Jon was born and raised in Connecticut, and growing up he always had a passion for animals of all kinds. There wasn’t a time in his life that he didn’t have some type of animal around, which didn’t only include the “typical” pets, but everything from pocket pets, to lizards, and more! He worked with rescue organizations, shelters, farms, and even wildlife, and but found himself drawn to more than just being around them. In 2010, while training with a local emergency service, Jon began to notice the many calls that involved animals where “human services” were unable to help. Sometimes it was incidents such as pets displaced from a house fire, other times it was animals stuck in situations that required technical rescue, but there were few places to turn. He began to think about how to better address these challenges, and that was right when Hurricane Irene loomed down on Connecticut.
When the hurricane made landfall there were many communities impacted, and as a member of the emergency response team there were requests for animal help. Jon stepped up and offered his knowledge and connections to see what assistance he could provide, and soon found himself coordinating animal response operations all along the Connecticut shoreline. After things settled down following the storm, Jon realized that his passion truly sat in helping these animals – and their people – when they needed it the most. He began to formulate an idea which would lay the foundation for EARS and eventually develop in to the start of the organization.
Shortly after beginning EARS, Jon decided it was time to make animals not only his interest and passion, but his career, and he dedicated himself to veterinary medicine. He began working in a General Practice hospital and enjoyed learning everything he could and assisting doctors and staff with things. But GP work was not really what he was interested in, Jon was truly interested in aspects of emergency medicine and how it could be applied to the responses EARS had been involved with. After three years of working at the GP hospital, Jon landed a position at the VCA Shoreline Veterinary Emergency & Referral Center, which was a location he had worked together with through EARS. His position and involvement in the hospital rapidly expanded, and he loved the opportunity to combine his learning from inside the hospital to his experiences outside, and instantly the two areas melded together.
Since the very first days he has led the EARS Team in its evolution from a disaster-focused team to a multi-faceted team with expertise and an ability to respond to emergency incidents, disaster situations, animal medical calls, owner assistance, and more.
Not only does Jon run the day-to-day operations of EARS, as well as respond to calls, but he also conducts much of the outreach programs for public, veterinary, and emergency services. He says that one of the favorite parts about being involved with EARS is the chance to bring education to people and to help them better prepare for pet emergencies they may face. He especially enjoys the outreach that EARS does for kids, and the chance to let them know about the type of animal things they could do when they grown up. Jon currently lives with three rescue cats, and his side-kick Australian Cattle Dog “Coyote,” who has become the EARS mascot and is the inspiration for the original EARS logo. If you have any questions for Jon, he welcomes you to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he would be happy to answer them!