Arielle Wait is the Deputy Director for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and manages all of Lucky Dog’s adoption, volunteer, and animal care programs. Arielle’s work with Lucky Dog began, as many volunteers do, as a handler at adoption events. She quickly became more involved, fostering dogs, coordinating adoptions, and even coordinating adoption events. She was first hired to serve as Lucky Dog’s Event Team Lead before being promoted to Program Manager and now the Deputy Director. Listen as she tells us how she got started in animal rescue, the programs offered at Lucky Dog including fostering and so much more! To learn more about Lucky Dog Animal Rescue you can visit their website here, www.luckydoganimalrescue.org/home
Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where goal is to introduce you to amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with Animal rescue. This’ll Podcast is proudly sponsored by Joubert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters, and the only site that automates rescue relate Transport. Now on with our show R E Oh, Wait! Is the deputy director for Lucky Dog, Animal Rescue and managers, all of lucky dogs, adoption, volunteer and animal care programs are yells. Work with Lucky Dog began, as many volunteers do as a handler. Adoption events. She quickly became more involved, fostering dogs, coordinating adoptions and even coordinating adoption events. She was first hired to serve his Lucky Dogs event team lead and, after being promoted to program manager, is now the deputy director. Ariel Good morning and welcome to the show that morning. So tell us a little bit about you. So I started with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, actually, at beginning as a handler adoption events. So we have large adoption events. It’s actually how we have a potential adopters need our dogs because we’re foster based So obviously there’s no we don’t have a shelter facility or anything like that. So I started out as the handler, which is a great opportunity for people who don’t want to really commit to know a weekly or daily, um, volunteer opportunity. So you show up, you handle the dog, you get your dog fix for the for the week. Um and then you kind of move on. And I had a dog. I still have him. Is he still with me? He’s about 11 now, but, um, someone was like, Oh, you should try fostering. So I was walking by one of the adoption events, and there was £120 bloodhound mix, and I was like, I think I’ll start fostering with him. Well, start small, huh? Yeah. So my my my personal dog, Tucker was not super thrilled with that at first, but I was really excited. And so he was my first foster dog named Rufus. And then after that, you know, I got I just kind of like when, you know, rolling down a hill, like as you think By who? Like this is great, eh? So I started fostering, you know, every like twice a month. What? My scheduled handle. And then I met my husband’s and with two people, I was like, Oh, we can foster every weekend now because I have to have But there’s two people now, so we start costing every single weekend, and I got weight a lot more involved. I started going to more events, and then we adopted our second dog from Puerto Rico and that really her name is Missy. And that’s what really jump started me like to become as involved as I, you know. And now, um, it started with me becoming adoption coordinator, which is a great opportunity for Lucky Dog. You know, it’s it’s more intense volunteer experience, but you are the person who will be screening applicants going through the process with them. You know, you become very attached to helping you know, the particular dog, find a home. And so I started doing that, and then I became an event coordinator because again, we have a large events every weekend. I mean, ah, couple weeks ago we had 90 animal, that an event. So we really need, um, great event or meters, um, and then lucky dog started hiring. I’m employees. We’re still very small, obviously. But at that time it was a part time oven ordinator in a program manager. So it was an employee and 1/2 and I was the half of employees while I worked at the Pentagon as a defense contractor. So my my my real life, as I like to call it, was very different from my rescue life. And and then six months later, there was some restructuring, and the executive director, Mira Horowitz, asked me if I wanted to be the program manager, and I said Yes, because I was already doing Lucky Dog most of the time. Anyway, our volunteers are very dedicated, and we spend just so much time of our personal lives and our, you know, a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into all of this. And, ah, it was my dream job, so I took it. I have done every piece of the organization at some point or another over the past, you know, almost four years now and then Now I’m deputy director, and that happened as we grow. We realized that we needed Teoh, especially because we want to add more programs in the future and continue to really expand our reached. We need more staff. We need are executive directors and lives in California now. So somebody on the ground to manage, you know, the daily activities, which which is me now and so are executive director can really figure out how to expand our organization. Just have a wider region, a stronger impact. Do you guys focus on a particular region of the country or a particular section? We have shelter partners that we work with because we have protocols that we like to follow vetting protocols to keep our animals and our foster animals safe. And so right now our main partners are Florence, South Carolina. So this has been a long time partnership. They are wonderful. They’re called Team South Carolina, and we bring a majority of her animal up from them. So every other week, we have a transport that comes up when you know, I would say between 40 and 65 75 animals, depending on, um, you know, and that’s Katherine. Kittens to, um I run our cat programs. I like to throw in the cat course result often, and then we worked with a couple other one smaller shelter. North Carolina won in Virginia. Um, in Martinsville, Virginia wanted Herford, North Carolina and then, UM, Puerto Rico. And also during the hurricane season, which seems to have been very, very difficult this year. We have been bringing up dogs from Texas, which is which is not our norm. It’s been wonderful. It’s San Antonio. Pets alive has been wonderful to work with. But that’s not our usual because transport from Texas to here quite a long way. Yeah, it’s different. And then we brought up some dogs in Florida as well during the hurricane. So but our main partners again, or think you know, the Carolinas and Puerto Rico. You know, one of things I thought is so cool him in your website. It’s amazing, by the way, but you guys do so many different and unique programs. I mean, can you talk through some of the programs that you guys do? Sure, of course. So are our main. Obviously, focus is saving dogs lives from high kill shelters and then bringing them up here into foster homes. So, I mean, are the program that stand out to me is our foster program because honestly, without them, we wouldn’t really we wouldn’t have an organization. Are foster program is growing a lot, which is wonderful where I was looking for more fosters because there are lots of different dogs with different types of needs. So our foster program, it can differ a little bit from other folks because we have. There’s a few ways to do it so you can overnight foster, which means you can bring up a dog from we bring up the dog on Saturday on transporting Meet the Doctor transport. You take the dog home, you give him a bath, care for those from the date that evening, and then you bring them to the adoption of it on Sunday and then handle them. And then your job is done. You give them a place for the night and then hopefully they get adopted on Sunday. But if not, um, then they go Teoh, other Hoster’s who preferred a long term foster. So that means you take the dog into your home and ideally, he foster that dog until they’re adopted. So that obviously is a more of a commitment than overnight fostering. But it’s it really is, it’s really rewarding. But again, it’s tough, right, because you could have a dog for a week. Or you can have a dog for six months, depending on the dog, depending on the situation. And then the other type of fostering is temporary posturing because those long term fosters need a place for the foster dog to go. If they go out of town. If they go on, you know, out of, ah, vacation or holidays. And so we have people who stay, go OK, I’ll hoster that person’s dog for three or four days. So those are all the different types of ways to do it. And I think that is really great, because I started out overnight fostering because I couldn’t really, I you know, I worked all day. My dog had a die walker, but I just didn’t really. It was just too much of a commitment for me to have a second dog all the time. So at that time, and that’s how a lot of people are right, like they like to do it on the weekends. But it doesn’t mean it fits into their their lifestyle, and it gives people the opportunity to help without it taking over. You know, every aspect of their day. And then there’s the people who really, really loved a long term Foster like That’s what they like to do, like they like to take that dog that perhaps it’s a health issue or a behavioral issue and work them through through it. Now we need more fosters like that because you know, we have some dogs that can’t live with other dogs, and that’s actually those fosters are the hardest to find because it’s hard to find people who really love, rescue and really love animals and help animals who don’t have their own personal pets already. So that’s that’s our foster program. It’s ever growing again. We have cats and kids foster. Some people like to do that because it’s, you know, it’s a little bit easier because way provide you like a metal cat condo. And, you know, letter of Qin’s is totally fine living in there. So that’s our foster program. I feel very strongly about it because that was the program that I first managed, and so I think it’s ever changing and growing. It’s great to see that the foster home so that that’s our Hoster program. And then we have our Adoption Coordinator program volunteer program on Those are, as we call them, our A sees our screen. Our applications screening process for doctors is it’s fairly intense, our adoption coordinators for lots of training, Andhra mentoring program. And so by the time they’re finished, really, when they do a screening call, it’s It’s not us talking to you. It’s really trying to find out. You know what the family is looking for in a dog? What I mean, because they could say, Hey, I want a German shepherd, but I’m going to today will. The production coordinator’s job is to kind of feel that out and really good to know the A doctor so we can figure out the best Paul like the best. But it’s a dog for them. So we have puppy adoption coordinators just screen for puppies. We have fully screeners who just screen for bully type up, reads military screener, so that program is wonderful, but it obviously is pretty intense because our requirements, but you have to come to adoption events on the weekends as well. How many people do you have as volunteers? It sounds like you’ve got quite a bit going on. Yes, so for volunteer wise, I would say we have about 2 to 300 Koster’s or something along those lines active. It’s different between active monsters and fosters in the system. So we have people who foster every weekend and the people who after, like on holidays or you know something along those lines. And then for adopting coordinators, I would say we have around 50 to 60. That includes cats and dogs and then all over other volunteers, handlers, people who drive dogs. We have a program with our dogs at boarding facilities where people can go on, walk them during the day and spend some time with them. I mean, I would say it’s 1000. It’s a lot of people are, you know, maybe they only come out once a month, sure, but I mean, that’s still amazing, and that’s still important and needed. So no one of things that really grabbed my attention to about your website is you guys have a kids program, which is sounds like something pretty unique. Tell us about that so we actually have two kinds of kids programs. We have a Kids Club programmes, which is for our younger Children. And then we have Ambassadors program, which is for our teenagers. Not having a facility has makes it a little trickier to really involve kids. So one weighs. A parent will come to adoption one to handle the dog, and the child will be able to, you know, spend time with the dog at the bio so they while they can’t him of the dog, they could get the experience that way. We for our younger kids and Ambassador stew. We do bake sales at adoption events. They can make toys for our shelter dogs or as a fundraiser. So there are ways to get thm Inbal that doesn’t directly have, um, handling animals, right? We actually have a couple kids, Children who apply for grants for us, which is great. I mean, it’s actually really, really impressive. And so we actually had one of our kids club members when a grant called, um, started by Kranz and Collars. And so the Positive Impact Kids program and she wrote, so show her and her family are puppy fosters. They fostered litters of puppies, which is a very all types Gloucester, that we have her puppy fosters, and that is a whole other Whole other type of human beings can take litters of puppies into their house. And so she won that grants, actually, by writing a little essay on no fostering. And she also makes toys and does fund raisers for us, too. Um and so we want she won a grant for us and your supply of kit of cat litter. Wow, that’s great. Yeah. So for things like that, like, that’s $1000 grant which we used towards, um, medical care for the monster does that that she has and also supplies, you know, to help to help with the fundraisers, to make tours, have to have a program where kids come to our office and and help make toys and things like that. We also currently just gotta Gramps from the U two main education program by Petfinder and build a bear. And so this is further to further develop our kids club. Um and so what we’ve done is we have specific lucky dog kids club T shirts for them because what we really do is watch. You really want to show everyone that we have this program because sometimes it’s difficult because they can’t come to a place and pet an animal and that sometimes that’s that’s hard because you don’t have a facility where they can come help clean cages and things like that. So we created a T shirt for them. Brochures, handouts, educational handouts. And then, um, we have some promotional events. So we’re doing a trick or treat Halloween celebration in one of partnering with one of the pet stores here. And so the kids will come and they’ll help us with our adoption table hat. You know, talk about our educational programs, talk about how important it is, you know, pet safety during the holidays and things like that. So that Grant is great because it gives us the opportunity to really promote our program and get more kids involved. And the more kids we have involved, the more things we can do, like storm washes on. That’s something we’ve done in the past as fund raisers, and it’s a great way kids can, you know, be running around the dogs that way. So our program is growing. Um, I think of my goal for that is to really have a kid like a camp almost every year for kids come in and we teach them cause it’s so important to teach kids how to Children, how to be around animals for their for their own. I mean, for safety purposes. It’s really terrible, I think, how how often a bite can happen just because the interaction my body, like the family, doesn’t hold everybody language or yeah, it’s just There’s so many things that could be preventable, and it’s also really good to teach. The next generation that’s being Neutering is so important that these animals need to be rescued, that rescuing this is crucial, and our kids and ambassador program really tries to bring them into the fold and teach them that now so that you know they’ll be like, you know, they could be a deputy director of rescue someday or oven in a shelter or help runs vein, neuter clinics of the veterinarians and, um so yeah, that’s really cool. Inspiring the next generation of kids early on, teaching them respect for animals, giving them, you know, teaching them about the bond between humans and animals. Exactly. So that’s our kid’s club program. Our ambassador program it’s for teen agers. And, um, for that, we really they again. They do fundraising events, donation drives, couples with social media, actually, which is wonderful. And then they come to adopt adoption events. And they could do, like life this book live and take photos and videos. They also write a quarterly newsletter for us. Um, and then we have voluntarily along that events, and we have one in the, um, the ambassador there who is wonderful and she helps doesn’t do the volunteer orientation. So there’s lots of opportunities. And where are we thinking of ways to expand it? Yeah. So with all these awesome programs, there’s gotta be some really great stories that come to mind. Can you share any stories that stand out to you? Sure. So I talked about on the to Grant that we were just awarded and the Crans and Collars Grant was Rachel, and she’s just wonderful. And she just raised a whole bunch of money from Strut your Mutt for us. So she’s inspiring to me because when I was nine, I don’t think I was doing that. That’s really wonderful. So there’s two other things that come to mind so We have a spay and neuter in community vaccine clinic that we do in Florence, South Carolina, and that’s really stand out to me because it’s rescuing you. Rescue. We bring the dogs up here, but this is one step in helping the community care for their animals. And I think that’s so important. And we think that’s so important to really get out there and say, like, Hey, we like we will stay on him and or neuter your animal Poor free. We will vaccinate your it will for free. And this is why, like this is why we will do this because it’s so important. So we’ve done two of those, actually, and they have been successful. Each time we we have altered about 30 dogs and like a handful of cats each time. And so now those animals can’t reproduce, right? And so now it’s one less puppy, um, at the shelter. Plus we’re getting out. Was the community that we’re doing this? So that’s that. That’s important to me. Um, and then our second right now that really stands out is we’re not a disaster relief organization yet. We have brought up 50 60 like almost 70 75 animals from her from Texas and from Florida for her kit for relief efforts. Um, and also right now, Puerto Rico is very special to me personally, because my dog is Asato and she just I mean, I really think she’s the reason that I am where I am now and so on. And we go to Puerto Rico every year to work our partners and their like are, you know, like family. And so during this time it’s been really tough. So we have collected, you’ve been collecting donations and we were able to work with an airline. And we’ve already sent down £6500 of dog food to our partner and again, So we’re not. We’re like, this is all news. It’s been a lot of logistics and work that is very new to us, but very important. And we actually are still collecting supply, and then we plan to send down a lot more and then bring up a lot more animals, and so that stand out because we already work all of the time and very hard, because that’s what rescue work is on. We’re almost always sort of maxed out on time, um, and funds. But there’s always time to do something like this, and I just the way the volunteers, the team, just everyone has come together for that. Just because the executive director was like, OK, this is what we’re gonna dio. I was like, um, it’s a big challenge. Sure, we can do this. Um, and you know, she was right. She I mean, it’s hard, and I’m very sore from carrying bags of dog food, but, you know, at the end of the day, that’s they need our help so much, and, you know, we’re able to do this. And I was surprised That’s not where I thought we were going. But I think it’s awesome. And I we could do that more in the future, right? Especially because we’re learning e. I mean, those are two things that really just end up. It’s our volunteers are wonderful. I mean, so certain is there a particular person aerial that stands out to you that maybe inspired you to get into animal rescue? So it’s a really good question. I think that I thought about this, you know, I grew up with animals and I adopted my shirt stall when I was 20 on. And then I started fostering. And like I said, my misses the reason I really don’t in but that she’s a dog. So I mean, our executive director, um, you know, I have known since I started Boston when I was 21 well, I mean, I did not know her personally at first. I’ve got more balls because I I loved it. So she is really She works so hard, she has another job that she does. And, um, I really I strive to work as hard as she does and to be just as good at this as she is. Quite honestly, um, I have a lot of respect or how much she puts aside to just to make this work. And she I mean, she started this organization, and if she hadn’t started it, then I wouldn’t be here doing something I love. Um, I wouldn’t have two out of three of my dogs, So I think that while I started out just because I loved animals, I think I can’t keep going because this organization is is really wonderful and and keeps moving forward. And a lot of it. I mean, it’s because of her. So very cool. Sorry. Oh, before we finish up, is there anything else you want to trade with our listeners? I don’t think so. Um, you know, it was really great to be able to talk about, um, something that’s so important to me, obviously. And you know, our rescue on our programs and are growing programs. And I appreciate you giving me the outlet to do so. Well, thank you so much for coming on today. We really appreciate it. Learning about all the great work that you guys do. Thank you so much. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, joined the air p A. To take advantage of all the resources we have to offer. And don’t forget to sign up with do bert dot com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.