Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Alden, Sue and Maya Burnett

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?  
My daughter Maya got us started at PAWS Chicago in the foster program. She was interested in finding a Chicago shelter to volunteer her time because there is so much need. PAWS was very kind in letting us, including my wife, Sue, volunteer together as a family. It’s been almost a year and we all love it.  

Is there one favorite experience that has stood out during your time as a volunteer at PAWS Chicago?

There are a few. Super Bon Bon, a two-year-old Poodle, came to us looking like a neglected rat on a bad hair day. He was very scared when he arrived, but he left us prancing like a show dog with a new ‘do.’ Our dog Nellie even taught him to howl like a hound dog!


Naomi was another dog who made an impact on our family. She was a big lover who gave long, soulful looks into everyone’s eyes.  And at 115 pounds, when she ‘asked’ for love (always nicely), she had the muscle to get it. Every time!


How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?

I am an Investment Representative (broker) and I work in the non-profit and individual client market. I work like mad with my clients but my hectic days have some flexibility. I help people for a living. Volunteering at PAWS is the same, but without pay.

Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? 

My family loves pets (especially dogs). I try to teach my children to be involved and give without expecting a return. The best way to teach is to do. We also love the cool souls we’ve met. If there’s a heaven, we’ll meet them again. I don’t want any dogs nipping at my heels on the other side! We also love to see the transformation of our buddies knowing we’re helping when others stand aside.


What has brought you value as a volunteer?

The staff – from the foster team to the veterinarians – is awesome and very caring about every single pet.