Kathy Booton Wilson is crazy for animals.
When she was a teen, while most of her friends were babysitting, this animal lover was volunteering at the local humane society.
“They hired me when i was 16 to clean the cat rooms on the weekend. That was a little while ago,” she said.
Not a whole lot has changed.
Aside from her two full time jobs, one as a social worker the other a college professor, for the past 10 years she’s been a dedicated volunteer for the Chicago Animal Care and Control shelter on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
“I’m working two paid jobs right now, but there’s something that continues to draw me back here, and that is the need. When you come here to volunteer, you are making a difference in an animal’s life,” she said.
Animal Care and Control is the largest shelter in the midwest. Taking in over 20,000 animals each year. And this shelter, Kathy says, sadly, has the lowest number of volunteers.
“When I’m away from here I think about it, it’s every reason why I have to come back again,” she said.
Some of the four-legged cuties that don’t get adopted end up here, at home, with Kathy and her husband. They’ve adopted 5 cats, and now, foster 4 cats with special needs.
“Not all the animals that come in are cute and cuddly, I mean they’re injured, they’re psycologially damaged,” said Greg Wilson, Kathy’s husband. “Wish we could save everyone, that would be ideal, but I think she knows that’s not possible.”
Her fellow volunteers, say Kathy is selfless and humble with dogged dedication.
“With doing all of the things that she does every week she sends the volunteers an email telling us how wonderful we are, how we are saving lives and it’s always from the heart,” said fellow volunteer Jacque Sabian.
“Kathy is an extraordinary volunteer. She does an amazing job,” said fellow volunteer Charlie Propsom.
“She would literally give up her life for these animals. We’ve discussed that. Like, jump in front of a car for an animal,” said Kathy’s husband Greg. “She’s a pretty amazing woman and I’m privileged to know her.”
Kathy Booton Wilson, she’s one of Chicago’s Very Own.