by Lee Chambers
The Dakin Diamond Award was created recently to be given four times a year to an employee who embraces our guiding principles in their everyday work life. These principles include compassion, integrity, optimism, effectiveness and innovation. We’d like you to meet the shining star who took home the first Diamond Award; Vet Tech Marisol Lopez!
That strong work ethic, and her ability to bring those principles to life in her work efforts every day, made her a solid choice for the award. Marisol assists spay/neuter veterinarians in surgery, and on non-surgery days she helps other vet techs, animal care or animal specialist staff members. On Saturdays she oversees our busy Vaccine and Microchip Clinic.
How does one keep their cool with all those responsibilities? "I take a deep breath, and I get through it," she answers with a smile.
Marisol came to Dakin as a volunteer in 2013 and was hired two years later as an adoption counselor. Later she became an animal care specialist and last year she assumed vet tech duties. "I feel like this is my family and together we help animals and the people of our community," she says about her work. "That makes me feel good inside."
She remembers a couple that rushed a tiny, one-week old puppy to Dakin. The dog was sick, not eating, and was too young to have been taken from his mother and adopted out to the couple, who knew little about puppy care. The pair listened as Marisol and another staff member went over the basics, then gave them food supplies to help the ailing puppy. "Two months later, they brought him in to the Vaccine Clinic for shots, and he was so big and healthy. The couple was very grateful," she says.
Last summer a Spanish-speaking man appeared at Dakin, frantic about his dog who was home and having a difficult labor and delivery. Marisol, who is bilingual, quickly learned that the dog's first puppy was stuck (a condition called dystocia). The man had left her home because he was afraid that we would take his dog from him, and in a panic, he bolted outside to his car. Marisol chased after him in the parking lot and convinced him to bring his dog to us, which he did. Sadly, the pups didn't survive, but the mother came through fine, and the man brought her back home to a greatly relieved family.
"Marisol is an ideal recipient of the Diamond Award," says Dakin's Executive Director Carmine DiCenso. "She fully integrates our guiding principles in her actions every day, whether she's tending to an animal, helping a co-worker or interacting with a client. She wants what's best for animals, and always goes the extra mile to keep pets and people together."
As a former volunteer, Marisol places a high value on volunteering, especially for a young adult seeking a career path. "I would tell people to get as much hands-on experience as possible to see if that work is truly what you want to do. You don't have to pick just one thing for your whole life. Volunteering is a great way of testing the waters."
When she's not busy with her Dakin duties, Marisol spends time with her boyfriend and their Shar-Pei dog, Odin. She enjoys reading books and taking walks in the warmer weather.