Nicole Huff loves dogs. As a matter of fact she’s fostered 15 dogs while they wait to get a home of their own. In addition to her fostering efforts, Huff is a social worker and has been working as director of two behavior health clinics that treat substance use disorder, such as Opioid use. She also spends time volunteering time at Dallas Pets Alive.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I have been married 13 years and have two amazing stepsons who are 19 and 16. I‘m a native Californian and we moved to Texas seven years ago. I am a social worker, having received my masters of social work in 1997, and my career has focused on family violence and behavioral health.
What do you enjoy about volunteering?
I get so much out of volunteering with dogs. Seeing them find their forever homes and having any small part of that is incredible. It feeds my soul.
What got you into fostering dogs?
We have two rescue dogs of our own, one of which is a registered therapy dog and has come along with me professionally and in volunteer work to provide animal-assisted therapy. Again, I believe passionately in rescue and have friends who foster, so decided to try it myself. We have fostered a total of 15 dogs, and it has been an amazing experience.
What challenges do you face when fostering?
I fall in love with every single dog, and they take a piece of my heart when they move to their forever homes, so that is challenging, but it is also the best part – seeing a formally scared, untrusting, injured/sick animal healthy, shiny, happy and loved is just the best thing ever!
How did you end up directing two Opioid treatment clinics?
I have been a licensed clinical social worker for over two decades and have always worked in areas of behavioral health and family violence. I love this work. Last fall I came across my current company, Symetria Recovery, when they were looking to open new comprehensive behavioral health clinics in DFW. Symetria’s model of truly comprehensive, non-judgmental treatment, and the data showing their success helping people get into recovery, really impressed me, and I was lucky enough to get hired as their first program director in the area. I helped open the current three clinics we have, in Lewisville, Hurst and Fort Worth and am still program director for two of them — Lewisville and Hurst.
How do you balance managing the two?
Fortunately, Symetria Recovery has invested in hiring highly qualified, licensed professionals to staff all their clinics. This allows me to be completely confident in the nursing and counseling staff.
In your opinion, what are some of the best ways to treat Opioid addiction?
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), Medication Assisted Treatment is proven in study after study to produce the most successful treatment outcomes. Effective, evidence-based treatment for Opioid addiction “must include four basic elements: detoxification, rehabilitative counseling, continuing care and Medication Assisted Treatment.”
What's your favorite past time?
We are scuba divers and travel extensively to dive in warm water. I don’t do it as much as I would like, but it is my favorite thing to do.
What's your favorite movie?
One of my favorites is the first “Guardians of the Galaxy”— I can watch that over and over.
What are some lessons we can learn from dogs?
Dogs are wonderful at loving completely, living for today and forgiving. We could all do well to more like them.
If you could travel the world, what would your first three destinations be?
As a scuba diver and travel adviser, my wish list leans that way. It would be Yap/Palau, Indonesia and Seychelles.