New York, NY, November 16, 2023: Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) NY is thrilled to announce that the organization recently trained its 5,000th volunteer. Since launching on November 11, 2009, PAWS NY has helped more than 1,500 older adults and individuals living with illness or disability care for their pets—thanks to the hard work of volunteers all over New York City.
At PAWS NY, volunteers help clients with dog walking, litterbox maintenance, administration of pet food and water, basic grooming, and transporting pets to and from the veterinarian’s office. Plus, they chip in extra visits to help deliver pet food and supplies, as well as the annual Holiday Gift Bags.
“Without our amazing volunteers, the work of PAWS NY is simply not possible,” said Rachel Herman, Founder and Executive Director of PAWS NY. “We truly have the most dedicated and passionate volunteers who love helping their fellow New Yorkers and their animal companions every day. We are so excited to have trained more than 5,000 volunteers since our inception and can’t wait to bring 5,000 more into the mix in the coming years.”
As of March 15, 2020, PAWS NY had trained 2,332 volunteers, and the organization more than doubled its numbers over the past three and a half years. Between March 2020 and November 2023, more than 2,660 volunteers joined PAWS NY.
“One of the ways we adapted at the beginning of the pandemic was by switching from in-person to Virtual Volunteer Orientations,” explained Liz Raganella, the Senior Program Manager at PAWS NY who leads all orientations. “By doing this, we’ve been able to train significantly more volunteers. Additionally, one of our current goals is to do more outreach and recruitment in the outer boroughs, and offering virtual orientations has made it much easier to connect with folks in these areas as well.”
PAWS NY volunteers have made more than 120,000 visits to New Yorkers and their pets since the organization began and are currently on track to make more than 22,000 visits during this fiscal year. Of the volunteers trained since March 2020, about 38% live in an outer borough, which has been helpful as PAWS NY focuses on further increasing its presence beyond Manhattan, ensuring that the organization is bringing services to those in need no matter where they live in NYC.
Volunteer Kathryn found PAWS NY after moving to New York City from St. Louis more than six years ago: “The most rewarding part is allowing people to keep their pets in their lives, especially as they get older,” she said in a video about PAWS NY. “I think we all need that sense of companionship and it’s really beautiful that we can help people keep that. New York City can be a lonely place and being able to have your cat or dog—or guinea pig—is incredible.”