Helping people and animals one call at a time

When the phone rings in the Dumb Friends League Call Center, the questions at the other end of the phone run the gamut from the expected to the unexpected and everything in between. And, the League’s call service representatives are ready to help.

Calls received are consistently inconsistent. One day might bring a call from a school-aged child explaining how her classmates milk goats and wondering whether the League accepts fresh milk donations. (In case you’re wondering, we do not.) Another day could find a mother asking if the League takes snakes and describing how her son brought home the serpent after the reptile was evicted from a friend’s house—oh, and by the way, “the snake looked hungry.” (The League does not adopt snakes, but the representative did provide resources.) Most calls, however, tend to be more what you would expect with questions about pets available for adoption, end of life compassion or behavior-type issues.

Of course, being knowledgeable is one of the skills that make a phenomenal call service representative, but the League’s team exceeds that qualification with every person being compassionate, having the ability to continually learn, showing flexibility and practicing problem-solving skills each day. With a team of five staff and three volunteers available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., it’s impressive to know that 106,500 calls were answered last year. Wow!

“All of our call services representatives are understanding and not judgmental no matter the reason for the call,” said Sara Gleason, call center manager. “We can relate to everyone who calls. Even if we haven’t experienced whatever situation the caller is reaching out about, we can connect. Our team truly enjoys talking with members of the community and fellow animal lovers. It takes all of us to be the eyes and ears out there.”

In addition to being able to help English-speaking callers, the Call Center can also help with more than 270 other languages, such as Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Korean, Mandarin and Swahili. When a call comes in, voice recognition software detects the language and connects to the appropriate person. All calls are recorded, and notes provide helpful information for internal staff.

When asked what she would like readers to know about the Call Center, Gleason said, “We are here. Our job is to provide information and support people and pets whether or not their animals were adopted from the Dumb Friends League.”

To schedule a call with a behavior consultant, visit ddfl.org/behavior-help/.