Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Pat Detrie & Russ Hunt

What motivates you to continue volunteering with PAWS Chicago? "The dog’s appreciation we receive every time we volunteer."


How long have you been volunteering with PAWS Chicago? What originally drew you to the organization?

We started in October of 2016 at the Medical Center.  We were looking for a volunteer opportunity that we could do together.  We had just lost our dog so volunteering at a shelter was a perfect place to help us recover.  We selected PAWS Chicago because of their reputation for making a big impact on animal's lives.

Which PAWS Chicago programs/areas do you volunteer in and why?

We are Level 2 volunteers at the Medical Center.  We chose the Medical Center because we were looking for a role with a lot of dog interaction.  It has turned out to be that and so much more.

We have worked with healthy dogs and recovering dogs, provided rides for dogs to specialists, picked up donations, fostered dogs and helped friends adopt.  

It has been a great place to learn about animal care, animal behaviors and medical concerns.  You can find us at the Medical Center every Monday morning.

Do you have a favorite experience or memory from your time volunteering?

We have a couple of great memories. One is helping Ziggy find his new family.  Ziggy was a scared two-year-old Border Collie when we met him at the Medical Center.  Today he is happy, energetic and incredibly affectionate.  Ziggy joined us for our photo in his new home (pictured above).

Volunteering for an intake event where PAWS received a couple of dozen puppies all at the same time.  I recall going to the back of the van and opening the door to see 8 puppies in a traveling kennel.  They all just wanted to climb over each other to get into our arms.  

Another great memory is bringing two foster dogs home that loved life!  Every morning was the greatest!  Every walk was the greatest!  Every dinner was the greatest! 

What motivates you to continue volunteering with PAWS Chicago?

The dog’s appreciation we receive every time we volunteer.

Do you have any advice for someone who is considering becoming a volunteer?

There are so many volunteer roles.  Explore the options and you will find something you love, it is rewarding and makes a big difference in an animals’ life.  Get to know the staff and other volunteers.  Working with other people who share the same passion adds even more to the experience. 

I would highly recommend the “Level 2” training as the training itself was excellent as well it allows you to work with a wider range of dogs.

Also, don’t be hesitant to volunteer.  Our friends always ask us how we do it.  They think it would be hard to see the dogs in the shelter.  Don’t be afraid.  You will be helping these dogs find a great home and have a great life!