Staff Spotlight: Aidan Barba
Meet our Foster Care Lead, Aidan Barba! Aidan has been with the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County for 10 years. She first started as a volunteer and now she helps place hundreds of dogs, cats, and critters into foster homes every year!
Q. What does a day in your life at the shelter look like?
A. One of the fun things I love about my job is I never know what the day will look like, it keeps things exciting. My day consists of supporting our current fosters, looking over foster applications, onboarding new fosters, and matching fosters with animals in need of foster homes. Some days I do meet and greets with foster animals and their potential adopters, other days I get animals into home environments that have been desperately waiting to get out of the shelter.
During kitten season, it’s non-stop for the foster team, especially when we get a young kitten who can’t eat on its own. It’s all hands on deck to make sure the kitten is doing well and to get it into a home to make sure they get the round-the-clock care they need.
This year so far, we have seen over 300+ kittens, 24 puppies, and 28 baby bunnies in foster at one time! You don’t know how accurate “fostering saves lives” really is until you see it firsthand.
Q. What’s your favorite part of working here?
A. There are so many things. I love having a job where I feel like I am making a difference. Even if some days the difference feels minor, you are still changing an animal’s life. I am also a very passionate person so working in a field and at a job that I am emotionally invested in is also very important to me.
If I had to pick one thing that makes the hard days worth it, it’s when a dog who has struggled in the shelter gets into a foster home. Then, they eventually find their forever family and you get to be a part of the journey from beginning to end. The feelings you get from that are worth every tear cried over an animal that didn’t get that ending.
Q. Why are you so passionate about the work we do?
A. For me, it is twofold. I love animals. Always have, always will and I am passionate about animal welfare. I want to be in the animal welfare field to promote and create change. I really could not imagine doing anything else. The other piece for me is I grew up here. Tacoma is my home and my community. I want to be a part of the change that happens here now and in the future.
Q: Any special stories you’d like to share?
A. There have been so many wonderful stories! Athena is one that stands out to me. She is a dog who was brought to us when her owner could not care for her or her brother any longer. To this day, Athena was probably one of the shyest and shut-down dogs I have seen. She had teeth marks all over her from when she and her brother would fight and she would not make eye contact with you. It was truly heartbreaking to see this shell of a dog. She was in our care for over 9 months.
I was working in adoptions at the time and this wonderful lady came in and started talking to me about how she wanted to really change a dog’s life and what type of home she was able to provide. We talked about the dogs we had and there was not one in the shelter that day she felt was right. I decided to bring up Athena, who was spending the weekend with a volunteer. After chatting about her story and what she needs in her new home, the adopter told me that was the dog and she wanted to meet her. We were able to get Athena down to the shelter in 20 minutes and the rest is history! The stars had to a line to make that happen. In my mind, it was 100% meant to be.
Interested in a career with the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County? Check out job opportunities here. Want to volunteer or foster? Learn more here!