Ahoy, mates! You have landed at the brand new blog of Captain Chip Billingsworth, Esq. If you’ve found yourself here by mistake, for heaven’s sake, stick around! As spokescat for the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, I’ve got a lot to say. But first, let me introduce myself.
Although I have quite a long name, my friends call me Chip. (I’ve been working for Dakin for six years, so I’ve made a lot of friends.)
It all started back in 2005 when my friend and I booked rooms at the Pioneer Valley Humane Society (PVHS) in Greenfield, MA. She spent some time with the organization, but later moved to a traditional home. Following her lead, I tried out a few traditional homes myself, but none of them were to my liking. I always ended up back with my friends at the Humane Society, who by that point had become like family.
Meanwhile, PVHS was amidst a merger with the Dakin Animal Shelter in Leverett, MA. As the organization moved forward to become the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, I began to seriously consider accepting full time employment with the organization. I had seen my friends through this merger, and I realized that I could not turn my back on the organization during such an important time. My skills as office cat and general manager had become a valuable part of Dakin.
I continued to work in Greenfield for the next three years. Then, in 2009, the animal welfare community in western Massachusetts experienced a serious loss: the MSPCA announced the closing of their Western New England Animal Care & Adoption Center in Springfield.
That’s when my friends and I sprung into action. (Cats are pretty good at springing.) Already having spent years looking for a new building to replace the inadequate facilities in Greenfield, Dakin decided to purchase the MSPCA building on Union Street in Springfield. We closed our Greenfield location, which had not been open for adoptions since 2007, and opened in Springfield on August 1st, 2009.
While many of my friends were down in Springfield getting our new location up and running, several of us continued working at the Leverett location to provide services to the folks in Franklin and Hampshire counties. Not being much of a city-dweller (I’m originally from Northfield), I chose to continue my work in Leverett.
Working in an adoption center can be a busy, hectic job. I really enjoyed assisting with adoptions. I got to work with Lucy, a fellow office cat who had been working in Leverett since shortly after the Dakin Animal Shelter opened in 1995. (Sadly, Lucy passed away in March, 2011 at age sixteen. We all miss her dearly.)
Getting on in years, I began to reconsider my position with the organization in 2010. I can’t quite remember my age, but my doctor estimates I’m about thirteen years old. An adoption center can be a difficult place to take a cat nap, and I briefly considered retirement. That’s when my Dakin family offered me another option: to move to Springfield and become spokescat for the organization. They offered me my own private suite, complete with a huge window and couch, as well as a generous benefits package that included catnip and chin scratches. In return, I would run my own Facebook account for the organization (along with the help of my lovely assistant, Ann-Marie), monitor the premises from my sunny window, and meet with those goofy dogs to determine whether or not they were worthy to live in a home with a cat. I officially began my new duties in Springfield in September, 2010.
Here is a video of me taken shortly after I moved in to my new suite:
I am enjoying my new position with Dakin, and I look forward to keeping you updated here on my new blog. I’m having fun dipping my paw into the waters of social networking (and licking the water off it). I hope you enjoy my posts. Come back and visit often!
~Capt. Chip ^..^
This post has been transcribed by Kate, secretary of The Captain’s Blog, as dictated by Capt. Billingsworth, Esq.