Volunteer FAQ

How do I become a PAWS Chicago Volunteer?

The first step to becoming a PAWS Chicago volunteer is to attend a New Volunteer Orientation. You can sign up by visiting our page on Becoming a Volunteer. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older to attend.

We hold many orientations each month on various days and times, so if you do not see a date that is convenient for you, please check back as we post new dates every month. If you need to reschedule your session, please email volunteers@pawschicago.org with the dates of your original orientation, the orientation you would prefer to attend and your first and last name.

I’ve been through the New Volunteer Orientation. What do I need to do to become a Level 1 Volunteer in Dog Town or Kitty City?

Volunteers interested in becoming a Level 1 volunteers will need to attend Dog Town or Kitty City Level 1 training. Dog Town Level 1 training classes are held every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., the second and fourth Thursday of the month at 1:00 p.m. and on the first and third Saturdays of the month at 10:00 a.m. Kitty City Level 1 training classes are held every Wednesday and Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. and on the first and third Saturdays of the month at 10:00 a.m. There is no need to sign up for these classes – just come in. (It is a good idea to call ahead during a holiday week, inclement weather, etc. to confirm that the class is being held). Please be sure to contact us at volunteers@pawschicago.org or calling (773) 935-7297 to confirm your class date and time as occasionally, weeknight classes are not held.

If you have not yet attended a New Volunteer Orientation you can sign up for one here. Please note, you must complete the application and attend the orientation before attending any level 1 training classes.

How can I become a Level 2 Volunteer in Dog Town or Kitty City?

Level 2 volunteers serve as mentors to Level 1 volunteers, work with the animals who may need more experienced handlers, and help to ensure that all volunteers follow appropriate protocols while working with our animals.

Dog Town Level 2 volunteers must complete at least 12 volunteer shifts in Dog Town and consistently demonstrate proper understanding of Dog Town etiquette, procedures and policies. In addition, a 6-week Dog Town Level 2 training class must be completed at a cost of $75. As a Level 2 volunteer, volunteers must commit to 8-10 hours per month of Level 2 volunteer shifts and teach at least one Level 1 class per month. To express interest in becoming a Dog Town Level 2 volunteer, please contact Meg Damato at (773) 687-4715 or mdamato@pawschicago.org.

Kitty City Level 2 volunteers must complete at least 12 volunteer shifts in Kitty City and consistently demonstrate proper understanding of Kitty City etiquette, procedures and policies. In addition, volunteers must attend a 2-hour evening class led by current Kitty City Level 2 volunteers to review appropriate handling of more challenging animals and fulfillment of Level 2 tasks in Kitty City. Kitty City Level 2 volunteers must commit to 8-10 hours per month of Kitty City Level 2 shifts and teach at least one Level 1 class per month. To express interest in becoming a Kitty City Level 2 volunteer, please contact Meg Damato at (773) 687-4715 or mdamato@pawschicago.org.

I’m under age 18, but want to help out. Can I still volunteer?

Yes, younger volunteers have an opportunity to volunteer through our Family Service program which was created for volunteers between the ages of 12–17. Held at the Adoption Center, our youth volunteers must come in with a legal guardian on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 9-11:00 a.m. We can accommodate five families volunteer each day, so click here to sign up and reserve your spot.

To contact us with questions regarding the program, please email familyservice@pawschicago.org or call (773) 687-4737. For information on other opportunities for those under 18 to help PAWS Chicago, please visit http://www.pawschicago.org/volunteer/youth-volunteer-opportunities/.

I can’t give my time right now, but would like to make a donation. How do I go about doing this?

Donations to PAWS Chicago help save the life of homeless cats and dogs! If you would like to make a financial contribution, please visit www.pawschicago.org and click on the green tab that says “Donate” in the upper right hand corner. This will direct you to a page that lists all of the ways to donate to PAWS Chicago. You may also mail donations to PAWS Chicago, 1997 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, IL 60614 or stop by the Adoption Center at 1997 North Clybourn Avenue to drop one off.

If you would prefer to give an in-kind donation of used or new animal supplies, please review our wish list at http://www.pawschicago.org/support-paws-chicago/wish-list/. Our animals are always in need of cat and dog food, cat litter, new or gently used dog toys, or any of the other items on the list. Donations may be dropped off at the Adoption Center during open hours.

My work/school/church would like to get a group together and volunteer. Can we do this?

Absolutely. For more information on group volunteering or to schedule a visit, please contact our volunteer coordinator at volunteer1@pawschicago.org or (773) 687-4729. Please include the type of experience you’re interested in, the number of people in your group, and your contact information. For groups of adults (18 years old or older), we will schedule a mini orientation and then split your volunteering time between light service (cleaning, laundry, special projects, etc.) and socializing with the animals. Youth groups (under 18 years of age) will receive an orientation about the mission of the organization, a tour of the facility, and will then complete a special project. Please note that group volunteers under the age of 18 will not have access to the animals.

I need volunteer hours for community service. Would I be able to complete these hours at PAWS?

Volunteers who are completing community service hours for school/temple/church must be 18 years of age or older and complete at least 40 hours of volunteer service with PAWS Chicago. Volunteers are responsible for tracking their individual hours and obtaining appropriate staff signatures. However, for those interested in completing court-ordered community service, we are only able to help existing volunteers complete these hours. If you are a current volunteer and wish to obtain additional information on fulfilling community service hours, contact Meg Damato at mdamato@pawschicago.org.