Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart Launches Volunteer Partnership with PAWS Chicago

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart Launches Volunteer Partnership with PAWS Chicago
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Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart Launches Volunteer Partnership with PAWS Chicago (Cook County, IL) — PAWS Chicago, the Midwest’s largest comprehensive No Kill animal welfare organization, and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart today announced a volunteer program that supports the need for more PAWS animal-handling volunteers while serving as a wellness initiative for Sheriff’s Office staff.

Through the program, Sheriff’s Office employees will walk dogs and participate in cat enrichment activities at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center, the largest homeless pet hospital in the United States. The program will help PAWS Chicago meet a rising need for volunteers, because while adoptions and other animal welfare programs have now returned to pre pandemic levels, volunteer hours have not.

“We care for hundreds of pets each day, ranging from the homeless pets that receive medical care on their path to adoption to the many more that receive free and low-cost services we offer to the public,” said PAWS Chicago CEO Susanna Wickham. “A robust volunteer program is an essential part of us meeting the community’s needs, and we are still working to regain the volunteer hours we lost during the pandemic.”

With over 2,000 Sheriff’s Office employees located just a mile away from the nation’s premier homeless pet hospital, the new program will support a growing need at PAWS Chicago: more volunteers to help with socialization of healing pets. It will also help animal-loving staff at the Sheriff’s Office reduce stress and decompress while giving back to the community.

“We reached out to PAWS after hearing about their recent disaster relief rescue effort, because we wanted to help those pets on their path to finding homes,” said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. “We quickly realized there was an opportunity to provide a much larger program and benefit to our staff and PAWS Chicago.”

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John Heiderschedit, Criminal Defense Attorney; Subscription Lawyer; Chicago Lawyer

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s first-of-its-kind customized volunteer partnership with PAWS Chicago trims the volunteer training time and focuses efforts on dog walking and cat enrichment, which are in great need at the Medical Center due to the high volume of pets served.

Several employees of the Sheriff’s Office have already undergone training and begun the volunteer program, with many more expressing interest in attending orientation in the coming weeks.

The PAWS Chicago Medical Center examines every animal brought to the organization and provides all necessary treatments. The facility performed over 15,000 spay and neuter operations last year and PAWS Chicago recently passed a milestone of 300,000 such procedures in its 25-year history. The 30,000-square-foot hospital can house more than 200 pets, which allows PAWS Chicago to rescue pets from high-kill shelters in 13 different states, such as the rescue of 33 puppies and dogs from Houston area following a tornado that closed one Texas shelter.

For information on volunteering with PAWS Chicago, email volunteers@pawschicago.org

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart Launches Volunteer Partnership with PAWS Chicago

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