Women in Animal Welfare – Team Celebrates Combined 160 Years Work
A dedicated team of female staff at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home today celebrated a combined 160 years in animal welfare work.
Recipients included Nonnie Kent (25 years), Jeni Anderson (30 years), Angie Gerrard (30 Years), Wendy Mullen (35 Years) and Fifi Smith (40 Years). The women were awarded Long Service Awards by the Home in recognition of their outstanding contributions to animal welfare here over significant periods.
Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, CEO at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said:
“Each and every one of these women deserve recognition for the services they have provided to dogs and cats in need over the last four decades. Every day they inspire me with their stories of the past and the way they continue to innovate to make the Home a better place – both for the animals and for the colleagues they work with. I am thrilled to present them with the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home long service award and join them in celebrating a combined milestone of 160 years’ service.”
The group of committed women have been a mainstay of frontline work at the Home over their many decades in post. Wendy Mullen, Kennel Manager at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, started her career here in the 1980s as a summer job and was quickly hooked. She has since cared for thousands of abandoned dogs at the Home and has been particularly known for her expertise in caring for doggy mums and their babies, either those brought in or who have given birth on site.
Angela Gerrard and Fifi Smith have been known as the cattery ‘Dream Team’ for decades, caring for thousands of cats during their time at the Home, including round the clock care for hundreds of kittens. Angela has worked at the Home for 30 years and although started her career in the kennels, her passion for cats eventually brought her to caring for their feline residents.
Fifi likewise started work at the Home as a Kennel Assistant, when she was just 17 years of age, a role that she won after the previous employee was scouted by Princess Antoinette of Monaco on a visit to the Home. She has lived on site for 18 years and even met and her husband Iain there, who she married in the Home’s large paddock. She will be retiring in November this year after 40 years of service to the Home.
Nonnie Kent, now Rehoming Operations Manager, started her time at the Home working directly in the kennels, before being promoted to Assistant Kennel Managers and then moving into Operations. She leads on the important job of matching pets with the many new owner applications that come into the Home every day. Meanwhile Jeni Anderson, Rehoming Customer Support, has been a familiar face at the Home for decades, and now manages the busy phone lines and front desk. She has seen many animals brought through the Home’s front door over the years, but likewise had the privilege of seeing them leave again with loving new owners.
Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s Long Service Awards reflect the Home’s service milestones achieved over the last two years.
Wendy Mullen (35 Years), Kennel Manager:
“I came straight from school and it was all I ever wanted to do. It was tricky to get a job here then and it was only supposed to be a summer job until the end of September, I still haven’t been told I’m being kept on! There have been so many amazing moments over the years. At the last count I have looked after around 180 doggy mums and all their babies and still remember every one of them. I was rehoming long before the days of Facebook so it was wonderful when their new owners used to write in later and send photos. I keep all these lovely memories in a big box.”
Nonnie Kent (25 years), Rehoming Operations Manager:
“My happiest memories are bringing around very nervous dogs, who would not interact with us when they first came in, or had fear-aggression so were difficult to handle. Building a relationship with them, helping them to gain confidence, and develop relationships with other members of staff. Then of course, finding them the happy ever after that they deserved. Always very rewarding.
“The first dog I got from the Home was one of these dogs, and Amber gave me such a rewarding experience and years of happiness. Also seeing so many dogs and cats find their forever homes has given me lots of lovely memories over the years.”
Jeni Anderson (30 Years), Rehoming Customer Support:
“There are too many memories to mention some happy ones, some sad ones but when working in the kennels it was just being part of a dog’s journey and then seeing them go off to their forever home that I enjoyed most. Again in the reception seeing some of the dogs go to their new homes knowing the team have worked so hard with them overcoming issues that they arrived with is very rewarding.”
Angela Gerrard (30 Years), Senior Kennel Assistant:
“I worked in the kennels when I first started and then went on to help the previous Senior Cattery Assistant, Glynis. When Glynis retired in 2012 I was permanently on cats as Senior Cattery Assistant. Glynis was the one who trained me and taught me everything about the cats of which I’m very grateful for.
“My best memory would be all the cats that I’ve helped to get new homes. I know it’s not just me, it’s a team effort, but it’s a great feeling when they phone or email and say they have settled in and they have made themselves at home. It’s also great to see cats who were a bit wild or upset when they first come in leaving with more confidence. Or when we get babies in and they eventually have to fly the nest; knowing that we have been part of their lives, even if it’s a short period of time is a nice feeling.”
Fifi Smith (40 Years), Senior Kennel Assistant:
“I started on 12 October 1981 at the age of 17. All the staff helped me settle in and through time they started to call me Fifi. I first worked on the stray dogs. It was very rewarding seeing the dogs going to their forever homes, especially if they were insecure and nervous and you had worked with them to build up their confidence. I got on really well with all the staff and have made lifetime friends.
“I moved on to boarding dogs, which I really enjoyed and then started to help on the stray and boarding cats. I learned a lot from the senior cattery assistant, Glynis. Angela was working on the boarding cats when she went on maternity leave 14 years ago. I worked on the boarding cats permanently and discovered this was my forever part of the job.”