Here at Best Friends, we’re fortunate to have some of the most compassionate, educated and interesting people on our staff. Our Staff Spotlight series allows others to get to know some of these fantastic folks and hear why they’re passionate about saving the lives of animals.
Why did you choose to work in animal welfare?
I grew up surrounded by animals in a family of cat rescuers in Puerto Rico, so working with animals is a natural fit for me. Until I became acquainted with Best Friends, it had never occurred to me to take my career in the direction of animal welfare. Best Friends Animal Society is such a warm, positive and welcoming organization, unlike any other I have personally encountered. When I visited the Sanctuary for the first time, I knew I had found my dream workplace.
What inspires you most in your work at Best Friends?
Even though our focus is on the animals, kitten purrs and doggie belly rubs make my day, I get most of my inspiration from the people I come in contact with. My teammates are a passionate bunch, and our volunteers and team leaders are the most dedicated and fun group of folks that I have ever met. It's the people saving the animals who inspire me to give more of myself to the community, as well as the smiles on the faces of those who are adopting.
Can you tell us about your pets?
My spirit animal is my dog Carmela. She is an 11-year-old wiener dog obsessed with food and picnics in Central Park. We also have 13-year-old Hemingway cat who was rescued from a field in Mississippi, and loves around-the-clock pets. Last year we adopted an orphaned kitten (who is now a year old) who we bottle-fed and nursed. His name is Filiberto and though he is a handful, he’s the light of my eyes. All three coexist in our apartment.
What do you do when you're not working?
I read a lot. Aside from Best Friends, the New York Public Library is one of my favorite places to be. I recently started getting back into tennis. I love food and I'm constantly putting to-eat lists together. I also love to travel with Carmela to visit friends and family all over the country.
What advice would you give someone interested in working with animals?
Be as passionate about people as you are about animals. If you are a people person, great! Build up those skills. Kindness, compassion and empathy toward people can make a huge difference in the lives of animals. We are all connected.