HELLO! MY name is Trey Cavazos. I am the new Animal Care Director at Gateway Pet Guardians and the newest member of the family. I have had the privilege and pleasure of working with a great bunch of individuals. The experience so far has been wonderful. Every single member of the GPG team is amazing!

Today, I would like to touch base and give you a glimpse into what has been happening with your Animal Care Team and what I have been working on since coming on board with Gateway Pet Guardians. I will briefly talk about the Animal Care Program, the wonderful staff that has been guiding me along in my GPG journey, and where we hope to be in when the new shelter opens.

So, what is the Animal Care Team? The Animal Care Team is responsible for the health and well-being of our shelter (and foster) animals. We provide animals with the husbandry they need to be taken care of and feel loved, whether it is a playgroup or just sitting in a real-life room having some cuddle time with a volunteer. We also provide our animals with the physical and psychological enrichment they need. This can range from a variety of things, from hosting a playgroup, maybe having a frozen kong treat, or even an outing to the park! The Animal Care Team is the first line of defense when it comes to recognizing and addressing our animals’ needs and trying to identify the path and plan for each animal.

We also assist in their healthcare. We look for those silent signs they are giving us, we watch body language, monitor bodily functions, along with social interactions. We monitor for signs of illness, injury or disease. We look at the staff and public safety with our shelter animals, and the safety of all shelter animals we house.

As a member of the Animal Care Team, I also assist the veterinarians in some cool cases. Every shelter pet is part of an educational experience for me and the staff. Every case is a learning experience and helps us learn signs and symptoms and helps us identify it in the future.

When we move to the new shelter in East Saint Louis, we will assist the veterinarian with a variety of tasks. This may include helping with wound care, administration of treatments per doctor’s orders, preparing animals for surgery, assisting veterinarians with procedures and maintain medical records. We will work under the direction of a veterinarian. We will maintain the facility in a clean and orderly manner.

Joining the Gateway Pet Guardians staff has been a total eye opener. Since coming on board with the organization I have learned two new software programs.  One is the current program that we use daily, and the other is a completely new program that everyone on the team will be learn. The new software that we are launching will be one of the most modern shelter softwares in use today. This new easy-to-use animal shelter software will help us efficiently optimize and manage animal records, capture payments, interact with volunteers, adopters, and fosters. I can’t wait to begin using this new system daily!

Since working with GPG, I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet and work with some amazing individuals. I have been fortunate to have the staff and volunteers of GPG all take me under their wings and show me the ropes. Every program here if so unique, and as part of my onboarding was to shadow and learn from the current team at Gateway Pet Guardians.

When I first came on board and began learning just how much our foster program bared nearly all responsibility for our pets, I was introduced to the Foster Program Manager, Jane Posen, she oversees finding suitable foster homes for our intaked pets. With as many animals that we help save, this program is critical our organization. It was a pleasure to watch and learn about the process from Jane. She took the time show me the adoption process, foster procedures and taught how to set up for success with our slumber paw-ty pets.

Shortly after working with Jane, I met Brittany Fleming and Sara Cordevant. Brittany, our current shelter lead is all smiles when it comes to training. It’s hard not to see that she has a special gift for training these shelter animals. She focuses her attention on their social, physical and psychological enrichment needs. The way she navigates the needs of these shelter animals is amazing, incorporating specialized training and kennel routines. Rest assured the best interest of our pets come first thanks to her and her experience.

Brittany and Sara, our Intake, Diversion, & Networking Manager, team up on the selection of new shelter animals. They both assess the behavior and needs of the animals that transfer into our shelter. Sara is also a critical member of our team; she helps lost pets return to and stay with the families that love them.

After my time at the shelter I was given the opportunity to work with Janet Alderson, our Community Director. Janet and I got in her SUV and began to drive around town helping community members in need and looking for members who might need help or information on our services. That cool, wet day in East Saint Louis with Janet was so touching. The bond that she has with the community, is something that I had not seen in a while. Every community member was thankful in the work that Janet is doing in their community.

These are just some of the members of our fearless team, WE are all critical to the running of the GPG organization and its mission. Moving forward into the future we are looking forward to getting into our new space in East Saint Louis. We hope that with the new space we can assist more animals in need in our service area.

In preparation of the new move, Gateway Pet Guardians honored me and sent me to Austin, Texas where was I able to attend Maddie’s Fund Clinic Apprenticeship-The Lifesaving Academy at Austin Pets Alive. There I was able to learn the newest lifesaving techniques in shelter medicine and bring back new skills and ideas to our program here at GPG! With the knowledge gained from Maddie’s Fund, the Animal Care Team has been working with our Shelter Veterinarian to develop the new protocols needed to ensure a clean, safe, and happy shelter. We work together to create the best experience for housed animals.

Thanks to everyone helping with our organization, we cannot achieve this without the help of volunteers. While I am still learning and growing with GPG every day, I can’t wait to see what happens in the future. With the new shelter coming fast this is the most exciting time for all of us and for you! #GPG #BEYONDRESCUE