Corgan & PAWS Chicago – United in Saving Pets
by Danielle Gordon | Aug 09, 2018
Throughout much of PAWS Chicago’s 20-year history, dating back to the formative days as a volunteer-run storefront adoption center on Clark Street, William (Billy) Corgan has embraced PAWS Chicago and its No Kill mission. As the budding rescue grew, so did William’s role as an activist for animal rights and a member of the PAWS family.
These days, living with his partner, fashion designer Chloe Mendel, their two-year-old son Augustus Juppiter Corgan, two dogs and two PAWS cats, William is particularly moved by PAWS’ work.
When he’s in town, William likes to stop by the PAWS adoption center in Highland Park. He goes in to thank volunteers for their work and stays to watch as adopters meet the animals they will take home, to love and care for as members of their family.
William considers PAWS the “gold standard“ among charitable organizations, and a uniquely Chicago institution: “PAWS is built around the ideas that hard work and volunteers can make a difference.” He points to the number of young people drawn to volunteering for PAWS as an indicator that the organization is speaking to those who see a different future.
To William, PAWS’ philosophy and programs are “noble and honorable pursuits” that, at their foundation, are about saving lives. In particular, PAWS challenges perceptions of shelter animals as inferior or damaged and have educated the public on the importance of spay/ neuter in reducing overpopulation and homelessness.
“Animals can’t communicate intellectually,” he said. “They need people and groups to act as translators, to get their message out.” Advocates for animal rights can help to build a “bridge that can link people to a new way of seeing animals.”
William is particularly moved when he sees this work pay off. “There’s nothing more special,” he says, than meeting people who’ve adopted from PAWS: “I see a lot of people at the tea house, and through wrestling and music, and then I meet a family that has rescued an animal from PAWS and there’s nothing more humbling.”
Read this story on page 35 of the Special 20th Anniversary Edition of PAWS Chicago magazine.