Do you wish you could spend your day helping animals in need? It’s a wish come true for Carol Jamroz, who was recently elected the new President of North Beach PAWS. Lorna Valdez, co-founder of North Beach Paws, stepped down after more than two decades of helping Grays Harbor rescue animals. Carol has been a long-time volunteer, vice president and project manager for North Beach PAWS. Get to know the new president of North Beach PAWS, Carol Jamroz, in this exclusive interview!

GraysHarborTalk: What drew you to North Beach PAWS?

Carol Jamroz: My wife Cindy and I retired to Ocean Shores in 2012.  Throughout our busy careers, we always said we wanted to work in an animal shelter once we retired and North Beach PAWS is right outside of Ocean Shores. One day, we knocked on the cat shelter door and asked about volunteering. A very friendly and knowledgeable shelter host gave us a tour. We loved that the cats were housed in general population rooms where they could roam and that there was a “catio” for outside play. The dog shelter was small but well-kept with a “freedom yard” for exercise. The barn had a thrift store that helps fund the operation. We loved it and started volunteering in the cat shelter two days a week.

Cindy Jamroz (left) and Carol Jamroz (right), the new president of the North Beach PAWS. Photo courtesy: Carol Jamroz

GraysHarborTalk: We have to know – how many pets from the shelter have come home with you?

Carol Jamroz: It didn’t take long for us to start fostering cats with medical needs and kittens, lots of kittens. We adopted two siblings right away, Milk Dud and Willow, then Snickers, an adult who bonded to us with his intensive medical care, and Libby, a 4-week-old who needed an eye removed. She recovered during an RV trip and has been our camper kitty ever since. Libby became a mother figure to foster kitten Coco, so we just had to adopt Coco. Someone was giving away a kitten for free, so Gwenna came into our household. Lastly, a dear friend died and we adopted her adult kitty, Morag, as part of our family.  We love to foster and it is hard to return them to the shelter to find their forever homes but we always remind ourselves that there are many more kitties waiting to be fostered.

One of the many jobs at North Beach PAWS includes syringe-feeding abandoned kittens. Fosters are always needed! Photo courtesy: Carol Jamroz

GraysHarborTalk: What has been your favorite part of your various roles over the last seven years?

Carol Jamroz: Being a foster is the absolute best experience. I imagine Cindy and I will be fostering for many years to come. I loved managing the cat shelter. Volunteering at North Beach PAWS is some of the most rewarding work I have ever done. The volunteers are so dedicated, they inspire me every day. I am a professional project manager by trade so bringing shelter projects to fruition is satisfying. Being a board member is exciting. Every member has a talent and they share their knowledge and professional experience to ensure we fulfill our mission to save homeless and abandoned animals, heal them, and find them loving homes.

GraysHarborTalk: What was your role in renovating the Cat Shelter? Why was the renovation needed?

Carol Jamroz: Cindy and I co-managed the first major renovation project for the cat shelter. The cat shelter needed an intake room, an isolation room and the general population rooms needed freshening up. We put together some sketches, a plan, and a budget and presented it to the Board of Directors. Our project idea was something the Board had been wanting to do so we were given the go-ahead. Our volunteers were very excited about the project. Donations allowed us to acquire stainless-steel kennels, a stainless-steel exam area and cabinets to convert an office into an intake room. We were also able to acquire stainless-steel kennels for a new isolation room, which was a converted bathroom. A volunteer built a kitty ramp to mount on the walls of the kitten room. Fresh paint and flooring completed this project. We had an open house to thank our donors, volunteers, and contractors. It was very exciting!

Cindy Jamroz disinfecting a room at the North Beach PAWS shelter in Grays Harbor. Photo courtesy: Carol Jamroz

GraysHarborTalk: What made you decide you wanted to be president?

Carol Jamroz: Being a board member is a serious responsibility. I was on the board for many years, getting to know our board members, learning about our operations, and understanding our mission to the animals and to our community. I was elected vice president many years ago and started learning from Lorna Valdez, our co-founder and president for 22 years. When Lorna was ready to announce her retirement, I was ready to assume the role. I was elected by the Board along with the officers Vice President Dan Hahn, Secretary Bonnie Baker, and Treasurer Cindy Jamroz.

GraysHarborTalk: What’s the biggest task you face coming on board as president?

Carol Jamroz: New leadership signals change and some may worry about what that could mean. My role is to let everyone know that our mission to the dogs and cats remains the same and we will continue to advocate for homeless and abandoned pets in our community. Spreading the word that spaying and neutering is essential to saving animal lives is a vital message and North Beach PAWS has programs to help pet owners get those surgeries done. We are hosting five vaccination clinics in several locations in western Washington to help people keep their pets healthy against common diseases. We also offer pet food assistance so owners can provide healthy food to their cats and dogs during hard times.

Carol Jamroz holding one of her cats, Morag. Photo courtesy: Carol Jamroz

GraysHarborTalk: What are your future goals for the shelter?

Carol Jamroz: Our most important project is the construction of a new dog shelter. This project will not only provide more kennels, it will upgrade our campus to the commercial public standards building codes require.

The existing dog shelter is a converted grooming business. It was never intended to house dogs long-term. The dog population explosion since spay and neuter services were curtailed during the COVID-19 pandemic has created a nationwide crisis for dogs. Adoption rates are down and length of stay for dogs in animal shelters is much longer. As a no-kill shelter, we are sad to see that kill shelters have no place to transfer their dogs who are at the end of their allotted time. As a result, dog euthanasia rates have risen for the first time in many years. Additionally, people who need to surrender their animals have no place to turn. This is stressful to the owners and harmful to the dogs.

The new dog shelter is vitally important for many reasons and one of the primary reasons is that it will have 20 kennels to provide critical relief for dogs that need help. 

You can help North Beach PAWS as a volunteer, donor or foster home, or adopt a pet! For more information, visit the North Beach PAWS website. “North Beach PAWS is a respected no-kill animal shelter in Grays Harbor County, western Washington, and beyond,” Carol shares. “The founders built that reputation with their profound love of animals and the wonderful relationships built with community leaders and donors to provide a place where dogs and cats can be cared for with love and compassion.  The Board of Directors and I will carry that commitment and those relationships forward to provide sanctuary to cats and dogs for generations to come.”

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