I remember the summer I turned 16. I was finally able to date, and I was finally able to get a job. This was going to be the year I finally officially grew up. My best friend got hired at Target in the clothing department, and I knew that that was going to be where I also wanted to go. I was ecstatic when I got called in for my interview. My very first job interview! Before meeting with H.R., I was given an enormous packet to fill out. The questions seemed fairly easy, until I reached on that I still don't understand to this day: Are you street smart? Okay, was this a trick question? Were they referring to knowledge on the street pertaining to drugs, or did it mean I was competent in general knowledge? I sat sweating for five minutes, mulling over this awful question. Finally, I just answered. To be honest, I don't even know how I answered it. Then, to make matters worse, when I was called in to meet with H.R., I was told that all of the retail positions had been filled. Was I interested in being a cart collector? Were they actually being serious? What a disaster that interview ended up being! I turned down the job, because I wasn't desperate...yet.
After a while, I came across an opening as a kennel attendant at Parrish Creek Veterinary Clinic. I nervously made my way into the building to pick up a job application. When I came inside, I excitedly witnessed a woman wiping down the weight scale that a nervous dog had...left a present on. I somehow knew that I would be the one doing that! After I had filled out my application and sweated through my references, I finally made it back to turn it in. I was called for an interview a short time later. It was during the interview that I was told that the job was mine. It was perfect!
Working as a kennel attendant was an amazing...and amazingly difficult job. I learned to do things I never in a million years pictured doing, such as developing x-rays and assisting with surgery. My daily duties included sweeping out each exam room and spraying down the sink, tables and chairs with a potent-minty spray that I secretly loved. I swept up dogs' huge, black toenail clippings, emptied the garbage, and restocked tongue-depressors, needles, and anything else. I washed out syringes, scrubbed down the tray used for dental work, and sanitized dental equipment with an autoclave (sort of like a pressure cooker, but for medical instruments). I washed towels for the kennels, washed and dried cats and d
ogs, held onto little parakeets with sweaty hands while the vet examined them.
kennels, fed the animals, and *gulp* answered the phone sometimes. Then, when everyone had left for the day, I filed, swept, mopped, and weighed the animals, medicating them if necessary. It was a tough, tough job.
One particularly bad night brought the cops by. It still makes me sick to think about. I had been in the back, cleaning, when I heard a knock at the front door. Curious, I went out front, and saw a woman with a dog. I believe she told me that she found the dog, and wondered if we'd board him overnight for her, and she'd pick him up in the morning. I was nervous, and uncertain of what our protocol was, and ended up taking him in. It wasn't until she left that I realized what a stupid mistake I had made. But what was I supposed to do? I felt sick with guilt...and then I heard loud, booming knocking on the front door a short time later. I was terrified. I stayed in the back with my mop, and turned up the radio. If I pretended I didn't hear them, maybe they would go away. The knocking continued, and then I heard a garbled voice over a loud speaker.
What? I peeked around the corner, and saw flashing red and blue lights. What were the police doing here?! If there had been a back door, I'm pretty certain I would have fled for my life. Instead, I forced myself to go out front and let them in. Luckily, they just informed me that someone saw the lady drop the dog off, and that I wasn't responsible for boarding it, and they took the dog away. What a relief that they weren't going to take me away in handcuffs!
That was by far the hardest job I had ever had. I loved what I did, but some days proved to be an incredible challenge. When my last day of work approached, I found out that two people were going to replace me. Too bad they didn't realize they were short-handed when I had worked there!