Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Steve Olson

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?  

I wanted to volunteer for the past couple of years. So, one night I sat down in front of the computer, typed in ‘Chicago volunteering’ and PAWS Chicago was the first organization that popped up. I read what PAWS was about and here I am. I started volunteering for PAWS in April 2011. I volunteer every Sunday at the GusMobile and have undergone Dog town Level 1 training. I’d like to also take the Kitty City Level 1 training and volunteer at the Rescue & Recovery Center.

Is there a favorite experience or fondest memory that has stood out or touched your heart during your time as a volunteer at PAWS Chicago?

My favorite experience so far has been volunteering my time at the GusMobile. I wake up every Sunday at 5 a.m. to be at the location by 7 a.m. Waking up at 5 a.m. on Sundays is really hard for me, but when I see the GusMobile pull into the parking lot, it’s well worth it. I wouldn't give it up for the world.

The fondest memory I have from my short time with PAWS was during my first volunteer shift in Dog Town. I went in to play with Splish and Splash, a mother and daughter pair of Boxers, and wow, it was love at first sight. We played with a tennis ball and when it was time to leave, they both got a nice tummy rub. I didn't want to leave. If I didn't have two Rotties at home, they would be with me now. 

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

I'm a licensed plumber and a licensed general contractor with the state of Illinois. I work for a large real estate company in the Chicago area. I have been a licensed plumber since 1988 and a licensed general contractor since 1990. Doing what I do for a living really helps me out at PAWS. The interpersonal contact I have at work has enabled me to apply that to the different people and personalities I come into contact with during my time as a volunteer.

Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? 

I volunteer for PAWS because of their mission to save animals and to help them find a loving home. You can tell as soon as you walk into the Adoption Center or the Rescue & Recovery Center the care that goes on there. I enjoy the people - I have met so many different types of people helping out with the GusMobile. Oh, and you can’t forget the dogs and cats! 

Do you have any pets at home?

I currently have two beautiful Rottweilers that I rescued, but have rescued three: Mike who lived to be 13 years old and is greatly missed, Cody who is nine years old, and Hank, my six year old. I love them dearly and would do anything for them. This breed gets a bad rap, but they are very lovable dogs. To me, there is no such thing as a bad Rottweiler. The key is in the training.

Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events?

I participated in the Soldier Field run and The North Shore Half Marathon. 

What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you?


I guess all I can say is ‘thank you’ for the opportunity to be of help to a great organization. And I hope that in the time to come, I can be of more help. Once again, thank you. I can’t say it enough.