What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?
I have supported the shelter No Kill movement since living in San Francisco during the 80s. When we moved to Chicago, I was looking for an organization that offered a No Kill shelter with outreach programs to the community. I joined the PAWS Chicago volunteer team in August, 2010 when I retired and was looking for a way to fulfill my personal goals to enrich lives of cats and get involved in events that working did not allow me to do.
Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?
Cats and people! I love working in Kitty City and our Holiday Foster Program with the cats, especially older ones, and helping them show their best personalities to potential adopters. I also love working with people and educating them on the PAWS mission and good cat care. I always focus on the positive things we are accomplishing and let people know how they can help.
Is there a favorite experience that has stood out during your time as a volunteer at PAWS Chicago?
Any time an older cat or a longer stay cat gets adopted, my day is lifted higher. I love being with these cats most and am appreciative of PAWS giving them their chance to find a new home.
How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?
As a consultant, I was trained in customer service, public speaking, training clients, and problem solving. Understanding people was key to being a good consultant. I use all of these skills in various ways with PAWS. When working with potential adopters or foster parents, I use my people skills to assess their needs, discuss potential cats and help them find their new cat. I also use my public speaking and training skills to present the classes for New Volunteer Orientation, Kitty City Level 1 training and the Kitty City mentoring program. I always mention to new volunteers to seek ways they can use their skills since PAWS has many volunteer opportunities needing a large variety of skill sets. Just about anything they like to do has a matching volunteer opportunity at PAWS.
Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?
I find the volunteers and staff at PAWS Chicago to be one of the most rewarding groups of people to know and work with. Although I came to give back, I’ve come to realize that I gain more personal reward by being a part of PAWS than I ever expected.
Do you have any pets at home?
Frankie, our five-year-old cat, was adopted from PAWS. He came to us as a shy cat who was unsure but had a need to trust. He grew into a patient, loving and confident cat who craves our company. Buddy, our resident 14-year-old cat, was not thrilled but has come to accept Frankie in the house as long as he is not in the same room.
Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events that supports animals?
I have volunteered at Angels with Tails for the last three years. People come and have so many different questions and reactions to our cats. And, the store personnel are so kind and helpful to our volunteers.
What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you?
Personally, I have met people, staff and volunteers, who are so patient and capable in animal care. They continually work with such dedication and devotion to the betterment of the animals. I continue to be amazed at their ability to work with everything that comes and keep a graceful and respectful approach to all who enter the doors.