Dekker: Dedication powers P.A.W.S.
By Julie Dekker Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org September 13, 2012 3:52PM
P.A.W.S. volunteer Joy Smith sits with Ziggy, who is waiting for a new home. | Supplied Photo
Updated: October 17, 2012 6:14AM
I recently read that the last week of September is National Dog Week.
Well, at P.A.W.S. of Tinley Park, every week is dog week, and cat week, too, for that matter. Unfortunately, the services of the animal welfare society are needed year-round.
Back in the 1960s, the Peoples Animal Welfare Society of Tinley Park began as a group of residents concerned about the animals in our town that were lost or homeless. There weren’t many ordinances in place to decide what happened to them.
This dedicated group of animal lovers worked tirelessly to create a place for animals in need. That group has grown into the P.A.W.S. shelter we know today.
The society was chartered in 1974 as a nonprofit volunteer group and, in 2010, celebrated its 20,000th adoption. As incredible as that is, what really amazes me is, in all those years, none of the people who made this happen has been paid a dime.
P.A.W.S. is a completely volunteer group. All the money that comes to it through donations goes toward the care of the animals.
I spoke with volunteer Peggy Grimm, also a board member and treasurer at P.A.W.S. of Tinley Park, who said the shelter serves an approximate 50-mile radius and adopts out an average of 1,200 animals a year.
Grimm said a good portion of the animals brought to the shelter are unclaimed strays. Others are relinquished by their owners or transferred to P.A.W.S. from other agencies. Sadly, economic hardships of the last few years have forced some families to give up their pets due to a loss of job or home.
It is important to note that Tinley Park P.A.W.S. is a no-kill shelter. P.A.W.S. does not euthanize animals unless they are deemed dangerous or for medical necessity.
I also spoke with John and Audrey Laskey, of Oak Forest, who came to the shelter in hopes of adopting a dog. They lost both of their elderly dogs this summer.
“In 45 years, we’ve only been without a dog for one year,” Audrey said. “We really miss having one. We’ve always gotten great pets here, and it is much more affordable.”
When you adopt a cat or dog from P.A.W.S., your pet receives all necessary vaccinations, spaying or neutering; a microchip, collar and I.D. tags, a leash or carrier and more. You get the satisfaction of giving a lost animal a home.
P.A.W.S. has about 150 volunteers working at the shelter, but always needs more. If you are interested, fill out an application at the shelter. There also are opportunities for community service students.
P.A.W.S. relies on donations to get everything it needs to care for the animals. Leashes of all sizes are needed desperately. Other “wish-list” items include bleach, paper towels, Science Diet dry dog and cat food, kitten toys, towels, small blankets, garbage bags and spray bottles.
A complete list can be found at www.pawstinley
Lone Star Steakhouse in Crestwood is hosting a Dine to Donate for P.A.W.S. on Oct. 5 and 6.
The shelter will have its fourth annual Trivial Pawsuit fundraiser on Oct. 6 at Southwest Community Services, 6775 Prosperi Drive, Tinley Park. Doors open at 5 p.m., and games begin at 6.
More information on these fundraisers and the shelters can be found on the website.
P.A.W.S. is at 8301 W. 191st St. in Tinley Park; the phone number is (815) 464-7298.
P.A.W.S. only can succeed with the continued involvement of dedicated people who are genuinely concerned about the humane care and treatment of animals.