What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?
I have been a volunteer with PAWS since 2005. I signed up right around the time of Hurricane Katrina. My first major experience with PAWS was the first time the dogs were brought back from New Orleans. It was overwhelming to see how many people cared and showed up to the Rescue & Recovery Center to help out.
Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?
I volunteer primarily for special events. When Bloomingdales in Oak Brook was open, I went there the first Sunday of each month for an adoption event. I also volunteer at the Angels with Tails, the Beach Party, Run for Their Lives, Fur Ball and this past summer at the Subaru events.
Is there a favorite experience that has stood out during your time as a volunteer at PAWS Chicago?
I would have to say I have a few that stand out. Meeting Red and witnessing his journey would be one. Another would be driving down to Quincy Illinois after the flood to bring back homeless dogs so they could start a new life. There are just so many more memories that make what I do seem so important.
How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?
My job in healthcare allows me to interact with many different people. If the subject of getting a pet comes up, I will always educate them on adopting a pet. When I was pursuing my Master's degree, three of my papers/presentations were on animal welfare. The first leader I chose was Tony LaRussa, for two reasons; he has a rescue in California and I am a Cardinal fan :) I then wrote a paper on puppy mills, which made me realize how many people were not aware of what they are. I was able to educate everyone in my class on the conditions and hope that they will remember adoption if they choose to get a pet. Lastly, I wrote one of my papers on Paula Fasseas. Part of the assignment was to conduct and interview. Paula was so gracious to answer all the questions that I had in a phone interview.
Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?
This is a passion of mine. It is so fulfilling to help homeless animals find a home. I also enjoy the friends that I have met by volunteering at PAWS. I love the interactions that we have with potential adopters and other volunteers. You interact with so many different people and learn so much about their passion. This is an opportunity that will never grow old.
Do you have pets at home?
I have Kaia a six-year-old black Cocker mix who is a PAWS Chicago alumni. A good friend of mine, Patty O'Neil who is also a PAWS volunteer, was fostering her in 2010 and I fell in love with her personality. I also was looking for a companion and friend for my Chocolate Lab Seager who has since passed away and it was then I needed to find a friend for Kaia and low and behold I found Loften a two-year-old rescue Chocolate Labradoodle who I adopted when he was 12-weeks-old. He was rescued from a breeder in Ohio that kept in him in a loft (which is why I named him Loften).
Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events?
I have volunteered at many Run for their Lives, Fur Ball’s, and Beach Party’s and plan to attend myself one day. Being able to participate in any of these events is a wonderful opportunity to help those furry lives who touch our hearts so deeply.
What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you?
When I started volunteering at PAWS Chicago, there was only the Intake Center and outside adoption events. I am amazed at how PAWS has evolved into what it is today. It is because of everyone coming together for a cause we all believe in. This is what makes my role as a volunteer so rewarding.