Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Liz Strain

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?  
I have been volunteering at PAWS for six months (since August 2011).  I volunteered at the local Humane Society in college so I knew I enjoyed working in an animal shelter. After our family dog passed away last spring, I decided to sign up for orientation.     

Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

I am a dog person, so I volunteer in Dog Town at the Adoption Center, and also volunteer to walk dogs at the Rescue and Recovery Center.

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

I tend to volunteer more in the early or late hours when the shelter isn’t open to the public. But, a moment that I will never forget occurred after showing a dog to a family during the Adopt-a-Thon. The parents took their time to make sure that the dog was the right choice for them, even though their daughter knew she wanted him right away.  I was happy to spend the extra time with them to ensure it was the perfect match and told them everything I knew about that particular dog.  When I was leaving and walking through the lobby, I saw them getting ready to leave with the newest member of their family, and before I could, the little girl ran up to me and gave me a huge hug and thanked me.  It was so sweet, and really showed me that all the time I spent with them was worth it because they were so happy with their decision.

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

I am the Health and Nutrition Coordinator for several Head Start programs throughout the city.  I have worked for several non-profits and understand how important it is to have people that care about the same cause that you are working toward.

Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? 

I have always loved animals, and when I am at PAWS Chicago, it just feels right.  I am so comfortable and have the best time. I really enjoy working with the different staff members and other volunteers. It is nice to know we all have the same goal – to keep these animals happy and healthy and find them homes!  No matter what kind of mood I am in, I can go into PAWS Chicago and leave happy!

Do you have any pets at home?

After 13 good years, we had to say goodbye to Jordan, our German Shepherd-Lab mix last spring. But my parents and I have been “fostering” my sister’s Miniature Pinscher-Rat Terrier since last March.

Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events?

I have volunteered at the packet-pick up for the Run for their Lives, and cheered on the Marathon runners this past year! I will also be volunteering at this year’s Animal Magnetism events, and have had the opportunity to assist with some of the news segments.

What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought to you?

There is someone out there for everyone and there is no such thing as a bad dog!