Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Christine Gnutek

One of the things I love most about PAWS is when I go there the animals are just happy to see me, it doesn't matter if I had a bad day or a great day. They help me keep things in perspective

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?  How long have you been a volunteer/When did you begin volunteering?

I attended volunteer training in 2014 and started volunteering regularly in 2015. It has been great getting to other volunteers and staff over the years. I and other Friday evening volunteers learned so much from a veteran volunteer on Fridays that we kept coming back and it became our regular shift!

Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

I volunteer in Dog Town, primarily on Friday nights, and fill in as lead when I can.  I am planning to become a foster in the next year.

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? 

I remember a group of puppies got too much food one day - their little bellies we so huge they kept falling over. I thought something may have been medically wrong, but came to find they just ate like goldfish and didn't care a bit (I did wonder what their room looked like the next morning...).

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

I'm an HR consultant at Aon - so I try to reward all animals for their great performance! Being on the Angels with Tails planning team allowed me to use more of my 'corporate' skills... reaching out to merchants to participate, following up with the event details, etc. Laurie Gentle, the previous Angels with Tails planner, set the AWT processes up so well it was not hard to get up to speed.

Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?  What do you enjoy the most about your experiences a volunteer?

One of the things I love most about PAWS is when I go there the animals are just happy to see me, it doesn't matter if I had a bad day or a great day. The help me keep things in perspective. I love seeing and learning all of their different little (and big) personalities. I also love the friends I have made because of PAWS - dear friends to friendly acquaintances, we all come because we share a love of animals.

Do you have any PAWS Chicago alumni pets - or any other pets - at home?

I don't have a dog; I'm not home very often so it doesn't seem fair right now. I am close to and love my parent's dogs with all my heart - Ernie (a Bichon) and Bert (a Shitzu Bichon mix).

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

I have always loved to volunteer at the Adopt-a-Thons and the Angels with Tails events.

What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you?  Anything else you'd like to share regarding your experiences as a PAWS Chicago volunteer?

I'm grateful to contribute and be among so many people who love dogs. I also have such a deeper appreciation about the overall PAWS organization from volunteering - how much work goes into running it, caring for animals, getting them around logistically, follow up with adopters, outreach - there's too much to mention.  I feel like PAWS has paved the way for other shelters too - the more animals that can be saved the better. And how important educating people on spaying and neutering is.