Thursday, September 28, 2023

Obituary: Louise Shirey, Founder of PAWS of Coronado Dies

Dorothy Louise Shirey

January 18, 1926 – June 25, 2014

Dorothy “Louise” Shirey was born in Latrobe Pa. and as a teenager lived in Los Angeles until moving to Coronado in 1986.

She passed away peacefully on June 25, 2014 surrounded by loving friends at the UCSD Medical Center. Louise was best known in Coronado for her dedication to caring for and finding homes for displaced and homeless animals.

Louise’s passion for animal advocacy did not originate in Coronado. It started during a three year return to Pennsylvania in 1982.

The winter of 1983 was cold and brutal. A pregnant, homeless black lab wandered the streets of Latrobe, PA looking for a safe place to give birth. At the time only the “Pound” existed for stray or displaced companion animals and speedy euthanasia was always the answer to the problem. A local businesswoman saw her plight and took her home, knowing she must help her and others like her. That businesswoman was Louise.

Louise became involved with a start-up animal rescue group called Action For Animals, which eventually became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Land was donated, cement and fencing were donated, structures were donated and the group became a full blown no kill facility. Action for Animals Humane Society in Latrobe, PA is still growing and has become a major Animal Care Facility in that area.

After moving back to Coronado, Louise became involved with a variety of animal rescue groups. She began to realize the need in Coronado for the same kind of facility that she helped build in Pennsylvania. At that time, the 23-year-old Coronado Animal Control Facility on 6th Street was in dire need of improvements due to inadequate housing for the animals, lack of staff and outdated adoption procedures.

In 2002, a group of Coronado Animal Control volunteers got together to discuss the need to create a nonprofit organization solely for the benefit of the animals in Coronado. In 2003 the group was incorporated as the Pacific Animal Welfare Society or PAWS of Coronado, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As a founding member, Louise was the first President and remained the group’s leader until 2010 when she stepped down, but remained a prominent board member.

During these years, Louise was the driving force behind the partnership between the City of Coronado and PAWS in the planning, design and building of a new Animal Care Facility in Coronado. She was a common fixture at Coronado City Council meetings leading a “sea” of yellow shirts lobbying and speaking to all who would support her mission.

In 2010, after seven years of hard work and under her leadership, the vision for a new facility was realized with the opening of the current Coronado Animal Care Facility on First Street.

As many residents often stated “Louise was PAWS”. Until her death, Louise continued to enhance the lives of the animals residing in the Coronado Animal Care Facility. She was often seen training new dog walkers, walking dogs herself, doing home checks, bringing animal supplies to the facility and networking with other rescue groups to insure that every animal found a good permanent home. Louise fought for her causes and was an inspiration to others as an outstanding volunteer and leader in the Coronado community. And fought to the end she did.

To honor Louise’s life, contributions may be made to PAWS of Coronado. Donations can be made online, dropped off at the Coronado Animal Care Facility or mailed to PAWS of Coronado, PO Box 180956, Coronado, CA 92178.

PAWS of Coronado
PAWS of Coronado
PAWS of Coronado was established in 2003. PAWS manages the Coronado Animal Care Facility and cares for the orphaned cats and dogs of Coronado while they find them their forever homes.