Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Andrea Bartecki

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?

I have been volunteering for more than six years and actually started when the Adoption Center opened. I've always had an interest in animals, being a docent at Lincoln Park Zoo and taking vacations to help animals. PAWS Chicago seemed like a natural fit.   


Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

Kitty City is my focus; I am a Level 2 volunteer, Adoption Counselor, Location Manager and foster counselor.


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

The best stories are the fosters who are so very unsocial and then once in a home setting, blossom into wonderful companions.  I recall one foster who did not see her foster cat for three weeks. She hid away so well that they were afraid she had gotten out of the house. Then one day, she came out and turned into a loving pet. A few weeks later they adopted her. 


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

I have been retired for the past seven years after spending 30 years in the financial industry.  As a manager, I was responsible for mentoring young people and giving them direction.  These experiences have allowed me to develop strong leadership skills. These skills help to train new volunteers, to work with fosters and adopters.


Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?

I love cats!  The best days are those when a senior cat gets adopted, or one who has been at the Center for a long time.  The day Agnes gets adopted will be one of the happiest.

Do you have any pets at home?
My two cats, Frost and Rowdy are both PAWS Chicago Alumni.


What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you?

I understand what joy a pet brings into a home.  They bring laughter into your life and also unconditional love.  Sending a child home with their first pet is very rewarding, or an elderly person who wants the companionship.  I think the volunteers at PAWS Chicago, help make people’s lives happier.