Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Brian Lee

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?  

I began volunteering with PAWS Chicago in 2003 while I was living in Lincoln Park. What originally drew me to PAWS was its No Kill mission. It was small and unassuming, just south of Clark and Fullerton, but I loved the mission. I had a cat of my own, Cho Cho, who I fell in love with. I was never a cat or dog person, but Cho Cho made me realize that there were other animals out there who needed a home. PAWS on Clark Street provided that and it’s why I started to volunteer and help the cats at PAWS.

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

In 2004, I remember meeting the most beautiful cat (sorry Cho Cho) I had seen. Audrey, named after Audrey Hepburn who was one of my favorite actresses. She was extremely feral and I recall trying to feed her in a long cage with enormous protective gloves. We couldn’t even clip her nails because she was so feral. But every time I fed her, I could see a sense of vulnerability and love. It was as if she was upset that her previous owners gave her up all of a sudden without a reasonable explanation. Audrey was with PAWS for a while, but after a few weeks she was adopted. Nine years later, she is the one I remember the most. 

What do you do for a career?

I am a former business owner. I used to own a small restaurant in the Lakeview neighborhood.  Prior to that, I was a Financial Modeler, working on Collatorlized Debt Obligations. We were the trustees involved in multi-billion dollar financial deals. 

Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? 

PAWS Chicago provides me with the same fulfillment it did in 2003 when the Clybourn facility did not yet exist.  I believe in the mission and there are a lot of volunteers who support PAWS now. But, the greatest thing for me is when I see a senior cat find a new home. 

What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you?

In 2003, I learned about the plight of homeless cats from the small facility on Clark Street.  In 2012, I have learned even more.  Given this knowledge, I am more committed to this cause then when I first became involved almost a decade ago. And now, I am even more committed.