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PAWS Chicago honors the late Paul Lutter
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

The late gay attorney and activist Paul Lutter, who died last May, was honored at a PAWS ( Pets Are Worth Saving ) Chicago event Feb. 25. Lutter's estate bequeathed the PAWS for Life program $500,000 so low income and/or needy families would be able to keep their dogs in their homes.

Volunteers provided tours of the facility ahead of remarks by Paula Fasseas ( founder and CEO of PAWS Chicago ), Laurie Maxwell ( PAWS Chicago outreach manager ) and Kaitlin Allen ( PAWS Chicago director of development ).

Also in attendance were Suzanne Deveney and Barbara Baran. As representatives of Lutter's estate, Deveney and Baran have been working with PAWS Chicago Development Officer Carley Champlin to set up the program.

Along with his work serving on the boards of various non-profits such as ACLU of Illinois, the Howard Brown Health Center and many other organizations; Deveney noted that Lutter was passionate about animal welfare.

Fasseas spoke about the work that PAWS Chicago does to ensure that homeless pets stay alive and land in good homes. She also noted that the PAWS for Life program launched a few months ago with Paul's donation.

"PAWS for Life is an innovated outreach program that meets people where they are at through door-to-door, block-by-block strategic outreach. We build positive, lasting relationships with pet owners in underserved communities and give them resources and information so they can keep their pets in their homes," said Maxwell. "Through these methods we are able to reach a population that would likely never receive animal care. We do this with a non-judgmental approach and with the assumption that most people absolutely love their animals."

Maxwell noted that the program has built relationships with 94 pet owners and provided resources for 186 pets of which 90 percent weren't fixed, spayed/neutered and vaccinated 90 percent of all unaltered pets, ensured a 98 percent appointment completion rate, provided transportation to appointments for 100 percent of the pets, life saving veterinary care, distributed more than 100 pet supplies and performed 30 behavior or wellness home visits.

Allen noted that the organization is always looking for more volunteers, adopters and/or donors. "If you are interested, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you," said Allen.

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