Many of you may have met Ryan Laabs, Kennel Manager at Clint Moore Animal Hospital, when you first came to visit with your precious Golden., prior to adoption. Although Ryan is not technically an EGRR volunteer, he is considered to be an Honorary Member of EGRR. We don’t know what we would do without him and his kennel staff. Ryan makes sure our dogs are treated with loving care, during their stay at the kennel. He often serves as a liaison between Dr. Butzer and EGRR, providing us with the results of medical tests. He helps us evaluate temperaments, and even does some preliminary training. None of this is part of the job description for which he is paid, so in every sense, Ryan is an EGRR volunteer! Here is his story….
My love for animals has been life-long. Growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania many of my friends and neighbors had dogs, however I was never blessed enough to have a dog of my own. I always jumped at the opportunity to walk a friend’s dog or play with the neighbors’ puppies.
Throughout my twenties I had many jobs, but couldn’t quite find my niche, until I got a job at a wildlife preserve and zoo in Maryland. I would drive 35 miles each way to clean turtle tanks and feed giant snakes. This was heaven; the only drawback was the preserve was private and received no public funding so my work paid me just over the minimum wage. I couldn’t sustain my life on that amount, so off to Florida I went.
I came to Florida and began work at a corporate job. I sat in a cubicle and did data entry all day. I quickly learned this was not for me. Fate being what it is, my job was outsourced to the Caribbean several months after it started. I then stumbled across my current position at Clint Moore Animal Hospital, and knew I had found my home.
Shortly after beginning at the clinic, I started helping with the Golden Retrievers from Everglades. Working with these dogs has been the most rewarding and sometimes the most heartbreaking of my career. When the dogs come into the hospital their pasts are varying. Some have never been in a home or known love. While the vets fix their bodies, my staff and I work to restore their spirits. We act as a transitional stage between old life and a beautiful new life. I have literally seen miracles occur with these precious dogs. There are just so many happy stories.
I now have my own dogs. First there is “Hank”; he’s a 130 pound American bulldog who kind of fell in to my lap. A couple years later “Jet Plane”, an Australian Cattle Dog, joined my family. These dogs literally are my best friends. I know my dog family is also extended to a couple hundred beautiful Golden Retrievers I have had the pleasure to know.