Katie NelsonPosition: Executive Director
I grew up around horses and cattle so they’re the four-legged creatures I’ve always been most comfortable with. We also had big dogs – Rottweilers, Malamutes, Labs. The bigger the animal, the more comfortable I am, but, I’m growing more familiar with the smaller breeds -- the Yorkies, the Chihuahuas -- they all have their own unique personalities.
My husband and I have a pit bull and two border collies at home, so when a club-footed border collie named Jack come through the shelter, my heart went out to him. Our team was so happy when he was adopted by an amazing family. I also have a soft spot for when pitty’s come through our shelter. They can be misunderstood or overlooked, but they are such amazing dogs.
I’m extremely proud of the work we do at BAHS. We are an organization filled with amazing animal advocates who are not only passionate, but extremely creative when it comes to helping our community dogs and cats arrive at forever homes. All credit goes to the village it takes to help our animals in need – board members, staff, volunteers and donors alike. It truly does take a village!
Shoshana MostollerPosition: Program Director
I was on the BAHS board before joining the staff as our Program Director. My job allows me to be involved in many aspects of shelter operations, from adoption to community education. Every day brings new challenges and new successes, and I am proud to be a part of the work that we do.
It is hard not to be touched by the dogs and cats that pass through our doors. My two dogs, Milo and Daisy, are such an important part of my family and I want each and every one of the animals at BAHS to find that kind of love and security. I am thankful to the staff and volunteers who work so hard to improve the lives of the animals that pass through our doors.
Dean SalvatorePosition: Business Manager
Dean Salvatore had the perfect pedigree to become BAHS’s part-time business manager. Not only was he great with numbers, but he was an animal lover, to boot.
Dean, who served as the shelter’s auditor for several years before his recent retirement from pubic accounting, fit right in with the pack. “I was looking for something to do part time,” he said, “and this was perfect. It’s very relaxing when you have animals around to pet and hang out with.”
The proud owner of two cats and miniature dachshund, Dean favorite things to do include gardening and spending time with his fiancé, Sherry Favre, and his daughters Holly, 27, and Abby, 24. He lives on five, quiet acres outside Freeburg, where he grows everything from tomatoes and peppers to loofah sponges.
BAHS is thrilled to welcome him aboard!
Melissa JanesPosition: Social Media Coordinator & Adoption Counselor
I have been fortunate to learn many jobs since I began working at BAHS in August of 2011. Currently, my focus is on animal care, photography, and social media.
I have always had a passion for charitable work with an emphasis on the most vulnerable in the community. No one is more vulnerable than our four-legged friends, and I'm privileged to be able to return the love they so selflessly give us.
Outside of my work here, I volunteer with CARES, another animal-focused non-profit, sing in the Metro East Community Chorale, and spend time with my goofy English Bulldog, Lenore.
Katie KettlerPosition: Adoption Counselor/Foster Coordinator
I am an adoption counselor and the foster coordinator for BAHS. I’m a huge animal person. I have three dogs and five cats at home. Three of them are foster failures. One of the things I like about my job interacting with the animals because it makes your day better knowing that you are a part of finding them new families. It's important to us to know our animals are getting good homes.
Kurt BlaesPosition: Adoption Counselor
I’ve been a certified dog trainer since 2010. I always wanted to get into that field. In my whole life, I think I have gone two months without have a dog. But I had a cat during that time, so it didn’t count. I’ve always had pets.
Every dog I’ve ever had has been free from someone I know who can’t keep a dog and I end up rescuing it. One of my friends bought a foo-foo designer mix dog for like $800. I’m like, ‘Eight hundred dollars? Come to the shelter. We have every kind of mix you could want and pedigrees too.’ “One of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen was a pug-pitt mix. I was like, ‘How does that even happen?’ It was the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite from all the dogs I’ve ever worked with. But one of them was Buddy, a 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier. His owner returned him to BAHS. I did the paperwork and he and I bonded and were always hanging out in the lobby together.
The day he got adopted, I was off work. Some of the staff sent me a picture of him and his new family and I contacted them. Now every Christmas, Buddy’s family sends me a picture. On New Year’s Eve, they sent me a photo of him passed out with bottles around him. The caption read ‘Partied too hard!
Jennifer WaeltzPosition: Medical Coordinator
My favorite part of the job is socializing with the animals and seeing them go from being afraid to coming out of their shells and opening up. You just have to spend time with them and show them you’re not going to hurt them. I fostered a puppy once. The poor thing was so scared of everybody – even me at first. Then he got very attached to me. After about two weeks, a lady adopted him. When he came back to visit, he didn’t even recognize me. He barked at me! But that’s OK ‘cause he got a good home.
Casey PhillipsPosition: Adoption Counselor
I am the proud mother of two dachshunds and a cat. Helping animals get adopted into the right home is something I love doing. Are you a couch potato or are you really outgoing? I ask a lot of questions because I want to see our animals go to the right home – not a home for right now. Dogs and cats have personalities just like people do. That’s why I spend a lot of time watching them and seeing how they behave. If a dog gets turned in to us by its owner, I always try to talk to them and say, ‘Hey, what’s he like? Tell met me the good, the bad and the ugly.’ The ones who don’t tell me? Well, then it’s my job to figure it out.
Mandi GrahamPosition: Front Desk/Volunteer Coordinator
My job includes answering the phone, fielding community questions, processing applications and handling paperwork. But I have to say the best part of my day is doing the adoptions. I have one dog and one cat at my house -- and I have my son, Mason. Mason is 14. Since he’s an only child, he thinks our beagle Spike is his sibling. Pets teach kids about life.
“They aren’t just ‘animals.’ They’re part of the family. When we have special needs dogs at the shelter, I try to keep them behind the desk and I baby them. When they go to a good home, it makes my day. Can you tell I love my job?
Tammy AllenPosition: Veterinary Technician
Veterinary technician Tammy Allen is the proud mother of two German Shepherds, three cats and a two-legged son named Brandon. Aside from working part time for BAHS, she also serves as a vet tech at AnRus Veterinary Clinic in Freeburg and the Four Hearts Foundation in O’Fallon.
“I started out majoring in nursing,” she said, “but then I realized I like animals better than sick people. My third year of nurse’s training, I got accepted into Jefferson College’s vet tech program, so I transferred there.”
The shelter is so glad she did. Keenly intelligent with a calm demeanor, Tammy’s many responsibilities include assisting in surgeries, as well as working closely with the shelter’s medical coordinator.
“I really enjoy working here,” she said. “I find medicine intriguing and I love working with the animals. It’s a job where you can make a difference.”