CEO Roundup: Exciting News and a Day on the Front Line
Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home CEO, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, shares her thoughts on a week at the Home that started with some exciting news and continued with a day on the front-line.
Monday 6th April
It feels like spring is fluttering at the window this morning, bursting to get through. The lighter evenings and mornings I think are making such a difference to that feeling of hope during this crisis. That being said I can’t shake the feeling that I’m Bill Murray in GroundHog Day the movie, since there’s no usual get up and get out on a Monday morning. I make do with the birds twittering in my garden as I fire up the laptop. The silence of furlough is deafening still but it helps that our kennel and cattery team are videoing and snapping away each day they’re in and sharing this with all of us on our internal comms channel. Images of doggy meet up’s, zoomies, fun with the hoses and the cats being mischievous with the cat nip help spur on the team not able to be at site each day. What I didn’t realise this Monday would bring would be the news I would be permanently appointed to the role of CEO. A phone call I was delighted to pick up and news I was thrilled to spend the afternoon sharing with the team!
Tuesday 7th April
After what felt like a very big moment yesterday and it was business as normal-just like I hoped it would be. In fact, today I had already planned to spend the morning with the front-line animal team checking on how they are doing and of course doing my best to “help” out. I had the pleasure of starting my first day as permanent CEO hosing poo down out of runs and it in fact felt like exactly the right place to make that first morning since they, the team and our animals, is what it’s all about! A fun morning spent having socially distanced catch ups with staff and cuddles with the dogs and cats. I felt wet and covered in poo and slobber but oh so happy! Overall, I left feeling in awe of how calm and positive the atmosphere was across site-they are such a resilient bunch just putting 110% into their jobs. In many of their chats with me they kept saying I’m just grateful to be here, and so am I. I went home to find my daughter equally keen to cover me in kisses and cuddles, fascinated with the uniform I was wearing! So, I sat down and did my best to explain what mummy’s job involves, in two-year-old terms.
Wednesday 8th April
The mid-week point always seems so strange as you’re not sure how you got here so quickly and can’t quite believe how much ground has been covered. Listening to the team on the weekly catch up call is amazing-all the hard work being quietly put in behind the scenes to keep us operating smoothly is really uplifting. It’s that same feeling of gratitude to still be kept busy and supporting the Home and we all know that we’re keeping things moving forward so that when everyone else comes back online we can get back to moving the organisation forward. I met quite a few of the new dogs and cats yesterday who have come through our doors recently and it brings it back to me that we’re not just trying to get ourselves back out there for those who are with us but for those who are yet to come. We’re getting less calls than we used to when we were open but we’re still getting daily calls from people struggling and not sure where to turn. I don’t think that’s going to stop, if the recession of 2008 taught the Home anything that will only increase.
Thursday 9th April
I worry that my life has turned into a virtual reality where my phone is my third limb and that I’m used to speaking into a camera lens rather than sitting in a room with someone. My morning is spent on meeting after meeting but spending time with my colleagues is positive because we’re able to rally around each other. We are furiously applying for financial relief packages and trying to plan ahead of where our income won’t recover this year-I could sure use a glass ball around now because the CEO tightrope of decisions I’m walking doesn’t have a clear view ahead. But I have an army of amazing people in this organisation behind me to help with those tough moments ahead. My afternoon is spent with my daughter who always seems to normalise this crisis for me as she still wants me to pretend to be a dinosaur and stomp around the house, she wants to sit in our new garden furniture and chatter away to me about the very important things that occupy her two-year-old mind. It’s actually calming to me as I don’t need to be a CEO or make decisions when I’m with her-I’m just mummy and we’re all she needs right now and there’s something very peaceful about that.
Friday 10th April
Easter is a special time in our house, and I have taken today to be with my family. I have Easter fun planned for us along with the Easter egg decorating challenge we’ve set for the team at the Home. Its also a day tinged with a little sadness as it’s a time that we would gather with the rest of our family usually and enjoy that time together and we haven’t been able to plan for that. My mind turns to the review of the lockdown measures that were meant to take place Monday but won’t now. I think our organisation, like everyone else, is wondering when we will reach this peak and I hope that doesn’t mean there is more suffering to come for those most vulnerable. All we can do is keep our services running to help those struggling and perhaps over the next few days try to forget that pain with making eggs into chicks and doing Easter egg hunts in the garden. I hope we’ll know more next week. Stay tuned to find out what next week will bring for us.