It’s 7:45 in the morning and mostly quiet. Even though there have been people here for quite a while, this is the time when the day really gets going.
It’s calm and soothingly dark in parts of the building not yet awakened for the day. PRCKC staff are assembling – muted and masked – in what used to be our client waiting room. In a few minutes, the morning meeting will begin with Dr. Jess, our chief veterinarian, relaying updates about medical processes or procedures the team needs to know. She is followed by Alyx, who talks about the surgery and vaccine numbers and what person is needed where for the day.
The meeting ends this day, as it does almost every day, with a hearty “GO TEAM.” Sometimes the words are different but the goal is always the same: it is meant to remind us we are moving and working and helping as one. A final surge that kickstarts the drive for everything that follows.
And does it follow …
With that, the rest of the lights are flicked on, and so it begins. A well-orchestrated flurry is kicked into high gear and everyone gets to their places and begins doing the thing they are supposed to do.
Somedays that means 175+ pets come through the doors. That while our outreach team is loading or unloading vans, out on location looking for pets needing resources, or performing vaccinations at homes occupied by people without transportation or who are too infirm to leave. They might rescue strays or escaped animals along the way … or at the same time as they’re doing several other activities.
Astonishingly, you never hear a complaint.
To the outside observer, it must often seem like frenetic high-wire act, a carefully planned ballet where people are moving in every direction, making decisive efforts without the need to speak to one another much. Dogs and cats are prepped for surgery in a motion that is gentle but wastes little time or effort. Pets from the new waiting room – our parking lot – are greeted and ushered inside where they are petted and, if allowed, hugged (lots and lots of hugs), weighed, checked over briefly by the wellness doctor, and then vaccinated. It takes just a few minutes for each one before they are taken back to their eagerly awaiting pet parents.
The not so exciting stuff
It happens in any organization … the things that don’t get noticed but need to be done. For us, it’s all sorts of stuff. There is cleaning (oh, THE cleaning). How about the mountains of laundry that must be done each day. Or the moving of pet food and supplies to make room for more pet food and supplies that seem to be constantly coming in and going out.
How about the staff who “pull” vaccines every morning to make sure we’re ready to go when the pets start rolling in. Surgical packs must be made. Kennels disinfected. Spreadsheets printed, marked, adjusted and reprinted. Phone calls, sometimes hundreds each day, must be made and answered, backed by additional contacts via text, Facebook Messenger and emails.
All of it essential.
But there’s something else people don’t often see that, when added up, is really at the heart of PRCKC. It’s the small things. So small or seemingly insignificant that they are hardly worth noticing.
The power of dedication, kindness and leading with love
This week seems like a great time for some commentary like this. It’s Friday and as we wind down the week, it has been one of those stretches that cements the idea that I am surrounded by some of the best humans I’ve ever been afforded the opportunity to work alongside.
Most are here because of what they can do to make lives better. I promise that’s the case.
It’s the doctor and support staff suiting up without complaint to go out and vaccinate animals from our mobile unit when temps are working their way toward zero. It’s the kind, reassuring shoulder pat given to a client when one of our techs is talking about a positive heartworm result followed by the words, “we will do what we can to help.”
It’s someone on the phone team spending extra time to connect a person with other organizations who might be able to help with something we can’t. Or the admin person who comes to the building at 2AM after the motion sensor trips and alerts her phone where, upon arrival, she finds a puppy that someone tossed over our fence. It’s the harder stuff, too. The quiet tears that are shed after we have to tell someone about a newly discovered but serious medical issue.
Dozens of times each day someone here does something to make life better for someone, regardless of how many legs they happen to have. It’s a reassuring word when a pet owner is worried, some extra pet food for a struggling family, or a kind welcome from Greg, our parking lot attendant, who makes everyone feel appreciated.
This is not to brag. In fact, one of our prime directives at PRCKC is to remain humble and to be of service. Two things I think are the hallmark of this staff.
No, this is my own personal commentary on the people with whom I work. I’ve said it before so I’m sorry if I sound like I’m on repeat; they turn toward the world with kindness. Always. Even in this harsh weather, as they stand up against the brutal north wind trying to help someone in our parking lot, they are leading with love.
They’re doing it – not because someone asked – but because it’s who they are.