Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Alicia Mendoza

Volunteering with PAWS has given me the opportunity to be of service to my community. I serve those without voices of their own. This has been some of the most rewarding work I have done in my life.

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?  How long have you been a volunteer?

I was introduced to PAWS Chicago five years ago when I spoke to a neighbor who visited the Pet Food Bank to obtain food for her cat.  I knew this was the organization I wanted to be involved with when I heard about their caring for the needs of pets and stray animals on the street.

I’ve been volunteering with PAWS for approximately eight months, since October of 2014.  I have cared for stray cats in the neighborhood for over fifteen years. 

Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

My primary focus is volunteering with PAWS for Life Community Outreach. My goal while volunteering is to see that the dogs and cats are well taken care of. It gives me great satisfaction knowing that in some small way, I assisted in helping pets and strays.

Is there one favorite experience or fondest memory/animal story that has stood out or touched your heart during your time as a volunteer at PAWS Chicago?

My fondest memory involves one of the smallest male felines in my colony.  He heard me trying to coax another cat off the roof next door and joined me in the back yard. He began looking up and meowing to the other cat, as if he were also urging him to come down.  About ten minutes later, the cat on the roof came down.  The smallest male feline had done what I could not do. This memory always brings a smile to my face.

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

I was a manager of a non-profit organization that helped at risk communities. The job required that I do a lot of record keeping. My organizational skills and understanding of the importance of following up on projects has helped me tremendously. I readily see the need to keep track of what is vital for each animal in my colony.

Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?  What do you enjoy the most about your experiences a volunteer?

I volunteer for PAWS Chicago because PAWS has shown a sincere commitment to providing beneficial programs with fantastic results to house pets and homeless animals in my Southside Englewood neighborhood and throughout Chicago.

It is a joy knowing I am connected with an organization that truly cares.

Do you have any PAWS Chicago alumni pets - or any other pets - at home?

I have three cats who previously lived outside, now they live in my home.  The cats are Mama, about five years old and her two sons, Goldie and Blue Eyed Soul Brother, both about four years old.  In fact, the two boys were neutered through PAWS Chicago. 

In addition to my three inside cats, I foster two other feline females, one (Girl) is approximately four years old and the other (Shy) is a little over a year old. Both are from my colony.  One day they will have a home of their own.

Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events that supports animals?

I recently volunteered at the PAWS For Life Community Day Event on May 16th, which was a huge success.  The fabulous work by PAWS Chicago has reinforced my commitment to the organization.

What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you?  Anything else you'd like to share regarding your experiences as a PAWS Chicago volunteer?

Volunteering with PAWS has given me the opportunity to be of service to my community.  I serve those without voices of their own. This has been some of the most rewarding work I have done in my life. I am very appreciative of PAWS as they continue to help my colony and so many others.

I congratulate PAWS Chicago for being there for the less fortunate and securing homes for so many.