Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

David Baumgartner

Pets have always been an important and positive constant in my life, there for the good times and the bad. Volunteering at PAWS Chicago provides me the opportunity to give back to those pets on a larger scale.

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?
I have been a life-long animal lover and owner, especially cats, and always had an interest in volunteering with an animal shelter.  It was June of 2012 when I stopped letting life get in the way and began volunteering at PAWS Chicago.  I was drawn to PAWS Chicago due to its goal of making Chicago a No Kill city and the positive experiences that several friends had when adopting their pets from PAWS Chicago. 
Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

I am a Kitty City Level 1 volunteer; a host for volunteer groups (corporate, college alumni organizations, elementary, junior and high school students) who spend blocks of 2-3 hours doing volunteer service at the adoption center; a Volunteer Admin Team member (processing volunteer applications and training classes completions, managing email communications with current and potential volunteers); Adoption Center tour guide for VIP donors.  I have also volunteered with the Community Cats program at the 26th Street Medical Center. 

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?

Almost too many from which to choose!  That said, my two favorite experiences have been adopting my two beloved PAWS cats, Toby (in 2013) and Chloe (in 2016).   Another favorite experience is hosting the elementary age school kids that visit the adoption center.  The joy and pleasure they get from seeing the animals is infectious.  At that age kids have such wonderful – and often insightful – comments and questions that can also be challenging to answer!  I am very cognizant of the fact that the time they spend at PAWS Chicago can help develop and/or strengthen their love of dogs and cats while instilling in them the rewards and responsibilities associated with a pet’s care and well-being.  It is a pleasure and honor to think that the kids will fondly remember their time visiting our PAWS Chicago pets.

How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?
From my career in retail strategy consulting, skills such as attention to detail, written communication and public speaking, adapting quickly to new or unforeseen situations/issues, interest in a task’s or project’s end goal and its role in the overall “big picture” for PAWS Chicago have all served me well in my various volunteer roles. 
Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?  What do you enjoy the most about your experiences a volunteer? 
Pets have always been an important and positive constant in my life, there for the good times and the bad.  Volunteering at PAWS Chicago provides me the opportunity to give back to those pets on a larger scale.  I really enjoy being part of a team that has a shared and sincere passion for animal welfare. 
Do you have any PAWS Chicago alumni pets at home?

Yes, currently I am happily owned by four-month-old Chloe whom I adopted at this year’s Angels with Tails Gold Coast event.  Chloe, seen in above in this article, is a beautiful grey and silver cat that is over-the-top playful and engaging.  She loves people and never meets a stranger. Previously I was happily owned by Toby, a wonderfully sweet, smart and much beloved Siamese who passed away from kidney cancer in January of 2016.

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

I participate in the Angels with Tails events.  I also raised $2,200 as an individual for PAWS Chicago during the December 2015 #WeGiveTheyLive Holiday Fund Raiser.

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 find it satisfying to interact with the other volunteers who share in the interest of animal welfare and work so diligently to care for, nurture and find homes for our PAWS Chicago pets.  I am impressed by the varied backgrounds, interests, skills and life experiences of the volunteers at PAWS Chicago.  It is truly a melting pot of talent.  I really value the fact that everyone is contributing because of a deep love for dogs and/or cats and their life-long well-being.