LifeLine Animal Project employees are dedicated to saving lives. Whether you’re fostering animals in your home, helping families find their perfect companion, or working hard to get all of the kennels cleaned, you are committed to the animals. So we thought you’d be interested in getting to know other employees who share your passion, but who may be located at different locations, through monthly employee spotlights. Our first spotlight is a Q and A with DCAS Rescue Coordinator Katie Corbett, who is a great example of dedication and passion in action.
Q. When did you develop your love for animals?
A. I think I always really had a love for animals, but it didn't quite come out in the "crazy dog lady" sense until my second year of college.
Q. Did you have pets as a child?
A. We did have a couple pets when I was a child, but interestingly enough, we weren't really a HUGE animal family. The two pets I had growing up were Whiskers, a black cat, and Jane Doe, a black dog. Jane came to us (quite literally) out of the woods while my parents were building a house and just kept coming back, so she ended up adopting us. I was a toddler when we found her and she passed away my senior year of high school.
Q. You raised service dogs during college. How did you get involved in that?
A. When I was about to start at UGA, I saw all these dogs in yellow vests. A simple Google search turned up the Guide Dog Foundation, and I found out that students could keep these dogs for about a year and raise them to be service and guide dogs. When I first started doing the program, it was 90% about the dogs and maybe a 10% about helping someone in need. But when I saw my first dog graduate with her person, everything switched for me. It was all about the people, and then being able to have the dog was a close runner up. Hanging out with an amazing dog for a year seemed like such a small price to pay to be able to give someone their independence back.
Q. What led you to animal rescue?
A. I ended up in animal welfare by accident, but now I can't imagine doing anything else. My degrees are in psychology and disabilities studies, so when I graduated I was really interested in working in a setting like the VA, Wounded Warrior Project or another non-profit that served Veterans. Apparently, these positions are few and far between for a new graduate with no experience, so I started looking just for something to do in the meantime. I was hired by LifeLine as an adoptions counselor, then quickly became the volunteer and dog foster coordinator and then later moved into the rescue coordinator position.
Q. How long have you been with LifeLine?
A. Since May 4th, 2017 - 512 days - not that I'm keeping track or anything.
Q. What is your favorite shelter memory?
A. Oh gosh, there are so many that it's hard to pick just one, but one of my very favorite days was a Wednesday last summer. We were doing Clear the Shelter month and I wasn't supposed to be working that day. Another adoptions counselor called in sick, so Annie asked me if I could come in. Even though Wednesdays are usually pretty slow, we did 49 ADOPTIONS that day! It was chaotic and exhausting, but to see so many animals walk out the door made it all worth it.
Q. Is it true you drive in (up to an hour each way) on Fridays (Katie’s day off) off to walk a dog at the Avondale shelter?
A. I have “Phridays with Phil" whenever I can. He's one of the first dogs I saw when I started working at the old DeKalb shelter, and he stole my heart. We spend a little bit of time working on obedience (making sure he's not pulling on the leash, perfecting his beautiful sit and now we're learning shake), and then we walk to get some fries at My Parents' Basement or get a drink at Phil's personal favorite place, The Beer Growler.
Q. What pets/fosters do you currently have?
A. Charlie is a four-year-old lab/golden retriever mix. She is from the Guide Dog Foundation and was originally supposed to be a service dog, but she did not make the cut, so I adopted her. Chance is a three-legged, six-year-old pibble that I foster failed from the old DeKalb shelter. Otter is my foster service dog in training, and Pepperann is my three-legged foster kitten.
Q. What do you get out of working at LifeLine?
A. The satisfaction of knowing that I'm saving lives and making a difference is what keeps me going on a daily basis.
Q. How do you deal with the sad times?
A. There are days when I just feel downright defeated, and I have to remind myself that's okay. If I didn't have hard days, and if I didn't get sad, then I probably wouldn't be very good at my job. I have to remember that the good in this job almost always outweighs the bad. Especially in rescue, we see so many awful things that people have done to animals, but we also see so many good people stepping up for the sake of these animals to make sure that they're cared for and make sure they feel loved, even if they don't have a lot of time left. I'm also thankful that I have such a great support team at DCAS and within LifeLine who regularly checks on me and always supports me in my role.
Q. What do you do for fun in your spare time?
A. I like to swim and hike, spend time with my dogs and cross stitch.
Q. Why are dogs special?
A. I've never known the meaning of unconditional love before I had a dog.
Q. Anything else you want to share?
A. Go dogs and go dawgs!