What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?
I worked at The Iams Co. when they sponsored the first Run for Their Lives in 2000. It was my first exposure to PAWS Chicago. I was so impressed with the organization and Paula's passion and commitment. However, because of my travel schedule with Iams, I wasn't able to volunteer at PAWS until the last couple of years. I joined the Development Board in spring 2011 and started volunteering for some events and the GusMobile. I have been volunteering in Community Development since April, 2012.
Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?
I volunteer in Community Development with Visiting Volunteer Groups which could be a corporate, civic or student group. Typically they volunteer at the Adoption Center for an afternoon and then spend some time socializing with the animals. I give them a tour of the facility and also educate them about PAWS and our mission.
Is there a favorite experience that has stood out during your time as a volunteer at PAWS Chicago?
Red's adoption story really touches my heart! He has a positive attitude despite everything he has been through.
How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?
I have over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing and more than 15 years of experience volunteering with animal shelters and also a feral cat organization. I am able to utilize my skills and experiences in my volunteer work which is very rewarding. My goal is to offer a good volunteer experience, open volunteer’s eyes to the pet overpopulation problem and hopefully motivate them to help PAWS Chicago in our mission.
Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?
I volunteer for PAWS Chicago because it is a dynamic organization that offers me the opportunity to use my abilities to help animals AND people have better lives.
Do you have any pets at home?
We have two dogs - Buddy and Mocha - who my husband and I adopted years ago. They remind us every day to be joyful and forgiving in our lives.
Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events?
What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you?
We attended our first Fur Ball last year which was a lot of fun! So neat to see all the dogs there and I loved the "red carpet" entrance. We also volunteered for the Run for Their Lives last year which was a lot of fun as well and I volunteered for Angels with Tails Michigan Avenue earlier this year.
Volunteering at PAWS Chicago reminds me about the positivity and goodness that does exist in animals and people. Just looking at someone's face when they interact with an animal – they smile, become more relaxed and happier. Animals can teach us how to open our hearts to love, compassion and empathy. They can help us become better humans. I don't know anything better than that!