Bethany and her sister found SICSA several years ago when they were searching to adopt a puppy. Bethany’s sister became interested in volunteering, but unfortunately, wasn’t yet 13 years old – the minimum age for Junior Volunteers. Bethany was, though, and so began her now 15-year relationship with the SICSA Pet Adoption Center.
At age 15, Bethany fostered her first puppy, a huge responsibility for a teenager. She was also trusted to handle dogs that were designated “adult-only” because of her skills and experience. In October of 2005, and a few months shy of her 18th birthday, Bethany was hired as an Animal Care Technician (ACT). She worked as an ACT, specializing in working with animals with behavior challenges, until she transferred to SICSA’s Spay/Neuter Clinic in 2015.
One of the things Bethany loves most about working at SICSA is that her jobs have involved constantly learning and improving. She especially appreciates the increased knowledge she has received around animal behavior and training, as well as learning all about their health and medical care in her new role in the veterinary clinic. Bethany credits one of her peers, Renée Grant, and volunteer Jen Moix, as huge sources of encouragement and education for her.
In addition to working with pets at SICSA, Bethany also works part-time at Poochie Bath in Kettering as a groomer. On more than one occasion, those grooming skills have come in handy at SICSA as well. Recently, she spent hours grooming Raggedy Ann, a stray in deplorable condition with extreme matting. Even though it took all afternoon, Bethany was patient and gentle. Raggedy Ann couldn’t have been made available for adoption without the care and grooming she received at the hands of Bethany.
One of Bethany’s most memorable experiences involves Bosco, a Pit Bull who was surrendered to SICSA. Bosco appeared to be dog reactive and very intense on a leash. Given his size and breed, this was huge barrier to him being adopted. While working with Bosco on leash manners, Bethany realized that Bosco wasn’t reacting aggressively towards other dogs, he just wanted to play. Bosco had not yet learned how to meet and interact with dogs in such a way as to encourage fun and not trouble. Bethany helped solve this problem by teaching Bosco to sit and wait for other dogs to approach him. After several training sessions in play groups, Bosco was able remove the “dog reactive” label from his profile.
Bethany has 6 pets from SICSA, several affectionately referred to as “Foster Failures”, celebrating her inability to give them up after fostering them in her home and heart. Her dogs (shown in the photo), Dusty, Peter Pan, and Tai, all had behavior issues which made them difficult to adopt. Bethany has worked tireless to modify and improve these behaviors, giving them a great quality of life which wasn’t previously expected. Two of her cats, Dextro and Gatsby, have similar backgrounds. Nateri, however, was a birthday surprise last year for Bethany. As a child, she had a very specific beloved pet – an orange, female, long-haired cat. “I told myself that if I ever found another cat like her, which is a rare discovery, I would adopt her immediately. Even with all my time at SICSA, it took me 10 years to find her.” Finally, the waiting paid off!
SICSA is extremely grateful for all the time, effort, and gifts that Bethany has brought to us and the animals over the last 15 years.