Sarah Quintanilla, national coordinator, shelter collaborative program
Since Sarah was younger, she always gravitated towards animals. Before animal welfare, Sarah attended The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and received a bachelor's degree in chemistry. Right after graduating, she knew she really wanted to help animals anywhere she could. Sarah started her career in animal welfare in 2018 at her local shelter, Palm Valley Animal Center. At that time, it was one of the highest intake facilities in the nation, with little to no resources. She started out as a social media manager for urgent animal cases, but shortly after that joined the rescue team in transferring and transporting animals to their partners outside of the RGV area. From there, Sarah became the first employee in the shelter's new community cat program. Sarah worked her way up to Director of Lifesaving Outcomes, overseeing the rescue and transport program, community cat program, and adoption programs. Sarah also fostered several bottle babies and ringworm kittens in her time there and continues to do so. The shelter went from below a 50% save rate to hitting no-kill for the first time in their history. Sarah's time at the shelter taught her that teamwork and supporting shelter staff is everything. Sarah is excited to now be a part of the Shelter Collaborative Program at Best Friends and be in a position that will help shelters across the country! Sarah has always lived in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, currently residing in McAllen with her husband, dog Peanut, and 3 cats Izzy, Poppy, and Garfield.