“Jobs of the Future” is a series focusing on career paths, local job opportunities, programs and success stories that shine a light on North Bay’s diverse job market.
Many moving parts contribute to the daily operation of the North Bay and District Humane Society. Between the clinic, the adoption centre, the various programs and the community approach, there are a lot of accounts to be rendered.
Jessica Kokol is an administrative assistant and one of the keys to the overall operation.
“I do a lot of bookkeeping and paperwork. I answer phones and doors, so I’m usually the first face you see when you come to the Humane Society,” says Kokol.
The North Bay and District Humane Society (NBDHS) specializes in spaying services, however, in an emergency, the doctor will see how he can best help the animal in need.
Over the past few years, the clinic has been spreading this message to the community about neutering or neutering pets for a number of reasons.
“I think it’s important to provide sterilization services, because you have to reduce and try to control the animal population,” says Kokol.
“You get so many animals every year that will be euthanized due to overpopulation. Our shelter does not euthanize, but that is a big part of why having your cat spayed and neutered is so important. It is also a preventative health measure as male dogs can develop testicular cancer and female dogs can develop pyometra (a bacterial infection that occurs due to hormonal changes in the female reproductive system).
Kokol adds that it also reduces bad behavior such as scent marking and aggression.
“It doesn’t eliminate these problems, but it can significantly reduce them. Population control is huge, we have such a large wandering population here and throughout Northern Ontario in general.
The NBDHS also does its best to help animals from other regions find their forever homes.
“We’ve done dog rescues in Thunder Bay and Manitoba before, and recently came into contact with a shelter in Kentucky,” says Kokol.
“They are unfortunately a refuge for killing and so when space is limited they euthanize these animals and so every two weeks we get about six dogs from them to give them a chance at adoption.”
Kokol says it’s not uncommon for shelters to work together to give animals a better chance of being adopted.
“We work closely with shelters everywhere and through links with different humane societies and PCAs (societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals) you make a lot of connections. Part of my role is to reach out to other shelters all the time for all sorts of things. Janet Bredin is the one who does a lot of this coordination and networking for our shelter.
Kokol is a recent graduate of Nipissing University with a degree in biology.
She says she was looking to further her education in veterinary medicine, but after starting at the shelter she became interested in the other side of the business, “which led me to my current role; although it all starts with the love of animals.
“If you choose veterinary medicine in private practice, 60% of your work is focused on animals and 40% on humans. You need to be very socially aware and know how to talk to people because you need to convey to owners what their pets may or may not need. At the shelter, it’s all about doing what’s best for this animal.
Kokol says there are plenty of opportunities to pursue a career where you work with animals and suggests people should volunteer at their local humane society or clinic and base their decisions on that.
“If you find you are more interested in the medical aspect, check out some programs you can pursue and specialize in. While my job is in administration, I work with animals far more than many others. people in administrative type roles, etc. If you are interested in working with animals, volunteer where you can. There are so many jobs available in the animal world, and it’s not all about the medical side of things, so explore those options.
She adds that you can explore volunteer opportunities with the NBDHS.
“We also have amazing volunteers walking our dogs. We could never have enough staff to do all of this and these volunteers make a huge difference in the daily operations of the shelter.
Besides volunteering, Kokol says there are other ways the community has been able to give back to the shelter.
“Our fundraising team is really good at what they do, and our community is so generous when it comes to donations, not just monetary donations, but also food, blankets, collars and leashes. Those little things that make a big difference when we don’t have to find a way to fit them into the budget,” says Kokol.
The NBDHS continues to evolve with the expansion of its adoption center and plans to build an off-leash dog park on its site as well as for its volunteers to spend time socializing with Humane Society dogs.
Kokol says, “We are now trying to be more community-oriented, which makes our neutering and neutering clinic an affordable option for the community. We put a lot of effort into educational programs such as our upcoming “Paw Pals Summer Camp” as well as our Microchip Days. Just having a better presence in the community and trying to improve the quality of life for animals in our area through education.
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