How A Quick Google Search Changed My Life

Wellness Essay at the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC
Animal Haven Gala 2023
Wellness Essay holding an adoptable senior rescue dog at the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC
Adoptable senior chihuahua mix, Frou Frou. She is up for adoption at Animal Haven.
Guests at the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC
Wellness Essay and Bessy Gatto at the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC
Wellness Essay and Yolanda Berkowitz at the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC
Wellness Essay and Amanda Rolat, founder of Bramble dog food, at the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC
Wellness Essay and Phillip Owen Salem at the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC
Wellness Essay and Bessy Gatto at the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC

I started volunteering at Animal Haven shelter in 2014, shortly after I moved to NYC. I was new to city, feeling a little homesick, and knew that dogs would cheer me up. I’d never volunteered at an animal shelter before. So, I googled, “animal shelters near me” and Animal Haven in downtown Manhattan popped up. 

I decided to sign up to be a volunteer that night, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.

I started out cleaning cages, walking dogs and facilitating meet and greets. A year or two later that progressed to fostering, and over the years I fostered 22 dogs and one kitten. 

I volunteered at adoption events, which I loved, and somewhere along the way I started hosting my own adoption events at local coffee shops in the city.

As I became more experienced as a foster mom, I got some of the more “special” cases. One of those special cases was a little paralyzed dog who had just arrived from Iran. I didn’t know anything about caring for paralyzed dogs but Animal Haven staff gave me all the information I needed. They trusted me to do it, which in return made me trust in myself that I was capable of doing it too.

That little paralyzed dog ended up being Pani, and foster dog #22 ended up being my first foster fail.

From there I was invited on local and national news broadcasts to talk about fostering, animal rescue and special needs pets.

Once I adopted Pani the way I volunteered with Animal Haven shifted again. I started taking Animal Haven’s other paralyzed dogs to their rehab appointments since I knew the rehab facility so well from Pani. 

In 2019 I was asked to host Animal Haven’s annual holiday party fundraiser, which was such an honor. And as my social media grew I started using it to help their special needs, harder-to-adopt-out animals find their forever homes.

Being a part of Animal Haven has enriched my life so much. Every minute of my time that I’ve given to helping them during the past almost decade, has given me so much in return.

Last week I attended their annual Benefit for the Animals gala where they raised over $1 million (!!!) dollars to help animals in need. Animals just like Pani, all my fosters before her and so many more. They are an incredible organization and I am honored to be connected with them.

When I started volunteering there I knew no one. But it didn’t matter. I was there to help the animals and that was more than enough. But over the years I’ve made lifelong friendships and connections through my volunteer work at Animal Haven.

It’s actually surreal to look back and realize when I first started volunteering, I would volunteer at events like last week’s gala, holding the door, or checking people in, and knew no one…and now all these years later I walk into these galas as a guest and know so many people in the room, and they know me too. It’s a special thing, and it all started with that simple google search for “animal shelters near me.”

If you’ve been thinking about getting involved in animal rescue, do it. At the very least you’ll get to help animals in need, and at the very best, it will change your life like it did mine.

Makeup & Outfit Details

Wellness Essay makeup for the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC, by @natalie_la
Make up by @nalatie_la. My go-to makeup artist in NYC.
Wellness Essay makeup for the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC, by @natalie_la
Hair color: @tanacolors, blow-dry: @penelopeloveshair
Wellness Essay dress for the 2023 Benefit for Animals in NYC
Green dress linked here. And it’s on major sale right now too!

Xo,

Tedi

P.S. Want to see more from the Animal Haven gala? Check out my gala Instagram storie’s highlight here.

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