June 26, 2009
By Megan Brincks
I have now been in Woodstock (Ill.) for over a week, and I have learned so much already. I can't wait to learn so much more in the next five weeks.
As an intern the Hooved Animal Humane Society (HAHS) provides me with a place to live. I live on the property in one of the houses with my supervisor, Hillary. I get my own bathroom and bedroom, which is a new experience for me.
Thankfully, Hillary and I bonded pretty quickly over some stubborn weeds in her garden. I felt kind of awkward around her at first, especially since we only met once during my interview and now we are roommates. I am really glad we had a chance to spend time together before Monday morning. It didn't feel scary to go down the lane to the offices because I had a friend there already.
We start off Monday mornings with a staff meeting. I was surprised to hear these meetings last as long as two hours.
Let me back up and quickly explain HAHS. This non-profit organization is dedicated to helping hoofed animals through legislation, education and, when necessary, intervention. A person can call HAHS and report abuse or neglect situations for hoofed animals, primarily horses. HAHS will send an investigator to determine if animal owners are violating the law. Under Illinois law, pet owners must provide animals with food, water, shelter and veterinary care.
If a situation is deemed dangerous for the animal, often the owner will relinquish the animal to HAHS, but sometimes the case goes to court. Sometimes the owner will get the animal back, and sometimes they won't. After an animal comes to the HAHS farm, we do what we can to rehabilitate and adopt the animal.
Within HAHS, there is a board of trustees, two people working outside on the 26-acre farm, and two people in the office full-time. There are also two part-time office workers and an executive director that is in the office one day a week. For these six weeks of my internship, I will be in the office 40 hours each week.
Already in this first week I have done a lot of work on the summer edition of Hoofprints, HAHS' quarterly magazine. I also got a chance to update the Pet Finder account and make a couple different flyers for adoptable horses. I also got to help check references for people looking to adopt animals.
Overall, this experience has been great and I can't wait for next week!
For those of you who are looking for advice for future internships, I would say never be afraid to ask questions. You never know when a simple question might turn into a well of knowledge. Research the organization before you go so you know what it's about. For example, it was easier for me to learn a lot of the horses' names after looking at the Web site before I went. Become friends with your coworkers. You might not go out after work, but don't be afraid to strike up a conversation. More than likely everyone will be nice and want to know about you. Plus, if you get along with people, they might be more likely to show you how to do stuff and share their knowledge.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you all come back for next week's installment.