This past week has been one that I’ll never forget. I’ve learned about non-profit operations, marketing, and so much more…all from the comfort of my home. On Tuesday, May 26th, I began my remote DukeEngage internship with Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe. Although this virtual experience has certainly been unique and an adjustment to the social and interactive world I’m used to, it is one that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe is an educational non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. While the name may lead you to picture a cafe where you can pet dogs and other furry friends, this organization is up to something much deeper than a cuddle session with a puppy. Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe can be called a cafe because it aims to create conversation on critical topics in animal welfare. Animal shelters in the United States are overpopulated with homeless pets and the numbers are only rising. So, how can we bring these numbers down? Encouraging adoption and volunteering at shelters is helpful, but how can we prevent so many animals from being abandoned in the first place? At Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe, the answer is education. By educating the public on positive human-animal interactions, better relationships can be formed between owners and their pets, leading to less animals in shelters.
Typically, Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe relies on in-person programs, like visiting schools, to share its message and teachings. However, with COVID-19, this has not been possible. Now, the organization has to adapt quickly to a virtual experience in this new normal. I have been assisting in this transition, and it has been incredibly awarding. In the past week, I have helped create product descriptions for merchandise sold online, researched national holidays (like National ID Your Pet Day) to be celebrated and posted on social media, and familiarized myself with Facebook Shop. I have been fortunate enough to work closely with CEO and Founder Aaron Fisher, who has helped me to understand more about how non-profits work. I’ve also participated in a Network For Good webinar on fundraising, read several interesting articles on non-profits and animal welfare, and listened to the How I Built This podcast on NPR.
I am excited to continue to learn about how Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe operates. I have volunteered for non-profit organizations in the past, but it is so interesting to work behind-the-scenes and see what makes a non-profit come to life. I hope to make a meaningful difference during my time with Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe and am so thankful for this wonderful experience.