Relocating the "Paws of Fame"

Champaign County Humane Society

Relocating the “Paws of Fame”

Visitors to the Champaign County Humane Society can’t help but notice the cement pavers running along the sidewalks that edge the parking lot and lead to the main entrance.  On each 12” x 12” paver appears a hand-inscribed tribute or memorial to a donor’s beloved pet. 

The “Paws of Fame” began as a method to raise funds for construction of the Society’s Urbana animal shelter, which was completed in 1988.  Donors paid $150 to have their hand-or paw-inscribed paver displayed along the sidewalks of CCHS.  

The first pouring of pavers took place on June 11, 1988, one month after the Society moved into the new building.  The Society offered donors the opportunity to customize pavers on two additional occasions; the last pouring was done in 1996. 

Now, twenty-six years after the first pouring, the pavers have settled lower than the concrete sidewalks, creating an uneven walking surface.  Apart from that, many of the pavers have held up very well over the years and are in great condition.  Others are so weather-worn, almost nothing remains of the original inscription. 

When contractors looked at the sidewalk job, they suggested the Society demo the whole thing and have new sidewalks poured.  But demolishing the pavers that make up the Paws of Fame was not an option the Society could accept.  “Those pavers still mean a lot to many people who were deeply committed to seeing this shelter become a reality.  To this day, friends of CCHS stop to look at their pavers when they visit; it brings back memories,” Executive Director, Mary Tiefenbrunn said.

So the Society has decided that before construction crews demolish the old sidewalk, all of the still-legible pavers in the Paws of Fame will be carefully removed and set aside.  They will later become part of a patio elsewhere on the Society’s grounds.                                                                                       

“We want to let our donors know that their pavers are not being discarded, but we haven’t been able to locate donor records going back to the pourings in the 1980’s.  We’d love to hear from donors who purchased pavers so we can update those records,” Tiefenbrunn said.

If you inscribed a paver at CCHS in the 1980’s or 90’s and want to check on its condition and whether it will become part of the new patio, please contact CCHS Development Director, Megan Wolf, at 344-7297 or by April 11.

Construction crews will begin extracting the pavers the week of April 14, 2014.