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Old 12-19-2015, 01:51 PM
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,060 posts, read 6,081,626 times
Reputation: 9470


Originally Posted by sedonaverde View Post
I'm worried this will leave me vulnerable to attack in the dark.
Is pepper spray legal in your state?

If not, wasp spray is legal. You could make a carrier for it and hang it on your belt.

Practice with a can of it first.

Also, who is going to know if you have a no-contract flip phone hidden in a pocket, just for dialing the police? You could turn in your main phone and keep this second one in a special pocket. Cargo pants are good for that.

Longer term, depending on the local laws, you would get a ccw and have a gun, instead.

Or you could just forget about this job and start walking dogs on your own.
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:49 PM
359 posts, read 190,814 times
Reputation: 298
Hi folks, thanks for your feedback, I started working there and have an update.

Things got off on the wrong foot on my first day. I was on my way to work and about to arrive early when the general manager called me to verify what time he had asked me to come in for the training. He told me a time and I reminded him that he had asked me to come in an hour earlier, but that I could go somewhere to kill time and come in later. The GM then said ok, just come in at (the time we'd agreed on previously).
Once I arrived, I was led to the employee lounge and told to read some materials, fill in a form and read over a multi page document outlining the position's tasks. First red flag I noticed was the outlining of several actions taken by an employee that would result in verbal / written warnings, some were fair but I had the overall impression that management was strict. The documents were full of BOLD ALL CAPS WARNINGS AND EXCLAMATIONS MARKS LIKE THIS !!!!!!!!
I think it was a sign of what was to come.

Being a rush period and all, I wasn't given enough time to read it all but was allowed to take the handouts with me so I planned to review them at home. We were a handful of new trainees and were led on a tour of the facilities, then got right to work with performing tasks under the guidance of a trainer. It was a very fast paced job with (IMO) unrealistic quotas, especially since we were still learning. We would expected to rush rush rush, basically fed to the wolves given that many of the dogs were of the protection/guard variety - rottweiler, doberman, pitbull, etc. and they had somewhat aggressive personalities. Pinch and choke collars were used as needed. We were expected to read instructions on how to handle particular dogs very quickly (like take a second or two to read a sheet about their personalities) , access their kennels and make sure we weren't bitten. , take control of the situation and slip the collar onto them even when they weren't cooperating, etc. I've been bitten before by a former boss' dog and an ex-colleague actually laughed about it when I stood their frozen in disbelief, so maybe I had some initial apprehension when I faced off with a protection breed at this shelter.

It was stressful, loud, I actually developed ear pain and this was just the first day. The GM received feedback from fellow employees and decided I wasn't confident enough around the dogs. They did not offer me any basic dog handling training.
He called me the next day to inform me that my services are no longer required during the holiday period but that my info would be kept on file in case of a future opening..but not in the shelter handling dogs. So I'm fired. I will be paid for training, though the check amount will be negligible.

Besides having to face my parents/family about the fact I was fired after the first day and am unemployed once again, I think I'm going to have to take a serious look as to whether working in animal care is for me. I recognize that I need basic dog handling training/obedience and was already planning to take some hands on courses.

Here's my question:

How can I avoid an employer like this in the future? I mean maybe there are some questions I can ask during the interview and I should probably insist on a facilities tour to see if the noise level is something that's tolerable without resorting to earplugs.

Last edited by sedonaverde; 12-22-2015 at 04:39 PM..
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:52 PM
35,108 posts, read 40,504,555 times
Reputation: 62079
Originally Posted by sedonaverde View Post
I interviewed for a job at an animal shelter and while it is paid, the salary is low. To be expected I guess.

Here are some of the duties working conditions:

- Clean cages / kennels for 1-2 hours per 4 hour shift depending on number of animals on site. All they offer is part time.
- Administer oral meds and eye drops to animals as requested by the vet tech on duty.
- Light paperwork to record anomalies / communicate problems with management. Write mini reports.
- Walk dogs for 1-1.5 hours per shift.

Dog walking specifics:
- Inspect their poo (#2) if it's liquid (diarrhea), blood, irregular and report to management (insert in report) and of course clean it up
- Scoop leaves/twigs/brush over their pee (#1) to hide it because the walking paths cross a state park and the management doesn't want to the paths to resemble a toilet considering it's public property

- No cell phones allowed even on walks. Note that walks are scheduled before sunrise and after sunset. Management says they want workers to be fully focused on their jobs. I get they don't want employees to text their friends instead of working but the last place where cell phones were not allowed was a bank and that was to protect customers' financial info. But requiring employees to walk dogs alone, in the dark, without their phone has me on edge. What if there's a medical emergency with me or the dog, someone tries to hurt us / rob me, etc. ?

No benefits since part time.

I have a college degree and the pay is slightly higher than minimum wage. I took the job since I need something over the next few weeks since money is tight and I'm hoping to get a reference, but what do you think of the above conditions? They seem a little much for the low pay.
Apparantly the conditions are not as bad as you hoped to present them since you took the job.
If you knew you were only going to be there a few weeks why did you accept the position?
You are wasting their time and resources.
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Old 12-22-2015, 04:06 PM
359 posts, read 190,814 times
Reputation: 298
^^ To answer you

The GM initially stated that it was a temp 2 week trial position and that if a new employee did well, there was a good chance of being offered a more permanent position in the new year. The GM also told me about a so called "confidential" new service they were planning to offer in the new year which I had more experience in and was interested in pursuing. Therefore I thought I had a chance to earn some money as a holiday back up for vacationing employees and then beyond.

However what I thought was at least 2 weeks of on the job experience turned out to be a nightmare. I never put the dogs in danger, none of them escaped, ok I could have worked faster, but it seems awfully severe to fire someone new without addressing their performance and giving them a chance to improve. I could have used the time spent acquiring this job on more productive tasks like applying to better opportunities and so this is exactly what I'll be doing this holiday period now that I'm unemployed again.

But I also want to make sure I perform due diligence on my new potential employer.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:21 AM
Location: Tennessee
23,929 posts, read 17,812,181 times
Reputation: 27970
I'd personally rather just do retail
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Old 12-23-2015, 05:33 PM
Status: "No leaf clover." (set 20 days ago)
1,086 posts, read 657,774 times
Reputation: 2297
Watch every episode of Cesear Milan.s Dog Whisperer. He is the master of how to get into the zone and take charge. It.s all in how you read the dog, and having nonverbal communication with them. You mentioned being afraid of being bit. You need to get over that right away. The dogs smelled your fear. You have a long way to go; I.m sorry to be so blunt. Work with a lot of small dogs and get your confidence up. Read books and school yourself.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:18 AM
Location: Northern Virginia
373 posts, read 192,129 times
Reputation: 1400
You may want to evaluate different types of opportunities in dealing with animals if that's really what you want to be doing. Maybe an admin position in a vet clinic or similar. Or, you could find a non-animal-related job and then spend some time volunteering at a shelter. There are lots of different jobs when you volunteer and that might give you some experience that is less demanding than the job you tried to do.

I think you will find that most shelters, unless they're very small, are going to be loud. I volunteered at a humane society for quite a while and the dogs would go bonkers every time someone came into the dog runs. It would get deafeningly loud. They were either excited for human interaction or were scared & aggressive. Additionally, a LOT of dogs in these shelters are the "unwanted breeds" - pit bulls, rotties, etc. It's sadly par for the course for those types of dogs.

Good luck!!
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Old 12-24-2015, 12:40 PM
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,060 posts, read 6,081,626 times
Reputation: 9470
OP, I'm sorry to hear about your experience. There are decent animal care jobs out there, but -- unfortunately -- many are like that one.

It's great that you like animals, but you might want to think about sharpening your other skills and getting higher paying, less stressful work. One related job you might consider is clerk at a decent pet store and work your way up to management. Note that I said "decent." Some of them are bad places to work, as well.
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Old 12-24-2015, 02:11 PM
Location: Planet Woof
3,139 posts, read 3,532,261 times
Reputation: 9889
Why not consider starting your own dog walking business?
Anyway, the part about walking only after dark with no cell phone seemed ridculous.
Anyway, good luck to you.
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Old 12-28-2015, 08:56 PM
289 posts, read 348,364 times
Reputation: 328
What you describes sounds like a typical job handling animals. The work environment at any job is going to differ from the next. If you were more concerned about the management style and attitude there than the actual work, then it's probably a good thing you got out because you will never be happy in a work environment that does not suit you (sadly I know from personal experience). I volunteered at an animal shelter for many years and loved it. The noise and the bad behaviors didn't bother me. It was a really laid back atmosphere, but I guess it's hard not to be pretty lax with volunteers because they're doing you a service for free.
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