A Dream Come True – ASPCA Responder

A Dream Come True – ASPCA Responder


Has your dream job ever become your reality? Do you remember the day it finally happened? For me, it happened on a sunny Friday afternoon in early November when my dreams of becoming a first responder for the ASPCA Field Investigation and Response (FIR) team became my reality. This is a national team that travels across the country to assist local law enforcement agencies with large-scale animal cruelty cases.

When I was approached with this amazing opportunity I tried my hardest to act calm and collected; internally I was screaming “YES!” over and over. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning who received every present on their list. I spent the next few days rearranging my holiday plans for my journey.

The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office requested the ASPCA’s help with a puppy mill investigation in Clewiston, Fla., and I was able to spend a week working with them to care for the dogs seized from the puppy mill. You can read more about this puppy mill here.

I won’t go into detail about the investigation as it’s an open criminal case, but I would like to talk about the other responders and a wonderful animal I met.

The responders were some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. They were on a mission to save and protect the lives of so many animals. I made a friend in one responder; we’ll call her “New Jersey.”  She taught me countless things about animal medical care. I learned to process tests, read slide results, administer various medications, and calculate dosages. It was my first real opportunity to put my schooling as a certified veterinary assistant to the test and change lives. She challenged me, taught me, and coached me into becoming a better responder.

I made another, furry friend in dog “D21.” She was so sick and pitiful after being removed from the puppy mill, but was the sweetest little girl I’ve ever met. Every day we had to administer multiple medications for a plethora of conditions.  Daily, someone had to wash her paws, face, and ears with medicated soap. Twice a day she was the center of attention for at least 30 minutes just for medical care. D21 soaked up every second of positive attention she got from people after a lifetime of mistreatment. She made a friend out of all of us.

If I had to sum up my week with them in one sentence it would be: they helped restore my faith in humanity. Working in an animal welfare career is a rewarding job, in which we do so much to help the homeless. During my week I met responders from all over the country and even Canada. This team ran like a well oiled machine and I am honored to have worked with some of the biggest hearts in the world. Respect, teamwork and dedication are only a few words to describe the group of people I worked with. In closing, to those whose names cannot be recognized, thank you.

-A Texas Humane Heroes Dreamer