Five questions with...
Five questions with...Field Officer Rachelle
I'm the Senior Field Officer, based in SPCA’s Mangere centre within a team of five. We cover a huge area from Kaiwaka in the north to TeKauwhata in the south. Predominantly most of our work is collecting sick or injured stray animals from members of the public. We also attend animal emergencies and rescues, and collectsick and injured animals from many of the Auckland Veterinary practices. We do property inspections for our Dog Adoption team and assist Inspectors when required.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job would be having to deal with euthanising an animal. Sadly, a lot of the animals we pick up are suffering from severe illness or injuries and quite often, have done for some time. So, often it is the most humane thing to do, to end their suffering. I often walk away, though, knowing I did the best I could for that animal while it has been in my care, even if that was only giving it a warm blanket for the short period of time it spent with me.
What’s your favourite part of your role?
My favourite part of my role? There are quite a few! Probably when I’ve completed a property inspection knowing that one of our awesome dogs or puppies is about to go to its ‘forever home’ and that home is perfect! I always walk away with a smile on my face.
I also love being able to reunite lost pets with their owners, seeing the relief on both the pet and the owner’s face is amazing.
Best of all, we work quite closely with NZ Bird Rescue and occasionally we’re involved in releasing some of our native birds back where they have come from. There is nothing better than releasing a rehabilitated kereru and then noticing its partner flying down through the branches of the trees to greet it!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to do what you do?
I would advise them that this job is not for the faint hearted. You will have good days and bad days. But, it is the good days and the fantastic outcomes for amazing animals that you need to focus on. We can’t always save them all, but we can do our best to give them as much comfort as we can for the time that they are in our care.
Something surprising about your role?
I can honestly say I get up every morning and I look forward to going to work! I don’t think there would be many people out there who could say that about their job. And, no two days are ever the same!
What do you wish the public knew about what you do?
Last year (2019) the Auckland Field Officer team assisted with desexing over 500 stray and unsocialised cats in the Auckland region as part of our TNR (trap, neuter, return) programme. Desexing is such an important way to ensure that animals are not born unwanted and it’s rewarding to be a part of something so important creating a better future for New Zealand's animals.