Alumni Spotlight: Piper Wood (1994)

. . my passion and heart have always been with the animals, so I felt that it was important to pursue it and make the biggest possible difference for the voiceless

Piper Wood

My Brief Bio—

A little over 9 years ago, I founded an animal rescue called Hand in Paw. Prior to that, I was a private and executive chef, a police officer, and a behavioral therapist. I know . . . many careers that have nothing to do with animal rescue, but my passion and heart have always been with the animals, so I felt that it was important to pursue it and make the biggest possible difference for the voiceless. In the past 9 years, we have been able to rescue and adopt out over 4,500 homeless, abandoned, neglected, and abused animals from all over the world!  The homeless animal crisis is overwhelming, and entering this industry has opened my eyes to so much injustice and cruelty. It is an emotional job but so fulfilling.  I see myself doing this for as long as I’m alive!  

Piper with Nacho, a rescue from Belize

I attended Flintridge Sacred Heart for high school, USC for my Bachelors in Psychology, CSULA for my Masters in Applied Behavioral Analysis, and Boston University for my Masters in Criminal Justice.  I feel that all of my previous careers prepared me to be able to deal with the challenges and high pressure situations that I face each day in animal rescue. It is not for the faint of heart! 

My High Point Experience—

I attended High Point from kindergarten through eighth grade, graduating in 1994.  I look back and I am so grateful for the opportunities that High Point gave me: the challenging curriculum, the friendships, and the experiences that prepared me for high school. I hope that my 2-year-old-son will be a student there in a few short years. I don’t have a favorite teacher that I recall because I loved them all, but I do remember that in 6th grade, I was in a terrible accident and had to stay home for a few months. My teachers came to my house to instruct me, and I thought that was so amazing (maybe not at the time, but I appreciate it so much, looking back).  High Point is a really special school, and I have endless fond memories.  While I haven’t stayed in touch with too many of the students with whom I graduated, there have been several connections made via social media. Dozens of adoptions and foster homes have resulted, which has been so wonderful!  

Personal Observations and Reflections—

I have had the privilege and honor of coming back to High Point a few times, to show the first grade classrooms what Hand in Paw does. The first graders have held a read-a-thon to raise money for the animals for the past 4 years or so. They also made beautiful blankets and homemade biscuits for the dogs. It has been so cool to be a part of a very important lesson for the children, while showing them that their hard work saves the lives of the animals that we take in. I am so grateful to Miss Summer and Miss Rayburn for their kindness in allowing me to participate in this Community Engagement project. Coming back to High Point brings back the best memories of my childhood!  

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