“I don’t know how you do it”. It’s a comment that I am constantly receiving from strangers, friends, and family when it comes to my job.
Hi, I’m Rachel and I am a Dog Care Attendant at Meridian Canine Rescue. I’m writing this blog post in hopes to shed a little light on not necessarily HOW I do it, but WHY. My why, to be exact.
The first and obvious reason is that like many people – I was born with an intense love for animals, specifically dogs. When I came across the add that the rescue was hiring I thought “this is my chance to be paid to love dogs”. What could be greater than that?! Little did I know, my job quickly became so much more than just being paid to love dogs. It became my passion.
I was trained and thrown into the world of rescue. I quickly learned so many things I hadn’t known about dogs before. Just when I thought I knew everything, I was given endless knowledge on dog body language, behavior, enrichment, trigger stacking, dog care, and so much more.
One of my “why’s” is because this job helped me to understand dogs more. It helped me learn how to love them better. Treat them better. Have more patience, and understanding. I started to see each dog as an individual. It made me a better mom to my three dogs at home. It made me a better dog care attendant. The rescue is constantly improving, changing, and striving to do better for the dogs. Not only am I constantly learning and growing in this environment, I have so much pride to be part of an organization that always puts the needs of our dogs above all else. I am a small, and yet crucial part of something much larger than myself and the joy this role brings me is incomparable to any role I’ve had before.
Caring for the dogs at MCR is an honor. I get to be an advocate and voice for these dogs. I spend a good portion of my time at work with each and every dog – getting to know their individual personalities and needs. Part of my job is writing their bio’s when they become available for adoption. I get to help these dogs tell their stories to the world. Being a voice and advocate for them is so important. As much as we wish they could speak to us – they can only “tell” us so much. This is another “why” for me. These dogs need humans who care enough to be their voice and tell their stories. To express their needs, provide information to potential adopters, and help them find the best home possible.
We’re going to get a little personal for this next “why”. MCR came into my life during a time I didn’t realize I needed it most. After a long time of struggling with anxiety and depression – living in a new place where I didn’t know anyone or have any friends or family, I found a home away from home. I found a community of like minded people who shared a love for dogs like I did. The staff, volunteers, and dogs at MCR have become one big family to me. They support and encourage me daily. They inspire me to always do my best. I have this great sense of belonging and love for the community that MCR has cultivated, and it has helped my mental health greatly. Yes, there are moments where we see dogs come from sad or otherwise unfortunate situations, and that does strike a chord where it hurts – but, we get to change the lives of these dogs collectively. We have the support of each-other to help turn this dog’s life around for the better and for that reason alone, this is my “why”.
The good done at MCR always outweighs the bad or sad situations we may experience. Seeing these dogs find their forever families after their time with us is a bittersweet feeling I cannot explain if you have not witnessed it yourself. At MCR we all share a part in the success of our organization. Every staff member, every volunteer plays a key role in the quality of life during a dog’s stay with us. We are each a stepping stone for these dogs on their path to a new start – a new chapter in their story. We know that when one dog goes home, there is a new opportunity to do it all over and change the life of another dog in need. Another “why” comes through the front doors and takes a space not only in our facility, but our hearts too.
As we’re coming to the end of this blog post, I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to read this. If you love animals and have ever thought about becoming a part of a rescue organization please take the leap. It’s beyond worth it. There are so many ways you can help organizations like ours. Volunteer. Foster. Adopt. Donate. Educate. Advocate.
My only advice is to find your “why” and embrace it because at the end of the day it’s not HOW you do it. It’s WHY you do it.
- Written by MCR’s Dog Care Attendant, Rachel