When Work Isn't Work, It's Fun

I do not feel like I have a glamorous life in any sense. My family and I live comfortably in a rented home in Harbor City. I absolutely love my home life. I feel I have it all–a house full of pets, three kids, and a loving wife (17 years later and I still can’t believe Jennifer said yes!). And I am incredibly lucky to have found a rewarding work life. In fact, I don’t feel it is fair to call it work. Being here at VCA Kennel Club Resort & Spa is fun!


Each day I come to work, I get greeted by a chorus of barks and meows. It sure makes getting up and getting ready easier knowing that I get to spend my day taking care of so many. When I start my day, I often check the computer to see who is arriving that day, smiling when I see certain names because I know it’s going to be great having them around.

I’ve had a quite a few dogs get super excited to see me! And it’s not just that they can’t contain themselves at their favorite resort, they actually have looked at me and wiggled in excitement! Maverick the shepherd mix was here a few months ago for a bath and when I approached their car, Maverick was incredibly animated. Delilah, a German Shepherd, is another one. She comes often for day care and bounces when she sees me. In the evening when she leaves, Delilah often turns towards me as if to say, “thanks for having fun with me!” Such a great feeling!

Our resort can be intimidating for first time guests so we always do our best to be as welcoming as possible, wanting each guest to settle in and enjoy their stay. One of my favorite things is seeing this change. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a dog or cat come in and be very shy, only to leave the resort completely happy and bubbly. It is a wonderful feeling, knowing that by offering the right care, it allows them to have a good time here.

Two nights a week, I do our evening duties. Most of the time I am here by myself. I often talk to the dogs or cats as I tend to them. I realized just the other night that if someone else heard me, they probably would think I was crazy. Sometimes I’m just calling a dog by a goofy nickname like Poppy Seed for Poppy, or Rock Star for Rocky. Other times, I ask how they’re doing as if they are going to answer back in English. Luckily, I speak and read dog and cat, so I know that happy tail wag is telling me they are doing well.

Many of our clients have been coming here for years. There are still a few I can remember seeing in my first years here–over 25 years ago! Obviously, they have new pets. In fact, we have a few clients who have had three generations of pets. Li Li’s family is one. Her mom and dad love Dalmatians and had China and Mei-Li before getting Li Li. Just recently, her mom shared something with me that made me smile–Li Li now knows the route from her house to her favorite resort and starts getting excited when she is at the intersection of Crenshaw and Lomita! It’s such wonderful feeling knowing that pets are so happy to come here.

Sweet Cara is very missed.
Sweet Cara was one of my favorite guests ever. Sadly, we said goodbye to her last year.

Another way this is the most fun job ever are the little moments. I can tell you that a snort from a happy-go-lucky Boxer will bring a smile to your face in a heartbeat! Boxers are such goofy, crazy dogs and have a knack for clowning around. I also love going by a run and seeing a dog laying on its back, sometimes with their feet pointed high, sometimes pointed to the wall. Siberian Huskies are one breed that often do this. They look like contortionists from Cirque Du Soleil! Often, when it is quiet here, I will hear a lone squeaky toy being squished by an excited guest.

Most days here go by incredibly fast. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Obviously, being here amongst all these dogs and cats is a blast. I love that I come here and help take care of a multitude of dogs and cats, doing my best to make them happy to be here. I cannot put it into words properly on how that makes me feel. At home I have a small zoo of five dogs, five cats, and three aquariums. However, my pets do not end there. I have all of our guests here, too.

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