RAPS is all about the animals. But everything we do is possible because of the humans. As part of an ongoing feature about the people of RAPS, this week, meet Pat Johnson, RAPS’ communications human.
What is your role at RAPS?
I am communications manager and oversee internal and external messaging. I work with the management team to strategize around various aspects of the organization and our many diverse initiatives. Since my job is to tell the RAPS story, I have a finger in pretty much everything at one point or another.
How long have you been volunteering and/or working with RAPS?
I started working at RAPS five years ago. It has been a wild ride as we have grown so much, opened the RAPS Animal Hospital and launched so many other new intiatives!
What makes you committed to RAPS?
Aside from the no-kill promise, which is at the heart of the organization, I am excited to see the growth that RAPS continues to experience. The more animals we can work with, the more happy endings I can share with our friends and supporters. I love how RAPS helps animals and their people. Our commitment to helping households with low incomes or facing other challenges helps ensure that no one is forced to make life-and-death decisions for their pet based on ability to pay. The RAPS Thrift Stores help us save animals and the environment! RAPS is a holistic organization, with every branch of RAPS supporting one another. That’s inspiring!
What is your favourite / least favourite part of your job?
It is very cool to try to reimagine fresh ways to tell our story, so we keep people engaged and constantly attract new folks to support our cause: Saving and improving the lives of animals. As RAPS has grown, I have been able to play a part in developing the branding, messaging and marketing for BIG projects like the opening of the RAPS Animal Hospital and for thousands of much less grandiose initiatives … like asking people to donate cat litter!
My favourite part of the job, by far, is telling “happy ending” stories (like Buck’s story, in this week’s newsletter)!
While I do not (officially) work directly with the animals at RAPS, I am a crazy animal person (I adore cats, but I am a dog freak) and so my least favourite part of the job is when we have to share stories that do not have happy endings. Fortunately, because RAPS is a no-kill animal-serving organization, we go to great lengths to make potentially sad endings into happy ones!
Tell us about yourself (where you grew up, family, pets, etc.)
I grew up in Vancouver and went to university in Montreal. I have been a journalist, writer and consultant for 30 years, working with charities, social enterprises and businesses to help tell their stories and advance their missions. I have thousands of bylines in newspapers and magazines on subjects from fecal coliform at local swimming beaches to international conflicts. My husband Paul and I have a 12-year-old border collie, Cody, who we rescued when he was a year old. Despite coming from neglect (and probably abuse) he is a remarkably good ol’ dawg with the inevitable border collie quirks.
What do you do in your spare time?
Aside from walking Cody (who has a Swiss body clock!), I dabble in the garden and the kitchen, growing, baking and cooking things that look and/or taste good. I’m a news junkie and also read lots of history books and other non-fiction. I volunteer at seniors’ homes and also with seniors’ groups in the community, leading discussions of current events and other topics, or simply reading stories.