Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Mike Mendez

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?

The thing that drew me to PAWS was that the organization is a No Kill shelter and Adoption Center.

I have been a volunteer since February 2014.


Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

I am a volunteer for the PAWS Chicago Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic. I volunteer where there is a need. I’ve recently been situating myself with the front desk and helping with the confirmation calls for the Clinic due to my ability to speak Spanish. It’s quite fun and the people are fun to speak with, both office personnel and clinic clients. I’ve learned to work with the dogs in the kennels, as well as with the post-op team, but learning every aspect of the Clinic in order to be able to help, excites me the most.


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

While volunteering at PAWS, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of having a foster dog. I fostered her for approximately a month and the experience stands out to me as one of the most rewarding. The appreciation that the animals show is beyond anything I could have imagined. I volunteer for the sole reason of helping others who are in need and helping these animals brings great warmth to my heart. I will admit that working with others who work with PAWS is as rewarding and is one of my favorite experiences. The staff at the PAWS Lurie Clinic is a pleasure to work with and they are always there to help me learn.


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

I am a small business owner and I tend to wear many hats throughout my days. It parallels what I do for PAWS in that I try and help wherever there is a need. Sometimes I’m on the phone with clients and other times I’m hands on with the animals. I have a tremendous enjoyment for learning new things and helping others, as I do in my professional life. My biggest application from professional life to volunteer life is the appreciation I have for all the management team and employees of PAWS and how I’m able to see that every day I volunteer. I employ eight wonderful people in my everyday profession and watching the PAWS organization run its daily routine helps me learn more regarding my own business endeavors.


Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?

I started volunteering for PAWS because I’ve always been a dog person. I grew up with dogs in my everyday life and up until about three years ago, have lived with a pet at my side. I also volunteer for a children’s organization and thought it would be good to split my available time with an organization such as PAWS. I get the most enjoyment from leaving my responsibility as a small business owner and playing the part of an important, as much as I can be, employee. It’s like a mini vacation from my everyday stress.


Do you have any pets at home?

At this time, I do not have any pets, but it’s something that I’m looking to change. I have been in talks with a few wonderful PAWS employees that have expressed their willingness to help with the process if and when the time comes for me. Having fostered through PAWS does help on my road to pet ownership, as well as the employees of PAWS.


Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events?

I had the magnificent opportunity of volunteering for the Cinco De Mayo Parade Event with PAWS as Pepe the PAWS mascot. To put a smile on hundreds of children’s faces was definitely gratifying to the utmost. The opportunity to watch the PAWS organizers and other volunteers gave me appreciation for what they do. I plan on volunteering for other events when the opportunity arises and my schedule allows it.