Donald just visited the PAWS sanctuary in San Andreas, CA, to take photographs of majestic elephants on the 2,300 acre property. PAWS is shorthand for the group “Performing Animal Welfare Society,” and has a very interesting history. The group was started by Pat Derby, a noted animal trainer that once trained the likes of Flipper and Lassie for their eponymous television shows. Pat later started to realize some of the abuses and atrocities that occurred to these performing animals, and along with Ed Stewart started the PAWS organization in 1984 to provide “appropriate and humane sanctuary” for animals that have been the victim of the exotic performing animals. They pioneered a particular elephant training called the “non-dominance” training technique that does not require the use of bullhorns, weapons, or other aversive training techniques for the eight elephants they have on the compound. It seems like a great organization to have ties with for reasons of supporting people who are attempting to give back to the world and make a place where the suffering for all creatures is diminished, but also for the selfish reasons of getting to photograph amazing animals running around on a beautiful, wild environment. I am sure that Donald will be posting some of his photographs on this blog or other places, but below is the link to the PAWS website, where you can learn more about the organization and meet some of the animals that live on the sanctuary.
Be sure to say tuned for more updates about Don’s travels, and may the day be inspiring to you.