This week, we welcomed numerous four-legged newcomers to the shelter. We'd love to tell you about all of them, but since that would fill a book, we've chosen to limit ourselves here to one dog and two kitties that we think are extra-special.

Elsa is a beautiful German shepherd that had been seen roaming the country roads of Hope in the company of another dog. Eventually, animal-control officers humanely trapped Elsa and brought her to us. We waited the required six days for someone to claim her — surely, we thought, someone would be missing this sweet dog? — but no one stepped forward, so she became officially ours. We suspect that Elsa was never an "indoor" pet; perhaps she was someone's guard dog. But here at the shelter, it's clear she loves her kennel and seems to consider it her safe haven. She does need help with house training (although she's definitely getting there), and while she sometimes seems a trifle anxious around adults she doesn't know, she never nips or growls. Instead, she'll just turn her back on you until she knows you're friendly. All in all, we think Elsa would make a perfect, gentle companion for an individual or family who would like a calmer dog that doesn't need long walks.

Meanwhile, in the cat department, we have Paris and Brooklyn. These 6-month-old sisters were abandoned in an apartment for two weeks before someone found them. They kept themselves alive by drinking out of the toilet and eating from a bag of food that was left behind. You'd think any experience like that would be enough to traumatize the kittens for life, but no, these cuties still seem to love and trust everyone. Indeed, the only sign that they haven't forgotten what they've been through is that Paris can't bear to be without her sister. We think Brooklyn must have comforted her during that scary time, as she still holds Paris in her arms at night, and whenever we try to separate the pair, Paris meows plaintively until her sister returns. Do you have room in your home and heart for two of the sweetest, dearest kitties on the planet, so these devoted sisters can stay together?

Finally, on a practical level, P.A.W.S. urgently needs volunteers to help us look after the many new pets in our care. The hours between 8.30 and 11 a.m. are the most critical, as we like to have everything clean and tidy before visitors and potential adopters arrive. Plus, the more hands we have on deck, the less time we have to spend cleaning and the more time we have to give all our animals the love and attention they deserve. If you would like to volunteer, are 16 years of age or older, and can spare a few hours in the morning, we would love to have you. Just drop by the shelter at 123 John St. in Camden, fill out a volunteer application, and we'll get you started!