Lucy has been at Abbey Street for quite a while now, and has worked her way to becoming Animal Care Manager. This means she oversees the care of the animals at the centre, and leads a group of two Team Leaders and six Animal Care Assistants on a daily basis. Lucy loves all animals, and has a passion for welfare and helping any creature she can. She has three Dachshunds and also likes birds - she also has experience of hand rearing birds from a young age. Not much gets past Lucy at the centre! She's the first port of call for animal issues and always knows what to do in an emergency, or just to make sure all of our animals are safe, happy and healthy.
Lucy with Smush the hand reared puppy
What does your job involve on a daily basis?
"I oversee the running of the animal care jobs within the centre. There are other managers, but we are all in charge of different areas, and mine is the animals. It's a big job, and most days I don't stop because there's so much to do! My job involves a huge range of responsibilities, which range from big tasks (such as implementing behavioural training and ensuring all of the welfare needs of the animals are met) to smaller tasks (such as giving the Animal Care Assistants their tasks for the day). I liaise with lots of people to make sure everything runs smoothly - I'm in regular contact with the other staff members and people from outside the centre, such as Inspector and vets. I also help with the Facebook page, so you've probably seen some of my videos. On top of this I run orders for stock that the Animal Care Team need, and also get the medication and vaccinations that the animals need to make sure they're kept happy and healthy. I aim to promote responsible pet ownership by speaking to adopters and members of the public, as well as on our open days."
How did you get into the role?
"I started as a volunteer, helping out with the animals in my spare time. I knew I wanted to work with animals, so I applied for a traineeship and was granted it - this was great for me because it meant I got to gain qualifications and also work with the animals at the same time, which was really informative and useful. When I finished training I became an Animal Care Assistant, and also did reception training so I worked in there as well as with the animals at one point too. After a while I was promoted to Supervisor, and then Animal Care Manager. I've been here a long time now, so I've gained a lot of experience and that's been very helpful."
Lucy's Dachshund Bertie
What is the best part of the job?
"The best part of the job is simply working in an environment that I always wanted to be a part of. I get to work with animals on a daily basis, which is perfect for me as that's my passion and it's amazing getting to do that every day. It's just great working with animals as well as people with a similar mindset to my own - it's very rewarding."
What is the hardest part of the job?
"The most difficult part of my job is the sheer number of tasks I have to do! It's always busy, and I've always got more things to think about and look at that need my attention, but I don't mind. The huge number of animals waiting to be placed with us is a massive pressure on the centre and it can be quite stressful as I obviously want to help every animal that I can but we just don't always have the space. Trying to juggle spaces to ensure Inspectors have the chance they need to bring abused, neglected and abandoned animals to us, as well as spaces for people on the waiting list needing to rehome their pet for a number of reasons, is very difficult."
Tell us about your most memorable moment at work
"The moment that sprung to mind was when an Inspector asked us to take some rabbits in that had been removed from a distressing situation and needed to be placed with us for rehabilitation. We were expecting one or two, maybe three, but there were 35. 35 rabbits! It was crazy, we didn't have enough space for all of them so it took a lot of communicating with foster carers and other centres to find places for all of them. They were in such a terrible state, it was awful. We just wanted to make sure they had the chance to get away from the situation that they had come from so we did everything we could and it turned out okay in the end!"
David, the hand reared dove
Who was the most memorable animal at the centre?
"A few years ago we had a Jack Russell called Spot at the centre (one of many Spots, it seems to be a popular name for Jack Russells!) and he was really struggling. He didn't take to the kennels at all and he was so stressed that we were starting to worry about his health and welfare. Spot was scared of the dark and this made him unhappy and territorial, so we were struggling to rehome him as he was constantly on edge from stress and exhaustion. I decided he needed a home environment to give him a break and help him to recover. I took him home to foster him and worked really hard with him, and slowly but surely he started to get better. His behaviour improved so much and I was thrilled when he was adopted 2 months later! It just goes to show that with enough care and dedication, you can do a lot for an animal."
And finally, have you ever adopted an animal from the RSPCA?
"I've adopted loads of animals throughout the years! At the moment I have three Dachshunds called Bertie, Charlie and Coco, who all came from different situations and needed rehoming. Once I'd adopted one, I just fell in love with the breed and the other two followed. Bertie and I have a close bond, he's my dog and my parents have Coco and Charlie. I've also adopted three rabbits, three gerbils, one degu and two rats from the centre - although there might be more that I can't remember right now! Last year I hand reared an orphaned dove, who I named David. He was so small and weak, it was incredible that he survived, and he was so tame as he had been with me from such a young age. He lived in my house, but sadly he died suddenly and we aren't sure why. I was devastated when he went, but I still enjoy looking after birds and recently cared for a lost pigeon."
Thank you Lucy!