It’s the 4th month of our Old Dog Haven 20th anniversary blog series and this month we focus on our staff because they are truly one of the reasons why ODH is so successful.

I could just give you names and titles and  tell you that they’re all wonderful, but I think a glimpse at one day in the lives of our staff members may give you a better idea about their dedication and skills as they work long hours for our dogs.

As she’s drinking her first cup of coffee for the day (and sometimes before) our Vet Services Director/Dog Manager Judith Piper is on the phone talking to a representative from a shelter that wants ODH to take in one of their dogs because the dog is old, not very healthy, and has little chance of being adopted from the shelter. Judith gets all of the information she needs and places the dog on her waiting list. (The waiting list is always long because we don’t ever take a dog from a shelter until we have a home for the dog, so Judith spends quite a bit of time with her Dog Team matching dogs to foster families.) Before she can move on to her next job, an email comes in from a foster who’s concerned about her ODH dog and needs advice. Judith responds to the email and then answers the phone again and talks to a vet who reports on the results of x-rays and blood work for another ODH dog. And so it goes … all day long it’s a dance with vets, fosters and shelters about dogs needing help. Oh, I should also mention that in the Piper household there are multiple computers because Judith’s husband Lee, a co-founder of ODH with Judith, is our Data Base Manager as well as Judith’s vet services assistant.

Meanwhile, Kim Wake, our Vet Services Coordinator for the South area of Western Washington, is engaged in a lengthy conversation with a foster mom whose dog doesn’t seem to be responding to medication, so Kim and the foster are working on the possibility of a different treatment plan. Kim’s next conversation will be with the vet about this dog.

While Judith and Kim continue their work, our Placement/Social Media Director Tina Nabseth is talking on the phone with a woman whose mother is going into an assisted living home that doesn’t allow dogs, so the woman is asking Tina if ODH will take her mother’s dog. This is a lengthy conversation, as many of them are, because time is an issue and Tina needs as much information as possible so she can work with Judith to find an appropriate home for the dog. These are very difficult conversations because often the best option for the dog is euthanasia, but in many cases ODH can serve as a safety net and a forever home can be arranged. This kind of request is never just one phone call; there are many calls back and forth about the same situation until the question of placement is resolved. Next Tina changes hats and moves on to post several updates about ODH dogs on Facebook so people can see new arrivals as well as find out how current dogs are doing. Then she moves on to post information about senior dogs available for adoption from individuals who have contacted ODH about help needed to adopt their dog. (We post these dogs as a courtesy to the individual requesting assistance.)

And then there’s Instagram, which is another social media platform for ODH. Our Instagram manager, Ashley Bradford is busy keeping people posted on what’s going on with ODH through Instagram posts and answering questions that come in through Instagram.

By now the day is almost over but Aaron Davis, our Events Coordinator, is balancing his time by working on data entry as well as planning weekend outreach events represented by his team of weekend warriors. Aaron often coordinates as many as 100 of these events in a year, all to let people know who we are and what we do.

Even later in the day, Financial Director/Microchip Coordinator Noel Kjosness has already picked up the mail for the day and now she’s recording donations, paying vet bills, balancing accounts, updating microchip information, preparing financial reports for the Executive Director and dealing with all things financial.

“Do you take rabbits?”  No, I haven’t lost my train of thought. This is an actual question that Executive Director/Administrative Coordinator Deeanne Matz heard earlier today when she answered the ODH Office phone. Responding to phone calls and emails is part of what Deeanne does as Administrative Coordinator. Also, in her capacity as Executive Director, Deeanne supervises and supports staff and serves as liaison between staff and the board; she’ll be working on a report to the board later this evening.

Working with Deeanne as Executive Assistant is Kelly Marlo, and in addition Kelly also is involved as Donation Can Coordinator and Outreach Assistant. And, Kelly also helps with the calendar and a variety of other projects. Right now Kelly is putting together information for the website.

Now we move on to our Foster Coordinator Shirley Stallings who’s reviewing an application to provide foster care that just came to her via email. The application process is quite extensive so once Shirley provides her input the application moves on to other members of the Dog Team. If the application is approved, Shirley tracks down any medical information available on the dog and sends it to the vet the dog will be seeing for his intake appointment.

Not to be forgotten are the people who work on the ODH website, a multi-layered on-line tool that provides a tremendous amount of information about Old Dog Haven. In addition to Deeanne, we have marketing and website coordinator Olympia Poulos on board to help with website updates and marketing.

Finally … another long day comes to an end as we visit two more people who both provide important functions. Marcus Goodwin produces the ODH newsletter, and provides graphics for both the website and the yearly calendar. Michele Belcher-Perrigo assists Tina with Facebook postings and monitoring Facebook comments.

What you’ve just read in the above paragraphs is a short course in multi-tasking don’t you think? And … I haven’t mentioned all of the other tasks performed by our staff that are part of the more comprehensive jobs described. They’re a very busy group, and no … they don’t work a 9-5 day. They don’t work in an office; they work from home. They all do what needs to be done when it needs doing. “When it’s convenient” is a phrase that doesn’t apply to our staff. Our dogs (their bosses) aren’t known for saying …”when you get to it” as part of their instructions.

However … our dogs do say “thank you” in as many ways as they can to show gratitude, love and optimism in their lives as ODH dogs. They appreciate their staff, just as all of the other humans do in this amazing organization.


Paws up everyone!

Next Month: Our Volunteers!


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