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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's been a few weeks and there has been a lot of changes

I have been meaning to sit down and share some of the new experiences I am having at the shelter but it has honestly been tough to sit down and focus myself for the time that it takes to collect my thoughts on the week. I'll do my best to catch up on some of the projects I have been working on here at a local humane society.

My main focus lately has been spreading the word about how unique and special our private little humane society is. I'm not taking the traditional approach but rather the grass roots one. Because we have been around our town for so long the best way to get people involved is to physically go out and talk to those people. In doing so I am learning their perspectives on things as well as new ways that their business or time might better serve our community and shelter at large.

Recently I have been working on a few local events to promote adoptions as well as educate people on what the mission of our shelter and many others around the county. I have learned that tying in like businesses is a great way to make a successful event as well as build the relationships that are necessary for our shelter to grow.

With all of this going on a lot of my time is still spent on our largest fundraiser of the year. We are currently working on sponsorships so my cold calling, pop ins, and sales skills are finally coming in handy again. This is kind of the bitter/sweet part of it all. I love helping the shelter and I am 110% confident in what we do but when it comes down to it I am still selling a product and unfortunately not getting as much time with the animals.

All in all I have to say that this new position is a great fit for me. It is allowing me to use my skills and knowledge of the shelter to help it grow and continue to be successful. I just hope that once I settle in I will get some time to go and hang with some animals because I really do miss that aspect of it all.

Hopefully it won't be to long before the next installment and I appreciate everyone reading. By the way, if any of you have any ideas for some sponsorships I would love to hear them. Keep up the great work everyone!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My last day as an adoption counselor

When I first began this job I honestly didn't think that it was going to last as long as it has. There were so many things that I really had to adjust to when I first began over a year ago. I have to say it was more the pay than anything else that took the real adjusting, the poop and manual labor was pretty easy to get accustomed to.

It has been an amazing experience to work hands on in not only taking care of the animals but more importantly helping them find their forever homes. It has certainly been a roller coaster with a lot of tears shed and even more smiles smiled.

I have seen everything and every type of dog there is to see. I was amazed at how much I actually learned in the past year or so working in the kennels. I gained a better appreciation for the volunteers that spend their time with the animals and also for the kennel staff themselves and how much work actually goes into maintaining a working shelter.

There are a lot of things that I am going to miss moving into my new position. It's hard to actually name just a few because this job has to be one of the most rewarding there is. From hanging out with the animals and loving on them to making sure that they are healthy and feeling well. Selfish me of though is going to say that I will miss adoption out the dogs the most. The feeling that I got when one of these animals found their new home was a new high for me. It was amazing to know that I played a part in making sure that the rest of their life was going to be the best one that it could be.

With all of this came those down times too. The days where all you wanted to do was lock your self in a kennel and pet a dog all day long. Those days were few and far between but when they came they came with force.

Closing out, I have learned more at this job than almost anything else I have done professionally. I have grown as a person by leaps and bounds working with these amazing animals. You might ask why I am no longer going to do it and I have a pretty simple answer. I think that I can help more animals in a new position that would bring more awareness to our shelter as well as more funding. I know that there are going to be those days that I wish I could just go back to the kennels and hang out and maybe I will but my focus now is letting everyone in our community know how special our rescue is and how we have now been doing this for fifty years. I will try and continue to blog even though it's not as exciting as getting animals adopted but I have a feeling there are going to be some highs worth sharing. Thanks everyone for all of the comments and support that you have given me. I look forward to you comments and of course reading your stories about all of the good work that you do in your area. Oh yeah, the picture up top is some of our senior one eyed dogs that all love to play together, not to many places you get to see that in life!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

There is always something new

Well, I've been a little busy lately and I know that it is showing in my lack of blogs, but I still want to continue to share my experiences in the animal shelter world. This past week was pretty insane, just when you think you have seen it all something new pops in.

I want to briefly talk about the hectic Saturday that I had at the front desk this past week. First, I have never seen so many animals brought in either as strays or people trying to relinquish them. Before we even opened a young lady tried dropping off her two seven year old labs that she can no longer care for. I explained how our system works and took her information but unfortunately she had to get rid of them today. I understand that the majority of people do everything they can to keep their pets, but I wish that they would also prepare a little more for finding them a new home rather than waiting until the last minute.

Before the doors even opened we also had a stray visla come in. He was a beautiful dog but had no tags and of course no microchip. I checked on craigslist if anyone had reported him missing but got nothing. In this case, because we are private, we have to call county to come and pick him up. Luckily they were coming because we also got a baby bird that was found on the street along with the strangest stray I have ever seen, a twenty pound desert tortoise. Now, I don't want you all to think that they all just went to county, they actually ended up with Project Wildlife and a tortoise rescue. Pretty strange though how many animals came in missing their loved ones.

The oddest part of the day came when an older woman brought in her blind little dog. She initially said that she had adopted form us about eight years ago. It seemed like she was coming in to have the dog euthanized because his quality of life just wasn't there any more. I searched every computer record that we have for adoptions dating back a decade and found nothing on the "adopter". She said that she was 95% sure that she had gotten him from us. Sadly enough, the animal was suffering and there was nothing that we could do. I'll stop the story there but you get the idea, it was on bad experience that I would soon like to forget. It was just sad that this person didn't know what the right thing to do in her situation.

Moving on, there were some great adoptions. Two that really stood out to me were a couple of bonded cats. And when I say a couple, I mean two sets. It was great to learn that they had found homes together because one of the sets had been here for several months. With the adoptions means that we are bringing in more animals. I stumbled amongst one of the play groups of the new guys and found two one eyed dogs, a blind dog, another with eye issues, and one with just a couple of teeth left. We are so lucky that we are able to take these guys in and find them homes. When I hear someone say that they are too old, I can only reply it took them a long time to get this cute.

We also brought in another ten dogs from another shelter, our second chance animals. I have to say that this bunch might be the cutest I have seen in a long time. I know come Saturday when they all become available there is certain to be a long line out the gate. Thanks for reading everyone and I appreciate all that you guys do for the animals. The picture up top might be in my top five for cutest dogs at the shelter. Her name is Miss Priss and is a six month old boxer mix puppy. Believe it or not, her ears are always up like that!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Slacking on the blog posts

It really is amazingly easy to sleep in and just skip writing this thing every once in a while. The down side is I don't get to share the ups and the downs of the life of a shelter worker. Even though I haven't been writing, there still has been some exciting things going on at the shelter.

I'll start with all of the puppies finding their forever homes. It was funny that all it took was once day for the remaining three to get adopted. Of course I still think pessimistically and will assume that at least one of them will be back due to their size and energy level. I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best but I also have to prepare myself for the worst.

Monday we ended up closing the shelter down and had all staff training. We began with CPR, the human kind, and worked our way into animal behavior and new adoption information. I have to say, the information was great and gave all of us a new way of looking at how the shelter works. The biggest part was the class on adopting to families with young children. There is to much information to put in this blog but if you have any questions about adopting to young families or families that are planning on having a family, shoot me a comment, I'd be more than happy to share because the information is that valuable to me and the shelter.

Moving on with the week we saw just about everything. Two of our long term dogs that had both been treated for heartworm here at the shelter both found their forever homes. It was sad to see them go because you really do grow so attached but of course it was better to see the smiles on their new families faces. With every adoption though a new face arrives as well. Sometimes it really does get to me. The analogy of mopping up after a waterfall comes to mind when I think about what we do. I have to step back and realize that yes, we can't help them all, but we can educate people and hopefully spread the word that there are many great animal out their waiting to be adopted.

Finally catching up in the week I had an adoption. It was a sweet little dog that had been returned once already due to fear biting. She never broke skin but was reevaluated when she came back to the shelter and was put back up for adoption, to that certain home that would be able to handle her issues. She ended up finding a sweet retired couple that had always rescued dogs and absolutely fell in love with her. Initially we wanted her to go home with another dog to make her feel confident but when this family came in we threw that aside. I know that they will not only give her a great home but she will be a loving pet as well.

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up, if you are still reading out there. I have taken a different position at the shelter that we feel might further the mission of what we are doing here. I will be working directly with the community to educate and spread the word of the great things that we are doing at the shelter. Hopefully I'll still get to hang out with the animals but eventually I think this position could end up not only creating more adoptions but also educating the public and all that we do. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments. Oh yeah, I had to add a few pictures of the adorable kittens that will be up for adoption soon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A lot of showings

I got to work a little early today to help out dishing out the meds. There was only one med staff today and when there are a lot of new dogs from another shelter it means that there is going to be a lot of time preparing and giving a few specific medicines. The ones that I helped out on where preparing the dewormer panacur as well as getting all of the doxy and cream cheese ready. The doxy is easy but the panacur has to be measured out according to the weight of the dog and then mixed with wet food. This all took a good half hour since there was a total of eight dogs being treated. Typically any dogs that are part of our second chance program (dogs we bring from another shelter) come in with ghiardia as well as kennel cough so we always treat them even if they don't show any signs of the illness, because typically they are all going to start showing them a few days after arriving.

Moving on with the day, once we were done cleaning and the doors opened for business the showings came rolling in. We knew that there could be quite a few because the eight dogs I previously talked about all became available for adoption today. It's funny when our intake specialist brings them in and you know what ones people are going to be waiting in line for. Today it was a little female one year old "affenpinchser" named Moonstruck. The first three showings of the day were all for her. Amazingly enough though all of the people were great homes but they all wanted to think about it before making their decision. Well, eventually a great couple came in and decided to adopt. We knew it was going to happen sooner or later.

There was two other dogs that got a lot of attention. One was a lab/shepherd puppy mix and a little beagle puppy. The beagle puppy ended up being the first adoption of the day but the puppy was still there as I was about to leave. I actually had a great showing with him and a potential adopter that had actually just recently lost a loved one. It was a pretty sad story but she was looking for a companion to keep her company and giver her that love only a loyal dog can. She wanted to bring her adult son to meet and make sure that Donny the dog was the right one. Of course, as I am leaving she comes back with her son. I checked the web just now and he still isn't adopted. I'll be curious to hear the story from the other adoption counselor about the showing.

That's about it for today, aside from the cleaning and what not. Overall it was a nice day. There can always be more adoptions but there is always tomorrow for that. Thanks for reading everyone and don't forget to thank all of those volunteers out there the donate there time so selflessly. Of course I had to add another picture of our puppies that just don't stop growing!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A whole lot of cleaning

Today was one of those days that I just put my head down and went to work. There was nothing wrong with me and my attitude was good, I just had the motivation to go around and clean. As usual, the morning started with taking all of the dogs down to their runs for their morning break. Once that was done it was time to get scrubbing. I focused my efforts on the South kennels and immediately started spraying everything down with disinfectant. Once everything was lathered up I got to scrubbing. I have to say, there should be an industrial use for bird poop, the amount of elbow grease that you have to put into getting it off of the windows is amazing.

Well, eventually, I got the kennels a little cleaner and began getting all of the breakfasts ready. There were a few special meals for some of our senior guys that recently had dental extractions. Nothing complicated, just wet food. After all of that was done it was time to start bringing the dogs back up. It was nice to see that over the weekend there were a few play groups made and all of the animals were out having fun while we cleaned.

After the morning cleaning I headed back to ISO to clear out the kennels that had recently been used. We actually had six dogs dropped off in front of the shelter in one crate while I was away and they had to be kept back in quarantine until county could come and pick them up. I really don't know what else to say on that topic other than at least the people didn't leave them in the middle of the freeway. Anyways, I digress, I ended up disinfecting the kennels that those dogs were in and soon moved on to the next dirty thing, (there seems to be a never ending supply at the shelter).

Luckily we had a solid staff on so I was able to knock out a few of the cleaning projects, with a lot of help. I noticed that the pet kitchen had already been taken care of today so I moved on to the dirty crates and litter boxes, not my favorite job. I pre soaked everything hoping that the cemented on kitten diarrhea might come off a little easier if I left it for a while. In the mean time I recruited another staff member to help me knock it all out. Amazingly enough, when you have two people who are actually working, some of the things that I usually think are tough become pretty quick and easy.

After all of the cleaning I got a call to help with an interaction. It was with one of our skittish little guys named Chili Willie. When he first came to us he wouldn't even come out of his crate let alone walk on leash. With a little work and patience from everyone at the shelter he has slowly come out of his shell. The interact was a little sketch at first with our little guy trying to act all tough, but after a little walking together both dogs seemed to bet a little more comfortable. We decided to move them into the yards and see how they interacted. It was really more just hanging out than anything else, but they weren't annoying each other either. It wasn't the perfect interact but the couple that was looking to adopt were very dog savvy and the questions and suggestions that they had put me at ease with the adoption. It turns out they absolutely loved the little guy and got to take him home today.

Overall the day goes by so fast when all you do is clean. It was nice to organize a few things and it was even nicer to send a dog home. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments. The pictures are a few of our new arrivals from our second chance program. The more I learn about them I will share with you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bouncing Around

Typically Thursdays for me are spent at the front desk preparing files for recently altered dogs to go home. Today was a little different though because for some odd reason the front desk was pretty slow and everywhere is was incredibly busy.

I started by helping out in the kennels and taking care of cleaning the rabbitat. I almost forgot how where the hay was it had been so long since I had cleaned them, I think around two months or so. It was good to see that there were a few new faces in there along with some familiar ones that I noticed were no longer there because they found their forever homes. Along with seeing who had gotten adopted I also remembered that some rabbits can be real turds. I got complacent after cleaning up after the first three and by the fourth just went straight for his litter box, how quickly I got pounced on. I felt bad for the little guy because I obviously startled him but boy did he get my heart racing when he went after me. Eventually I was able to calm him down and was even able to pet him on his nose. I do have to say, after not cleaning them for so long my allergies really kicked up again.

Once that was done I went back to medical to check on a few dog files for animals that would be going home today. When I went back though I realized that it was yet another surgery day and things were kind of hectic. Luckily the front desk was well covered with qualified people so I stayed back in back to help out as best as I could, I actually felt as though I was more in the way than anything else. I was able to do some data entry for a few dogs that got to go home and I did make up some meds as well. In addition to that I also dulled out a few medications as well, mostly just advantage but a few doses of droncit for some young kittens. Surprisingly easy to do with pill pockets and a syringe of water. While I was doing all of this the medical staff was busy doing some pretty gnarly dentals. If you read my blog a few days ago I talked about our old man Wylie getting adopted, well, he had to have a pretty intense dental done today and as you can see had all of his teeth pulled. I was really surprised at how easily they all came out. I knew his mouth was bad, but literally his teeth were just falling out. That is a picture of him up top.

After all of this I made it back up front in time to send one of the other staff members home early. Of course when I did that, it finally got busy up there. It was overall a pretty nice day even though at times there were certainly some stressful situations. I was glad to see so many great animals finally get to go home and of course it was nice for the day to go by so quickly. I am going to close with a picture of Sumo, who was our perfectly white Samoyed, looks like he had a fun time with his new playmate Candy! He actually got adopted today and has a beautiful new sister to go home to as well. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments.