By Laura Taylor

Mark Lukas, PAWS Chicago volunteer, called up Laura Taylor to discuss PAWS Chicago’s recent hurricane relief efforts and tells us how you can pitch in, too!

P.A.W.S. Pets Are Worth Saving. And save is exactly what Mark and his fellow volunteers did in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

On August 31st, Mark Lukas, a PAWS Chicago volunteer for 12 years, and several other volunteers loaded up four transport vehicles with animal care supplies, and hit the road to rescue Houston animals.

“It was an experience of a lifetime,” Mark says.

After encountering a few travel problems resulting from the storm, the PAWS team finally made it to Houston after more than 21 hours, and rescued 34 dogs and 9 cats. These animals were at Houston Animal Control (BARC) prior to the hurricane, making room for newly displaced pets after the storm.

Since these southern sweeties have been brought up north to PAWS’s two adoption centers in Lincoln Park and Highland Park, 16 have found homes so far. And more trips are planned to rescue even more Houston-area and Florida-based shelter animals in the coming months. It’s quite an effort, and the need for help has never been more urgent.

You can help in many ways! If you’ve been considering adding a pet to your home, head into the PAWS Chicago adoption centers in Chicago or Highland Park and adopt a dog or cat. Maybe you can’t commit to a full-on adoption but you can spare a month or so to foster an animal who might need some TLC. Mark himself has fostered many PAWS pets, and says, “it is the most wonderful experience.”

Or perhaps you have some free time and can volunteer for PAWS at their adoption centers or their medical center, which is where every animal begins its PAWS journey.

In fact, its medical center is so robust that PAWS was one of the few shelters able to bring back animals that weren’t 100% healthy. The medical staff at PAWS makes sure every animal is up to date on all its vaccinations and medical needs, and has a clean bill of health before they head to the adoption center to meet potential adopters.

“We were able to take some of the most vulnerable, sick animals,” Mark explains. “We brought those back as part of our rescue efforts to [ease] the pressure [on BARC] and to give these animals a chance that they never would have had otherwise.”

You can follow the progress of all the Houston pets at You can also learn about volunteer opportunities or how you can help with the relief effort.

Mark says the ultimate goal is to find loving homes for all these animals. “We’re working hard to get those pets into homes– and good homes– as quickly as possible.”

If adopting a pet is something you’re interested in, visit the PAWS adoption centers. Their Lincoln Park center at 1997 N. Clybourn Avenue is open noon – 7:00 Monday – Friday, and 11:00 – 6:00 on the weekend.  Their Highland Park center at 1616 Deerfield Road is open the following days:

Wednesday – 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Thurs & Fri – 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday – 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday – 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Adopters, Mark admits, are “really giving these animals a second chance at having the best life possible.”





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