True pet rescuers and advocates don’t participate and volunteer their time in the hopes of receiving status, or any type of gain. They involve themselves so deeply because it is a part of who they are; it is in their very nature to help, however they can. At their core, they are nurturers. Their love for pets and their internal drive to help merge and form an incredible passion; an ever-burning flame that cannot be snuffed out or diminished.
Such is the case with Atlanta resident Jennifer Naujokas, who spends her life helping others – human and animal.
“I’ve recently realized that what I do in my professional life and what I do in my free time go hand in hand,” Jennifer muses. “I help. I have a passion for helping.”
For the past fifteen years, Jennifer has worked in Finance and Accounting Recruitment. She founded her own company, Cypress Search Group, LLC, nearly five years ago. As a Finance and Accounting Recruiter, she is specifically working with the unemployed to place them on contract assignments until they find the perfect permanent position. Her process includes interviewing them to learn more about their background and what they are searching for in a job. She then proactively markets them to clients to find them that ideal job. She performs reference checks on candidates that she’s actively working with, and she follows up weekly with these candidates by phoning them and asking how their job search is going. She runs candidates’ weekly payroll to pay them for services performed. Jennifer runs her own business, so she handles all administrative, accounting, marketing, and alike functions for it. The majority of the candidates she works with are people she’s known for many years, and she develops long-lasting relationships with most of her job seekers.
For the past four years, Jennifer has been massively involved in pet rescue. She volunteers every spare moment of her free time to Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, where she serves as the Team Lead over the Transport Team. The Transport Team is responsible for pulling dogs from animal shelters, coordinating emergency veterinary visits, amongst other things. Jennifer herself will transport dogs when needed, often at the drop of a hat. She will visit local shelters to meet dogs and perform temperament tests to determine their adoptability factor, and then will advocate on their behalf to save their lives. She serves as a foster for dogs and cats until she can find them a forever home, she interviews potential adopters, and she performs home checks in order to ensure that the animals will be going to suitable forever homes.
In both her professional life and her personal life, Jennifer serves those who so desperately need assistance to move forward. She advocates for people, and she advocates for animals. “Being able to make a difference in a life is extremely rewarding, and it's a privilege to help them get to their ‘forever’,” Jennifer says meaningfully. Just as she avidly searches for the perfect job for her candidates, she does the same with rescue animals that are in need the perfect home.
“What I want people to know is that any little bit of assistance can go a long way,” Jennifer imparts. “You may think it doesn’t make a difference because you can only contribute a small amount of time, a short email or phone conversation, passing along someone's resume, or a minimal monetary donation, but I believe the small things make the biggest difference; they add up, and that's what can drastically change a person's or animal's life. If we all just opened ourselves up to doing something for someone else, the reward is immeasurable.”
Author: Katie Brogdon, mom of AAUPR Ellie & Ewan; Photography by Myrth Grable, PinkApple Photography and mom of AAUPR Colbie; Monica Anderson, Cypress Search Group employee and future dog mom; Marissa Shedrow, Cypress Search Group Partner and mom of AAUPR Cauley, and Jennifer Naujokas with her AAUPR dog, Mazzy.