Sunday, May 24, 2009

How many hats can you wear?

We got to talking about the jobs we do supporting Pawfect Match Rescue, and it turned from interesting, to amusing, to inspiring. Not everyone does all of these things, of course, but many of us do many of them. And, I am definitely not minimizing the effort required to do these jobs as a living - we recognize that as professions these jobs are much, much more involved than what we do. Take this in the spirit it is meant - food for thought, a reflection of the dedication, sweat equity, and just plain heart that we all pour into this effort:

Some of the hats we wear:
  • Volunteer: none of us get paid (cash) for what we do, and almost all of us have full time jobs - we volunteer for PMR in our spare time.
  • Business Owner: A 501(c)3 takes work, and PMR is a business like any other small one, just not-for-profit.
  • Nurse: sick dogs, injured dogs. Injured people. Deworming, baths with medication, ear cleaning, eye drops, nose drops, vaccinations, grooming, tick removal, temperature taking, weighing, whelping, giving meds, giving subQ fluids.... I am sure there is more.
  • Event Coordinator: fun events, fundraising events, wine tastings, silent auctions, raffles, small weekend adopt-a-thons and huge annual events. Always something to plan and manage.
  • Trainer: training dogs. Housebreaking dogs. Crate training dogs. Training PEOPLE.
  • Psychologist: Reading the moods and intents of dogs. Dealing with the moods and intents of hoomins. Dealing with the moods and intents of volunteers, board members, and partners.
  • Midwife: whelping litters of pups born of bitches that are usually NOT in good health - wormy, malnurished, and often carrying infectious diseases. Getting up every few hours to make sure all of the pups are fed when there are more pups than teats. Weighing each one every night. Praying that every pup is healthy. Crying when we lose one.
  • Matchmaker: finding the perfect dog for your.... apartment, 5 acres, frightened 2 year old, cats, carpets, work schedule, breed preference, that just-right coat pattern...
  • Transporter: getting dogs to adoptions. Getting dogs to events. Getting dogs from shelters. Getting dogs to foster homes. Meeting someone at the border of Georgia for a transport.
  • Educator: teaching new adopters everything we've learned over the last 8 years - in one hour.
  • Foster Parent: taking in a damage, frightened, sick living being, nursing them and nurturing them to health, trust, and love, and then handing them over to someone else to be loved for the rest of their life.
  • Photographer: Terabytes of digital photos of dogs. Hopefully remembering which dog is which picture when the whole litter looks the same. Getting a fast enough camera to catch a moving puppy without breaking the teenytiny nonprofit bank. Cursing when the flash inexplicably decides to NOT work during that pawfect moment when you actually did have the camera ready...
  • Web Site Manager: The site is never finished. Adding new dogs. Moving adopted dogs to the Successes Page. Typing through tears when you add a loved one to the Rainbow Bridge page. Laughing at the memories when you add new stories. Adding new events and taking off the old ones. Thanking goodness for
  • Counselor: We take responsibility for our dogs even after the adoptions. Puppies can be frustrating. Grown dogs can be frustrating if they've spent their whole life not being managed. Hoomins can be frustrating. Nuff said. Plenty of advice and counseling to go around.
  • Answering Service/Help Desk: I filled out my app this morning, can I have my dog now? My puppy just peed on the carpet, what's wrong with it? I need to give away my dog, can you take it? Do you have cats? Is it OK to call at 2 in the morning? Do you have a dog under 20 pounds that does not shed, or bark, or bite, is housebroken, and is all-around perfect?
  • Evaluator: Oh goodness, this is a hard one. How do you know if it is a good match? Are the adopters telling the truth? Is this dog adoptable? Will the dog behave differently in an adoptive home than it does in the foster home? Do these people have the patience needed to finish the work we've started with this dog? Do we spend $500 on surgery on this pup?
  • Waste Removal Engineer: I can tell you that I know the best pooper picker uppers on the market today. Little plastic bags. Big plastic bags. Lots and LOTS of bags of poop. Heck, we're even poopamancers now - reading health by analyzing the poop. No details needed - I will spare you that. Thank goodness for tile floors.
I am sure I am missing some of the jobs. Feel free to chime in with your suggested additions to the list. Perhaps we should be Renaissance Dog Rescue. Has a ring to it...

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