Shelby West and her dog Oso take a break from hiking to smile for the camera.

Shelby West, a 2015 Animal Science alum, is headed onto
a new and exciting venture as she opens her very own
grooming business. This has been years in the making
as the entrepreneur started her love for animals right
in the classroom. “I have always been drawn to animals
in general. I grew up around them,” she explained,
“I knew I wanted to go into this class because wherever
I ended up, I knew it would involve animals. I learned
so much there. I had so many great opportunities and
I recommend it to everybody.” After graduating, West
headed to Medaille University in Buffalo, New York,
and studied to be a Veterinary Technician. On school
breaks, she would come home and spend time working
at a grooming salon in Ithaca. This is where she really
found her passion. “I pretty much fell in love with what I
was doing there. I worked at that location for five years.
They taught me a lot, but ended up closing in March,” she
shared. With her knowledge and the salon closing, it was a
no-brainer to start her own business. In April of this year,
A Paw Above LLC was opened to the public. West also
works alongside Michaela Teeter, another graduate from
the TST BOCES Animal Science program.

When asked about her favorite memories at Career and
Tech, she could not pick just one. “I would not be able
to choose just one favorite memory. I met a group of
friends there that I still talk to now and we all took the
class together,” said West. She credits her teacher, Mrs.
LeFever, for always encouraging her to go outside of her
comfort zone and grow as an individual. West believes this
was a critical part of her development, especially when
it came to preparing for college and taking those next
big steps.

In addition to personal and professional networking,
she recommends students look into TST BOCES for
their own academic step-up saying, “I think they should
go to BOCES one hundred percent. It is a really good
opportunity for students because it is the only way to get
this training for free before you are an adult and people
expect so much more of you. If this is something they are
passionate about then they should definitely give it a try.”
For more information on Career and Technical programs,
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