For those of you who don’t know already, my name is Venessa. I’m most commonly referred to as “the girl who does the shelter’s facebook page.” I also do the Pinterest page, take the photographs of the animals, plan the events, and will now be in control of this blog.
To clear something up, I don’t actually work at the shelter. I work for the Town of Islip. Working with the animal shelter is just something that happened along the way. I started with the Town in February of 2012. I was pretty new to everything, considering I don’t even live in the Town of Islip… but I picked things up quickly. I’ll be honest though and admit, I didn’t even know we had an animal shelter until about June of that year.
It just was never something I needed to worry about, so I didn’t. Of course, that all changed. One day in late June, my boss was supposed to attend a Shelter Committee meeting. She had too much on her plate at the time and since she knows I like animals, (anyone who has walked into my office can see the pictures of my dog all over my desk, or the paw print tattoo I have on my arm,) she decided to send me on her behalf.
I figured I was just going to take some notes and nod my head and then just report back. Little did I know, that would be the beginning of my everyday involvement with the shelter. I went from never thinking about it, to wanting to be there all the time.
Considering the fact that I actually worked for the Town and still didn’t even know the shelter existed, I think that says a lot on its popularity before I began…I’m not saying I’m the reason we’ve grown in popularity (if you knew me, you’d know I never give myself any credit for anything…) But if I didn’t know it existed, most likely, other people didn’t either. So with the help of our Committee, we brainstormed ideas on how to get our name out there.
I agreed to stop down at the shelter for a tour and to take some pictures. This is where I first met Liz and George – Kennel Aides at the shelter – who, little did I know then, I’d be working with every week, sometimes even every day. They brought dogs to me to photograph, and one by one I started to learn their stories. It wasn’t until Liz brought out Brock, an amazing pit mix who had been abused by his former owner, that I knew I needed to do anything in my power to get these dogs the life they deserve. All I needed to do was look into his sad, scared eyes, and I was hooked. I NEEDED to help make life better for these animals.
Social media is a wonderful thing. With the creation of the shelter’s facebook page, (www.facebook.com/islipanimals), we opened up a whole new world of potential adopters and supporters. What began with me taking a few pictures once in a while turned into me taking weekly pictures of new animals for adoption, showcasing animals who have been with us for too long, and engaging with people all over the country who are interested in helping us spread the word. Our “likes” have skyrocketed to over 2000 since the launch of the page in July – a number hundreds higher than our surrounding Town shelters.
It has been an incredible experience so far, watching our animals find homes. It is one thing to see an animal get adopted, or even just rescued, but to see so many of our long-timers go to great homes, is something I never knew could feel so rewarding. The attention and support we have received from all of you has been outstanding. – This is all something myself, and everyone at the shelter, are so thankful for.
I hope you will keep checking back for new posts on our amazing animals, our dedicated staff, and all of our upcoming events! I look forward to sharing our stories with you!