Working for the Animals
Last week I visited a local jewelry repair shop to have a ring repaired. The service was friendly and fast enough, but probably would have been faster had I not been wearing a work shirt with the SPCA Albrecht Center logo on the front. The very nice lady behind the counter noticed and before even telling me her name, told me all about her dog, Grace, whom she adopted from our shelter two years ago.
This happens a lot. People love their pets, and whether they recognize the logo or not, the cat and dog seem to trigger a happy reaction that makes them want to share their stories with a fellow animal lover.
I love the stories, especially the ones about former shelter pets who are now living happy, well-loved lives like Grace, or like Elsa, who went from shivering in the cold on a chain, to life in a warm home surrounded by a loving family. You may have read her story in the paper last week. Those stories make the sadder parts of a job in animal welfare easier to bear.
Sometimes though, wearing the logo and representing the organization spurs questions that I'm not qualified to answer, like "Do you have any small spotted dogs who are good with kids?" "Got any long-haired cats that like dogs and play fetch?" or "My dog raises his back leg when he eats and only barks at redheads, what's up with that?"
When I get these questions, and try to explain that I don't actually work directly with the animals and refer them to our pet care or veterinarian staff, they return a confused expression. "But, you work at the SPCA, right?"
Yes, I do. And while I do make an effort to have daily contact with at least some of the animals, usually on my way in or out of the office, the majority of my work is done away from the animals.
There are plenty of others like me who work in animal welfare, but away from the adoption floors and kennels. Administrators, marketers, bookkeepers, program developers and coordinators, fundraisers, grant writers, public communicators, store managers and receptionists are all positions needed to run an organization like the Albrecht Center, and the people who work these jobs are typically tied to a desk rather than the end of a leash and stroking computer keys instead of furry heads.
Our work may not be with the animals, but it is done entirely for the animals. It's not always the kind of job someone has in mind when deciding to work or volunteer for an animal welfare organization. But it's important work that must be done in order to keep a successful organization running smoothly so that the mission can be fulfilled.
Right now, we're looking for animal-loving, people-friendly folks to join our team working away from but for the animals in our Thrift Shops. These stores account for a very large portion of the Albrecht Center's annual revenue. Without donations to and sales from these stores, many of the programs offered by the organization would not be funded. Full time, staff positions are available in these stores for people with retail and customer service experience. You can read more at LetLoveLive.org/jobs or if you think you're a good fit, email your resume to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also need volunteers in these stores to assist staff members with donation sorting, pricing,
store organization, cleaning, and customer service. As a volunteer, you can make your own schedule, from a couple of hours per week to several days per week. Visit LetLoveLive.org/volunteer or www.LetLoveLive.org/thriftshops for information.
If you're more interested in working or volunteering hands-on with the animals, we also have positions open in our Veterinary Care Center as a Licensed Veterinary Technician, and in our shelter as a Pet Care Specialist.
Information on all open positions can be found at LetLoveLive.org/jobs and volunteer information at LetLoveLive.org/volunteer.
Sarah Neikam is the Director of Organizational Development for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She is an Aiken native and has been with the SPCA since 2012. Sarah's family includes three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady, who are all living happy, loved lives thanks to the efforts of the SPCA.