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Gillian Kocher, Pennsylvania SPCA

Interview with Gillian Kocher, Pennsylvania SPCA

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Gillian Kocher, Director of Public Relations and Marketing for the Pennsylvania SPCA, and get her personal insights on the organization’s role in getting its message out to the public.

Q: How did you come to get involved with animal rescue?

A: I have always loved animals, and after working with a childhood cancer charity for nearly 8 years, I couldn’t imagine a better move than making a difference for animals. It just so happened that when I decided to make my move from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, the stars aligned and the position at the PSPCA opened up. I applied, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Q: How long have you been Director of PR & Marketing for the PSPCA?

A: I began as the Director of PR and Marketing in October of 2015, meaning that I have been here for nearly two years. Wow, how time flies!

Q: What do you see as the greatest challenge in getting the PSPCA’s message out to the public?

A: The biggest challenge in getting the PSPCA’s message to the public is differentiating our organization from other SPCAs, as well as the ASPCA. All SPCAs are their own non-profit organizations, so when someone says that they donate to the ASPCA every month, they may not realize that money does not trickle down to local branches.

Q: What do you feel are some common misconceptions about surrendering or adopting animals through the PSPCA?

A: A common misconception is that our animals are damaged. They may have been rescued from cruel or neglect situations, but that doesn’t make them any less lovable than any other animals out there in the world. We also work with all our dogs on any issues that they may have—we not only rescue animals, but we are dedicated to rehabilitating them and ultimately rehoming them!

Q: Do you have any rescue animals of your own? And if so, what can you tell us about their stories prior to rescue?

A: I do! I rescued a one-eyed, three-legged cat from the PSPCA over a year ago. This beautiful girl was rescued from cruelty by our Humane Law Enforcement Officers and I just fell in love with her. She has grown and opened so much in the last year and I can’t imagine my life without her now. I also currently have a hospice foster cat, Trumpet, who is in the early stages of renal failure. He is the happiest little boy, but he needs fluids injected every day to keep him going. Our foster dog, Carol, was just adopted this week.

Q: What do you feel is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: There are so many rewarding parts, including getting see animals transform from the moment of their rescue to the time when they go home. Animals are so resilient, and they can teach us so much about life and forgiveness. Adopt don’t shop!

Q: What would you most want people to know before adopting a rescue animal?

A: It’s amazing and so rewarding. No matter what animal you choose, they will be so thankful to you for choosing them and show you for the rest of their life!


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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