PAWS Chicago animal rescue

DogTime’s Road to Rescue program salutes PAWS Chicago, dedicated to reducing euthanasia and creating a better life the city’s homeless animals.

How did your organization get started?
Upon learning about the euthanasia epidemic in Chicago, PAWS Chicago was established in 1997 by Paula Fasseas, Founder and Chair. PAWS Chicago (Pets Are Worth Saving) is the city’s largest No Kill humane organization, focused on alleviating Chicago’s tragic pet homelessness problem.

The indomitable Mr. Ed

Since PAWS Chicago’s founding, the number of homeless pets killed in the city has been reduced by more than half, from 42,561 pets killed in 1997 to 19,288 in 2008. PAWS Chicago envisions a No Kill Chicago and that dream is within reach because of important lifesaving work that is being done every single day.

PAWS Chicago Adoption Center

What is your mission?
PAWS Chicago mission is to make Chicago a “No Kill” city.

This will be accomplished by:

– Providing accessible free or low-cost spay/neuter services through the PAWS Chicago Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic. The clinic provides free or low-cost spay/neuter services in the low-income communities where the majority of stray and unwanted pets originate. Since opening our doors, we have spayed/neutered over 80,000 cats and dogs. In 2008, we performed over 15,000 surgeries, the majority at no cost.

– Saving the lives those cats and dogs most in need through an innovative adoption center and program. Our state-of-the-art adoption center is located in Chicago’s vibrant community of Lincoln Park. This inviting, cageless center provides homeless pets with the care and dignity they deserve while welcoming adopters and providing them with guidance in selecting their new pet. PAWS Chicago is Chicago’s Animal Care and Control most committed and dedicated transfer partner. Every day of the week, PAWS Chicago takes dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens from ACC that will become part of our adoption program. PAWS Chicago makes a lifetime commitment to these animals so they will never be at risk of being killed again. In 2008, we saved the lives of over 3,000 homeless cats and dogs.

– Educating and partnering with the community to make a difference in the lives of animals. PAWS Chicago believes that by educating the community, the media, volunteers, and donors on the current state of animal welfare and by partnering on implementing proactive solutions that will save lives and make Chicago a “No Kill” city. Our Humane Education and Community Outreach Programs have reached thousands of at-risk children, teenagers, and parents in our at-risk neighborhoods. Our educational programs teach empathy, compassion, caring for pets, and how to stop the cycle of violence.

– Volunteers are the life force of the organization. Over 3,000 dedicated volunteers enable the organization to continue to save lives and expand services. Volunteers are integrated and play a significant role in every aspects of the organization – from the adoption program, to the intake program, to our fund raising efforts, and our clinic. Because of their support PAWS Chicago has been able to significantly expand their lives saving efforts each year.

How do most of your animals find their way to you?
We are Chicago Animal Care & Control’s largest transfer partner, transferring animals from their facility to PAWS Chicago every day. In addition, we partner with people from the community that need to find new, loving homes for their pets through our owner relinquishment program.

What happens to the animals once they are in your care?
Treated for any medical conditions, spayed/neutered, receive vaccinations and are microchipped at our Spay/Neuter Clinic. Next they are transferred to our new state-of-the-art Adoption & Humane Center in Chicago’s Lincoln Park where they are available for adoption. The Center’s innovative features enhance the physical and emotional health, and therefore the adoptability, of its homeless dogs and cats, with:

  • Suites instead of cages to ensure a quiet, relaxed environment
  • Ventilation system with 100% fresh air flow to eliminate disease transmission
  • Enrichment area for daily exercise, agility and training
  • Matchmaker program to match pet characteristics to adopter’s lifestyle
  • Treatment & Medical Care Center to treat all animals

Tell us about a particularly compelling animal or inspiring rescue.
When Mr. Ed’s home was foreclosed upon, his family moved elsewhere, leaving the sweet-natured tabby behind without food or water. A mortgage worker assigned to the home found Mr. Ed hiding in one of the empty rooms, starving and scared. Spotting a group of PAWS Chicago volunteers unloading food to be used for the Emergency Pet Food Bank, the worker asked if they could help Mr. Ed. They then took Mr. Ed to the Lurie Clinic, where he received medical care, nourishing food and a comfortable bed to sleep in. With his strength and confidence improving each day, Mr. Ed will soon be available for adoption and will be united with a family at the Adoption Center.