Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Don Allerton

There is something special about serving as an Adoption Counselor. You are a part of the happiest part of the process.

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago? 

In February 2009, my youngest son saw a Wheaten Terrier mix on the PAWS Chicago website.  We had lost our Wheaten at age 14 several months earlier. We came to PAWS and after we saw her, I realized that I needed to fill out a survey.  As I stepped away I saw a sign on the door that said "we are companions and need to be adopted together." We went home with two dogs – a four-year-old Wheaten mix and a two-year-old Cattle Dog mix. For the first two years you couldn't walk them separately.  Two weeks later I began to volunteer at PAWS.

For a number of years, I have served as the backup dog handler for the weekly Friday morning CBS Chicago Dog of the Week segment.  Six weeks ago, I picked up the dog of the week, a Coonhound mix puppy, on Thursday afternoon.  That evening as we were watching TV and my wife said "she is cute".  We had often talked about getting a little white dog and naming her Lucy.  So on Friday afternoon, after the CBS morning show, we decided if nobody adopted her, we would.  We now have three dogs. When my oldest son heard that we adopted another dog he asked where we keep the power of attorney.

This "little white dog" in now 36lbs on her way to 60lbs.

Do you have a primary focus when you?

I like the diversity of my volunteer activities. I usually work in Dog Town as a Level 2 volunteer and as a Dog Town mentor. At least once a week I serve as an Adoption Counselor for dogs and cats and I do the New Volunteer Orientation monthly. I sign up for several Angels with Tails, events, Beach Party, other off site events and just recently began serving as a tour guide for visiting groups. I also serve on the Development Board. My 2015 New Year’s resolution was to volunteer at the Medical Center once a week.  I've been not so successful in keeping this resolution, but there is 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?

There is something special about serving as an Adoption Counselor. You are a part of the happiest part of the process.  Several months ago on a quiet weekday an older gentleman came in.  "I'm 83 years old and always have had a dog.  My last dog died at age 15 two weeks ago.  I would like to find an older dog – we can grow old together." An hour later he left the center with an older hard to place dog.

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

I really enjoy the people I volunteer with and the staff that I interact with.  There is just something special about people who love pets. I proud to be a part of what PAWS stands for.