Intern Spotlight: Merica Earl


Merica Earl has a noble career ambition in mind: work with service dogs.

Her internship at the Sanctuary One Care Farm is a good start to embarking on that path. Merica, 23, started her work at the Applegate Valley’s 55-acre nonprofit care farm in January, and staff already have taken notice of her work ethic, dedication, and warmth.

“She always goes above and beyond what is asked of her,” says Sanctuary One Program Manager Janelle Whitfield. “She’s just a joy to be around.”

Born in Utah, Merica spent the bulk of her childhood years in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she attended middle school and high school. From there, she traveled to Idaho, where she worked toward a bachelor’s degree in animal science from BYU Idaho. Her education revolved around topics such as animal husbandry, anatomy, and physiology.

“I worked a lot with livestock,” she says.

She applied for a Sanctuary One internship after hearing about it online. It was like another internship she had worked at an animal shelter, but Sanctuary One seemed to level up the offerings, with farm animals and gardening opportunities.

“It seemed like a good way to strengthen the animal care skills I already had,” Merica says.

After graduating from BYU Idaho in December 2023, Merica traveled west to Southern Oregon. Since January, her workdays have been busy and multilayered. She helps open the farm with other care farm employees, feeds the animals, and lets them out. Sometimes, she coordinates with volunteers who come to help throughout the day.

Then there are the animals she tries to help get adopted into forever homes. Merica works with Animal Care Manager Colleen Avery to make this happen, taking pictures of the animals for online listings. She also walks the dogs, helps get them fed, and cleans their kennels. She’s formed a bond with several dogs that have come to the care farm, with the ultimate goal of getting them into permanent, loving homes.

“It’s been really cool to see a bunch of dogs get adopted,” Merical says. “It makes me really happy.”

Merica mentions Cowboy, a blue tick heeler who was recently adopted after living at the care farm for about a year, as a recent adoption success story.

“It meant a lot to the people who have been here longer than me,” Merica says, adding that such moments crystallize the purpose of what she’s doing. “This is the best part about rescuing.”

Merica will conclude her internship on April 11. Next stop: Alaska, where she’ll work with a tour company.

Adventure awaits. Somewhere down the road, her desired work with service dogs does, too.

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