Working day in and day out at Bradshaw Animal Shelter is full of highs and lows. Seeing abandoned, neglected and jaded animals is often counter-balanced by the joy of seeing an injured animal recover, a sad and withdrawn animal blossom with a new family and witnessing the happy reunification of a lost pet with its owner. Martha Piper, Senior Office Assistant, has seen it all and more in the 11 years that she has been manning the front desk at the shelter. What started out as a temporary assistant position in 2006, has blossomed into not only a long term, full-time career; but a passion.
Martha dedicates herself 100 percent to her job on a daily basis, but she goes above and beyond her call of duty to provide love and support to grieving pet owners, reunite lost pets with their owners, raise funds for the shelter and donates materials to the teen animal shelter program, S.T.A.M.P.
Inspired by her grief from her own pet loss, Martha and her husband developed “Rainbow Bridge” sympathy cards to give to pet owners that have recently lost a pet. They have also developed a series of ‘Thank You’ cards and a plantable heart to include with sympathy cards. Martha donates her time and the materials for each card in hopes of providing comfort to grieving families.
Not only does Martha work to cheer up the community, but she is a constant source of light to her co-workers. She dresses up as a cat during the annual Kitty-palooza fest and encourages her co-workers to dress up as well. She is always joyful, helpful and works hard to create an atmosphere of teamwork for the Clerical Wizards, as she calls them.
In her free time, Martha “trolls” Craigslist and Facebook for lost pet posts and attempts to match them up with stray animals that came into the shelter with no identification. She has already reunited nine animals this year that otherwise may have never made it back home!
A moment with Martha:
- Favorite thing about working at ACR? Oh, my!! If I can only pick 1 thing, it would be my coworkers and the volunteers! Working with a team of people who are just as dedicated to the cause as myself, is great! We may not always see eye to eye - working with animals and animal welfare can be very tense and stressful - but overall concern for the well-being of an animal and the people in their lives, compromise, and love of all things fuzzy wins out and at the end of the day we are all here for the same reason!
- If you could do any job, what would it be? If I could, I would work from home making jewelry and miniatures for my online store, the Patchwork Kitty. But ACR is too special I’d probably still come in and work even if I didn’t need to.
- How many animals do you have? What are they? Where did you get them? I have 4 cats and 1 dog. All have been adopted from ACR over the many years I’ve been here. My cats are; Bobbie an 11 year old shorthaired tortie who I adopted after one of our kennel attendants, Jen, asked me to foster her. Mama is a 10 year old (going on 6 months old) Turkish Angora cat, we fostered her and her kittens – they were born in my parent’s garage. All of kittens were adopted at Kittypalooza but I couldn’t let go of Mama, especially since she came from the neighborhood I grew up in. I’ve always been surprised no one came in looking for her. My next cat is Puffball or Puff, she’s a gigantic ragdoll that used to try and nurse off our male cat Pez when we first fostered her. Puff is 9 years old but I wish she could live forever!! Our youngest cat is Slag-a-thor, or Thor (I let my husband name him). He’s 6 now and he’s my teddy bear. Our dog, Wookie, is our youngest, most recent adoption. We first fostered him because he had been exposed to Parvo virus, but my husband fell in love as soon as he held him, so of course, he’s our baby now. He’s also lovingly referred to as the clerical dog because I often bring him to work with me; he’s great therapy for staff and volunteers.
- What will you do when you retire? If I’m still living in Sacramento, I’ll be volunteering at ACR after I retire!!
- Favorite food. I love Chinese food and ice cream.
- Little known fact about you? Since May of 2015 I’ve lost over 300 lbs. from changing my diet and exercise alone. I’m literally a new person! Also, I don’t watch T.V.!
- What do you do in your free time? When I’m not trolling Craigslist and Facebook for lost pets, or making cat ears, I love making miniatures, crafting, making jewelry, hunting for antiques with my mom, going hiking with my husband and Wookie, and being a killer auntie!