Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Jeff Diebold

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?  

I used to see volunteers walking the dogs around the Adoption Center on Clybourn and thought how happy the volunteers and dogs both seemed by the arrangement.  It is close to where I live so I finally, after saying I would for months, stopped in to get information on volunteering after finishing a Broadway National tour of Mamma Mia in November of 2012.  It's a decision that has immeasurably added to the quality of my life.


Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

I actively volunteer in Dog Town, the dog running program, and fostering whenever it's possible.  From time to time I will volunteer at adoption events and for food deliveries to the Intake facility in Little Village.


Is there a favorite experience that has stood out during your time as a volunteer at PAWS Chicago?

A sweet Shepherd/Husky mix I fostered from Oklahoma after the tornadoes this year.  Her intake name was Delphine.  There were quite a few dogs brought up from Oklahoma and I came down to the Rescue and Recovery Center to help lighten the load for a month.  She was so furry I thought my place would be caked in it for months.  The fur would be gone after a vacuuming and she turned out to be one of the best, sweetest, smartest, most-devoted dogs I have ever known.  I found her a terrific home with people I knew in Oak Park with a wonderful family, a big fenced-in yard, and visitation rights!  


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

I'm an actor and a substitute teacher.  Kids and dogs can be similar in that they will try to get away with as much as you'll allow them.  It's natural. So, working with puppies or young dogs and instilling limits with discipline- while different in content- is similar, in dynamic, with students.  Of course, there are differences in the two: for instance, the kids are usually much better spellers.


Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? 

The mission of PAWS is to not only give pets a home but to educate the community and invite them to join in helping reduce the amount of stray animals through the spay/neuter program and public adoption events.


Do you have any pets at home?

If my schedule wasn't constantly changing and sporadic, I'd have at least one dog by now.  Volunteering at the Adoption Center and fostering will have to be my fix...for now.


Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events?

I did the "Run for Their Lives" with a foster of mine, Angels with Tails, and several other adoption events.


What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you? 

The people at PAWS are some pretty terrific individuals.  From the medical and adoption center staff, to the outreach and fund raising staff, to the volunteers, all of these devoted people are incredibly generous with their time and have a matching generosity in spirit.  How could you not want to spend time with such human beings?  They're almost as wonderful as the animals!  : )