Friday, 20 December 2013

Dogs Trust Loughborough: End of Year Review

Rehoming Centre Manager Nikki Smith talks about the centres end of year review and why she believes it’s important for the team to reflect on their achievements this year and to look forward to 2014.

“As the end of the year creeps nearer, we come together as a team to reflect on our year and fondly remember the many dogs who we’ve cared for.  It’s also an excuse for us to celebrate the festivities and have some fun!

My “end of year review” is something I’ve always done with plans afoot from October.  The date was set - Thursday 13th December and the afternoon of fun starts with a buffet lunch bought and cooked by the management team.  We meet and organise who’s buying what from onions rings to onion bhajis to spring rolls to sausage rolls.  With 30+ staff attending we need to ensure we’ve plenty of food for the hungry troops! 

Table is set

Assistant Manager Claire and I spent the morning setting up the barn, laying tables with crackers, party poppers (no dogs allowed) and festive confetti.  With Christmas music playing throughout the centre, everyone started to get in the Christmas spirit.

Quiz Tables Ready
Lunch was planned for 12.30pm and with 5 minutes to go and as the table filled with goodies, a queue of hungry staff appeared outside the training barn.  Plates were piled high before the Christmas quiz was passed around.  The quiz was the last round of the year long competition I’d run for staff where teams competed against one another in various events.  We’d held a sports day, had everyone run the bleep test and even held a Mastermind quiz complete with black chair!  Scores were totalled and after winning the quiz the “Field Hoggers” Team were declared the overall winners and were presented with mini cups and certificates.  Team building activities is an important part of centre life and a key way to keep the many carers working together so positively.   

The winning team!

Second Helpings
An hour later after second helpings had been had (Adrian was up first!) and cakes had been cut, the staff presentations began.  Each staff member gets the opportunity to share their most memorable dogs of the year. 
The Carers who work in our Stepping Stones block began with a little role play where Natalie pretended to be Badger a favourite dog who we successfully rehomed earlier this year.  Badger had a few worries meeting new people so his rehome took approx 3 months which was the story the girls presented and which Natalie acted it.  It was a great story and a very funny start to the presentations.

Trainer Grace spoke of Casper the Westie and showed her skills by drawing a caricature of her stand out dog.  Grace said “Some dogs are just special, you don’t know why but you just have a particular bond with some and Casper was one of those for me”.
The Rehoming Team had made posters of their favourite dogs and Megan spoke of Amber and Jimmy as the dogs she remembers fondly.  Jimmy was Megan’s project dog meaning she would spend time with him daily; training and playing with him.  Jimmy was a long stay dog that Megan successfully rehomed earlier this year.
The Vet Team spoke about Mighty Mike the overweight Labrador we helped earlier in the year.  Caring for Mike was a huge team effort and one of the first dogs to receive hydrotherapy here on our Canine Treadmill under the guidance of Carol-Ann our hydro and physiotherapist.  No one could forget Mighty Mike or svelte mini Mike as he’s now known!

Grace spoke about Casper

Next came our staff awards.  I am very proud of my team and how much care and attention they lavish on the dogs and how they regularly go above and beyond the call of duty.  This year the 6 of us in the management team decided to acknowledge this work by creating and presenting our very own staff awards.  Awards like “Team Player Award” which was given to Meg who is always the first to offer help or answer radio calls to those needing assistance; or the “Unsung Hero” award that Amy so richly deserved as our Groomer who will happily work with any dog, any staff member in any area.  She is extremely professional in everything she does.

We wrapped up the afternoon by looking forward to 2014 and what we hope to achieve next year.  I talked through our list of centre objectives finishing with our hope to “Exceed Expectations”.  With everything we do we hope to exceed expectations; whether it be the care we give our dogs, to offering a bespoke rehoming service to how we work with one another. 

As a great afternoon comes to an end, the team head back to the dogs and we start to clear away, all of us contemplating what the future may bring. 
We hope the future is bright finding loving new homes for all the dogs we will care for, maybe we can find the perfect pooch for you!

Memorable Dogs

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at Dogs Trust Loughborough.

Pete looking Festive

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