• Experiential Education

    SUMMER 2013

    Tianna Riggi

    Monmouth County SPCA

    As a MCSPCA volunteer, I have had the pleasure of meeting the most welcoming and selfless people I have ever met. The staff members and volunteers were very welcoming and eager to welcome me into the family that they have created. My experience as a volunteer has been one of the most rewarding and touching experiences I have ever encountered. There are many animals that I have become friendly with and look forward to caring for each day. Before I started my volunteering, I had to take a class to ensure that I was capable of handling these animals and providing the right skills needed to care for them. After working with the animals at the shelter, I would go home and write about the animals and my experience as a volunteer. I am happy to report that since I have been there, there were many dogs and cats that have been adopted and each time it was a bitter sweet experience. Of course you want these animals to find a home, but as an animal lover, you cannot help but grow attached to them. Each day I found myself looking forward to going to my internship because I knew I was giving back to these animals.

    The most important thing that I have learned during this experience is that not only do I get to give back to these animals the respect and care they deserve, but they give something back to me. All they want is love and attention and if you're having a bad day they always welcome you and look forward to seeing your face. Every contribution counts to these animals and something as small as taking them for a short walk makes them happy. This selfless love that these animals have contrary to what they have been through is the greatest gift anyone could experience. If I helped out one animal's life, made a difference, and aided in at least one animal's adoption, that's the best thing I could ask for.

    I have also learned the intense amount of work that goes into running a non-profit organization. It is incredible how dedicated the staff members and volunteers are and how much effort they put into making sure these animals find the perfect family. The adoption process is extensive which is to guarantee that the animals will be able to adapt to a family that fits for them. The MCSPCA will not just adopt to anyone. I think it is important that they interview the entire family because they ultimately care about the animal's well-being and want to make sure that the animal will be comfortable. They do not want the animals to come back because of a inexact match with a family.

    Every day was a new experience for me. There were days when the adoption center was very slow and not many people came in to see the animals. On the other hand, there were days when it was extremely busy. There were many people who came in to see the animals and I had the pleasure of meeting with potential adopters and aiding in the assistance of assuring these animals could become adopted. As a volunteer, there were times when I felt that there was more I could do if I were to become a staff member because volunteering only goes so far. However, any help the MCSPCA can get is worth more than anyone can imagine.

    This volunteer experience has let me use my writing and communication skills I have obtained through schooling by writing about my experience as a volunteer and also writing about the animals at the shelter. There were opportunities I had to write about my experience as a volunteer to try to get the pubic to sacrifice their time to help these animals stay acquainted to the human race as well as make a difference in their lives. Also, I have been writing about the animals in the shelter and tried bringing out the best in their personalities to make them more adoptable. In addition, I have spoken to the public about the animals up for adoption and aided them in the right direction to start the process.

    Since I was not a staff member, it was difficult for me to do my hours physically at the shelter to use my skills as an English major, therefore much of my work was done at home. There were other miscellaneous tasks that were asked of me such as transportation of the animals from their Freehold location to the location in Eatontown. There were other opportunities such as setting up for events and helping construct the volunteer board of events. The amounts of opportunities available to a volunteer were endless and there was always something available to a volunteer.

    I chose this Experiential Education path because my first passion is to work with animals. I felt that writing about my experiences and educating the public through my oral communication and print was a great way to combine my two loves of writing and of animals. Before entering Monmouth University, I enrolled in a medical course and became a Certified Veterinary Technician Assistant. After obtaining my Bachelor's Degree, I would love to pursue a career that combines my writing and communication skills as an English major and the healthcare profession of Veterinary Medicine.

    My opportunity to volunteer at the Monmouth County SPCA has given me the chance to observe a non-profit organization while helping me find a path to pursue my dreams. Since this internship is involved with what I plan to do after receiving my degree, it helps me to have a great experience on my resume and will hopefully open up many doors in Veterinary Medicine for me as well as make me more marketable since I have the experience working with animals and using my skills that I obtained at Monmouth University.

    There are countless opportunities I can pursue outside Monmouth University that involve working with animals as well as using my skills as an English major. As I've done extensive research, I have come to find that even though as an English major, you wouldn't expect to work directly with animals as it requires certain skills that one does not obtain as an English major. However, I am a certified Veterinary Technician Assistant and I want to combine my skills as an English major with the abilities I have gained through my certification.

    There are many opportunities in Veterinary Medicine that many people do not know about. As an English major, I could get a job working through administration as well as clerical work and business. There are many jobs that pertain to Veterinary Medicine that go unnoticed because they are not the people you come in contact with on your visit to the hospital or small practice. As this is my passion, anything pertaining to working with animals is what I would like to pursue out of college.

    The MCSPCA has given me the opportunity to explore the opportunities available in Veterinary Medicine and had also given me optimal experience to use as a support to enhance my familiarity in this business.

    Overall, the MCSPCA has given me the opportunity to grow as an individual and learn the extensive hard work that goes into running a non-profit organization. It has showed me that there are many opportunities in Veterinary Medicine even though half the work does not have to do with working with the animals. There are countless staff members who work to ensure the business runs smoothly whether it be clerical work to get the word out to the public or setting up appointments with potential adopters. There are even people who work at this facility who are in charge of the marketing and outlook options and ensure that the public is aware of the animals that are available for adoption and the efforts the public can take to ensure that the animals are getting adopted or the options the public has to make a difference. I would continue to work with the MCSPCA as a potential employer in the future and as of right now I plan on volunteering to keep my options available in the hopes that I can eventually find a job in Veterinary Medicine or become a member of the MCSPCA team.