Joanne O’Connell has devoted practically her entire life to the care and well-being of animals, so it’s no surprise that she’s here at The ARK at JFK. What’s more amazing, she has filled most of her adulthood with a life of consideration for other people, and doing so with the help of her caring dogs.
You may have already seen Joanne’s companion Aiden, who is an ambassador for The ARK.
For almost a decade, Joanne has served as a fundraiser, docent and puppy raiser for The Guide Dog Foundation as well as for America’s VetDogs. Over the past eight years, Joanne has raised six puppies, five of whom became assistance dogs: three guide dogs (for people who are blind) and two service dogs (for veterans with disabilities). For the past three years, she and Aiden have served as visiting therapists, continuing the prior eight years of service Joanne and her beloved shepherd Shadow performed for Therapy Dogs International.
Aiden also serves as an ambassador dog for The Guide Dog Foundation. He was released from the guide dog program as a puppy for a potential medical issue and adopted by his puppy raiser Joanne. Aiden is still able to help people in another way, so Joanne signed him up for the Foundation’s ambassador dog program, where he goes on speaking engagements to schools, clubs, and other events.
If that wasn’t enough, for over 15 years, Joanne has been a Wishing Granter, fundraiser and event co-chair for Make-A-Wish.
In her spare time, she found success in corporate America with the unique experience of being devoted to the same company for 35 years as a successful Engineer, Manager and Executive, trading on her demonstrated leadership, organizational, and operational abilities. Joanne’s business acumen, empathy, and interpersonal abilities helped her to work with and support such notable firms for 25 years on Wall Street at Citibank, JP Morgan and SmithBarney, then moving to Long Island becoming HP’s Account Executive to Canon USA. Throughout her professional career and years of humanitarian efforts, Joanne has been recognized by those she has helped with numerous Volunteer, Customer Satisfaction and Client Service Excellence Awards, not to mention the numbers of shout-outs from appreciative people on Social Media. If only animals could Tweet.
You can see how we knew immediately that there is no better person than Joanne to manage the ARK Pet Oasis and the Aviary here at The ARK. She and Aiden live in Nassau County with Joanne’s loving and supportive husband, Sean.