Heather is our Office Manager, and is the person to go to if you need anything for the centre. She knows everything there is to know about health and safety, and gets everything fixed that needs fixing. However, around all the paperwork and inspections on site, Heather still finds time to get to know the animals and their stories. There's almost always a dog in her office, as she likes to give them some extra TLC (and lots of treats!) when they aren't adjusting to kennels. Jessie the Staffie cross Whippet spent a few weeks living it up in Heather's office, and most recently it's been Betty the Shih Tzu - Heather can never resist a Shih Tzu!
Heather at the centre
What does your job involve on a daily basis?
"My main job role revolves around health and safety - I have to make sure everybody who comes to the centre can spend time here without problems, which means looking out for any potential issues that could affect staff members, volunteers, work experience students and members of the public. As well as this, I monitor the safety of the site, which involves risk assessments, fire safety and premises maintenance jobs. I also oversee the receptionists and man the desk for them when they have their break. It all involves quite a bit of admin and paperwork but I don't mind!"
How did you get into the role?
"I come from a background in managing, and I've also had experience with charity retail and general retail in the past. I already had an attachment to the centre, as I was volunteering here for a long while. Rather than animal care, like many volunteers choose, I was a home visitor and helped out at events. When a job was advertised, I applied and was thrilled to get it. I still do home visits though!"
Otis the Chihuahua cross
What is the best part of the job?
"It's great working with the animals. Although my job is predominantly office-based, I still make the time to meet all of our animals and it's lovely getting to know them - especially the ones that spend a while in my office. Knowing we make a difference by improving their welfare and working with them is very satisfying. I also love seeing them going to new, happy homes when they leave through reception. It's hard saying goodbye when we get so attached to the animals, but I'm always pleased to see them going to loving families that will give them a second chance."
What is the hardest part of the job?
"The hardest part for me is trying to keep on top of so many ongoing projects. There's always something new to see to at the centre - with so many animals, and the staff having such an active job, things frequently break or simply get worn out in day to day to use. It gets very frustrating when there's a delay in fixing any issues on site because it can cause a huge amount of trouble and back us up considerably. If one room, or even just one kennel, is unable to be used due to a problem then it really affects how we work!"
Tell us about your most memorable moment at work
"Unfortunately, the most memorable moment for me is a sad one. We had a little dog in that I had grown quite close to, and I was really hoping we would be able to get past her various health and behavioural problems but she was too far gone. That poor dog had suffered an incredible amount and we didn't think it was fair to leave her in such a terrible state, as her welfare was being compromised. I took her to the vet myself, and it really hit home to me that sometimes we just can't do any more for an animal. Unfortunately, not every animal is in a physical or emotional state to survive."
Heather oversees site maintenance
Who was the most memorable animal at the centre?
"This definitely has to be Otis! He was a little Chihuahua crossed with a Border Terrier, and had such a big attitude for such a small dog - he was such a grump! Otis refused to look at anybody for days, and spent most of his time hidden behind the desk in my office but I knew he would come around. With lots of time, patience and love, Otis started to come around and he was adopted and is still doing well as far as we know. He was such a funny little dog, all noise and threats but he was a complete softy underneath."
And finally, have you ever adopted an animal from the RSPCA?
"I've adopted three animals so far - Winnie the cat, Pepper the hamster, and Bubba the tortoise. Winnie is a chubby cat who rules the roost, and is friends (just about) with Joe, my other cat. Pepper loves to be up and about, pulling herself around on the bars of her cage and rearranging all of the furniture I put in there for her. Bubba is a great little tortoise - he just gets on with it and isn't bothered by my Shih Tzu, Oliver (who is the cheekiest dog alive!) or my mum's Shih Tzu, Frankie (who is a little bundle of energy and love). I'm always tempted to adopt another small dog, but I don't think Oliver would be impressed!"
Thank you Heather!