We recently had the opportunity to interview Anne Hogan, who served as Community Manager for the Humane Society of the United States from 2010 to 2013.
Q: Tell us about how you came to be Community Manager for the Humane Society.
A: I had recently finished grad school for non-profit management in Florida and went to Washington DC for the Humane Society of the United States' annual conference. I went with the intention of networking and finding a job in the DC area working on animal welfare issues. As luck would have it, that job ended up being with HSUS itself.
Q: What were the most important lessons you learned while doing social media management and blogger outreach for the Humane Society?
A: Patience and compassion. I am not, by nature, a patient person; but being in that role forced me to really get outside of myself and try to see issues from other perspectives. I frequently talked to people who were at the end of their ropes: they were upset about something they were seeing, they didn't know what to do, and they were frustrated. A lot of that frustration was taken out on me. I had to learn not to take it personally, and to find ways to connect people with the services and resources they needed, while also acting as a bit of a sounding board. It was a great opportunity early in my career to learn how to work proactively instead of defensively, and how to diffuse emotions to work towards a common goal.
Q: How did your work with the Humane Society affect your decision to adopt a pet?
A: I would have gone the rescue/shelter route regardless of where I was working, but I think I would have waited longer! Seeing the plight of homeless pets up close every day definitely drove me to jump in faster. I wanted to do more to help.
Q: Tell us a little about how you came to adopt your dog.
A: I wasn't going to adopt a dog. Really, I wasn't! I was enjoying the freedom of not having a pet and being able to come and go as I pleased; but, I did miss having a furry companion. So, I decided to foster. That lasted for all of six minutes before Teddy became "my” dog. I haven't regretted it for a second.
Q: What did you know about your pet’s life before adoption?
A: Next to nothing. I know that when he was about two years old his owners surrendered him to a high kill shelter in rural Virginia. He was pulled from there by the rescue group where I adopted him.
Q: How has having a rescued animal affected your life?
A: Let's just say that life with Teddy is never dull! He is my constant companion; he manages to make every day better and more fun just by being at my side. I unapologetically spoil him rotten. He deserves it.
Q: What would you say has been the most rewarding part of pet adoption?
A: The unconditional love. I was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, and I really don't know what I would have done without Teddy. He's always been a mama's boy; but somehow he knows when I'm feeling the worst, and he's always right beside me to lick my hand and watch out for me.
Q: What would you most want others to know about the plight of stray pets and pet rescue/adoption that they may not already know?
A: You can find purebreds in rescue!! There are breed-specific rescues for just about every dog out there, and you can find purebreds at general rescue groups and shelters as well. If you've always had German Shepherds, or can't live without a Poodle, you can still find a rescue dog. If you want a puppy, you can find puppies. Old dogs? Yup. Big, small, calm, excited, kid-friendly, whatever kind of dog you need. There are so many dogs in need of homes. Don't judge rescue dogs as a group—each dog is different.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.
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