Volunteering with PAWS Chicago has showed me how many kind, animal loving individuals live in the Chicago area. I have met some of my closest friends by joining TEAM PAWS and fundraising for PAWS Chicago.
What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago? How long have you been a volunteer?
I was originally drawn to PAWS eight years ago when I went through a layoff with an employer. I would walk dogs at the PAWS Chicago Adoption Center as a nice distraction between job hunting. Sadly life got very busy and I wasn’t able to go to the adoption center for several years. Then two years ago I decided to run my first marathon and I knew that TEAM PAWS would provide the motivation I needed to reach this goal. TEAM PAWS gave me all the motivation I needed and more and I have begun running with dogs at the Adoption Center. My everyday life revolves around animals and their happiness and volunteering and fundraising for PAWS is an extension to my daily routine at work.
Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?
My primary focus when I volunteer has been to work in Dog Town and to do the weekly runs with the adoptable dogs.
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?
I met Sophia (PAWS name Braelynne) a long haired dachshund last year shortly after joining TEAM PAWS. At the time she was being fostered by a PAWS Chicago employee. I immediately fell in love and scheduled a meet and greet with her. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a match since my senior dog enjoyed being an only child. Happily, Sophia was quickly adopted by a wonderful couple and lives one street over from me. I get to see her all the time and see how happy she is with her new family. She hit the jackpot with her new parents.
How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?
I’ve been self employed as a dog walker for almost 6 years. As a result, I have the privilege of spending my days playing and interacting with dogs and cats. The majority of my clients are rescued animals and a few are PAWS alumni. It brings me so much joy and happiness to see the smiles they bring to their pet parents faces. My clients know how important PAWS Chicago is to me and they have been very generous making donations to my fundraising efforts as a member of TEAM PAWS over the past 2 years.
Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? What do you enjoy the most about your experiences a volunteer?
I volunteer with PAWS Chicago because Chicago’s homeless pet population depends on them to educate our community on the importance of spaying and neutering their pets. It breaks my heart to think that animals lose their life due to no fault of their own and PAWS is making tremendous steps to make Chicago a No Kill city. I love to read all the happy stories when dogs and cats find their new forever homes.
Do you have any PAWS Chicago alumni pets - or any other pets - at home?
I’m the proud mom of a rescue dachshund/cocker spaniel mix named Ladybug who passed away earlier this year. I run and fundraise for TEAM PAWS in her memory so other dogs and cats like her can find their forever homes.
Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events that supports animals?
I attended the Fur Ball last year as a member of TEAM PAWS as a result of my fundraising efforts and had a spectacular time. In 2014, I ran the Chicago Marathon and this year I will be running the Chicago and New York Marathon as a member of TEAM PAWS.
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 with PAWS Chicago has showed me how many kind, animal loving individuals live in the Chicago area. I have met some of my closest friends by joining TEAM PAWS and fundraising for PAWS Chicago. Some of my best memories in Chicago are directly tied to PAWS Chicago.