Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

David and Adele Claussen

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago? 

We were thinking about adopting, but didn't know if we were ready. So thought fostering would be a good re-introduction to dogs as we both had them growing up. We have been involved with PAWS Chicago since 2013.

Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

Fostering! We like large active breed dogs who may have a harder time finding a foster home.

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

Yes, when we fostered Lucy and her 12 puppies. Lucy was emaciated and nursing 12 puppies when we got the little family at two weeks old. We cared for them for almost three months. Getting Lucy back to good health and raising happy healthy puppies was a rewarding experience. Fondest memory is sitting in the back yard being swarmed by 12 puppies all vying for attention was quite memorable.

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

Having corporate backgrounds, we utilized our organizational, timing and problem solving skills to ensure that all foster dogs are acclimated into the family as quickly as possible, learning the routines of the house with the other dogs and developing socialization skills.  For the puppies we also established a feeding program using regular weigh-ins and adjusting each puppy's food intake accordingly to ensure all the puppies put on weight.

Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? 

We love dogs and the PAWS approach.

What do you enjoy the most about your experiences a s a volunteer?

Knowing that our efforts make a valuable contribution to finding forever homes for those dogs we foster.

Do you have any pets at home?

Oh yes, we're failed fosters three times over now from PAWS (Kinchie, Vulin and Ardmore, the latter being one of the 12 spice puppies) and adoptive parents of a fourth, Talisk, from another organization. 

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

Two Angels with Tails events – Michigan Avenue and Lincoln Square.

What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you? 

We receive as much enjoyment fostering the animals as hopefully they receive from being fostered by us.

Anything else you'd like to share regarding your experiences as a PAWS Chicago volunteer?   


It has been very demanding, but in equal parts very rewarding, knowing we can directly help those dogs who need us. Also we've met some great people, the ladies of the Spay Neuter Center, Noelle and Stephanie, are just consummate professionals, with a passion and work ethic that is unsurpassed.  Without them and their support we would not have been able to foster as many dogs as we have.  Team work really matters.