What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago? How long have you been a volunteer/When did you begin volunteering?
I’ve always been animal obsessed, and wanted to get more involved in animal welfare and the nonprofit world. I had just moved to a new apartment, and was sad that the building was not animal friendly. My first week in the new place, I took a walk in Lincoln Square and to my delight, there was an amazing adoption event going on, which turned out to be Angels with Tails! After talking with some volunteers about the organization, I went home and signed up for Dog Town orientation. Two years and several volunteer assignments later, I’m helping to organize the same event that got me involved!
Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?
I started volunteering in Dog Town, and then moved to become a Welcome Center front desk/administrative volunteer every Sunday. This year I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the Angels with Tails event planning team!
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 favorite volunteer role has been helping to coordinate this year’s 3 Angels with Tails events, and getting the opportunity to work with other shelter partners in the city. I love the community involvement, and seeing the results of everyone’s hard work on event day!
One thing that never gets old is seeing animals adopted, especially dogs and cats that have been at PAWS for an extended period of time. I love putting that “I’m adopted” red bandana on a dog and taking the family photo for the website, knowing they are headed towards a happy new life.
How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?
I currently work as an Operations Manager for a real estate agent, so I’m putting my administrative and people skills to use like I do during my Welcome Center shifts. There have been so many times where I’ve told clients I volunteer at PAWS and their faces light up. I love that so many Chicagoans support the organization or have PAWS alumni pets at home.
Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? What do you enjoy the most about your experiences as a volunteer?
I started volunteering for PAWS because I love animals and I’m passionate about animal welfare. I’ve learned so much over the past 2 years at PAWS, and I love sharing what we do with the public. The staff and volunteers are so knowledgeable and just as driven to contribute to PAWS’ mission as I am. Finally I’m not the only crazy dog lady in the room!
I also love that there are so many different volunteer opportunities for varying interests and skill sets. There’s a little something for anyone who wants to get involved.
Do you have any PAWS Chicago alumni pets - or any other pets - at home?
Unfortunately, I don’t at the moment, but as soon as I move into a pet- friendly building, you’ll find me at PAWS taking a family adoption photo holding my new dog in a red bandana!
Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events that supports animals?
I’ve participated in the Fur Ball and Angels with Tails, but hope to get even more involved this year.
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 at PAWS has been the highlight of my week for the past 2 years. I have an incredible sense of accomplishment knowing that along with the many other volunteers, we’re truly contributing to PAWS’ mission and building a No Kill Chicago.
It’s the people at PAWS who truly make the organization great, and I’ve been so lucky to have their support!