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!