How I Made It

Caillin Rodonets, Dog Rescuer

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A portrait of Caillin Rodonets

Caillin Rodents; Regina; @ccrezqsregina

Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?

CC RezQs is a non-profit that rescues stray dogs from reserves across Saskatchewan. Outside of the rescue, my full-time job is working at a vet clinic.

Where did you go to school and what did you study? 

I took a year of kinesiology studies at the University of Regina, then switched paths and took my medic training in Winnipeg.

What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)

I was Louie the Lightning Bug, a mascot for SaskPower!

What was your BIG break? How did you land it?

The first dog my co-founder Cady Shaw and I rescued was from a community near North Battleford, S.K. I was teaching safety courses there and saw the dog over my lunch break. She was missing a paw, was emaciated, and covered in mud and paint. I brought her back to Regina and immediately to a vet clinic. She spent the next while at my co-founder, Cady Shaw’s house. In the following months, I brought back four more dogs from northern communities. That’s when we decided to start the rescue.

Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?

I brought back three dogs in October of 2014. Between the time when I picked them up and when I got back to Regina, we found homes for two and the third stayed with me. Seeing how much these dogs needed help and how much love they received from their new homes really encouraged us to save more. Our first round of donations came in not too long afterwards, and we developed amazing relationships with foster homes. Getting calls from communities that there were dogs in need definitely helped us realize that we were doing what was needed, and that people were trusting us to help them.

What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?

Learning how to balance the rescue, work and my personal life has to be, still, the hardest part. Often, one of these areas will struggle and not receive enough attention. And when one becomes stretched thin, all areas suffer. I wouldn’t quite say it’s something I’ve bounced back from yet, as I’m still working on it.

Name one piece of career advice you always give.

Do what you think is right. Too often, people make decisions based on what they think others will think. Sometimes, there isn’t any time to confer with others. What is your gut instinct? Go with it!

What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?

“You can’t save them all, you’ve done enough.” There are thousands of stray dogs in this province. To settle and say, “you’ve done enough” is giving up.

Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?

Not really, no. We made it known we were serious about what we were doing from day one. All of the community members we have worked with have been great—very receptive and accepting of what we do.

Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle for extra cash? If so, what is it?

The rescue is all run voluntarily. That’s what makes it great. We’re not doing this for compensation. We’re doing this because we love to do it and the dogs need our help.

What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?

In our field, that we care more about animals than we do about people. We do what we do to provide strays with a better life, yes, but also to improve community safety. We also hear a lot that millennials are lazy. You won’t find a more dedicated group than animal rescue groups. It doesn’t matter if it’s 6 a.m., 6 p.m., or 2 a.m. If we get a call, we go out. We’ve missed family celebrations, angered loved ones, cancelled plans, exhausted personal funds, missed events… all for rescue.

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