. At the moment, there are about 70 adoptable cats at their shelter, all of which have been neutered/spayed, immunized, and treated for parasites.
The mostly Chinese PPAR team is relatively small, with more than 10 volunteers but continues to grow with networking (many of them are friends of friends or prior adopters with PPAR). The group stays afloat, like many other animal rescue groups, with donations as well as personal contributions. “One of the members even donated an air-conditioner for the cats,” revealed Sophia, our tour guide and PPAR’s newest partner.
At the moment, PPAR does not have any associations or sponsors. The costs of day-to-day operation are paid for by three generous PPAR members, as well as individual animal rescuers who cannot take the cats themselves, but are willing to pay for them to be sheltered. For medical treatment of the rescued animals, PPAR receives discounts from several local pet hospitals.
The PPAR team is also committed to promoting humane treatment of animals and pet welfare to the public, especially with the younger generations. They hope to get in touch with schools and start offering extra curricular courses, but are still in the process of making the correct contacts.
Since every member is a volunteer, not all of the PPAR team can be at the shelter all the time – though they do make it a priority to dedicate their weekends to the cats.
“We would also like more volunteers if possible because the cats don’t have any human interaction during weekdays, and the workers (which PPAR hires) are only here to clean, not keep the cats company. There is a volunteer who comes often to check if everything is ok, but of course, hopefully we get more support,” Sophia told us.
However, PPAR’s main concern for the moment is simply improving their marketing and promoting awareness of the shelter locally.
“If more people know about us, then there are higher chances for the cats to find good homes. And then when those cats go, we have more room for new rescues in our shelter,” a member pointed out.
For those interested, the PPAR shelter is very much worth a visit despite it being a bit out of the way. The cats are divided into different groups and placed in different rooms, and some potentially dangerous cats are kept in cages. Meanwhile, there’s also a “sick bay” for the cats that are ill and receiving medical treatment at the moment, as well as a room for the “special cases” – cats who have been abused and will probably remain non-adoptable (which really tugs at the heartstrings).
With the exception of the special cases cats, most of the cats at the shelter are friendly towards people as well as their cat buddies in their group. PPAR has evidently created a very comfortable living environment for their wards – the shelter is well kept and the cats are free to roam in the rooms – they aren’t allowed to leave the room due to fear of them running away and possibly causing disputes between neighbours and PPAR.
Sophia also told us of the difficulties of having an “adoption day” like other animal rescues because transporting the cats into the city would be quite an endeavor: cats and cars don’t often do well together.
If you would like to visit the shelter by subway, you can reach it by getting to the Jinping Lu station on Line 5. From there, it’s a 15-minute walk to Lane 555 Jinping Road. For more information, you can contact Sophia at [email protected]
PPAR // Room 102, No. 573, Lane 555, Jinping Road, Minhang District, Shanghai （闵行区金平路555弄573号102室)