Our Animal Care Coordinator, Martha Cline, was fortunate to be part of the latest Animal Farm Foundation Internship program in June. She had a wonderful time, learned a bunch and made a sweet new friend in the process. Here is a bit of her experience:
I recently had the pleasure to participate in Animal Farm Foundation’s week long internship in upstate New York. This was the a valuable experience for me, as the Animal Care Coordinator at Oakland Animal Services, to take week to focus on learning techniques from AFF to improve our programs for our Shelter dogs. I was paired with Rohan Marley, a dog at AFF. The two of us would live together during the week and I would be responsbile for caring for him, including feeding, toileting, training and giving feedback on his interactions with me over our time together.
I can only say that Marley was very patient with me as I practiced the obedience training techniques that AFF instructors showed us over the course of our time there. The internship gave me new tools and ideas that will help us improve the quality of life of the dogs at OAS; I’ve ordered clickers to train our awesome dog volunteers to “click for calm” in the kennels. I developed a new appreciation for what agility training can do to build self- confidence in shelter dogs; and while we may not have an entire agility course, we can build an inexpensive jump that will help us learn to teach our dogs build focus and decrease kennel stress. I can’t wait to teach some tricks to some of our extra special pups like Tallulah and Hudson.
The discussions during the internship with both instructors and participants about how to publicize dogs, with specific attention on what it means to publicize and educate about pitbull type dogs had me rethink my own approach to adoption counseling and how to talk with people about what each specific dog needs – no matter the breed.
Thank you AFF, the dogs (especially my new friend Marley), and of course my fellow interns for an awesome learning experience. Now I have the challenge and the pleasure of taking what I learned and applying it creatively to our divers dog population here in Oakland!
Martha Cline, OAS Animal Care Coordinator