Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Vince Coraci

Volunteering at PAWS Chicago has been such a wonderful experience. I’ve made so many friends (some that I consider family!) and love seeing the smile on a dog’s face as they walk out on their way home.

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago?  How long have you been a volunteer/When did you begin volunteering?

I found out about PAWS Chicago when I was searching for a charity to run the Chicago Marathon for back in 2012. I had just moved to Chicago and thought it would be a great organization to run on behalf of as I am a huge lover of dogs. After my first year running with TEAM PAWS, I decided to take my participation to a new level and became a volunteer at the Lincoln Park Adoption Center.

Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?

I am a Dog Town fanatic – simply cannot get enough of the balls of joy in those halls. I would become trained for Kitty City if I could manage my allergy to cats, and I am considering becoming a foster for dogs that need time away from the Adoption Center.

Is there one favorite experience or fondest memory/animal story that has stood out or touched your heart during your time as a volunteer at PAWS Chicago?

Back in 2013, I ran with a dog named Little Brother as part of the fun runs that the Adoption Center holds. Staff told me that he had a few issues with other dogs at the Adoption Center and was having a hard time finding his forever family. However, whenever we ran, he was the most amazing dog -- the energy expenditure helped calm him down tremendously. During the PAWSta party for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon that year, I was pulled out and treated to the most wonderful sight ever… his new family was waiting to take him home! I couldn’t help but cry as I put on the red bandana!

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

I currently work for the Higher Learning Commission, a non-profit membership association that regionally accredits colleges and universities in a nineteen-state region. In all honesty, volunteering with PAWS Chicago and running with TEAM PAWS allows me to escape from work and provides me with the opportunity to support a wonderful non-profit and get my fix of doggie snuggles. It’s the perfect balance for a 9-to-5 job!

Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago?  What do you enjoy the most about your experiences as a volunteer?

I volunteer for PAWS Chicago so that I can contribute to a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I grew up always having a dog in the house and love the bond that is created between humans and their furry friends. I enjoy meeting all of the different animals and learning their personalities so that I can assist when showing them to prospective families… and there is nothing better than putting that red bandana around their neck!

Do you have any PAWS Chicago alumni pets - or any other pets - at home?

Unfortunately, I do not. I frequently dog-sit for friends and enjoy welcoming them into my home. Due to this, I think it would be perfect if I expanded my role with PAWS Chicago and became a foster. Words of encouragement would be appreciated!

Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events that supports animals?
I have run four marathons with TEAM PAWS – Chicago Marathons in 2012, 2013, and 2014 as well as the Marine Corps Marathon in 2013. This year, I’m running three more marathons as part of TEAM PAWS and currently serve as a third-year Shepherd, welcoming team members and ensuring they have an enjoyable experience fundraising for PAWS Chicago. 
What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you?  Anything else you'd like to share regarding your experiences as a PAWS Chicago volunteer?

Volunteering at PAWS Chicago has been such a wonderful experience. I’ve made so many friends (some that I consider family!) and love seeing the smile on a dog’s face as they walk out on their way home. PAWS Chicago is one of the most outstanding organizations that I have ever encountered and their success is limitless.