Community Voices: Karyn Swoopes
Meet Karyn Swoopes, Risk Communications Manager for FEMA and 15+ years in animal welfare.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Knowing that I have a role in ensuring that there’s one less dog, cat, or furry friend off of the street and in a loving home or at the very least has a soft bed, food, and someone to care for them in the shelter.
In your opinion, how does community wisdom play a role in your advocacy and work in animal welfare?
What’s the saying – if you know better, then you do better? So knowing the community that we service is essential and by knowing the community I mean getting to know who’s who. Know the guys that hang out on the corner, but also know the community leaders. This allows us to work with the community and not be seen as working against them. If the community sees us as a part of them then they will likely to see us as a resource and not people who look down on them.
What would you like to see for the future of animal welfare and human well-being?
Oh, that’s a tough one. In an ideal world I would like for every animal to have a loving home or sanctuary that will take care of them until the end of their days. More realistically, I’d like to see more sanctuaries for people and animals. These sanctuaries would help people and their pets that need to leave a bad situation or those who are simply down on their luck. These places would be a resource for medical and mental health care as well as job training and placement. I would also like to see more involvement in educating communities on animal welfare. This education would start in the schools and help to teach children empathy and responsibility. Those children have the potential to grow up to be empathic and responsible adults and they may become the next animal and human welfare advocates.