Kim Bielema loves her job as an animal care attendant at the Clinton Humane Society.
“It’s heartbreaking sometimes but it’s very satisfying,” Kim said. “I’ve worked at several places before and I have never been as happy and as fulfilled as I am up here.”
Kim has worked at the humane society since December. Her daughter, Jessica, has worked there for four years. She would tell her mother stories about her job and the animals.
“The employees and staff are wonderful,” Kim said.
Throughout the years, Kim has been primarily a stay-at-home mother. However, she heard the facility was short staffed and put in her application.
As an animal care attendant, Kim fulfills many duties. Some days she primarily handles the cats, while on others she works in the canine area. She also spends time working on the society’s various fundraisers.
“The support we do get from the community is sometimes absolutely amazing,” Kim said.
Kim also works with school children and Girl Scouts on education programs. Recently she has been learning the front office duties as well.
“It is a daily learning process. You learn something new every day,” Kim said.
Kim could be found in the cat area on Wednesday morning. The time at which her day starts varies depending on the number of animals the shelter has. She came in at approximately 7 a.m. on Wednesday, expecting to be done by 1 or 2 p.m. She has been told the hours are usually longer during the shelter’s peak season.
One of Kim’s primary jobs that day is to feed the cats and clean their cages. She starts in the two “adoptable animal” rooms. Her goal is to clean these two rooms before 10:30 a.m., when the shelter opens.
Kim is still in room A at 9:30 a.m. She cleans one kennel at a time, sanitizing her hands and the equipment between each one. It is currently upper respiratory season and the staff does what it can to minimize illnesses amongst the animals. Kim checks the walls of the kennels for any sneeze marks. Visitors are also asked not to put their fingers in the cages.
“Because in a shelter environment that is how diseases are passed,” Kim said.
Any cats who are sick are separated in an isolation room. This is the last area Kim cleans.
Kim opens each kennel and removes the cat, placing him in a holding cage. She pets the cats and talks to them before placing them in the temporary cage.
“At times, that’s the only interaction they have each day,” Kim said.