We found him on the Greek island of Crete. A resourceful, spunky terrier, Pippen loved being the center of attention.
As with all Greek strays, he would have been poisoned by farmers after the tourist season ended. We could not leave this adorable pup, who’d won our hearts, to such a cruel fate! Pippen had won himself a one-way ticket to America.
After settling into an urban life in Chicago, Pippen had become a new member of our family. His unique personality and adorable mannerisms made us avid animal lovers. He brought us such love that I opted to fill my high school community service at the local humane society. After going through the junior volunteer training program, I was shocked to learn that homeless cats and dogs did not face a better life in the United States. In fact, as in Greece, there was a pet overpopulation problem, but the general public did not know. Rather than roaming the streets at will, Chicago’s homeless cats and dogs were taken to shelters where the majority—more than 40,000 each year—was killed in back rooms, in gas chambers or by lethal injection.
Pippen’s legacy lives on with every life that is saved. His unique spirit and personable characteristics serve to remind us of the love, personality and devotion that every homeless pet possesses.
As a response, our mother founded PAWS Chicago in 1997. Initially intended to be an advocacy organization that would raise awareness about pet overpopulation through citywide events, PAWS Chicago soon developed into a comprehensive humane organization, dedicated to bringing the proven lifesaving No Kill methodology to Chicago and eliminate the killing of homeless pets.
Pippen did not live to see the fruits of his inspiration. He passed on October 25, 2005, two years before the grand opening of PAWS Chicago’s Pippen Fasseas Adoption & Humane Center in Lincoln Park, the first state-of-the-art, cageless No Kill shelter in the Midwest and one of only a few in the nation.
But Pippen’s legacy lives on with every life that is saved. His unique spirit and personable characteristics serve to remind us of the love, personality and devotion that every homeless pet possesses. Homeless cats and dogs wish only to devote their lives to a family of their own. PAWS Chicago is working so that one day, every one of them will be celebrated for their individuality and the joy they bring to this world.