Volunteer May Hu conducted this interview with Executive Director Jane Lumbatis in June 2015:
May: Hi Jane! Can you give us a brief description of what you do here at the Georgia SPCA?
Jane: Well, every day is a little bit different. What I try to do is oversee the entire shelter. I try to work with all the different staff members and motivate them and help them with any concerns or problems they might have. I talk to them about the animals- I ask “Which ones are doing well?” and “Which ones are having some issues?” I plan the budget, make sure that we stay within budget, work on meeting people to try to sponsor or donate money to us, and build our funds as we are non-profit.
May: Wow, sounds like a busy job.
Jane: Yeah, it’s very busy, and it’s fun, and my favorite part is to see all the animals and get to know and spend time with them.
May: That leads into my next question: what inspired you to want to work with animals?
Jane: Oh my gosh, ever since I was a kid, I have just never not had a passion for animals. And you know, maybe a little bird that I had found, that had fallen out of a tree, or a stray cat, or a stray dog, I had just always, always had a passion for animals. I can honestly say, I don’t kill anything. My dad used to always make fun of me because I would always fish bugs out of a swimming pool since I didn’t want to hurt anything. But, it’s very natural to me, animals and I are just soulmates.
May: That’s so sweet of you. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to pursue a career working with animals or in an animal shelter?
Jane: Well, I think they need to know it’s a lot of hard work- our staff works so hard. I think a lot of people think “Oh, it’s so neat you’ll be able to play with animals all day.” And yes, you can interact with them, but it’s a lot of work. I mean they’ve got to clean their kennels. And not just clean, but they have to be sterilized so diseases aren’t being spread. Everything’s got to be done a certain way, especially for the puppies, to keep them clean and healthy. Our staff has to walk them and monitor them. They have to look at our animals and check for runny noses or watery eyes. Then they’ve got to report anything like that to our vets. So what I would say is to be prepared to work hard. Another thing is that a lot of people come in and feel really bad for the animals that aren’t getting adopted. But you know, it’s not sad-- these animals are all going to get a home. They’re going to stay with us until they get a home. So I’d tell them not to feel bad; just come in knowing you’re doing a really good thing and stay positive.
May: That’s a great way to think. Since I like to end things with a good laugh, what’s the funniest thing that has happened since you’ve been working here?
Jane: (Laughs) I’m not sure if this can be published, but once, about 6 or 7 years ago, I had an extremely strong dog. I took him for a walk across the street and over to the park, and you know, sometimes he’d jump and just nip at you; he just wanted to play. Usually I’d get him a stick or something so he’d leave me alone. But this time he jumped up, grabbed onto my pants, and pulled them down. And there I was, on the path, and I’m just standing there looking around for the stick because he wouldn’t leave me alone. That was a pretty good laugh- that was probably the best one. I’ve had a lot of good times here. Animals are just so full of energy and love-- they love you for who you are. They don’t care what you look like, they don’t care if you’re having a bad day; they are just going to love you no matter what.
May: Thank you so much for taking your time to do this.
Jane: Oh, you’re welcome.