College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

IAA Internship Stories: Joanna Bell

Ruby Fishbein

Dog Days of Summer

Joanna Bell loves dogs and caring for them; she wishes she could own multiple dogs, so finding a summer internship where she got paid to care for dogs was paradise! Bell, who is working on her Applied Agriculture certificate in Agricultural Business Management, interned at Paradise for Pets in her hometown of Beltsville, MD.

Paradise for Pets is a boarding facility for various animals, but mainly cats and dogs. Bell fed, bathed, watched, and entertained dogs all summer and even administered medications if needed. While the job required a lot of responsibility on Bell’s part, she said she had so much fun working with the dogs that it never felt like work. She actually enjoyed the experience so much that she is still working at Paradise for Pets part time.

Bell’s love of animals, specifically dogs, led her to pursue this internship and a degree in Animal Science. Bell, who owns a sheltie named Jingle, says that working and living with dogs makes every day better, so her summer was the best.

She cleaned and cared for the animals each day, and occasionally worked at the front desk. Although she admits that cleaning was not the most exciting job, she enjoyed contributing to the animals’ wellbeing. Wiping down the cages and cleaning toys made the boarding facility that much better for the boarders. Not only did Bell clean the facility, but she also cleaned the animals; bathing them was a daily activity that enabled her to bond with each animal individually. Bell also gained experience giving shots to animals, which is an important skill for her future of animal care and management.

Bell’s experience working at the front desk enabled her to expand her people and technology skills. At first Bell was intimidated by the pets’ owners, but once they discovered Bell’s trustworthiness and extremely caring ways, owners became comfortable leaving their pets with Bell.

For Bell, every day at Paradise for Pets was exciting and brought new experiences; she enjoyed observing the mental state of different types of dogs (puppies vs. older dogs, and sick vs. healthy). Not every dog was in the best state of mind, but observing and learning from them helped prepare Bell for her future career. She learned that the rumor of huskies hating baths was true!

In addition to dogs, Bell worked with cats, birds, and bunnies, and she sticks to her belief that “dogs are better than cats.” Working at Paradise for Pets gave Bell experience working with various animals, and it reinforced her love for animals. She’s more certain than ever that she wants to work with animals every day of her life. 

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