What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?
I decided to start volunteering at PAWS Chicago because both my children were in college and I had a little too much free time. I gravitated toward PAWS simply because I have always loved dogs. I wanted to give back and volunteer at an organization that I could fully support. I began at the Lincoln Park Adoption Center in March of 2013 so I have been volunteering almost 4 years. When the North Shore Adoption Center opened in December of 2014, I started volunteering more there because I live in the northern suburbs.
Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?
My primary focus for PAWS is working with the dogs. At the North Shore Adoption Center, I do a lot of the early morning walks and cleaning. I also do Adoption Counseling for cats and dogs, and volunteer at many off-site adoption events. It has been fun getting to see different parts of the city by going to the different events. I have also recently started teaching Dog Town Level 1 Training and attending a few events as a PAWS Ambassador.
Is there one favorite experience or fondest memory that has stood out or touched your heart during your time as a volunteer at PAWS Chicago?
I have had so many great experiences with PAWS but one of my favorites was when I fostered two five-week-old pit bull/lab mixes for two weeks. It was fun, wonderful and very busy. I then decided to volunteer the day both of the puppies arrived at the Lincoln Park Adoption Center. I did many showings with them and actually was able to do the adoption counseling for one of their adoptions. Six months later, that adopter came back to the Adoption Center to find me and show me pictures of the puppy and to let me know what a great dog she was. That experience really touched me and it was so rewarding to be part of the whole foster to adoption process.
How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?
I am currently retired but I did work for almost twenty years for a medium sized financial consulting firm based in Chicago. In consulting, work is done in a team environment and the clients are the main focus. At the adoption centers, the adopters are the clients and it is important to provide great customer service just as in consulting. The staff and volunteers are the team behind PAWS that make the place run.
Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? What do you enjoy the most about your experiences a volunteer?
Of course, I love interacting and walking the dogs. Every dog is so unique and has different needs. The staff is so committed and I have learned so much during my time at PAWS. Also, the other volunteers are great and everyone has a common goal of helping the animals and supporting PAWS No Kill mission.
Do you have any PAWS Chicago alumni pets - or any other pets - at home?
I currently have two dogs at home. I adopted my PAWS alumni in late December of 2014. Honey (PAWS name Filomeena) is a mostly lab but with golden coloring who is almost three. She was so shy and under socialized when I adopted her but she has come a long way. I also have a 12-year-old black lab named Misty. I do have a PAWS alumni grand dog named Zoey (PAWS name Juliet) that my son adopted in February of 2016.
Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events that supports animals?
I have always volunteered at the Angels with Tails and Adopt-A-Thon events. It is so heartwarming to see so many dogs and cats find homes at those events
What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you? Anything else you'd like to share regarding your experiences as a PAWS Chicago volunteer?
It feels wonderful each day to improve the life of the dogs and really make a difference. It is so rewarding to see an animal find their forever family and head out the door in their red scarf. Also, I feel there are so many different opportunities that there is never a shortage of ways to be involved at PAWS.