Hayley is one of our Customer Care Assistants and you'll usually find her manning the desk in reception. In fact she's probably helped you with paperwork, assisted with your adoption or answered your call. Hayley is a crazy dog lady and adores wrinkly dogs, particularly Bulldog Lottie! She adopted Ruby the 3 legged Rottweiler puppy, who made it into the Derby Telegraph and Daily Mail, and is a bit of a celebrity around her area. Despite being based in reception Hayley always finds time to give hugs and kisses to the dogs by having them behind the desk 'helping' her. They get royally spoiled and love spending the day with her!
Hayley with Lottie the Bulldog
What does your job involve on a daily basis?
"I work in customer care, which means my job is very customer facing and I spend a lot time helping people and communicating with members of the public and the rest of the team. Paperwork is a huge part of my job - I get all of the adoption paperwork ready for animals going home and talk through it all with adopters so they know the process and what they are getting with the animals. There is a lot of admin and filing, and I answer emails and telephones throughout the day too so there's always something to do but we manage to keep on top of it! I help to keep the stock in the shop up to date and assist members of public where I can when they are purchasing things. It's a very busy job that involves multitasking but it's worth it, and I get to cuddle puppies in reception when there are any at the centre. Socialising them is important!"
How did you get into the role?
"I've always loved animals and wanted to work with them. I love horses and dogs, and was actually studying an apprenticeship in Horse Care, but the hours were very demanding and it was tough keeping on top of that. When I had my baby I decided to go part time, so I couldn't carry on with my apprenticeship. I noticed the part time receptionist job advertised, and immediately applied. It's great because I get to work with animals but still have time for my family."
Finley the Staffie
What is the best part of the job?
"I enjoy interacting with the animals - it's a reception based job but I still get to spend time with the animals and it's great when we have a dog in reception for extra love. Some dogs don't cope very well in the kennels, so it's helpful for them to spend some time with us in reception where they can spend time with people and get used to their new surroundings. It also helps to find them new homes, as people can see how they behave in a more natural environment than a kennel. It really is great to have a dog there to stroke when things get stressful. Puppy socialising is another perk! They're so cute, it's fun cuddling them knowing it's benefiting them (and me)."
What is the hardest part of the job?
"As with any customer facing jobs we get our fair share of difficult situations. Many people have preconceived ideas about how the charity works and it can be frustrating trying to explain to people who don't want to listen. For example, people often ask us to help with welfare issues and report abuse to us but we don't employ any Inspectors so we have to explain that they need to refer to National RSPCA where the Inspectors are based. There have been times where people can become quite aggressive, and it's hard calming them down before we can do anything to help."
Tell us about your most memorable moment at work
"In December last year we had two dogs abandoned outside, and they really stuck with me. It was a freezing cold day, and I remember when I got to work everybody was talking about these two little Staffies so I just had to see them for myself. It was awful! They were so thin and malnourished, with missing fur and the saddest eyes. They had been abandoned in the morning that day and with the temperatures being so low I couldn't believe somebody could be so heartless to let their dog get into such a bad state and then just leave them like that. It was really sad! It was a memorable day."
Hayley's dogs Ruby the Rottweiler and Missy the Bulldog
Who was the most memorable animal at the centre?
"I'm going to have to say Paddy and Finley for this again! They were just such a special case - they arrived in such a terrible condition and they must have been terrified but they were just so friendly. Finley was a Staffie, and Paddy was his son, just a little puppy at the time. With them both being underweight, dirty and starving we thought they'd be anxious or not interested in human company but they just wanted love. Paddy hadn't had much training and struggled with his toilet habits but he was adopted by really understanding people who have worked hard with him and he's really happy. Finley struggled to find a home, despite being the most loving boy you could ask for, and we tried so hard to get him adopted once his health improved. After a while he was spotted by a great family, who dote on him and he even goes on holiday with them! It's lovely knowing they've both got their happy endings after that horrible start, and it just goes to show how loving rescue dogs can be. More recently I've really fallen for Lottie the Bulldog. She's an old girl who's been used for breeding and she must have had a tough life but she adores people! Lottie has such a big personality and a lot of attitude - she knows she has me wrapped around her little finger and she loves her treats. I would have loved to adopt her if she got on with my dogs!"
And finally, have you ever adopted an animal from the RSPCA?
"So far I've only adopted one dog from here. You all probably remember Ruby the Rottweiler puppy who was born with a deformed leg and had to have an operation. We weren't sure if she'd need a prosthetic limb, or special medication, or advanced rehabilitation - it was all a bit up in the air and everybody was fussing around her. I just saw how brave she was amidst all this stress and how loving she was towards everybody, I couldn't leave her so I took her home to foster. Fostering soon turned to an official adoption, I couldn't even think about bringing Ruby back! Luckily she gets on really well with my Bulldog Missy and my little boy too, she's a star. Everybody recognises her as she's so distinctive with her missing leg but she copes really well and we all love her so much."
Thank you Hayley!