In this interview, Sara Caitlin Potter, Brown University class of 1998, discusses her experience as an animal lover and volunteer at the Pawtucket (Rhode Island) Animal Shelter and Handsome Dan’s Rescue during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Potter begins by talking about her work as the Coordinator of the Talent Development Program at the University of Rhode Island. She describes how the 6-week residential summer bridge program introduces students to the higher education environment and notes how the program was modified for Summer 2020. She goes on to speak specifically about the pandemic and how quickly she felt it changed day-to-day life.
Potter uses most of her interview to detail her work rescuing and advocating for animals and working in shelters in Rhode Island. She explains how she began working at Animal Rescue Rhode Island and how she became connected to Handsome Dan’s Rescue through her first pit-bull, Cassius. She addresses the stigma and misconceptions around pit-bull-type dogs as well as the time and dedication it takes to ensure that a dog is adoptable and sent to the right family. She also shares some of the best and worst cases she has seen. Finally, she explains how the pandemic influenced her work at shelters and how it impacted adoptions.
In closing, Potter wishes that dogs in shelters would be given more enrichment and that people “would take some time and understand that this is probably the worst moment in that dog’s life, they’re terrified, and if they make a mistake, give them some room and give them a shot at trying to be the dog that they are probably underneath.”
Recorded on June 12, 2020 via Zoom
Interviewed by Mary Murphy, Nancy L. Buc ’65 LLD‘94 hon Pembroke Center Archivist
Suggested Chicago style citation: Potter, Sara Caitlin. Interview. By Mary Murphy. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. June 12, 2020.
Sara Caitlin Potter is a lifetime Rhode Islander. Her mother graduated from Brown University and Potter followed in 1998 with an AB in English and American Literature. She is currently the Coordinator of the Talent Development Program at the University of Rhode Island and she spends her free time volunteering at the Pawtucket Animal Shelter and Handsome Dan’s Rescue. Families with high needs dogs in Rhode Island consider Potter one the state’s animal guardian angels for her advocacy on their behalf.