Featured Employee of the Month: Makayla Gaddis

makayla gaddis kennel manager

She’s our kennel connoisseur, canine caretaker and the smiling face that instantaneously brightens days here at Highland. Meet Makayla Gaddis, our Kennel Manager!

When you leave your pup with us for a three or six week in-kennel program, Makayla is the one who makes certain that they’re happy, comfortable and well cared for during their stay. Makayla also structures the care schedules of our service dogs and police K9s, and keeps their housing in tip-top shape so that they can best do their job when its needed most.

Although Makayla is not a face that many have the opportunity to meet during their training with Highland, she is an integral part of our daily operations and an invaluable member of our team! In this interview, we pull back the curtain and learn more about Makayla – including the fictional character she wishes she could be and her obsession with Japanese anime!

Q: What would you name the autobiography of your life?
I would name my autobiography, ‘Look where you’re going and not where you’ve been’. It’s a quote my mom used to say to me because I would often run into walls and doors when I was younger.

Q: If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I always wanted to learn to how to surf. Growing up, we were out on the lake almost every weekend wakeboarding. Me and my dad would wake up at 4am to go out and get clear water, but I’ve always wanted to be able to go out on the ocean and surf a wave!

Q. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
I would like to say that I’d pay bills, but I would probably go out and buy a new truck!

Q: Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised in Athens, Georgia (Go Dawgs!), but I moved to Statesville, North Carolina 2 years ago!

Q: When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?
I have a two year old boy; what is free time?! When I do have some time I normally just spend it relaxing or watching a TV show!

Q: If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
Arya Stark from Game Of Thrones. She followed her heart and her passion to learn everything that helped her survive better and by  the end of the series, she was one of the most resilient women on the show and I hope to be more like her one day!

Q: What is something you learned in the last week?
I learned that it’s okay for dreams to change!

Q: What chore do you enjoy the least?
It would definitely be putting clothes up! I dread it until I absolutely have to!

Q: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
Orvon Grover “Gene” Autry. For anyone who doesn’t know he played Gene Autry in old cowboy films/shows. I would just love to sit and talk with him and hear him sing in person. My grandma introduced me to his shows when I was around 8 years old and I secretly loved him!

Q: What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I’ve been riding horses since I was three months old! So I always love getting out and riding and also love teaching people all about horses.

Q: What three traits define you?
Dedicated, reserved, and easy going

Q: Do you have a favorite quote?
“You can’t go back and change the beginning but you start where you are and change the ending” C.S. Lewis

Q: If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Q: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
This is only something that my family knows but I am obsessed with a Japanese anime and comic called Naruto! Which is about a ninja world and it tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who seeks recognition from his peers and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village! It’s a story about overcoming your past and demons and never giving up on what you want! As you can probably guess I am kind of a hidden nerd!

Q: Do you have a favorite genre of music?
I love all types of music! I can go from listening to country to pop to rock to Disney! Play it and I’ll probably love it!

Q: If you could have one super power, what would it be?
I would like to be able to transport! In less than the blink of an eye I could move from one place to another without having to exert myself. Even better If I could also teleport whatever I am holding onto so I could share my gift with others!

Q: How do you define success?
I define success as being happy in life. I’m not a person who cares much about money, I just want to live a happy, purposeful life that means something to me.

Q: If you had to choose one theme for Highland, which would be turned into a book about the company, what would it be?

Q: How did you first learn about Highland Canine?
I first learned about Highland through Facebook when I was looking for a job just to get out of the house a couple days a week, but it has now turned into an almost full time job because I have really fallen in love with this company and I am so grateful to be a part of it!

Q: What is your proudest moment at Highland?
Seeing how far the kennels have come in a short time! Can’t wait to see how we can keep improving them!

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Caring for animals has always been something I love to do! Whether it be dogs, horses, cats or anything you can think of I love to be able to take care of their needs. Dogs especially because you get to see their love and appreciation for everything! Even if they show that appreciation by biting you!