Erin Funk - Blue New Nodaway Humane Soceity

Finding passion through a pit

I think from a very young age my family could tell I was an animal lover. I had enough stuffed animals to open my own FAO Schwarz, but they also learned quickly I was very allergic to both cats and dogs. I grew up wanting a dog, a cat, a something that I could call my own and as I grew older it got harder and harder. I began taking allergy shots in 5th grade, I would dog sit for neighbors and pretty much secluded myself with my friends pets whenever I would be invited over for a sleep over. Every year when my birthday rolled around I had the same wish, a puppy. After 14 years of failed wishes, a miracle happened, we moved across the street from my friend Lindsay who just so happened to have Sammie, a hypoallergenic cavachon. That was it. Within a year my parents surprised me with a trip and soon I was picking out names and even though I still regard the day I brought Lilly  home as one of the best in my life so far, this post isn’t about her.

This is about how I found one of my passions in life, my dream job and ways to help more animals than just my puppy I waited so long for.

I have been the Marketing Intern for the New Nodaway Humane Society in Maryville for a little over a year now. I love being a part of such a great organization, doing what I can to help the shelter and animals in every way I know how. I have written press releases, designed flyers, attended board meetings and still manage the digital marketing. Quickly I realized this was a very emotional business, saving animals. You hear horror stories, you lay awake at night wondering what is wrong with people but you also feel so much joy when something goes right. For example, Durango, who I wrote about for a course, was adopted because of Facebook, the now owner told the shelter. That means my post was responsible for his second chance, new home and the love a dog deserves.

Another story has recently captured my heart and encouraged me to keep pursing my passion.

When I moved in with Nick, Lilly had some adjusting to do. She was getting used to the apartment and soon a new neighbor puppy. Rascal, we later learned his name, is an American Staffordshire Terrier and though I pride myself on being an animal lover, I admittedly was protective of Lilly. One, because she does not have the best manners and two, because his owners rarely had him outside, making me think he might not be friendly. After trying to keep them apart for months, Lilly squeaked out and made a friend. Rascal was sweet and loved seeing Lilly and Bailey when his owners weren’t rushing him in and out of the house only twice a day. They sometimes let him out without a leash and we would find him streets away on our walks, making Nick and I very upset. We talked to them and for the most part, Rascal then stayed on a leash.

After school got out we thought Rascal went home for the summer but one day as I worked on my NNHS post I became very upset. Our volunteer photographer had a picture of what looked like Rascal. The next day I went to the shelter to investigate. As soon as I came around the corner I knew it was him. His big brown eyes were staring up at my hopefully familiar face. I spoke with the ladies and they told me he came in as a stray and already been there over 10 days. I was mad at myself for not finding him sooner and mad at my neighbors. As soon as I came home, we knocked on their door and let them know he was there. She left, telling us she was going to get him back.

First my neighbor said she needed to talk to her girlfriend that was out of town, then they needed money and then they surrendered him. Even after the offer of a payment plan which the shelter is not supposed to do. I was heartbroken Rascal, now Blue was not going back home.

Every day since we knocked on their door, Nick or I have taken him a treat, walked and loved him when we are available. I even bought him a new bed that can go with whoever adopts him. He is better behaved than our dogs, he is quieter than our dogs and is the biggest couch potato I have ever witnessed, but he is a pit bull and I am scared he will never receive the love he gives.

Over the course of the year, through Rascal’s and Durango’s stories and with graduation forcing me to take a career direction I have theorized my dream job, a Marketing Director for an animal shelter or  sanctuary. I have time to work my way there and hopefully through my experiences to come and continued support/love for shelters and animals in general, I can make it happen.

If you know ANYONE interested in adopting please mention New Nodaway Humane Society and Rascal. He is a commitment but only because of the stereotype that comes with his breed.


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