Finding Your Best Friend at Work: The Inspirational Story of Emily and Moose

Emily Parker sits in yard at Animal Center, playing with a dog
Emily Parker plays with a dog at the Animal Center.

Meet Emily Parker, a dedicated kennel attendant who joined the Wake County Animal Center in November. Her days are filled with loving on the animals at the shelter. She makes sure they’re fed, their kennels are clean and they’re getting the attention they need – whether it be addressing a medical issue or just some scratching behind the ears!

Already having two dogs and five cats, Emily and her family hadn't anticipated adding yet another member to their animal-loving household; however, fate had other plans. On Emily's 21st birthday, a pup named "Mousse" (which they lovingly renamed Moose) entered the shelter. Little did they know, this meeting would be love at first sight.

“We sadly lost our border collie, Ellie, a few days before Christmas 2022, leaving just our lab mix and a Chihuahua mix,” said Emily. “Three has always been our magic number for dogs, so we were waiting to find the 'one.' We felt like Moose was sent to us by Ellie. All our pets have been rescues or strays, so it felt right to adopt from where I work.”

Moose was about 5 months old when Emily welcomed this Pit Bull/Australian Shepherd mix into her home. Before meeting Emily, Moose did not have an easy life. He was found tied up behind an abandoned building. Their journey together had its challenges, but with time and patience, Moose transformed into a dog of great character and habits. Now he is obsessed with water, frisbees and whipped cream!

Recently, Moose started dock diving. This canine sport involves dogs jumping from a dock into water and competing for distance or height. Moose's journey into the world of dock diving began when he was introduced to swimming in a friend's pond around May.

“I was overprotective, of course, so he had a life jacket on until he gained confidence. We then moved to allowing him to swim in our backyard pool. He LOVED it! So much so that I had to buy an XL baby gate to keep him out of it,” said Emily.

Dog wearing prize ribbons sits on deck
Moose shows off his prize ribbons for diving.

Moose's debut in dock diving was a true success. Despite being a novice, he boldly took to the dock, achieving impressive jumps of 9'4" and 9'11". His remarkable achievements secured his place in the Novice division finals, an impressive result for a newcomer. He's also entered into another competition at the end of August – the 2023 Southern Outdoor Classic in Selma, NC.

For those considering adoption, Emily has a piece of advice: Take a chance! Visit the shelter, ask questions and keep an open heart. Sometimes, the most unexpected connections lead to the most profound love and friendship.

“Everyone at the animal shelter cares so much about the animals. You can see the sparkle in the animals' eyes when they meet their 'fur-ever' family,” she said. “The dogs get excited when they see the volunteers who take them on walks, the staff that loves them and ensures their kennels are clean, the new people who they hope will welcome them into their homes. The cats light up and come out of their shells when their favorite staff or volunteer brings them catnip or new toys to play with or when a customer scratches that perfect spot. Our small critters are often forgotten about by the public, but they light up, as well, when they receive pets or the fresh veggies brought in by our volunteers.”

To Emily, nothing compares to the heartwarming smiles of families welcoming their new four-legged members. Animals have always held a special place in her heart as she grew up surrounded by them.

"As a young girl, I dreamt of being a veterinarian. Later, it changed to wanting to be a K9 handler with the FBI or SWAT. While I didn't pursue those paths, I'm making a difference in my own way, still doing what I love. Shelter work felt like a perfect fit for me," she said.

If Emily's journey has inspired you to adopt a furry friend, please visit our shelter. The shelter is open for adoptions daily from noon to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Emily and our devoted staff will help you find your perfect companion and ensure that you leave the center with a happy smile with your new friend.

Pets & Animals