Molly joined our team last year as a trainee on placement, as part of her uni course. During her time as a trainee she got to know the role of Animal Care Assistant quite well and has since gone on to become a Team Leader, which has involved more in depth training in the admin side of the job. Molly works alongside Mat and Lucy to keep the team organised and make sure all the Animal Care Assistants have their tasks for the day. She is known for her deep love of Greyhounds! In fact, as soon as you say the word she'll somehow end up in the room asking if any are coming to centre so she can get first dibs on cuddling rights.
Molly with Beckham the cat
What does your job involve on a daily basis?
"In the morning I'll set up and lead the team briefing, so everybody on site knows where they'll be working today and what tasks they need to complete. This is usually alongside Lucy or Mat, and involves a quick meeting in the morning with all of the Animal Care Assistants, work experience students, trainees and volunteers. If we're short staffed I'll give a hand cleaning in the morning, to make sure that all of the animals have been fed and given water and that they are in a clean area for the day. In the afternoons I work in the office on various admin jobs: sorting out medication, ordering stock, filing animal paperwork. I also assist Lucy with behavioural observations on the dogs, which help us to work out what sort of home they will be looking for, as well as liaising with Inspectors, fosterers and occasionally other centres."
How did you get into the role?
"I did some work experience here whilst I was studying at Broomfield College. I was working towards my Extended Diploma in Animal Management, and then went on to study Behaviour and Welfare at Harper Adams University. As part of my uni course I had to spend a year on placement in the animal care industry and carry out some research for a project I had to complete that goes towards my qualification. During my placement, an opportunity came up for a Team Leader position, so I applied and now I'm happy to say I work here as part of the team!"
Daisy the one-eyed cat
What is the best part of the job?
"Rehabilitation is probably my favourite part of the job. It's wonderful being a part of an animal's journey and being able to help out by improving their health and finding them a new home. It's also really interesting observing and interpreting their behaviour to ensure we can find them the best place possible when they are ready to leave and start a new life. The difference between them arriving and leaving can be absolutely huge so it's really satisfying knowing I've made a difference to that individual."
What is the hardest part of the job?
"Obviously the most difficult thing to see is the instances in which it's too late to save an animal - knowing when to let them go is heartbreaking but really important because the last thing we'd want to do is prolong their suffering if there's no way of making them better. It's awful seeing these terrible situations that could easily have been prevented with some basic treatment or better knowledge of animal needs."
Tell us about your most memorable moment at work
"My first training session was really interesting, I still remember that. We were working with a large Husky type dog called Tia, who needed some further training to get her settled and brush up on her basic commands. She was a really intelligent girl who was able to pick things up quickly and easily, so we worked further with her with a behaviourist and that was great to see! I'm very interested in animal behaviour, hence the degree I'm studying towards, so this was an invaluable opportunity for me - getting to see the work that goes into teaching dogs that might not have had an easy start or that require further socialising was really interesting."
Who was the most memorable animal at the centre?
"The most memorable animal for me was Daisy - she was an adorable little cat, who sadly had to have her eye removed for health reasons. She took everything in her stride and did so well through the operation and rehabilitation. She was even graceful and gentle when she had to wear a cone whilst her eye was healing! Daisy was so sweet and had such a big personality, I loved getting her out of her pod for some fuss and play time. I was quite sad to see her go, but it was wonderful knowing she had a warm and loving home to go to."
And finally, have you ever adopted an animal from the RSPCA?
"I have - I adopted a dog from Chesterfield RSPCA a few years ago. She was a lovely little white Whippet cross called Tasha. I currently have two rescue Greyhounds, who were ex racers: Marley and Lacken. Those guys came from Just For Dogs, and we can tell they're ex racing Greyhounds because their ears are tattooed. I actually looked the numbers up on the greyhound database and managed to find their ancestry and all of the races they'd won, which is really interesting! They won't be racing again though, they're much loved family pets now. With them being Greyhounds, they love to chase things when we're out and about on walks so you always have to keep your eyes peeled for squirrels nearby!"
Thank you Molly!