Photo: Stewart Rae (left), me (right)
I started with the SPCA at the age of 13 years. My parent’s wouldn’t let me have a dog, so each week I had the joy of caring for a kennel full at the Manawatu RSPCA based in Palmerston North. I had amazing and trusting mentors including Margaret Gibbons, Priscilla Shipton and Val Chandler. It was while I was at high school that I then got involved in civil defence rescue and had other great mentors like Neil Webb and Sue Petronelli. Little did they or I know, that they all had sewn the seeds for me to follow both a career in animal welfare as well as emergency management, and that these two careers would merge into an opportunity to become a world leading researcher at the University of Otago doing my PhD in the specialised area of animal disaster management.
Photo: Ritchie Dawson and myself carry out a cliff rescue (old dodgy school days, before NRU!)
Needless to say, I have spent years of my life seeing what is available out there to improve one’s understanding of animal disaster management, and to save you decades of trial or error (and my mistakes!), after mentoring many people also in this space, it was clear that I came back to a common recipe for development and success. So I have created an Animal Emergency Management 101 blog post that outlines some (mostly free) activities to grow your interest in animal emergency management. So whether you are an emergency manager, veterinary professional, fire/rescue officer or whatever, here is my steps to get a handle on animal emergency management whether you are in New Zealand, USA or anywhere else in the world.
I hope you find it useful. Feedback welcome.