PAWS Chicago News item | PAWS Chicago

5K Q&A with Elly Greenspahn

Aug 16, 2021

Thousands of frisky feet run, walk, and dance their way across the PAWS Chicago 5K finish line every year. And each one is attached to a pet-loving hero.

Then there’s Elly Greenspahn.

Her devotion to homeless pets—and raising money to save them—is a lesson in tenacity as well as a constant inspiration to the PAWS Chicago community. 

You fundraise for the 5K every year. What’s your motivation?

September 18, 1998 was the first time I volunteered with PAWS Chicago. It was an Angles with Tails adoption event. And, back then, Angels with Tails wasn’t what it is now. We would go to Animal Control, get dogs, and sit out all day with them, talking to people and hopefully getting them adopted. If not, they had to go back to Animal Control. That’s my motivation—my first time volunteering.

What makes you a top 5K fundraiser?

I guess tenacity. And a little bit of obnoxiousness. I mean, I ask everyone. Everybody in my life knows I foster and I volunteer with PAWS and it’s been a long-time endeavor for me, so people know how passionate I am. I also feel like I can give a really big push because I do it just once a year, so it’s my opportunity to give back.

What’s the best part of the PAWS 5K?

I think the comradery that you see amongst people you know and even strangers. Everybody gets together this one day; we’re all wearing the same shirt, and we’re all in it for the same reason. It’s fun. And just the energy level. You know you’ve accomplished something really great and you’re surrounded by like minds—people who care about animals.

Why did you choose PAWS for fostering and adopting?

It just seems like PAWS always stays on target and always keeps going, fighting for the welfare of these homeless animals. I’ve fostered well over 100 cats through PAWS and I know the medical attention they give to the animals—there’s no expense spared. When you get a pet from PAWS, any health issues are actually addressed rather than left up to the adopter to figure it out. I appreciate that so much.

What’s your favorite 5K memory?

At one PAWS 5K, by accident, I met one of the adopters of one of my former fosters. My friends and I were talking with another group in the Hero Hangout, and one woman was telling me about her cats and I was telling her about the cats I foster. And it just accidentally kind of came out. I said, “Hey, what was your cat’s name at PAWS?” And she told me, and I said, “Oh my gosh, I fostered your cat!” She had pictures on her phone and it was just a really cool, random connection. I mean, I have a lot of great memories. But I think that was my favorite memory because it affirmed why I do what I do.

Thank you, Elly, for everything you’ve done to help homeless pets and for all the support you’ve given PAWS. We’re so glad to have you on our team!

Register now to join Elly at the 2021 PAWS 5K on September 18 at Montrose Harbor.