i thought i would introduce you to each of our staff and a little about what they actually do...
Renee has been here forever...going on almost 10 yrs??? and she knows this place inside and out, can work in any area and can pretty much read my mind now. Renee is almost finished her Bachelors in Psychology degree and has a sideline of modelling and acting work. Renee manages the house area, takes care of much of the medical stuff including booking and doing vet runs and is a huge advocate for our animals. All of them adore her, even the kind of picky and pissy ones! She is pretty much second in command here when i am not around. Renee has fostered several of our animals and provided them with palliative care. Renee is my non judgemental buffer listening zone when stuff around here starts to drive me crazy!
Erin started out as a volunteer and then moved into a staff position. She is a working mom and has quite a few of our broken animals at her home currently and several past saints animals as well! Erin is super organized and has very high standards of care for our animals. She is in charge of the MP building which has dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs and a turtle so she has made sure to do the research to provide all of the various species with top quality care. Erin will drop everything in a second and rush up here on her off time to help out in any kind of crises. If the animals need anything, Erin will make sure they get it. I really rely on Erin's opinion..not so much because we always agree ( we do agree many times!) but because she is not afraid to speak her mind ior offer a different view so i use her a lot to filter thru various ideas and wandering thoughts because i know erin will always tell me whatever she thinks she should.
Kevin has been our main barn person but is starting to branch out into other areas of animal care here. He has a very soft and calm approach with the animals and is much loved by all of the staff. Kevin ends up being our go-to guy when something is broken, too heavy or requires a ladder to reach and he is always right there to help us get things fixed. he is also one of our staff that is managing our Inmate Work Program with one of the local min. security prisons. Kevin took puff-daddy home as a foster, and those who know puff know he is a handful in not very many nice ways!
Kevin is one of the first to volunteer when something is up and we need more help and we can always count on him to help get things done. Kevin is highly organized, has a great work ethic and cares deeply for the animals in his care.
Anne was fostering/then volunteering and now a staff person who still fosters and volunteers to help with stuff i hate, like schedules, computer crap and occasionally she and renee take turns spending the night here so i can get away! Anne is our resident groomer and can also work in any animal area here on the farm, doing pretty much any job as needed. she is our main flex person which means she does all kinds of things depending on what we need. so anne can fill in a shift at the house barn or MP building, she does much of the grooming and bathing, she takes on special project animals like cheyenne that need extra time and care. She likes to do a bit of extra stuff with our animals like training and nose works for fun but at her heart anne is a huge softy and likes sharing her lunch with them the most! anne has provided palliative care to several of the saints animals in her home and is currently still one of our foster moms. anne is also helping with supervising our prison inmate work program. AND she is very well organized and a huge help to me with a lot of the administration (i hate this shit!) things!
Michelle is our part time barn person, she is also a working mom. she worked in a vet clinic in her previous life so her knowledge of various things is really helpful for us. She is highly competent in animal care and enjoys working out in the barn the best..even when the weather sucks! Michelle is really helpful in researching things for me, she is really good friends with her previous boss (a vet!) so frequently will help us find information and things when we need. Michelle is highly organized and really super quick to learn, she became an "old hand" here almost immediately. Michelle has really connected with the barn animals and notices any changes quickly, she has excellent observation and reporting skills, and despite her initial inexperience with large barn animals, she has become a real asset to the barn team.
Andrea works all over the place here too. she is one of our weekday and weekend staff persons and is responsible for everyone/everywhere! andrea is a working mom and has provided palliative care to one of our ancient dogs before becoming a foster mom for 3 of our shy sibling cats. Andrea is one of the kindest and sweetest souls alive and she has a real gift for making the animals feel safe and happy and loved. when we need something not so fun done to one of the not so nice ones..we call on andrea because they all like her a lot and the rest of us are chickens when it comes to some of them!
when i hired andrea i told her the only thing i was worried about was her size..she is tiny compared to the rest of us. Andrea said she might be small but she was strong and man was she right! andrea is like a powerhouse, she hauls and lifts like a mighty woman! andrea is really peaceful to work with, she slips in and out without any fuss or notice and manages to get everything done!
Arnie is our jack of all trades..he works on the weekends, and takes on the overflow tours. He also is cheerfully trying to win the battle of keeping the shop organized, a job that used to bring me personally close to suicide but arnie manages the stress of it all really well. Arnie is the weekend bath person, dog walker, animal cuddler and friend. he helps out at barn bedtime when needed and puts the mp building guys to bed as well. arnie will spend the night here when i need help with something like meeting middle of the night animal transports or when sheep are about to give birth! He is also our go to computer guy who fixes all of our electronic shit that periodically screws up and is bound and determined to try to teach me to work with spreadsheets via skypes..yikes!
Arnie brought a whole new techno savy-ness to saints plus he is a really nice guy who helps out anywhere that he can and he is adopted dad to previous saint Jack!!
Mo..mo has actually been here longer than anyone, except for me. mo has been here right from the very beginning....2005. Mo is a volunteer and a Board member but when she recently retired she agreed to help me out a couple of days a week to take some of the stress off me. Mo has enormous barn experience..before SAINTS she managed a huge equestrian barn. so in all things horses, it is mo that i go to when i need to more info or advice. because mo has been here since the beginning, she knows all about our dogs..they are her best friend barn buddies and she knows how to keep an eye on them and keep them in line! Mo shares the same kind of beliefs and philosophies regarding sheltering animals as me. Never in all of the years i have worked with her did i ever question her agenda on why is she here, she loves these animals with the same kind of fierce commitment as me. when i am ready to cry or shoot myself and everything is just too overwhelming, i call mo and she helps me put things back into perspective and generally makes me laugh while doing it too! mo has fostered animals for us in the past (rip gwen!) and adopted a couple of our very special saints box baby cats. she has been a great friend, not just to me but more importantly, to our animals. can't ask for more than that!
Our 2 newest employees we are just getting to know fairly well. they have both been here for a month or so and are starting to get comfortable in this crazy place.
jackie is the house 2nd..she helps with the cleaning, laundry, feeding and loving the gang. jackie is quick and keen to learn and her cleaning is almost as good as renee's and renee is the cleaning QUEEN! craig has been helping out a little bit everywhere, and with this winter weather, esp. with some of the really hard barn work that this season brings. craig has shown a gift for animal whispering so he is also moving into an occasional flex person role where we can put that special animal connection to work in some real positive ways.
all in all, without any doubt...we have great staff and this is just a quick birds eye view into the countless big and little things that they each do to help make our animals lives as good as they can.
and to help me avoid total insanity!
we all really appreciate our wonderful volunteers who give so much year after year, and i especially value them because i am a volunteer too so i get what a selfless commitment volunteering means.
but sometimes i think we forget about the staff who work an incredibly difficult and emotional job here day in and day out..watching the animals that they deeply love and provide supportive care for every day face challenges, meet challenges, try to overcome challenges and many times, eventually pass away anyway.
its a hard job....but the really great thing about our staff is..they all love their job!