Leslie Garza is the Animal Services Supervisor for Lewisville Animal Services and has served in many different roles for the shelter before becoming supervisor, including as a kennel attendant and as an animal services officer. When she’s not working, Garza can be found spending time with her family or being outdoors.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I have been with the wonderful City of Lewisville since November of 2010. I started my career as a part-time kennel attendant and fell in love with the opportunity of working with animals. After a few short months I had the chance to move into a full time kennel attendant position. During this time, I began taking some online veterinary technician classes at home to help my new career. My passion for the animals continued to grow as I was able to use what I was learning at the shelter, through my online courses and watching the everyday activities of the animal services officers. After a few years, an animal services officer position became available and I decided that I wanted to help animals before they entered a veterinarian’s office, help educate animal owners on what more they could do for their animals and put my vet tech classes on hold. With all the experience I had been able to gain, I was able to move to the position of animal services officer in October 2012. Throughout my animal services officer career, I have been able to obtain so many certifications, helped many animals get into better environments, I have seen many of our animals get adopted, advance my knowledge of animal welfare, shelter medicine, and have helped our community in countless ways. In October 2022, after much work from our shelter coordinator, we were able to reclass an animal services officer position to a shelter supervisor position. Even with many great candidates applying, I was able to qualify for the shelter supervisor position. I hope to continue doing many great things for the shelter, the animals, the staff, and the community.
What do you do in your role as Animal Services Shelter Supervisor?
As the shelter supervisor, my main role is to ensure that the animals are properly cared for while they are in our care, receive medications and vaccinations as needed and work with the community to help promote our adoptable animals. I am also working on bringing back our volunteer/foster programs to give the staff much needed help. I work closely with both the shelter coordinator and the field supervisor to ensure that staff have all the tools they need to perform their jobs well and obtain training as needed.
What is your favorite part about your job?
There are many areas of my job that I enjoy but I would have to say my favorite one has been to see all the different animals that have come through the shelter. Many would think that we only see cats and dogs but in reality we see everything from small pocket pets to large livestock animals and many wildlife animals. While the large livestock doesn’t come to the shelter, throughout my career in the field I did get a few opportunities to encounter them then.
Where is your favorite place to spend time in Lewisville?
I grew up here in Lewisville since third grade and while I have many spots that I like to visit, the one that stands out the most is sitting around the Lewisville Lake.
How did you know this career was something you wanted to pursue?
I grew up around animals at home from dogs, cats, guinea pigs, to a very close family owning several farm animals. I remember always going to the library and checking out books on those animals that I grew up with because I was always curious to how I could help them.
What are you passionate about?
My biggest passion in life is my family! I have been blessed with four wonderful kiddos ranging from the ages of 19 years old to the youngest being nine years old, two girls and two boys. They keep me moving and make life interesting by keeping me on my toes, but they are also my peace and calm.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by the amazing group of people I work with. I feel that knowing they count on me for support, direction and just helping where I can, is what inspires me to continue working as hard as I do. I feel that seeing all the great things we have accomplished makes me want to continue working with this great group in moving things forward for the shelter. I have been grateful to make a lot of friendships throughout my career thus far and hope to continue to maintain them and make more.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have many hobbies that I enjoy like being outdoors, spending time with my family, camping in our camper, dirt biking and my most recent hobby is making vinyl items and working with epoxy. For me it is very important to have hobbies to help me relax during my time away from work.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to work in animal services?
My biggest piece of advice would be to pursue what you love no matter how difficult things may get. Things are never easy in the animal world but learning from what you’ve seen, encountered and been a part of will make things worth it and never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do.
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?
I hope that the legacy I can leave behind will be one that shows my dedication to the career I grew to love but still knew when to take time for myself, that no matter how many difficult times there were I pushed through and came out stronger. I hope that all I’ve done for the animals, all the time I have been able to help educate the community and all my hard work for the shelter continue to move forward and they continue to gain that positive outlook I know we truly are.
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