Andrea Grane, Best Friends Planned Giving Officer for the Northeast region, with a dogAndrea Grane
Gift planner, Northeast region

As a little girl sitting in my high chair eating dinner, it was always one bite for me and one bite for my dogs. And when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them - vegetarian. (I meant veterinarian, of course.) I've always had a love for animals and growing up around them has taught me immeasurable lessons that I continue to learn today.

I worked in the art industry for many years, but a tiny emaciated puppy named Atlas (who I fostered and eventually adopted), changed the course of my life. Atlas was rescued from a not-yet-no-kill shelter in Tennessee, and he opened my eyes and my heart to what was happening in shelters across America. From then on, I spent all my spare time volunteering at local shelters, doing everything from cleaning kennels to hosting adoption events and fundraisers. It was then that I learned that my true calling was in animal welfare. Prior to joining Best Friends, I was given the great opportunity to start my planned giving career working for Bideawee, one of America's first no-kill shelters, located in New York.

I may not be a veterinarian today, but my passion for helping animals has never ceased. And I'd like to think that the five-year-old me is happy that I work for Best Friends - a place that resonates so much with my mission and my heart's intent. Today, I still have Atlas, as well as two other wonderful dogs named Leonidas and Muffin. Atlas, Leonidas and Muffin let my husband and me share their bed in Austin, Texas.