Facetime: Zachary Black — Pet project: Making smiles

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Growing up, Zachary Black wanted to work in the medical field. The human medical field. But after volunteering at the local animal shelter, he realized the furry members of society could use his help, too.

Now 21 and a senior animal technician at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston, Black gets to find adoptive homes for homeless animals. It’s a job he loves. And one that enables him to pet all the cats he wants — a nice perk since his two dogs aren’t so inclined to let him bring a cat home.

Name: Zachary Black

Age: 21

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Town: Bowdoin

Married/relationship/single: Single

What does a senior animal technician do? A senior animal technician is responsible for prepping the animals for adoption. Making sure they are vaccinated, tested and healthy. The senior tech also makes sure the animals are placed into the right homes. We go to schools and nursing homes with animals to talk about proper animal care.

Did you always want to work with animals? I grew up with animals but always wanted to work in the human medical field. After volunteering at the shelter for a few months and seeing how much I could help the community’s homeless pets, I quickly realized that working with animals was what I wanted to do.

What’s the best part of your job? The best part of my job would have to be approving a family for adoption and watching them walk out the doors with their new pet. It’s all smiles once they hear the word “approved.”

What’s the worst? There really isn’t a bad part to my job. I’m just happy to be able to help the animals.

How do you not take home every adorable bundle of fluff you meet? There are many animals that come through that I would love to take home. I have to always tell myself that there are many families looking for pets and that they will find a home.

Do you have any pets of your own? I have two dogs. A basset-mix named Sid and a Boston terrier-mix named Parker. Both adopted from the shelter.

Are you a dog person or a cat person? I enjoy both cats and dogs but only have dogs. My dogs are not big fans of cats, so I get my cat fix at work.

What’s one thing you think all pet owners should know? Having your pet microchipped, collared and tagged could help in reducing the number of pets that are not reunited to their owners due to having no identification.

The shelter sometimes takes in puppies from out-of-state shelters. Do you do any of the pick ups? All of our out-of-state puppies are driven to our shelter by volunteers from Shelby Humane Society in Alabama. We decide what puppies and dogs come to Maine by selecting them off their website and medical history.

The best furry companion — Snoopy, Garfield or the Chipmunks? Garfield. He’s one awesome cat who runs the life of his human.

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