This time last year, we were so ready to open our new Center for Compassion.
That final push before the grand opening was all about punch-list items for the builder, touch-ups and the smallest of details. And, installation of wall graphics.
We decided much earlier that the wall décor would not be heavy-handed or preachy. We would highlight our big “brand” messages (The Peninsula Humane Society is a private, non-profit unaffiliated with national groups….We find homes for 100% of our healthy dogs and cats) and find spots to make visitors aware of largely unseen and lesser-known programs, such as our outreach to local schoolchildren, for example).
And, above everything else, we’d create an atmosphere that made people smile.
By these measures, we scored big-time.
But, we made a mistake.
We neglected to highlight one of our major groups of employees: our Animal Care Technicians (ACTs) who perform some of the least glamorous roles, work that is rarely directly observed.
An ACT's job description says they are to ensure that all sheltered animals are provided the best possible care and attention. They are responsible for daily feeding and cleaning of animal enclosures.
These ACTs are also the workers who euthanize stray animals too sick or too badly injured to be healed as determined by our veterinary staff, and animals brought in by owners who’ve made the painful decision to put a loved animal to sleep.
Some animals who come into our care have never been loved, have never heard a kind word or received a gentle touch. The ACTs give them this, for the first time. They show them what things are going to be like in their new temporary home.
The ACTs spend their day working behind the scenes. They don’t often experience the adoption end of our work or the Lost and Found counter, where people leave our facilities happy.
They don’t have the rush of rescuing animals from harm’s way out in the community. They start their day feeding and cleaning at our new Center, then pile into a donated Yukon SUV and do the same work at our 60-year-old facility at Coyote Point.
The pee, poop, and empty food and water bowls are always there the next day. They grow attached to animals, just like everyone else.
In many ways, their work is hard to show. Maybe that’s why we blew it when we installed our wall graphics last August and left them out.
In a week or so, that will change. One of our “program and service” posters will highlight the ACTs. I’ve attached a mock-up of that poster.
On the surface, it's a small gesture, for sure. But, these folks don’t need lots of "'atta-boys."
These past few weeks, I’ve been contacting recent adopters to ask about their experience and, specifically, if anything about their adoption day stood out.
“Incredibly clean facility” was the number one answer. Keeping 56,000 square feet is a team effort and we’ve all become neat-freaks, from our president to the accountant, but I’d call this research a shout-out for the ACTs.
Here’s another - the employees who are not often seen or heard. Our ACT team: Amadeo, Javan, Cesar, Renee, Francisco, Marianne, Jacy, Megan, Miguel, Moranda, Tani, Rogelio, Christopher and Alex.