What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago? How long have you been a volunteer?
I was originally drawn to PAWS Chicago through running marathons. I have had a lifelong passion for animals and running, so joining TEAM PAWS Chicago was a perfect fit. I have been a member since 2010. It wasn't until July 2016 that I went through the mentor program to become a volunteer. Since that time, I have attempted to work two shifts per week, splitting my time between the Medical Center and Dog Town at the Adoption Center. I became a Level 2 volunteer in November 2016.
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?
Volunteering at both facilities has allowed me to experience the full spectrum of what the animals at PAWS Chicago go through, and fully appreciate the wonderful work that PAWS does for the homeless animals in its care. I have had the opportunity to participate in the Intake process, literally unloading animals off vans from their previous shelter and getting them acclimated to the Medical Center. I have been fortunate enough to work with some of these same animals as they enter the Adoption Center until they find their forever home. It's truly been an enriching experience to witness the entire adoption process.
How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?
I have been a Social Worker for much of my adult life. I believe that everyone deserves the chance to live their life to the fullest, even when there are barriers and obstacles to cross. This also applies in my love of animals. Volunteering at PAWS has allowed me to do a small part in making the lives of these homeless animals a little better. Giving a little part of myself to the cause provides me with immeasurable rewards in return.
Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? What do you enjoy the most about your experiences as a volunteer?
I have always had a passion for animals. As the No Kill movement evolved, I knew it was something I would like to be involved with. Being a part of PAWS, whether volunteering or being on TEAM PAWS, has allowed me the opportunity to work with many wonderful animals, as well as meet so many incredible people who share the same desire in helping homeless pets in need. Some of these people have become very close friends, which is an amazing bonus I've received through my participation with PAWS.
Do you have any PAWS Chicago alumni pets - or any other pets - at home?
I currently have three awesome bloodhounds, two of which were in need of new homes. Ironically, they are brother and sister, so it's nice that they have been reunited.
Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events that supports animals?
I've been a member of TEAM PAWS Chicago since 2010, which has allowed me the opportunity to not only run marathons but share the No Kill message wherever I run. In addition to the Chicago Marathon, I have also run other US cities including NYC, LA, DC, Atlanta and Orlando (Disney). I have also run globally, including Vancouver, Berlin and London, all on behalf of PAWS Chicago. I have also attended and volunteered at Animal Magnetism.
What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you? Anything else you'd like to share regarding your experiences as a PAWS Chicago volunteer?
Volunteering at PAWS Chicago has definitely given me a much greater appreciation for the endless hours of work that goes into the adoption process. So much effort goes into the coordinating transports, providing spay/neuter and medical services, and nursing and socializing the animals until they are adopted. I am thankful to be able to be a part of this phenomenal organization!