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PAWS February Volunteer of the Month: Maria Canales

Meet Maria, our February Volunteer of the Month!   

 Maria-February Volunteer of the Month
When did you start volunteering at PAWS?

I started volunteering in the fall of 2014.

What jobs/roles have you performed at PAWS?

Mainly I’m a cat care volunteer and am usually on the Thursday PM shift, but I also help with the PAWS Instagram account!

What do you currently do as a volunteer?

As a cat care volunteer I help with feeding, cleaning, and medicating cats. When I’m done with my shift I spend time taking some cute pictures of the cats to post on social media.

Why do you volunteer at PAWS?

I volunteered with a local cat rescue in high school and thought volunteering at PAWS was a natural continuation of my volunteer experience. Since I’m a college student and can’t have pets in my apartment, I thought volunteering would be a great way to still spend time with animals, while also giving back.


When you're not at PAWS, what do you like to do with your time?

I’m a senior at Penn State so school keeps me pretty busy, but I’m also a student staff writer for Penn State Athletics. I cover men’s hockey and men’s lacrosse so on weekends you can find me at their games!

What do you like best about being a PAWS volunteer? What do you find to be the most rewarding?

I like to think of PAWS as my weekly therapy. I find it so relaxing to come in and hang out with the animals. As for the most rewarding aspect, I love seeing any animal get adopted, but there’s a special place in my heart for the senior cats. Everyone loves kittens, but senior pets deserve loving homes too.

If someone asked you why they should volunteer at PAWS, what answer would you give?

A lot of students and young kids see volunteering as something to put on a resume, but it’s so much more than that. I’ve met amazing people while volunteering and PAWS has become one of the highlights of my week. People should volunteer at PAWS because even working one two-hour shift a week makes a huge difference in the lives of the dogs and cats looking for homes.