When I came to Golda Och Academy for high school, I came knowing I would not be going on Neshama. I was already in love with my youth group, United Synagogue Youth, and wanted to go on a gap year in Israel, both of which I would not have been able to participate in, had I gone on Neshama. My disinterest in Neshama was further fueled by my joining, and finding, a strong sense of community in the GOA baseball team.
If you think knowing I wasn’t going on Neshama would have driven me to figure out what I wanted to do for an internship early, you’d be wrong - but you’d be just like me.
I always thought I was going to intern at one of a number of nonprofits I care about, including: USY, the Szarvas International Jewish Summer Camp, Knock Knock Give a Sock, or Little Kids Rock.
I almost secured an internship at Little Kids Rock, when I realized I was going about my search all wrong. It occured to me that, since the GOA Internships must be volunteer internships, I should do something really outside-the-box.
Once I realized I could get paid to sit at a desk later in life, I chose an internship which would allow me to follow a passion I had never realized I could pursue as a career: dogs.
I have always loved dogs, but have never had a pet, as my parents don’t share this same love. For so long, I have wanted to be able to play with, cuddle with, and love a puppy of my own. While this is still not feasible for me, I have chosen an internship which allows me to give dogs in need the love they deserve.
I am a full-time kennel volunteer at the Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc. I spend my days walking and playing with dogs of all shapes and sizes. The job can be physically and emotionally taxing, but I really love it. I have lots of interesting co-workers, with many different backgrounds, but all of whom share a love of animals.
When I first came to RBARI, I had never walked a dog by myself. Moreover, I had never met a pitbull. By my first day on the job, I was walking pitbulls I’d just met, with no supervision. Suffice to say, it was nerve wracking, but I’ve grown so close with the dogs, I’ve started referring to many of them as “my puppies.” I keep lots of their pictures on my phone, in case I find myself missing them a lot at any point in time.
The following picture is of one of my favorite puppies, Jay, a seven-month-old pitbull terrier and boxer mix, and is, without a doubt, the friendliest dog I’ve ever met. Many of the other dog walkers don’t understand my connection with Jay, and think he’s too wild, but I love him. Just like me, Jay wants to explore the world around him, and is incredibly cuddly and loving.