Volunteer Spotlight: Tim

In our most recent Annual Report, PAWS NY highlighted volunteer Tim and his work with client Richard and his dog, Bella. Click here to see the full Annual Report for FY 2022 and keep scrolling to learn more about Tim!

Tim, a man with dark hair and glasses wearing navy blue t-shirt and shorts, walks Bella across the street. Bella is a brown pitbull who has her mouth open with her tongue out a bit. They are walking across the crosswalk, with Bella on a leash, and elevated train tracks behind them.

When Tim first started volunteering with Richard and Bella in July of 2019, Bella was very protective of her guardian and would only walk as far as the end of the block during his weekly visits. But Tim stayed consistent—and got advice from Bella’s other volunteers—and eventually she opened up and they started taking longer and longer walks together in the park. Now both she and Richard rely on Tim—and their team of dedicated PAWS volunteers—for ongoing support.

“The pandemic was hard,” Tim recently told PAWS NY. “Stopping my visits in March 2020 was quite difficult. I would call to check in, and both Richard and Bella seemed isolated and depressed.” Everyone was thrilled when they were able to resume regular visits—in masks and with safety precautions in place—and Tim added, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend time with both of them each week.”

Tim has loved animals since he was a kid, and he and his wife currently have two pets: 12-year-old French bulldog Lillie and 10-year-old cat Oliver. But that’s not the only reason that PAWS NY’s work resonates with him. A scholar and researcher in healthcare, Tim is a professor at the City University of New York and works with a hospice organization that occasionally refers patients to PAWS NY, which is how he first heard about the organization.

A selfie of Tim and Bella in a car, going to a veterinary appointment. Tim wears a yellow-green shirt with black sunglasses and makes a face with pursed lips. Bella looks off to the left of the camera with her mouth open.

“We had one patient who was adamant about remaining in her apartment until she died so that she did not have to leave her cat,” he said. “The social worker called PAWS, and the volunteers helped her do exactly that. That was so meaningful and when I decided to do some volunteer work, I knew it would be with PAWS NY.” Through this work, Tim has become “a strong believer in community-based care that enhances moral agency,” which means that PAWS NY is “the perfect blend of my two primary passions.”

As a volunteer, Tim not only walks Bella once a week, but also helps with her food and medication, checks in on Richard and Bella during weather emergencies, and helps out with vet transport whenever Bella has an appointment.

“I think I’m making a positive impact on Bella’s and Richard’s lives, and working with them makes a positive impact on my life,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

Thank you to Tim and all the other amazing volunteers who help PAWS NY every day! Click here to learn more about becoming a volunteer.