Listen up: Shop for the Cause is right around the corner, and we mean it: Saturday, Sept. 21.

This year, more than 50 local businesses in Camden and Rockport are participating in this annual event, one of our biggest and most productive fundraisers. Visit one or two — heck, visit them all! — of these thoughtful and generous merchants and support them as they support P.A.W.S. Before you embark on your odyssey, stop by the Village Green in Camden for details on how you can win a $50 gift certificate from the participating business of your choice.  And go right now to our website,, for more information.  If you’re like us and dread the hurly-burly of Christmas shopping, get a head start here and reap double benefits by helping yourselves and us!

Were we pleased when we nipped into the shelter the other day to find that River, our darling Mr. Bigfoot, was waiting to go to his new home that very day! And we didn’t mind a bit that he was going to be a star feature in that week’s P.A.W.S. column in this very paper. Publishing schedules require us to have our news ready to go at the beginning of the week, and we can’t make changes once the die are cast or the copy set, if you catch our drift.

It would have been nice to use River’s column space to introduce another of our homeless critters, but in fact this teaches a valuable lesson: You may fall in love with a kitten or a cat or a dog that you read about in this column, but your proposed BFF maybe already be spoken for or gone. So if you’re ready to add four or eight feet — the more the merrier, we think — to your family, come by and see us, and we mean ALL of us, while we’re all still there.

That said, we have a big smile on our face imagining River padding around his new palace on those great feet. This very special boy deserved a home, and we are delighted with that vision.

Speaking of visions, and auditory this time, we need a couple of CD players so we can give our gorgeous group some high-class listening time. It is a proven fact (actually, we don’t know very many unproven facts) that animals respond well to classical music, that it soothes them and settles their brain and keeps them calm and happy. (We happen to believe that it does the same for humans, but that’s neither here nor there, a very nice old expression and, like most nice old expressions, totally without meaning.) So if you’ve a spare player, and we suspect there are lots, as everyone seems to be listening to iPods and that ilk these days, please bring it by, along with the CDs you used to play on it but are now, as so often is true these days, technologically dinosaurs. Many thanks in advance.

We are also looking for donations of litter. Bags and bags of it. We have to buy litter at least once a week, and we would love it if some of you decided to be Litter People and made a monthly donation. Thirty bags of litter is about what we go through monthly (or what goes through it, to be accurate), and Special Kitty, the Wal-Mart house brand, is less than $4 a bag, Litter is a little like death and taxes: You gotta have ’em.

The other day we couldn’t locate our little black cat, the joy and despair of our heart. Finally found her stretched out on the washing machine and the dryer, getting a heated massage for free (since we, not she, pay the utility bills). Karla is one of the many black cats at the shelter looking for a home, and she definitely shares the black-cat traits of sudden appearances and disappearances, extreme affection, a wicked sense of humor and especially thinking outside the box. (Thinking, we said!) For September only, we’re waiving the adoption fee for all our black and black-and-white cats and asking for only a donation. Karla, and we, hope this will help her find her fur-ever home.

Say hello to Faith, a sweet 9-year-old Lab/Rottie mix looking for a special someone — and with that fabulous face that shouldn’t be hard to find.  Faith is playful, likes other dogs and enjoys playing outdoors and taking hikes. She’s about the best friend you could ever imagine and she deserves the best.

On our wish list: dog toys, large dog treats, cat treats, plastic bags and dry cat food. And don’t forget lots of litter and CD players! Thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity.

Please take a few moments out of your busy day to drop by and see us and meet all our special sweethearts at 146 Camden St. in Rockport. We’re open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, our phone number is 236-8702 and is never closed! And thank you, as always, for your caring and support.