Love & Friendship Adoption Center Animal Care Team

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Berklee Hanson

Animal Care Coordinator

Berklee graduated from NICC with an Associates degree and Veterinary Assistant Certificate. She worked with HSNEI for two years as an Animal Care Assistant, before returning as Animal Care Coordinator. In the photo with her are just a few of her fur-babies, Bear (right) and Remmy (left). Berklee loves animals with a passion and this is her absolute dream job to help animals.

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Sarah King

Operations Coordinator

Sarah has been involved with HSNEI for years through fostering or bringing in stray cats. She has always wanted to help animals on a bigger scale and working at HSNEI makes that possible. At home, her house is full, with a dog, three cats, multiple foster kittens, a tortoise and two kids who are also animal lovers. She enjoys living in Decorah where she loves hiking with her dog, Rosie, exploring and being an amateur paleontologist. When not busy taking care of animals or kids, she enjoys reading, knitting and spending time with family.

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Elizabeth Hemesath

Veterinary Technician

Elizabeth works at the hospital and went to NICC for large animal vet tech training. She decided to join the Humane Society as a veterinary technician to utilize that portion of her education! She has two rescued animals currently, a cat and a horse, who she loves dearly, and they take up most of her free time. In her spare time she is usually with her horse or working on sewing up custom items for her, or dog and cat toys for family and friends. In the summer, she also enjoys going out on the rivers kayaking or hiking on the nearby trails.

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Brittney Ehrie

Animal Care Assistant Supervisor

Brittney has always lived in the country in Decorah, Iowa. She has always had animals as pets: cats, dogs, cows, horses, rabbits, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. Her favorite animals are Boxers. 
The Humane Society is a great place for her to continue her passion for animals.  She enjoys learning each animal's personality. Her goal is to provide happiness for these animals and she hopes that each finds their forever home. 

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Tess Hilgerson

Animal Care Assistant Supervisor

Tess Hilgerson grew up on her family’s small dairy farm just outside of Elkader, IA. Growing up, Tess showed her family’s dairy cattle alongside her siblings. She was in 4-H, FFA, and on the Clayton County Youth Council, where she participated in many different competitions like soils judging, dairy judging, agronomy, livestock judging, public speaking, and parliamentary procedure. Currently, she is a Luther College student majoring in computer science. When she’s not working or doing homework, she mainly spends time with friends or goes home for the weekend to help on the farm. Tess was very excited when she saw an open position for part time at HSNEI because she still adores taking care of cats and dogs. On her farm back home, they always had two dogs and too many cats to count. Her favorite part about this position is being able to give the animals affection and attention until they find their forever homes.

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Sydney Nelson

Animal Care Assistant

Sydney Nelson is from Albert Lea, Minnesota. She is currently attending Luther College for Nursing. She has always had dogs and/or cats at her home. In her free time, she likes to spend her time with family, friends, and her dog Ruby. She has really enjoyed her time so far at HSNEI. She loves getting to see all the animals and care for them, and thinks that it’s very rewarding working with them. She looks forward to working at HSNEI during her time at Luther College.

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Abbie Ostrum

Animal Care Assistant

Abbie Ostrum lives in Rosemount, MN but she is currently a nursing student at Luther College. She was drawn to HSNEI through a work-study opportunity offered on campus, and she's been in love with the job ever since! Abbie grew up with dogs always in her house, but she has a love for all animals. In her free time on campus, Abbie likes to hang out with friends and family, participate in the Luther Student Nursing Association, play her clarinet in the band ensembles on campus, and play with her dog Lucy whenever she is at home. She loves her work at HSNEI because she enjoys having part of her day being dedicated to caring for animals, and it is very rewarding to see them go off into loving homes. She loves Decorah, and is super excited to make Luther and HSNEI her home for the next few years!

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Matthew Bell

Animal Care Assistant

Matthew Bell is originally from Rosemount, Minnesota and is currently a student at Luther College. He was drawn to working at HSNEI after volunteering there for a couple of months during the school year. Matthew has grown up with multiple pets in his house including a dog named Radar and a cat named Hammy. Matthew likes singing in choir at college, hanging out with friends, and following his favorite Minnesota sports teams. He likes working at HSNEI because he likes caring for and being around animals. Matthew is very grateful to be accepted by both the HSNEI and Decorah communities.

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Whitney Cotent

Animal Care Assistant

Whitney has been volunteering at HSNEI since 2018 before becoming a part time animal care assistant. She enjoys spending time with the adoptable dogs and cats at the shelter, especially getting the dogs out for exercise and fresh air. After graduating from Winona State University, she moved back to her home town Cresco, where she enjoys spending time with family, friends, her cats and her bearded dragon, Puff. In her free time, she enjoys painting, drawing and being outdoors. Through her work as both a nurse aide and animal care assistant, she loves the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

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Brian Lang

Animal Care Assistant

Brian is recently retired after 31 years with ISU Extension. He has had pets throughout his life, with the most recent being a cat adopted a few years ago from HSNEI. Now with retirement, Brian looks forward to spending some of that time working at the shelter helping critters find their forever homes.

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Megan Manweiler

Animal Care Assistant

Megan Manweiler grew up on a 7 acre dairy farm, just outside of Sumner, Ia. Megan currently manages and is a partial owner of LucyAnn Acres with her sister. This is where she raises, shows and sells registered dairy cows and heifers. She participated in FFA, 4-H, and National Honor Society, throughout high school. She graduated from Sumner-Fredericksburg High School in May of 2021, and is now studying Dairy Science and Agribusiness at NICC.