Atlantan William Shaheen with Sugar
Location: Atlanta Humane Society
Date taken: December 26, 2012
The numbers speak for themselves: 87 staff members, 800 volunteers, 7,500 adoptions a year. The Atlanta Humane Society is caring for Atlanta’s cats and dogs every day, and providing leadership to the organization’s dedicated staff and volunteers is William Shaheen, who served on the Society’s board for 12 years before becoming its president in 2011.
“Initially, when I was offered the position, I viewed it as life’s second half transition,” said Shaheen, who worked in industrial real estate before becoming the Society’s president. “But I love this organization, and I wanted to do something meaningful with my life. This is a mission-driven organization. You can see the good being done on a daily basis, whether it’s the rescue of an animal from a bad situation or a family walking out the door with a new pet.”
In the past year, the Atlanta Humane Society has made quite a few changes, including opening a new facility in Alpharetta, extending the low-cost neuter program to five days a week and getting rid of the cages in the puppy room.
“There are a lot of great non-profits in this city that serve people, but for some reason, maybe because they can’t speak for themselves, I feel drawn to take care of animals,” said William. “I want to be an advocate for their welfare.”
Williams’ first childhood pet was a Saint Bernard. As an adult, he fell in love with Rottweilers and has always owned at least one, including the three he has now – Hannah, Cane and Lilly. William’s friends often tell stories about his love of animals, including the fact that at social gatherings they are most likely to find William off somewhere playing with the host’s pets.
“There’s a lot of joy in owning a pet,” said William. “You can have a rough day and your dog is still glad to see you. The stress of the day melts away when you play with a pet. For me, my greatest clarity comes when I go run with my dogs. Without them, the clarity isn’t there. There is something about the connection you have with a pet that goes beyond words.”
Learn about the resources and services offered by the Atlanta Humane Society at www.atlantahumane.org.