Through Passion and Love, Leslie Granger Leads Bideawee to a Bright Future

Bideawee President & CEO Leslie Granger
Bideawee President & CEO Leslie Granger

Leslie Granger was named President & CEO of Bideawee 2017. She was the former Vice President of Development and served most recently as the Chief External Relations Officer, overseeing marketing, development, and the volunteer program for more than six years.

In 2016, Leslie took a brief hiatus from Bideawee to help reestablish the New York City Opera but returned a year later to assume the role of President & CEO.

“Music and animals have always been my passions. I studied to be a concert clarinet player and what I learned is the importance of having a real passion for what you do in life,” said Leslie. “When you have that passion, it fuels your mission, translates to your audience, and motivates and inspires you to achieve your goals.”

Bideawee is a legendary organization. After a trip to Paris, Bideawee’s founder Mrs. Flora Kibbe witnessed the unique work of the Barrone d’Herpents Dog Refuge, and she transplanted the idea of a “no-kill” shelter to NYC. By the end of 1903, Bideawee was operating out of a building on the east side of Manhattan.

“Bideawee has been around for more than 118 years and our mission has always remained the same,” said Leslie.

She believes the organization’s success is built on three pillars: Preventing problems that impact pets and the people who love them, working to solve existing systemic problems, and cultivating and enhancing the human animal bond.

“Having a pet is a big responsibility, and in addition to rescue and adoption, we provide education and services to pet owners for them to truly bond with their pets,” said Leslie. “We are a trusted source of information and care.”

The need has never been greater. During the COVID-19 lockdown, millions of pets were adopted or purchased. It was life-saving for many who may have lived alone or found the lockdown difficult.

“The human-animal bond was critical during the lockdown,” said Leslie. “A lot of people might have not gotten through it without their pets.”

“The world of animal welfare can be harsh,” said Leslie. Her staff is often confronted with heart-breaking situations, which can lead to ‘compassion fatigue.’

“This is why having a deep passion for this work is so crucial. It’s my job to understand the pressures and challenges Bideawee’s staff and volunteers face and to support them in any and every way I can. They are the ones doing the heavy lifting day in and day out and we couldn’t do what we do without them.”

According to Leslie, it’s a testament to the passion and courage of Bideawee’s staff that the organization was able to remain open during the darkest days of the pandemic. “During COVID, operations never ceased. Adoptions were done virtually, our animal hospital in Westhampton continued to see clients, and our other programs, including our Feral Cat Initiative all thrived.” The organization has since returned to in-person visits and adoptions.

This is an incredibly exciting time for Bideawee. In the summer of 2022, Bideawee will open its new Manhattan headquarters in Chelsea. The organization continues to provide a vast array of services at both its Westhampton, and Wantagh location.

In addition to adoption, veterinary services, pet therapy, community initiatives and a robust volunteer program, Bideawe offers pet loss support groups and end-of-life services for pets. The organization operates two beautiful Pet Memorial Parks at its Westhampton and Wantagh locations. 

“The Bideawee Pet Memorial Parks in Westhampton and Wantagh are special places,” said Leslie Granger, President and CEO of Bideawee. “It is a place of peace for families, their pets, and any visitor who comes to the park. We even have tours. It makes an impact on everyone.”

With a vast array of services aimed at helping pets and the people who love them at every stage in their life, it’s no wonder that Bideawee has been around for more than 100 years and is poised to be around for 100 more. 

“At Bideawee, we focus on happiness. We want our animals, and many times their humans, to get a second start,” said Leslie. “It is intense and emotional work, but the rewards are incredible.”

Learn more about Bideawee and their mission at bideawee.org.

Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.

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