Graduates of CNM: Marisa Yaniro

Marisa is the Foster Care Manager at Animal Humane of New Mexico and has helped the shelter find smart new ways to care for pets during the COVID-19 pandemic
September 15, 2020

Marisa Yaniro was promoted to the Foster Care Manager position at Animal Humane of New Mexico back in March of this year just as COVID-19 hit. Over the next three months she and her team would help some 300 pets find new foster homes while Animal Humane temporarily reduced the number of pets it could house during the pandemic. 

Luckily, Marisa had a lot of support. Hundreds of new foster care volunteers and foster caregivers immediately got in touch and Marisa went about reviewing their applications and eventually setting many up to temporarily house pets in need.

“We were able to ensure these pets were cared for thanks to the generosity of the public,” she says. “We had an incredible outpouring of support and we’ve held onto many of the new volunteers, which means our foster care network has expanded exponentially.”

Marisa has cared for animals all her life and graduated from CNM’s Veterinary Technology program back in 2012, making her a Registered Veterinary Technician. That program came highly recommended to her by her vet, and after graduating she went on to spend eight years caring for sick and injured animals at various organizations.

“CNM gave me a really solid education and truly set me up for success,” she says. “I’ve used what I learned there throughout my career.”

Photo of Marisa Yaniro.

Marisa started at Animal Humane as a vet tech, too, but moved to the foster care position because that organization has many animals that need to be cared for temporarily before they can be adopted. For example, young pets—kittens under a certain weight and dogs under a certain age—have to be fostered until they’re big or old enough to get spayed or neutered. 

Animals that just underwent other surgeries and are still recovering, as well as animals that are working on behavioral issues, are also placed in foster homes. Oftentimes, the foster homes specialize in young animals, or health care or behavior, so that Marisa knows who to contact for a specific animal. 

In addition to her placement work, Marisa still uses her medical training every day. All of the incoming pets who head out to foster homes need an initial medical assessment, which she performs. She’s also the first point of contact for all injuries and illnesses while the pets are in foster care.

“There’s still a huge medical aspect to my work, which I really love,” she says. 

Right now Animal Humane is open for adoptions, but by appointment only. Transfers from other shelter partners around the state continue to pour in. And as a result of COVID-19 restrictions that kept veterinarians from performing spay and neuter surgeries, there’s also been a spike in puppies and kittens. All of this means the Foster Care Department at Animal Humane, and all of their foster home partners, continue to be significantly busier than normal.

For Marisa the juggle is a lot of work, but she couldn’t be happier knowing that she’s making a difference for animals in need.

“Animals are my sunshine, they make me happy,” she says. “I’ve always known that this is what I was meant to do.”