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.
Jo Ann BuettnerPosition: Business Manager
I got involved with BAHS more than 10 years ago because I had a friend who worked for the shelter. As an accountant who works part-time so I can spend more time with my family, this job is perfect for me. I take care of the books and the finance, business functions. My family includes my husband, Mike, and our kids, Justin, Jill Ann and Jake. Oh, and Sancho, a little black Chihuahua with lots of attitude we adopted from BAHS. I have such admiration for the people at the shelter – people who work so hard and so passionately for something they care so much about.
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
I work in the lobby – paperwork, computer work, answering phones. I also clean the cat cages in the lobby, sweep, mop. A little of everything. 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 is finalizing adoptions. There are four pages of things to go over with them. It’s a legal document. Very formal – which is good. 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?