Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Caitlin Lisa

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?  

When I finished graduate school in August, I wasn’t quite sure what career path I wanted. Because my master’s degree is in Public Administration, I thought it would be a good learning experience to spend some time at a local non-profit to learn what goes on behind the scenes. I knew that PAWS Chicago was known for being an extremely driven organization and my love for animals made it a no-brainer when it came to deciding which non-profit to choose.


Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

I spend the majority of my time doing administrative work wherever it is needed—whether it’s at the Adoption Center or the Development Office—but I’ll never turn down a visit to the kitten room in Kitty City!


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

I think it was the Fur Ball in November that really made me recognize just how devoted the PAWS Chicago community is. Not only did I witness the hard work of the staff leading up to the event, but I was also able to be at the event to see everything come to fruition.  I don’t think I realized how much PAWS has impacted Chicago area until that day… seeing 650 guests (and their pups) plus all of the volunteers who were there to support the same mission was an amazing experience.

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

I just obtained my Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Public Management this past August. Since then, I have worked as a Visiting Research Analyst for a university here in Chicago. Because the position was short-term, I wanted to take these past few months to experience different aspects of the public sector and figure out what it was that I wanted to do for a career before I started my job search. Because of my experience here, I now know that I want to work for a non-profit that has the strong values and determination that PAWS does. 


I am also studying to get my Certificate in Professional Photography and love photographing pets! I think I want to start a phoDOGraphy business on the side.


Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?  

First, PAWS Chicago has an incredible Mission. PAWS is making incredible strides in the animal welfare community; and, it is all because of the hard work and devotion that go into this organization that Chicago will be a No Kill city in the near future. It is an amazing thing to be a part of. Second, it’s FUN to volunteer at PAWS! You never leave the Adoption Center in a bad mood. You get to make a difference in the animals’ lives AND you get to play with puppies.


Do you have any pets at home?

No PAWS alumni pets yet… but my dog Charlie might get a new sibling in the near future. I also recently joined the PAWS Foster Program and hope to take in the occasional puppy or two!

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

I volunteered at Fur Ball and took photos for the K-Hits adoption event. I also volunteered and took photos at the 36-Hour Holiday Adopt-a-Thon.