Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Pat Oleck

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?  

After I retired from teaching in 2006, I wanted to volunteer with animals.  I had already been a docent at Lincoln Park Zoo, a volunteer at Felines, Inc., and a volunteer with Friends of the Handicapped Riders.  I began volunteering in the recovery room at the Medical Center and enjoyed the "medical" aspect of that experience. I did that for a few years until the Lincoln Park Adoption Center opened.  I transferred there and was trained as a Level 1 for cats and Level 1 for dogs before becoming a Level 2 Kitty City volunteer and an Adoption Counselor. 


Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

My primary focus on Fridays is working as an Adoption Counselor.  When I'm not conducting an adoption, I enjoy getting a fur fix with the kitties. 


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

My absolute favorite experiences involve enjoying the smiles on adopter's faces as they hold their new cat or kitten prior to taking him home. The look of pure joy on their faces is priceless.


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

I guess the former teacher in me really enjoys the counseling sessions.  I love talking to people about their experiences with their pets as well as helping new adopters get ready for their new addition.


Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? 

I am so impressed with everything about PAWS: the mission, the other volunteers, the great employees, and the life-saving work that goes on.  Helping people who are about to take home a new member of their family never gets old. 


Do you have any PAWS Chicago pets at home?
I recently lost my Maggie, a kitty who was 20 years and 8 months old.  I know I will someday adopt a cat, and I know PAWS always has cats I fall in love with.


Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events that supports animals?

The special event I enjoy is Angels with Tails.


What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you? 

I know it's a cliché, but as a volunteer I've always gotten more out of the experience than I've given.  PAWS is such a happy place filled with hopeful adoptees, happy adopters, and caring volunteers and staff.  It's a joy to be surrounded by that kind of energy and love.