A round of ap-paws to three new (human) faces at our shelter: Lauren Orsini, Mary Anne Sledzinski and Tara Vito. We warmly welcome these talented, animal-loving advocates to our team!
Much to our delight, Lauren Orsini will be joining the CAHS Board of Directors for a second term of service. Lauren has been instrumental in the creation of CAHS, practicing a long labor of love for the Valley’s neediest animals. In fact, she has been involved with CAHS since before our building was even constructed, and helped raise funds necessary to open our doors. She went on to wear a number of hats after those doors were opened, serving as a board member and Chair of the Educational Outreach Committee, performing direct animal care and also serving on our Special Events Committee. Lauren has served as our Volunteer Coordinator (as a volunteer herself) for the past year.
In addition to wearing many hats at CAHS, Lauren has also worn many hats in our community. As a former police officer, Lauren served as Animal Control Officer for the town of Jackson. She has always loved animals and has an extensive career history to prove it: vet assistant, farm animal caretaker, wildlife rehabilitation assistant, humane educator, endangered species biologist, petsitter and more. Lauren currently works for NH Legal Assistance as a Paralegal Advocate. NH Legal Assistance is a nonprofit law firm that gives free legal advice to low income residents, senior citizens and domestic violence victims. Lauren’s work with this organization is based out of their North Country Office in Berlin.
Outside of the Valley, Lauren has lived on a sanctuary for farm animals in Colorado and worked at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. Lauren holds a degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and is currently in school online at Duke University. She lives with her husband Andy (another longtime CAHS board member) in Glen, along with their three children.
Lauren is especially passionate about the transports CAHS performs since she is originally from Alabama and has seen firsthand what the homeless animal situation is like in the deep South. In the future, she hopes to see CAHS continue doing incredible, life-saving work, and hopes for more educational outreach. She also hopes to help tackle the ‘lack of housing with pets’ issue in the valley, the main reason that CAHS gets so many owner surrenders.
Mary Anne Sledzinski
Mary Anne serves as our Bookkeeper at CAHS. She brings a deeply rooted love of animals to our organization, as well as the desire to help our neediest creatures in the Mount Washington Valley community. Although recently joining our team late this summer, Mary Anne is one of the most welcoming people at the office, always lending a listening ear and stories to share.
Mary Anne has been a fan of the shelter since its inception. She moved to the Mount Washington Valley in 1988 from the Great North Woods where she lived in the country. An animal lover through and through, Mary Anne has always had at least one dog and several cats. She and her husband John have adopted two dogs from the shelter, including their current dog Shadow (also known as ‘Chew-barka’). Shadow was adopted nearly eight years ago as a tiny puppy. How time flies! Mary Anne enjoys giving back and is thankful to be part of an organization that is dedicated to a worthy cause. What could be more heartwarming than rescuing innocent animals?
I am also a new member to the CAHS team! I will be working as our resident writer. I grew up along the rocky shores of Rhode Island before moving to Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta allowed me the opportunity to work for some of the most well-known independent schools in the country as a school librarian, community service director and outdoors instructor. I have always had a passion for serving my community and have held several leadership positions for literacy, education, social justice, environmental and nonprofit organizations at state and national levels. I received my Masters of Library and Information Services from the University of Rhode Island, summa cum laude, and Bachelors of Psychology from Rhode Island College, magna cum laude. I am a member of several honors societies and am also endorsed as a technical writer.
My love for animals is significant and began as a young child, investigating ants in my backyard and helping pigeons with broken wings. I am currently the proud owner of Abby, a CAHS rescue kitty! I have shared my life with many animals – cats, dogs, lizards, small mammals – even tadpoles and a chinchilla! I am a huge advocate for greyhound rescues and have even fostered gerbils. I feel honored to be writing for such a wonderful organization. I believe that every creature deserves a loving home and am proud to give voices to those in need.
Some of my happiest memories involve long distance hiking, traveling the country for marathons and performing disaster relief across the southeastern United States. After spending a summer hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, I decided to move to New Hampshire. My favorite marathon to date is Big Sur. I have not given up my dream of Boston, although this cold weather has literally stopped me in my tracks. If anyone has advice on how to run long distances in sub 30 degree temperatures, please let me know. I am also searching for rollerbladers, a species that doesn’t seem to exist in Washington Valley (yet). Perhaps we can have osme skating events to benefit the animals at CAHS.