This February has been a snowy one! Last Monday, we had anywhere from 10 to 18 inches which caused considerable challenges to those trying to get to work. Our thanks to all the staff and volunteers who came in—especially to those who came in on their day off—to help us care for the animals in the shelter. We know that it takes a village—especially when there is a weather emergency—but we could not care for the animals without the commitment we see to our animals every day. An extra thank you for everyone who helped out last week.
Amber always rises to superhero status—not only because of her excellent work and attention to her team and those around her but also for always working above and beyond to help not only animals in need but the humans around them. Sometimes we see this as Amber thinking ahead and making sure that we are prepared for the needs of the animals, and sometimes it is about offering a helping hand to support work outside her everyday efforts—even when not asked but when she sees the needs. Amber is the first to recognize and appreciate the efforts of staff and her positive support is always evident and much appreciated. She does this with a commitment to compassion in action, always. Thanks, Amber, for being a cool cat at all times and for putting animals and the humans who help them first.
This is a first for us…Clare was actually recognized as a superhero a few months ago but we are highlighting her again for a special reason. Not only has Clare built our foster ranks and provided them with incredible support and structure, she has always been a strong supporter of our superhero efforts by nominating 12 of her colleagues to be recognized as a super hero. Clare joined the organization in 2017 as an Animal Care Specialist and quickly became a lead in the shelter. She accepted the position as the Foster Coordinator in 2019 and just two weeks in, she hit the ground running to help place 91 animals in foster in response to the Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Since that time, Clare has become a guiding light for the 1,972 animals she helped place with foster families. As her time with The Anti-Cruelty Society is coming to an end, we celebrate the incredible impact she has had on pets and people in our community. Thank you for all your hard work these past four years, Clare—we will miss you!
This week’s superhero group is the Welcome Team: Jesse Ibarra, Max Kaminski, Mayra Barrios, Taylor Pirollo, Lizzie Sebastian, and Tammie Bouschor!
Imagine walking into the River North Adoption Center and being greeted with a smile and a happy face! That’s what our Welcome Team does that AND MORE! Thanks to Jesse, Max, Mayra, Taylor, Lizzie and Tammie for helping us build up our culture of caring. But that’s not all - the Welcome Team is always willing to lend a hand by helping foster parents with pick-ups, spontaneously assisting with a video (thanks Max and Mayra for that just this morning), supporting callers and adopters, and always going the extra mile to help welcome a special. And of course, they also give extra love and attention to our animals by giving them a respite from their kennels! Thanks to the whole Welcome Team for showing great hospitality.
Recently, there has been a lot of photos shared through Slack showing the different ways we are enriching the lives of our animals while they are in the shelter. From socialization to shelter training classes to individual sessions (and videos) for animals needing a bit of extra support, staff and volunteers have been spending hours and hours working with the animals. But there is more! With the weekly virtual crafting crews to the DIY projects that are engaging people around the country, we are receiving cat toys, t-shirt tugs and other items to help our animals. This commitment to helping keep animals engaged while in many cases providing important training is what we must to provide the best outcomes for the animals in our care. Every person who takes any part in helping animals manage life in the shelter and beyond is a superhero. So this week, it seems we are all SUPERHEROES!
Today, we honor Jerry Lumas who is not only ACS’s longest-tenured maintenance professional but he is celebrating his amazing 35 years as part of the team. Jerry is the epitome of a team player, from picking up shifts that may need to be covered to staying after hours when he knows the job needs to be done and he is always willing to lend a helping hand to whomever may need it. His knowledge of the job, his leadership and his willingness to give 100% every time he steps in the building makes him a great superhero. And for that, we thank you, Jerry, for your hard work and dedication over the years.
Tammie is a superhero because she is celebrating her 25th year anniversary at The Anti-Cruelty Society! She has been the corner stone to our customer service team, helping to keep the all the moving parts of the busy shelter up and and running for the last 10 years. A friend to both humans, and felines-Tammie goes out of her way to make the world a better place one person or kitty at a time. We are so lucky to have Tammie as part of our team!
They may be quiet (relatively speaking), and many may not know they exist, but The Anti-Cruelty Society's Pet Patrol Volunteers are mighty! They are saving lives and making a difference for many animals and people in the Chicagoland community in a unique way. The Pet Patrol team responds to Craigslist ads from people looking to rehome/sell or adopt/buy animals informing the posters of the many invaluable services The Anti-Cruelty Society has to offer! Though this volunteer opportunity existed in the past it was put on hold until recently (after all, what better time to search online than a pandemic, eh?) and we have already seen positive results of their dedication. Whether it's someone who needed a place for their unplanned baby rabbits, or a cat lover who didn't know of our adoption and intake programs, or a person who decided to keep his "big baby" of a Doberman but recognized they need some behavior assistance, the Pet Patrol team is the reason these animals, and their people, are getting the help they need. Thank you Pet Patrol Volunteers, and keep up the good work!
Gilbert is a super hero because he is always willing to help out any situation that is asked of him--from microchipping angry cats, to making special trips to pick up an animal in need, to dropping off food at AWL-Gilbert is always there to help. He is so important to that work we do, that he has been working full time in the field even when staffing schedules changed. Besides lending a hand at the shelter, he also goes above and beyond to help people and animals in our community. We are very lucky to have Gilbert as part of our team.
Giving Tuesday is a big day for nonprofit organizations like ours. This national day of giving was created to promote charitable acts of giving after Black Friday. We have participated in this program for a few years but this year, the Mission Advancement team took charge of the entire process. This included the developing of a comprehensive strategy that included really compelling email, video, and social media. Thanks to the creativity and hard work by the Giving Tuesday crew (Paul Adee, Phaedra Bounas, Bridget Bittman, Jennifer GoodSmith, John Griggs, Allison, Johnson, Nancy Longacre, Sharla Nolte, Emily Shekleton, and Lindsay Welbers), we raised over $70,000 which is earmarked to support Friends Who Care and Pop-Up Pet Food Pantries. Our generous donors really made a huge impact for us this year, thanks in part to the crew who presented a compelling request for support. TY!
Lindsay joined The Anti-Cruelty Society as a team builder last year to help us with Bark In The Park. With the necessary shift to Bark From The Heart, Lindsay shifted gears and helped us keep all of our fundraisers up to date and supported. Not only was she committed to giving timely responses to all types of questions...she was never phased to answer them many, many times—in fact her positive response made an impact with many. And beyond Bark, she has been instrumental on so many projects including the most recent Community Cookbook for Dogs. Thanks for always thinking ahead and coming up with new ways to help us meet our goals!
Dr. Medhurst is ALWAYS willing to pitch in and go one step beyond and for that we are pleased to name her this week’s SUPERHERO. As the veterinarian responsible for our rescue efforts, she is always available to assess an animal, sign health certificates, or provide support when needed. When asked to review the recipes for the new Anti-Cruelty Society cookbook, she responded immediately. Thanks to Dr. M. for being a great supportive team member!
We can always count on Maddy B. for her hard work and commitment to the animals. Recently she became the surgery transfer person for the shelter team she has taken on more responsibility—and it has really made a difference! She shows her care for the animals by going out of her way to make them comfortable, and socialize with them. She is also a great coworker, smart as a whip, and has a great sense of humor. Her reliability and passion for the animals make her a great team player and colleague. Thank you Maddy!
Steve has not been at The Anti-Cruelty Society for very long because he joined the at the end of 2019. He knew the work would be fast paced and the learning curve would be steep but he was up for the challenge. When COVID-19 hit Steve didn't let the set back of working from home slow him down. He's taken on even more responsibilities and is always offering to help different departments and give his two cents on practices and policies. His efforts supporting and building our Pop-Up Pet Pantries and Friends Who Care has been outstanding and he has made so many inroads into the community for us. He's been an inspiration to work with while always singing the praises of his colleagues. Thanks for your calm demeanor that is making such a huge impact for us!
Patrick has been doing an outstanding job of providing enrichment and socialization for our animals. When he's assigned to walk dogs he gets as many out as possible, even with his limited time. The dogs really appreciate it! He's also on top of providing in-kennel enrichment when he's assigned to those activities. He has also taken on a lot of responsibilities during the split of shelter by becoming a feeder, and helping to move animals from surgery. Despite the difficulty of his job he keeps a good attitude and calm demeanor and he goes out of his way to enhance the care for the animals. Thanks for helping all the animals Patrick!
When many think about The Anti-Cruelty Society, one person comes to mind. David Dinger. Beyond working in nearly every department and definitely supporting everyone in the organization, David is always the one you could count on to say hello when passing you in the hall, solve a problem, and share his dry wit. He would visit every animal on the adoption floor and holding areas, take in any animal who needed help, and talk to the media whenever they showed up. He provided community advocacy through his leadership to expand field services, outreach, and education while also partnering with other organizations who needed access to the clinic facilities for spay/neuter services. He also was a leader beyond the shelter as he established, forged, and maintained valuable partnerships with organizations and rescue partners such as HSUS, PetSmart Charities, ASPCA, Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance, and the Illinois Federation on Animal Welfare to advance animal welfare locally, regionally and nationally. He was committed to bringing vision, clarity, and support to critical animal welfare issues such as euthanasia and community spay/neuter services while encouraging access to veterinary care and help for all animals.
And if that is not enough to be a SUPER HERO, this week we say goodbye and thank you to this gentle giant as he hangs up his WOOF hat and heads into retirement. He is an ally to animal welfare, an advocate to animals and a passionate leader who exemplifies compassion in action. We thank him for being a champion for us all and we thank him for his service, his dedication, and his friendship. And that is why he is our own super-duper SUPERHERO. David, we are all wishing you the very best in retirement!
Cheryl is known by most members of the ACS family for her dedication to our cat population. Before the pandemic hit she could be found almost every day in the cat adoption room, trying to get picky eaters to take a bite, help adopters find that right match, and cuddling every cat in the room. Cheryl is also an amazing foster parent who never shies away from the 'at risk' kittens and pours her heart and soul into every little one she takes in in order to give them the best chance possible. Thank you Cheryl for being such as awesome cat minder and mom!
Not only did this week’s SUPER HERO help process 4,000+ pet food support requests at the height of the pandemic….and not only did she relaunch our Pet Patrol project which engages virtual volunteers to do outreach on Craigslist…and not only did she jump in to provide support to the Pop-up Pet Food Pantry…and not only did she launch virtual versions of the popular pet care and safety puppet show through a weekly Story Time with Muffin…and not only did she pitch in on some media outreach and the Best Place Task Force ZOOM dinner last week BUT she did this with an awesome and positive perspective through this entire hot-mess of a year. Yes, Avi Kulla, you are a Super Hero!!!
Meg is one of our neonatal foster parents so not only does she take home kitties who need to gain weight and be socialized, she’ll sacrifice her sleep in order to make sure the bottle babies are getting their hourly feeding. She is also a massive team player. Recently she stepped up to offer her services when one of our fosters needed to take a work trip. One of the neonates was a micro kitten and that would scare many away, but Meg stepped up to the challenge, asking lots of questions so she was prepared to provide them with the best care possible. She kept everyone updated and she is a champ at sharing their cute pics on our foster Facebook page. She is a dedicated foster mama who works hard to ensure her kittens are thriving and happy! Thanks for jumping in with all paws Meg!
While we generally don’t include our senior staff in the Superhero pool, (not because they are not all worthy) but today is a bit of a special day for a special person. Today is Meshia’s birthday and we all know she LOVES her special day but most of us have relied on Meshia and her vast knowledge of all things HR. Her nominator summed it up: “Have an issue with clocking in, want to learn about your benefits, or just need someone to talk to? Meshia Burrell is your person! She is always there when you need her most. Whether it's evenings, weekends, or holidays, Meshia is quick to respond to any situation. She is always taking care of everyone else's needs and deserves a shout out for how awesome she is too!” Let's all wish Meshia a very happy birthday today and thank her for being an amazing Superhero.
Today’s superhero has spent the past few weeks on some very important communications. Tracy is our go-to marketing volunteer who is always open and available to help with any communications. She used to help with posting animals on Twitter until the PetPoint feed stopped working but that was recently fixed and she began her amazing support to post photos and rewrite the bios. Because she has so much customer service experience, we also asked her to help with some of our info email questions as well as helping with revising our animal bios. She does all three with incredible efficiency and her support helps us tell the right story, at the right time, to the right people. We so appreciate Tracy for stepping up and helping us put our best foot forward. Thank you Tracy!!!
Today’s superhero goes above and beyond by not only doing her own outreach work, but also pitches in when needed elsewhere. Sarah has been working tirelessly to make sure that the teens she has mentored can continue on a path of advocacy for animals. By creating virtual programs to fill the need, she is determined to make sure that these young adults can learn and grow their passion for pets and people! But she also has been coming in to lend a hand with behavior assessments as well as other outreach efforts. No matter the call, Sarah always answers!
This week’s superheroes are a group of champions: Our Veterinary Assistants!
These super-staff do it all! They feed, clean, medicate, provide enrichment, sterilize, clean, provide surgical support, perform anesthesia, clean, perform medical testing, and then clean some more. And they do it all with a positive attitude for both their coworkers and their animal patients. With the increase in animals in the building, and the split shifts which limit staff levels, they are doing a truly incredible job. Our thanks to this amazing group! Our veterinary assistant team includes:
Rehab: David Alma, Ayetta Black, Briana Bradley, Keisha Byther, Ariana Delgado, Franky Duarte, and Jamie Martin
Clinic: Areli Arroyo, Keith Dyskstra, Todd Kinney, Daisy Law, Liz Rizzo, Jimel Smith, Cheryl Ward, Shaina Williams, and Alex Zegarra
Today’s superhero is an amazing animal champion. Ania Lininger-Pniewska always finds the time to give each and every animal individual attention tailored to their needs. She is also relentless in providing the right training to benefit any dog she works with. She is always there to offer help to each department to assist in any behavior questions that might arise and she takes the extra time to speak with struggling owners in intake who want to keep their family pet, but need assistance with behavior. From her special care of animals like Blue to her support of the ACS helpline or her willingness to take the extra step, we thank you, Ania, for helping us help those in need.
Bridget goes above and beyond in her efforts to help us share information and raise awareness about all that we do. She is full of ideas and always willing to listen to others and always sure everyone’s opinion is heard. Not only is she very respectful and a great partner, she’s super organized and always thinks about the next opportunity. Despite how crazy things can get, she always remains positive. Her ability to laugh about problems after we’ve solved helps keep all of us in the right frame of mind. Thanks Bridget!
Mary always goes above and beyond for the animals in our care. She is always willing to lend a helping hand to her coworkers. Even when all her tasks are complete she goes around the shelter to find a way to help out. Not only are her animal handling skills amazing but her customer service skills are awesome. Thank you Mary!
If you have ever seen Art with cats, you would understand why he is a superhero. In fact, people have said he is truly a cat whisperer. He picks up a cat and cradles it in his arms like a baby (even the ornery ones) and then focuses in on what the cat needs whether it is clipping nails, combing out mats, or giving extra kisses. But he also spends a lot time on making the dogs feel as comfortable as possible while making sure they get time out of the kennels. He is kind and always helps everyone which makes him a great coworker. And he goes above and beyond to help wherever help is needed. That extra push he puts in to help the animals is always appreciated. Thanks Art!
Chances are you have met Courtney as he goes about his day making sure the shelter and education center are clean and tidy. You probably have also had a chat with him and he always has a kind word and a story about one of the animals. He knows all about different breeds and he willingly shares some fact or another from his vast knowledge. It is this kind of ongoing engagement, along with his commitment to his work for the past 15 years that makes Courtney one of our superheroes. His nominator said that “Courtney always does such a thorough job with his tasks yet always finds time to greet me and others every time I see him.” Thank you Courtney for being setting a great example for all of us to follow.
The Pet Portraits have been a HUGE success. In total, there were 1,469 pet portraits requested who were assigned to one of our 132 artists. These came from 1,000 people so many people sent us multiple animals to draw. The comments about the fundraiser were positive, and their reactions to the art were even more positive. The fundraiser raised over $40,000 but also helped raise the profile for the Society with media coverage from NBC7, WLS radio, WGN radio, Redeye, Block Club, and the Chicago Tribune reaching many people who had not supported us in the past.
We could not have done this fundraiser without the generosity of talent and spirit from our Pet Portrait Artists. Click here to see a full list of our artists.
We all know that our jobs often take us down different paths and have us working in ways we might not have imagined. Today’s super hero has been doing just that—especially this past weekend with the launch of our pet portrait fundraiser. Allison is an amazing event planner and what makes her SO good is that she is super organized, super upbeat and she works hard to keep everyone around her cheery and positive. This past weekend she managed hundreds of emails to organize more than 350 pet portraits but it is HOW she works that makes her a true super hero. Generous, organized, positive, creative, and even more organized. A winning combination for sure. Thank you for helping us bring spark and drive to our events and fundraising efforts.
Today’s superhero has only been with ACS for about a year but he has made such a difference in the lives of our animals and our staff. Joey Caravette is an animal care specialist and he is always helping out by getting dogs out for walks. No matter what he’s assigned to he finds time to take dogs out to get time out of their kennels. And don’t think he is just a dog-guy—he is also incredibly caring about our cats. On top of that, he is a “superb coworker” who always checks in on others, and helps them finish any work that needs to be done. Overall, he has become a reliable and wonderful staff member who works incredibly hard to help the animals in our care.
Oh, where to start! Our superhero today is just simply amazing. She takes on some of the most difficult animals to foster and she brings love, support, and more love and support to help animals find their way to a better life. She motivates the animals—and the humans who learn so much from her ongoing support through our private foster channels. Sometimes she is sharing important tips, or engaging videos of her friendly charges. But what is most super about this superhero is that she is always on to helping the next animal. She is strong and positive and her heart, and soul, and compassion means so much to our organization AND our animals. Thank you Jay for your awesomeness and commitment.
Sometimes some of our SAFE (Short-term Accommodations For Emergencies) animals need a bit of help too. Snoop came to us when his owner needed some short-term support. In general these SAFE animals stay with us for 1-2 months. Today’s superhero, Jonna Tuukkanen came to the rescue. Jonna, one of our new(er) Dog Care Volunteers, took time out of her volunteer day to make a short video of SAFE program dog Snoop to help find him a foster home. Capturing usable media of shelter dogs can be tricky as often they are prone to display "bouncy" behavior which, in a big dog is easily perceived as being hard to foster when the truth is that shelter dogs just need a little decompression time before they "settle down.” With the help of Jonna`'s patiently created video, Snoop was quickly snatched-up by our excellent foster volunteers buying precious support for Snoop until he is reunited with his owner!
Somedays you might see today’s superhero as a super foster with some teeny tiny kittens but most of the time you encounter her as a warm and friendly face at the front desk in the Adoption Center. Diiamon is always so positive and helpful to visitors, staff and volunteers. She loves all the animals and gives them lots of attention whether keeping one in the customer service area or finding a special treat for them as they walk by. What is most wonderful is how she makes people feel welcome and does not mind answering endless questions. Anything to help the animals! Thanks for being a great superhero to those around you, Diiamon!
One of the most amazing things we do is how we provide help and assistance as people surrender their animals for a variety of reasons. This is often emotionally charged and requires a soft hand and a caring heart. Today’s superhero really helps those who find themselves in need of support and assistance with these difficult situations. Veronica is always calm and compassionate with the animals and the people who come through our intake doors and this is a tremendous help. On top of that, she makes work enjoyable which helps her coworkers as well. Her dedication to caring for animals extends even further as she has helped countless animals by bringing her love home by providing an amazing foster home. Thank you for being a true animal champion, Veronica!
Superheroes are those who go above and beyond and keep trying to do more. This is a perfect description of today’s superhero, Evelyn Williams. Evelyn is our Senior Accountant and while she is amazing with the numbers and spreadsheets, she is also organized, committed, and ALWAYS willing to do more. Recently, she has been working diligently to build our systems and processes to help us better track and report all of our financials. She is working closely with our new CFO, Laura Nedli, but she is always willing to do whatever to keep us on track and up to date with our financials and our direct mail deposits. Thank you Evelyn for being someone we can count on. (Get it?)
Today, we recognize Shiloh who is as well-known and respected for his calm demeanor as well as his amazing personality and witty sense of humor—which is especially helpful during this time when everyone could use a little uplifting. On top of that, Shiloh has been a tremendous help with the virtual adoption process and taking photos to highlight our animals. Shiloh is not only dedicated to his work, his colleagues and the animals but is also someone you can always depend on to have your back or to make you smile. Thanks for all of this, Shiloh!
Sometimes, in the midst of a crisis, we need a bit of sunshine. So this week, the Planting Crew of Lydia Krupinski, Bridget Bittman, Lane Andersen, and Amber Pazdzioch dug in (literally) and brought some spring to the planters outside the Society and in the courtyard. It is a beautiful mix of flowers and it brings a ray of sunshine for our staff and volunteers, as well as our guests. Next time you are at the shelter, take a moment to appreciate the Planting Crew as well as the dipladenia, impatiens, sweet alyssum, petunias, celosia, sweet potato vines, and creeping jenny. Thanks to the crew for filling our space with color and beauty! They are our superheroes of plantings!
We have all been challenged over the past few months...and this weekend was no different as a number of staff were not able to get into work due to very limited access to River North. That meant we had areas in the shelter that were understaffed or in one area, not staffed at all. That is enough to cause concern, but not for today’s Superhero—Dave Pinto. As always, he was cool, calm, and collected and he stepped right in to help where help was needed. Dave always reacts that way, and this weekend was no exception but we want to recognize him for always stepping up when help is needed—with enthusiasm and efficiency! Thanks Dave!
The pandemic hit us all hard but it also hit our fundraising hard with the cancellation of our largest fundraiser Bark In The Park. But thanks to the Mission Advancement team, Bark moved from the park to the heart with a creative digital campaign. So today’s SUPERHEROES are the Mission Advancement Bark team: Paul Adee, Bridget Bittman, Phaedra Bounas, John Griggs, Alison Johnson, Sharla Nolte, Emily Shekleton, and Lindsay Welbers. This team launched a comprehensive digital campaign which went beyond registrations and peer-to-peer to include a digital campaign, ongoing messages and communications, as well as other engagement outreach including newsletters, tips for fundraising, and Trivia—while managing other fundraising efforts like direct mail, Giving Tuesday, and COVID-support grants. And the best part…just for the digital and peer to peer campaign, we raised $123,697. Great success! Great team! Great Superheroes!
Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Erika Sensnovis is well known for all of her foster support. She always as a steady group of foster animals in her home who need a bit of extra attention and even now, she is fostering a kitten that had been abandoned. She brought the kitty in for surgery but while she was here, she heard there was a batch of neonate kittens who needed a helping hand. So what does Erika do—nothing out of the ordinary for her! She pulls out her lawn chair in the parking lot and sits down to provide the five (!) hungry kittens with their second breakfast as they waited for their foster to show up. Always willing to help….that is what we have all come to expect and respect from Erika. Thank you superhero!!
It was a difficult weekend for Chicago and even our own shelter was in harms way. While we were luckier than some of our neighbors in River North, we had some vandalism although our building was not breached. People said the area looked like a war zone with broken glass and scattered items. We had a few broken windows but they did not break completely. Charles was the maintenance supervisor who was at the shelter in the early morning and within a very short time he had cleaned up most of the mess outside the building. By noon, he worked with David Dinger to secure all of the broken glass panes with plywood. He did an amazing job working quickly to clean as much as possible before the rest of the staff arrived. This was superhero work. Thank you Charles for your diligence and for going the extra mile.
Sarah is a Super Hero because of her dedication and her patience. Even before she started working for us, she would always come in to walk every single dog in dog adopts. Since becoming an employee, she continues to show the same compassion and is able to help a lot more animals. She always goes above and beyond for the animals in our care and she always gives 110% effort. The animals are lucky to have such a caring friend and we are lucky to have such a compassionate team member. Thank you Sarah!
Today’s superhero is Tamra Wagneknecht! She is totally committed to caring for and protecting animals and she always goes above and beyond when an animal is in need. The most recent example is when a foster needed to bring an animal back after 5 p.m. when the shelter was already closed for the evening. Tamra had already left the building but she turned right around and came to collect the animal herself. This is one of so many instances where Tamra opened her heart, and her home to care for an animal in need. Her dedication to an animal’s well-being and safety is a standard we should all strive to achieve in our own lives. Thank you Tamra!
Have you noticed how the shelter always have clean floors, clean bathrooms with plenty of TP, and tidy sidewalks? We are grateful to our maintenance team of Curtis Sanders, Jerry Lumas, Charles Watts, Brian Sims, Sam Sanders, Courtney Davis and Desmond Watkins and acknowledge them as our SUPERHEROES for the day! But while we recognize these heroes for their hard work and dedication to keeping our areas clean and sanitized, especially during the pandemic, what we love most is that these gentleman always have a smile, a hello, and a few kind words for everyone! We appreciate these friendly greetings and their efforts to provide a safe shelter for the animals and a safe facility for staff, volunteers, and visitors. We thank them for repairing, patching, replacing, installing, and disinfecting! We thank them for securing the building and for watching out for the entire ACS team as we all work to support animal welfare! You are an amazing group of SUPERHEROES!!!
Here is a story for you about a kitten, named Thyme, who was not eating or thriving like his siblings. Sound familiar? JoDee Lee stepped in and took him home to help him gain weight and brought him back to rehab once he was more stable. What makes JoDee our SUPERHERO for today is that this is quite natural for her to take in and help those who need the most care. Sometimes her extra charges do well, like little Thyme. Sometimes they don’t but JoDee always does her best to help care for the ones who need extra attention, love, support, and even hand feeding. Thank you JoDee for being on there for all the animals that really need our care and protection.
Many of our decisions and planning need to be based on data – so what do we do? We go to Naomi. All of our grant applications need numbers. What do we do?
We go to Naomi. Reports for the board and community partners need some data or
we have a PetPoint issue or we need to identify cats for PetSmart? What do we do?
You guessed it—we go to Naomi. Naomi is our super hero go-to for all of these needs and more and she always delivers quickly, efficiently and with a smile. Remarkable given
the challenges! Thank you Naomi!
Today’s Superhero is Dawn Bornman. Dawn is unstoppable when it comes to helping animals. She always takes those who need the most help under her wing. She is attentive, compassionate and always has a positive and supportive attitude. She is always helpful not only to those who come into the intake area but to her colleagues across the organization. Dawn is leaving The Anti-Cruelty Society to move to another city and the entire organization will miss her and her professional and personal support for all of us as well as for all of the animals in our care. Thank you for your service Dawn and best of luck to you in your future animal adventures!
Today, we honor SUPERHERO volunteer Marina Tartarotti. During this pandemic, she has shown equal opportunity love by dedicating her work to both dogs AND cats. From walks to training, from cuddles to tum rubs (except for cats ;), Marina exemplifies dedication to The Anti-Cruelty Society. From the sheer number of days she volunteers to the breadth of animals she connects with (like…. all of them…during a shift) is beyond impressive. Thank you so much for all you do for all of us—the staff, volunteers, community, and especially the animals. We are all better because of you!
Please take a moment to fill out this form to nominate someone from our organization (staff, volunteer, or donor) who has made a difference and has gone above and beyond and should be recognized as an Anti-Cruelty Society SUPERHERO. We will highlight someone every day in the Daily Update.
Maggie has been on fire helping everyone from multiple departments during shelter in place. She's been working on adoption counsels, foster screens, and has been the go to small animal guru. Maggie's added a lot to her plate the past few weeks without complaint or grumble, and takes joy in connecting with fosters and adopters by sharing cute and funny videos and pictures with them. She's also keeping spirits high with her massive library of animal puns. Thanks for being such a great help Maggie!
Some people are the perfect combination of helping both people and animals. Kamari Perry is one of those people and that’s why we are honoring her as our SUPERHERO of the day! She is an amazing animal champion. She is always taking extra time to check up on the animals she loves and knows exactly what they need. She is reliable and hardworking and she is always available and willing when someone needs help. This is what makes her such a great role model for her coworkers and the other staff. Thanks Kamari!
Bob and Ursula Kewer are long time volunteers and are recognized as the clinic cats' SUPERHERO duo! Even though they are not coming into the Shelter right now, they are with us in spirit. They email with staff every few days to check in on one cat or another. We know that when they are here, they are really attentive volunteers who notice things like ingrown nails or that a cat likes a certain food. They even bring their own kit of supplies to help the cats in our care. And, of course, in addition to volunteering, they are amazing donors and their ongoing support means so much to us. It is always great to have people like Bob and Ursula helping! Our thanks to Bob and Ursula for sharing their time, talent, and treasure to support animals in need!
Today, we are recognizing one of our long-term companions. Blue/Smooch has been living in our shelter for almost a year since his beloved Mom and our dear co-worker Dotty got sick. Although he is quite fearful of strangers and people in general, he has amazing dog skills. Blue provides emotional support for so many dogs in the shelter and he loves all animals. He has played a tremendous role in helping them adjust to their new environment. During play groups he helps dogs relax and have some fun during playtime and we have never encountered a dog that Blue didn't like. He has an amazing ability to spread happiness and "smile" among his furry friends. He does have a new home waiting for him which will happen as soon as we can make the transfer but we all love and appreciate him dearly ❤
Dr. Primiano, or Dr. P as we call him, is today’s SUPERHERO because he has gone above and beyond to provide support to the hundreds of animals who are currently in foster care. As our foster veterinary lead, he has been juggling an avalanche of emails from foster parents while still fulfilling his on-site duties. Plus, he's also become the newest member of our weekly NBC Clear the Shelters team sharing some great tips about how to keep animals safe and engaged during the shelter-in-place mandate. On top of that, he is a Twitter ambassador for us as he shares posts about animals we have cared for to his influential and active Twitter followers! Thank you Dr. P for your ongoing support and enthusiasm!
It is certainly not business as usual these days but our shelter managers have really shone through this entire pandemic. Our superheroes today are the mighty five shelter and adoption experience managers: Lane Andersen, Sarah Hayes, Jessica Kraut, Amber Pazdzoich, and Dave Pinto. This group not only manages their onsite staff, they've been so helpful, patient, and nimble as we change and adjust our programs, processes, and procedures. Besides managing a growing animal population, getting virtual adoptions up and running, troubleshooting, and keeping connected to everyone, they have shown the beauty of an effective working team. We are so lucky to have this group of five helping us stay on course. Thank you Lane, Sarah, Jessica, Amber, and Dave for going above and beyond to make sure our animals and their new families are in the best hands.
Today, we are recognizing not just one individual but an entire team. Our superheroes of the day goes to Dawn Bornman, Veronica Gutierrez, Andrew Knoedler, Yarelli Lopez, and Casey Schwartz. They have acted with supreme professionalism in assisting people with what must be one of the saddest events of this entire episode, when folks have had to euthanize their beloved pet. They made sure that there was always somewhere for them to go and get the help that they need and have the peace of mind that this duty was attended to with skill and compassion. They have touched hundreds of lives in ways that will never be forgotten. Thank you, Dawn, Veronica, Andrew, Yarelli and Casey for your incredible compassion in action and for how you have been helping people during these difficult times.
Today’s SUPERHERO has been dedicated to the Society for the past 11 years. Today is Dan Overstreet’s last day as he is retiring from his position as Vice President of Finance. Dan has been a tremendous force behind the scenes—keeping us financially viable and able to meet our financial obligations especially during difficult times. He is an amazing finance whiz and always looked out for us to make sure we were able to fund our work, our mission, and our passions. We would not be in the position we are today without Dan’s fiscal tenacity. We wish you the best in your retirement Dan and thank you for being a financial SUPERHERO!!!
While Elliott has been known to have a very public role at The Anti-Cruelty Society being the MC of various events and engaging many through his outreach programs, the majority of his work is behind the scenes. He is the lead person managing a program called "Friends Who Care" that provides free pet food for low-income seniors. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the program expanded rapidly to provide over 5,200 pet care kits to persons effected by the crisis. Elliott has a great sense of humor that is necessary when dealing with the inevitable logistical issues that come with a rapid expansion. He is so good at being warm and encouraging on the phone to the persons who are waiting for their pet care packages to be delivered and is masterful at wading through the applications and coordinating a program with many moving parts. Thank you ELLIOTT for bringing your enthusiasm, wit, and charm to make this program work! You are a SUPERHERO WHO CARES!
Jessica started her new role as a shelter manager and has been working hard adapting to the new role during this stressful time. She has been doing many virtual adoptions finding the right matches for our animals and making sure things run smoothly! She is constantly on top of her duties and works through her days with extreme efficiency and she always goes above and beyond her expected duties—just as you might expect from a SUPERHERO! Her level of communication with staff and the public is outstanding and we are thankful to have her on The Anti-Cruelty team. Thank you Jessica!
John-Ryan has always been a rock star but now he is a SUPERHERO! While he has been working remotely for a few years, he has always made it his business to be connected with people he works with. Besides being crazy creative, he is an amazing strategist with a heart and always makes us think differently when working on a project. In this COVID-19 world, he has shown his hidden talents for cooking and even worked with his friend to make more than 3 dozen masks for us at the shelter. Thanks John-Ryan for your positive approach to everything and for sharing your creative insights!
Eric is a superhero in more ways than one. His genuine love for the animals and taking care of them is unparalleled. He really is thoughtful in everything he does to ensure he's encouraging the best path forward for every animal he comes across. He's such a wealth of knowledge and his passion and excitement for happy healthy animals is incredible. But he is also Eric is a superhero because he always goes above and beyond for volunteers. Whether it’s being a middleman between staff & volunteers and answering questions, Eric listens to any issues volunteers may have and solves it amicably. Thanks for taking care of our animals and our volunteers Eric!
When your job is to help animals, it is so important to be in touch with all of the animals. Stephanie does an amazing job of staying on top of the behaviors of all of the dogs and cats in holding rooms and categorizing them into the right categories so we can provide the best care. But it is more than completing the tracking forms to make sure the animals are getting the right attention (which she ALWAYS does), but more about know what each animal needs. So if someone asks a question about an animal in the building, Stephanie knows who they are, where they are located, their behaviors, and what they need. That is compassion in action. Thank you Stephanie for being a great champion for our animals—and a great Superhero!
Some people are superheroes even when they are not around. Take Kim Hendricks. Before COVID-19, Kim could be found volunteering in cat adopts, showing love to our cats and kittens while trimming their nails and keeping the space clean. In fact, she has been disinfecting our surfaces for YEARS and years! Since the stay at home mandate, Kim has not been able to visit but that does not mean she is not thinking about us. She has reached out several times—most recently with a concern about laundry. Yes, laundry because she is our own laundry maven and she knows how important not getting behind in laundry is to our animal’s comfort and well-being. She also checks in with staff with animal updates, tips on quarantine and asking about everyone’s general welfare. You see, Kim is such a kind and caring soul and she is that way in person and when she is not close buy. We are lucky to have her and thank her for always looking out for us all. We miss you too Kim!
Debbie Prawiec is one of those volunteers where nothing phases her and she just keeps giving back. In fact, Debbie has fostered over 50 animals who need an extra bit of care and attention. She had dealt with ringworm, behavior problems, and animals who won’t eat so she has to resort to force feeding when necessary. This care and attention for these high-need animals is so very critical as we nurse them back to health and prepare them to be great adoption candidates. You might think that this work would be enough for one person, but not Debbie. She also comes in to volunteer in the shelter, on top of her fostering responsibilities. We so appreciate all of her efforts to support our animals and our work and most appreciate her amazing attitude and ability to take everything in stride. It is volunteers like this that make us so thankful every day for those who give back, over and over again. Thank you Debbie!
Simi is an amazing foster mom. She is relaxed. She doesn’t get flustered EVEN if a pillow gets destroyed. It is all a part of how she takes her foster responsibilities. She is a great communicator and is always reaching out to learn new ways to help those in her charge. And her fosters are often more challenging than most as she often takes the dogs that need the most care and attention and does not give up until she finds them a forever home. She has helped a few of our long-term dogs decompress from shelter stress and adjust to home life and she is most successful at this because of her enthusiastic philosophy of meeting animals where they are while keeping her own expectations realistic. Thanks to her dedication, Simi has changed the life of many animals and while doing that, she has impacted the lives of so many people too. Thank you Simi for giving your all to help our pups!
Sometimes an animal comes to The Anti-Cruelty Society and just needs a bit of help. This is our Bella—a long-standing resident in the shelter who had a few challenges and was having a hard time finding a forever home. Still, Bella is amazing but needed someone to help her get adopted. show That is where Karin Fazio stepped in as an amazing ambassador for Bella. Karin is so dedicated to Bella! If it weren't for her demanding work schedule she would have adopted Bella ages ago. Every weekend she'd take her out for some much needed TLC and was always sure to have her wearing the ADOPT ME vest to attract attention. She's made an Instagram account for her and posts daily pictures and videos of Bella being the sweetest goober she truly is. Thanks to Karin for her communication, social outreach, posts, writing, pic & vids which have all been amazing and show a process of love, time, and commitment. Kudos to you Karin! We are all better because of you (especially the lucky Bella)!
Jeff is a behind the scenes kind of guy. You can usually see him behind a camera, or his computer, or with a dog leash around his neck. He says he is all about the “mutts” but honestly, he is all about helping. He was nominated because he always steps in to work with the dogs. Since the pandemic, you can see Jeff’s work as he is a prolific social media buff who shares videos and photos not only about the animals he works with but the staff and volunteers too. One nominator said, “He is a wonderful trainer of dogs but also provides all the love they need! That gentle, yet firm and loving demeanor he has is a wonderful asset to the shelter and all the dogs he encounters!” And, then again, there is also the fact that he volunteers his talent to manage our Google Ad campaign and is the force behind the Bark From The Heart ad campaign too. Yes, definitely a behind the scenes guy, and he will be the first to tell you that this is not about him…it’s about the mutts. So thank you Jeff for your love and support of the mutts, and the rest of us too.
It is amazing to be nominated for this honor but what makes today’s SUPERHERO even more special is that she was nominated by someone in her area, someone outside her area, and a volunteer! And it is pretty clear why—Brianna goes above and beyond in her care for animals AND people. She takes the time to engage with her fellow staff members on a personal level. She is always looking out for their mental health and is constantly lifting team spirits. She handles stress with such a calm demeanor and always with a positive attitude and a smile on her face. During the pandemic she has continued to be a great leader to the shelter staff; ensuring communication between departments. And as her nominators said, she is a natural leader, an animal champion and an indispensable lady for sure! Thank you Brianna for bringing your smile and compassion every day!
Everyone knows Guy. He is our fur friend who lives in Behavior but wanders between his cat tree and the education team offices. Sometimes you can see him taking a stroll down past the training room too or snuggling with his bff Mr. Kelly, or glaring at Blue. We are honoring Guy today for several reasons. He just turned 15 and he is our SUPERHERO of the day. Guy started as our pet ambassador where he would meet and greet visitors to the Shelter. As he got older, he decided he had enough of being an ambassador, and now he just rules the roost. Regardless, we all love Guy and see him as a true SUPERHERO.
It has been quite a month for our foster program. With 251 foster placements, and a waiting list of over 350 willing fosters, that is a lot to handle. But for Clare Hamilton, she handles it all with such amazing grace. The fosters on the foster page celebrate her for keeping them so well informed. Her colleagues in the shelter say “Clare has been on the front-line of the emergency fosters/foster program and has been handling all their questions and needs. She shows consistent perfection in the work she does. Even with work being a little more unorthodox currently with her working from home she gets her job done.” But wait, there is more, yes, three people called out Clare. SO for her work ethic, her commitment to her fosters and for being a kind and as one person said “Clare has been working her butt off from home getting animals out to foster so we can keep our population here in the shelter low and manageable,” it is our pleasure to call Clare our SUPERHERO of the day!
Our Busy Finger volunteers have been busy! Usually they are crafting beautiful, warm and cuddly blankets for our animals but lately they have been working on another project: masks. Today, our superhero is Marie who is the Busy Fingers lead and she has been sewing stacks of reusable cloth face masks for our front line staff. They are colorful and comfortable to wear and so appreciated by our staff. It is always great to have these handcrafted items for our animals but right now, it is even nicer to have something so necessary be so nice. Thanks to Marie for her talents and generous spirit to provide a bit of sunshine to our faces.
Jennifer Mack, animal advancement supervisor, was chosen as our super hero because her nominator said “She does the work of 5 people and is always trying to make others laugh even when she's stressed.” But she is also recognized for consistently stocking cleaning and feeding supplies for the shelter. Her weekly report, detailing low stock items, is key to our operations running smoothly. We are proud to recognize Jen for her great work and according to her supervisor, “She is my SUPERHERO every day.” CONGRATS JEN!