When I moved back to Whistler in December 2015, I never intended on getting a full time job that wasn't my photography. I did intend on volunteering at WAG, the Whistler animal shelter, and pursuing photography full time. Within 2 weeks of arriving in Whistler, I had submitted my volunteer application at WAG. A couple weeks later, I was invited to attend the volunteer orientation for the month of January. After I did the orientation, I signed up for shifts - typically dog walking - at least once a week, if not more. During the orientation, Mallory - the volunteer coordinator - introduced staff members, saying almost every single one of the began as a volunteer. My thought was "whaaaat!? You could get paid to work here!!!!?" It was a thought that remained in the back of my mind.
After a few months of volunteering, I would think of WAG more and more. If a spot opened up to work there, I wanted to know how I could be considered. Late April, my thoughts were read and the shelter manager sent me an email saying they were hiring, sent the job description, and told me it would be a LOT of cleaning. She said if I was interested, send in my CV. Within a couple hours, I had sent her a very enthusiastic email trying to express how much I'd love to work there and attached my resume. After an interview and being told to "go home and think about it" (yeah right, I had nothing to think about) I accepted a job as a casual shelter assistant. The role would only be a couple days a week with flexibility, allowing me still focus on my photography.
It took a while to learn the ropes around WAG and feel comfortable. Aside from caring for animals and cleaning pretty much the entire building daily, there was a lot to learn about the back end of operations. Once I started feeling comfortable with everything, I had more confidence and took on more shifts. I was very keen to learn more at the shelter and take on more responsibilities.
When Jess, the adoption coordinator, made the hard decision to leave WAG to pursue her passion career, I was asked to consider if I'd want to take on the role. Within WAG, that was my dream role but I never thought I'd take it on so soon. Jess and the manager spent weeks training me and helping me into the position. At the end of October, I officially became the adoption coordinator at the Whistler animal shelter.
WAG is amazing. I get to work with dedicated, caring, compassionate, and supportive women every day. The staff members embody the values of a team and I can't think of many other places I've worked in my life where everyone has taken responsibility to look after each other and wholeheartedly support one another.
So why am I writing about this on my photography blog?? One, to let everyone know more about me, my passions, and my time commitments. Yes I work full-time at WAG now, but that doesn't stop me from pursuing my photography. I am still available every week for photography work! Two, to give a shout out to an amazing little animal shelter that is completely not-for-profit and full of dedicated staff, volunteers, and community supporters. And three, so I can share some of my animals portraits! Since I took on the adoption coordinator role, I've been using my photography skills to try and capture some beautiful images to help the animals get adopted. I am not always able to do professional images for every animal, but I definitely try to.
So thanks for reading along, and here are some cute dogs and kitties to make you smile: