Who can make HAPPY TAILS wag?
These qualities and more belong to the caretakers at the St. Josephs Bay Humane Society (SJBHS). The staff includes kennel technicians and adoption coordinators under the supervision of the shelter director. Taking care of 60 plus dogs and many more cats on a daily basis is a daunting task that is handled by the SJBHS team along with many dedicated volunteers.
The first human the animals see at five o’clock in the morning is Elle Lipa, Kennel Technician. Her job is to feed everyone, give them potty breaks, and then start the exercise and play group rotations in the multiple yards. Yes, the dogs do get to run and play at this facility. The dogs are matched for temperament and then are assigned to play groups. The cats spend time in the “Catio,” their outside, enclosed play patio. The kittens play in the “kitty condo.” After getting everyone settled, Elle then begins to clean the inside kennels. Elle stated, “If I have the time I spoil them rotten as if they were my own pets.”
Brandi Price, Senior Kennel Technician has worked at SJBHS for six years. She has seen dogs and cats come to the shelter in bad shape, sometimes irreversible, due to neglect. Many do bounce back and find loving forever homes. Brandi is responsible for animal intake (paperwork), evaluation, and distribution of meds. She also does microchipping and sadly sometimes euthanasia. Brandi dreams of having her own rescue facility someday. If that does not happen she plans on continuing working in rescue. Brandi said, “Whether it’s a misfit pit bull that learns to trust me, or the orphan kittens who love me as their mother, the bond formed is just the same.”
Caisey Rodgers and Debbie Fountain are Adoption Coordinators at SJBHS. The adoption coordinators are responsible for finding the perfect homes for the animals. Think of them as the matchmakers of the shelter world! Caisey and Debbie find the best matches for the dogs, cats, and kittens which takes many hours getting to know potential adopters vis phone, email, videos, and Facebook. They also do checks with veterinarians if the potential adopters have had other pets. The coordinators must get to know all the animals so they know when the match is right. They complete all necessary paperwork for the adoptions. They also show animals to potential adopters. Caisey stated, “ I know we, as a staff, have done a great job when an adopter comes in months later with their dog and the dog is overjoyed to see us; their health is near perfection and you can see the love in their eyes that they have for their new mom and dad. The bleached clothes, pooped on feet, scratched arms, tired muscles, hours of photos, hours of emails, countless phone calls are all worth that one moment.”
SJBHS Shelter Director, Melody Townsend, summed it up this way, “One extraordinary part of the job is to see the transformation of the pets that come to us. So many come to us scared, abused, neglected or simply unwanted by whatever humans they had in their life. We are able to give them the love they have never known. Seeing this love, care, and rehabilitation transform these pets and inevitably prepare them for a new life is an incredible feeling.”
It’s a team effort by all staff members and volunteers to make these HAPPY TAILS!