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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A happy holiday season

Today will be the last day I write for a few days because of the hectic holidays that are fast approaching. This is my first Christmas at the shelter and there are certainly some smiles on everyone's faces at this time.

The past week has been down right crazy, with new dogs coming in and a whole lot going out. Because of the big holiday the shelter decided against bringing in any large number of animals just because our medical staff would get to overwhelmed especially since they are short handed.
The animals that did come in, mostly relinquishments, have all pretty much been adopted out. Not sure if it's Christmas or what but there has certainly been a run on adopting shelter dogs and cats this month.

All of the adoptions are special but one dog that we were glad to see find a home is a sweet heart named Rusty. When we initially brought him in we estimated his age at six to eight, but after doing some research we found out that he was nearly ten and a half! This is difficult because since we knew the age we had to divulge it and let's just say it's a lot easier to adopt a young dog rather than a senior. Luckily the miracle happened and a perfect family came in and realized that it was the perfect fit and just like that Rusty found his forever home.

I want to add a special thanks to all of the volunteers across the country that help out at shelters and everywhere for that matter. You all play such a imperative roll in making sure that these animals difficult situations are made easier until they find their forever home. I also want to thank all of the donors throughout the year that have brought in everything from blankets to beds and food to treats. To make a shelter work takes a lot more than an adoption counselor so thank you to all of you out there that play such a big role in helping animals. I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year and continues the mission of helping animals in years to come.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A whole lot of busy work, saying good luck, and one solid showing


After the morning cleaning I headed over to take care of the rabbitat. It was pretty routine as usual until I had to switch out a litter box for one of the guys. I went to the outside supply of the large plastic boxes and found one up on a top shelf. I was reaching for the stack when I noticed how heavy they all were, as I pulled it down I soon realized why. About four or so gallons of water came splashing down on my head completely soaking me. Luckily it wasn't to cold out and thankfully we have a industrial dryer. Other than the fact that it was pretty embarrassing it wasn't to bad. At least the rabbits got a clean box.

Once all of the cleaning was done the day was pretty routine. There were a few showings early on but I didn't get my first one until the afternoon. Then of course it wasn't a showing but rather a denial. On the profile it turns out not only did they have a female dog (we don't do female to female adoption due to history of such instances) and the big one was that they had a "prego" cat, or at least they hoped so. Now, I have no doubt that they are a loving family who take very good care of their pets but it goes against our mission to help control the pet over population and find animals their new forever home that is going to be a perfect match. I just wish people would not completely close their ears once I tell them I cannot adopt to them. Some are understanding but some seem to take it so personally.

My last showing was a good one with a younger couple that was looking at one of our staff favorites T.J., a collie whippet mix. The showing went well but I wanted the couple to go home and thing about everything that possibly could arise from adopting this animal. I have no doubt that they would love T.J. but I want to make sure that this is her forever home and not a temporary fit until they move. I hope they read the handouts I gave them and they come back to adopt.

Closing out the day we all got to say good by to Margie, aka Minnie. It's one of those bitter sweet moments where you are so happy to finally see her find a home but you of course are saddened to see her leave. I know that she will be a very happy animal and make her new owners feel the same. Thanks for reading as always and if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions feel free to send them my way.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A quick day

It was the usual beginning to my day, taking out dogs for their morning break, cleaning out their kennels, turing the heaters off, feeding them, and bringing them back up. Nothing too exciting except twice while I was cleaning I noticed a toy chihuahua walking aimlessly up to me. It turns out one of the new second chance dogs can dig and move rocks pretty well. This was my excitement for the morning. Luckily he followed me right back to his kennel and didn't run.

Once all of the cleaning was done it was a pretty typical day. Lots of cleaning and surprisingly a lot of showings. Early on their was a kitten showing and of course an adoption. After that I was called to help out with a dog introduction with our recently available one year old lab named Marley. The intro went great and not to any of our surprises she was adopted the first day she became available.

There were a few more showings but nothing panning out as far as adoptions go. The rest of the afternoon was busy filled with feeding kittens and puppies and of course giving a little love to some special needs animals. I have to add a picture of Chica, one of my favorite dogs here right now. I was able to sit down with her today and spend some quality time with her and even scratch her ears for her.

Closing out the day I was told that there was a squirrel in need hanging out at the shelter. We think it might have either been attacked by another animal or gotten into the rat poison because there was something definitely wrong with it. I'm just glad we have people that are qualified to take care of this so I don't have to.

Sorry for the short length today, I spent most of my time cleaning up poop my own dog left for me. As always though thanks for reading and I truly appreciate the comments. I also have to close with a picture of Margie, aka Minnie, our deaf chihuahua that finally gets to go home.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A complete reversal



With all of the sad and stressful times this past week I was ready for a rebound, and today it came. The day started off as usual with lots of cleaning and making sure all of the animals were fed and as soon as the doors opened I was in a showing.

The first showing I had was with a tiny little kitten with the fitting name Itty Bitty. The woman had been in yesterday but because she came so close to five we were unable to show the animal. Luckily she wasn't deterred and came back first thing this morning. The showing went great with the adopter asking all of the right questions. The adoption was a go and this new kitten has a new place to call home.

The day seemed pretty routine for a Monday after my showing. There was lots of cleaning and of course preparing for the new batch of dogs to come in through our second chance program. Usually they arrive with our behaviorist around one but today she was running a little late and wouldn't be back at the shelter until after three. This was good news because now we had a little extra time to set everything up for the new arrivals.

While all of this was going on our med staff was taking care of some new cat intakes, more specifically five rag doll kittens. We've had a run on cats and kittens lately and the cattery has seemed pretty empty so over the next few days there are going to be a lot of intakes.

Now on to the highlight of the day. I was called to do a dog introduction with our longest of long termers Margie, aka Minnie. She is a super sweet deaf Chihuahua that is going to need an extremely patient home. The poor thing has been at the shelter upwards of six months because not only is she a special needs dog she is also pretty aloof. Luckily though she had already gone through the showing and it was already onto the interaction with the potential adopters dog. I was honestly amazed to see them interact. A little of Margie's bitchiness and jealousy came out but we were able to calm her back down quickly. Better to prepare the potential adopter of everything than adopting out a dog that could potentially get returned very quickly.

After we let them get used to each other we put them in our quite room with the family and two adoption counselors. By the end of it Margie was actually giving the other dog kisses. It was so great to see and the potential adopter felt the same way. It was also great to hear how her new family plans on working with her and her disability. After a solid hour the adoption was a go. I almost couldn't believe it but our Margie has finally found a home. Did I mention also that her new adopter is deaf, you want to talk about a perfect fit. We are such a lucky shelter that we have the ability to wait for the perfect adopters rather than just putting as many dogs out there as possible.

Later our behaviorist arrived with the new batch and was a little disappointed to see Margie still here. She had known about the showing when she called to tell us she was going to be late. Then of course I told her that Margie will be going home on Wednesday because her new family wants to prepare the house for her. It was nice to see some tears of joy, it really is amazing the group of people here and how much they truly care for these animals.

I'm truly uplifted after today and glad I get to share it with everyone. All the new pictures are some of our second chance arrivals that came in today, I have no doubt they won't be here long once they are available. As always, thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments about animal shelters in general I would love to help.

Monday, December 14, 2009

There is the emotional labor factor

I seem to always here people say I wish I could have your job and I understand why, but there are those difficulties that tend to get over looked because the job, at times, is so rewarding. People typically just see working with loving dogs and finding them new homes and forget about the ones that aren't adoptable. In addition to this there are some other things in this job that can certainly bring you down.

One thing that I dealt with last week that I really didn't feel like writing about at the time was taking in a D.B., if you don't know what that stands for it's dead body. Being a shelter we dispose of the D.B., this I'm actually used to, but typically they die of old age and are covered up. This time though it was a young dog that was in an open box that had been hit by a car. Sorry for writing this, but it helps me deal with the sadness to put it out there. The even sadder part was trying to console the owners. In any case, it is quite a depressing thing to experience no matter what side you are on, I'm just glad that I can talk to people at work about it so get it off of my chest.

Along with this tragedy there were a few other not so great times this past week. Two of which were dog returns. One was completely understandable and it truly was the best thing for the dog, but the other I still have a few questions about because I was the one who did the showing several months back. The dog apparently has too much energy for the family, which, surprise surprise, is exactly what I told them when she was being adopted. Now I understand that they gave it every effort they could but it still makes me upset knowing that this animal is coming back to us. At the very least we will have a better idea of the perfect home for both of these dogs and their next adoption will be their forever home, not just a temporary residence.

Sorry for being so negative today, but there is a highlight to everything. I finished my day today with a showing of our little wiener dog Pee-Wee. The showing was with a loving couple that had lost their pet on Thanksgiving and decided there home was empty without him. Rather than go back to a breeder though they decided to look at all of the shelters. Amazingly enough they made it to us after ten stops and found their new little man. It was a perfect fit and if the family had tails, I know they would have been wagging.

It can be tough at times at this job, but that's just about everything you do in life. I want to thank everyone for reading and of course your wonderful comments as well. Hopefully I didn't dishearten you to much today, but there are times that I have to get things off of my chest. Thanks again and I look forward to your comments. I thought also that all of the happy pictures might brighten up your day, or at least put a smile on your face.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Busy day, sort of

I love those days that when you arrive at work you hit the ground running. Today started out just like that. I began by tackling the South side dogs and making sure all of their kennels were clean with lots of warm blankets when all of the dogs returned. Once I got all of the food down I started to bring up all of the dogs. There were a few that a volunteer brought up because she was actually giving them bathes. You might think it strange to do this in cold weather but it was the mange puppies that needed their weekly shampooing.

Next it was time to tale care of the dishes, surprisingly though someone had already started to soak them. This meant that my job was that much easier. Once that was taken care of it was time for the crates to be cleaned. This is a daunting task if you do it alone but thankfully there were two of us. They really weren't to bad except for a few litter boxes that were literally caked with cat poop, not my favorite smell in the world.

At this point in the day I had almost forgotten about poop buckets. We usually do them on Monday but since the rain halted that they needed to be attended to today. I was actually pretty surprised that they weren't worse. Not to much water had leaked in so it ended up being like it always is, full of a lot of poop. There are still a few rules that you should always follow when doing this, never breathe in when you are opening up a can, always quadruple tie the bag, keep an eye out for spiders, and of course don't snag the bag on anything. Simple rules, but if they aren't followed, disaster is around the corner.

Before I knew it the day was flying by. I finally had my first showing in the late afternoon with a little rat terrier mix. He is a super sweet little guy who definitely has some fear issues. Amazingly enough though he seems to be coming out of his shell and the showing went great. There are still a few concerns before he can go home, like meeting his potential big brother who can be a bit dominant. The woman has hope though and she should be back in the morning to do the dog introduction. Hopefully it works out because we want to send this dog home to a household with another pet to show the little guy the ropes.

I did have one more showing, or denial later in the day. It was for one of our little chihuahuas that came in last week. Everything on the profile looked good except for the fact that the little man would be left outside during the day. The reasoning for this was because of the house's alarm system. Rather than chastise the potential adopter I went into ways of dealing with an alarm system and a pet at the same time. Not sure if he is going to take my advice but the fact that I told him all of our dogs are indoor dogs gave me my easy out rather than telling him he is a bad pet owner. I really do believe his dog has a good life, but sending a tiny chihuahua to live outside just doesn't make sense to me.

That about wraps it up for the day. On a sad note though we did get a return, a sweet huskie named Sasha. This is one of those rare instances that I don't blame the family because they did everything they could, unfortunately it just wasn't the perfect fit. I'm just glad she didn't bite anyone or get physically hurt.

Sorry for the lack of pictures today, I didn't realize how fast the day went before it was time to go home. As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wow, this kind of sucks!



I have been so spoiled by the weather with the worst being an occasional hot day, well, I was in store for something different today. I got to work a little early and realized I should have brought about three different changes of shoes and socks. The amount of pooled water walking into the shelter was quite a site to see.

Because of all of the rain it was decided that the dogs would only go out to specific covered yards that have fake turf rather than going out to the normal ones that were completely flooded. This made things a little easier on us as well since we did all of the dogs in two shifts. Luckily this wasn't the first time this has happened at the shelter and there is a system for everything here. We all paired up to get the dogs done quicker so we could move into the cattery where it was a little warmer and dryer.

By this time though my efforts to avoid the puddles have failed, my socks are soaked to the sole and the water has been steadily climbing up my pant leg. At least there was a box of rain jackets that helped out a little though. Now aside from my own discomfort, I had to remember that the poor dogs were out in this as well. The shelter is designed for pretty much all types of water though with heaters over head and built into the floor. The roof is also made to come forward from the kennels with a nice slope that no water splashes in. All I have to say is luckily there was no lightning and thunder because that really would have freaked out the poor guys.

Because of the rain today showings were at a minimum. There were a few though and even an adoption of our little three pound Tina. I was glad to see that people stuck out the weather to come and save a life.

Since there were fewer showings we decided to tackle some organizing issues today. I started in the pet kitchen where I made sure the smell didn't make you gag when you walk in. While I was doing this other staff tackled the cattery and doing a little spring cleaning in December. Once all of this was done it was time to sweater up all of the short haired dogs. So many people think that it is for vanity, but in reality it is to help keep the little guys warm. Of course we had to take care of the poor mange puppies first. Here are some pictures of the little guys.

That was about it for the day. I did think about changing into scrubs and putting all of my clothes in the dryer but then what would I have to look forward to when I got home. I do know I haven't played in the rain like this since my Marine days and I was sure looking forward to getting home and taking a shower. Thanks for reading everyone and following on Google and Facebook. Take care and I will be back tomorrow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Counting on some adoptions

Back from a few days off I learned that there were a few adoptions but less than expected, with that news all I could focus on was adoptions. After the morning ritual of cleaning the day actually started off pretty slow.

The first thing that I found myself doing was helping out another staff member deep clean our kitchen. You would be amazed what you could find when you actually move stuff out of the way to clean behind them. I'm not going into details about the mess but it was pretty nasty, and coming from a kennel worker you can imagine it was pretty bad.

Once this was done it was on to the odds and ends of the shelter. I started by taking care a load of laundry, something I like to do now that it is cold outside. It's nice when you get all of those warm blankets out to fold them, a lot better doing it now than in the dead of summer. After that I decided to fix a plank in one of the wooden gates that for some reason I always snag our wagon on. Unfortunately that took all of three minutes so once again I had to find something else to do.

Luckily there was a call over the radio for a showing with one of the recently available second chance dogs Lilo. I was a little disheartened though when I went over the adopter's profile and learned that of the two dogs that were in the household one was not altered. This means an immediate denial since it kind of goes against our mission. I was surprised to learn though when I went into the showing that the two dogs actually live at the woman;s daughters house and the reason that only one of them is altered is because she found them on the streets and got the female spayed first because she was pregnant. I have to say this was pretty unusual but this along with the fact that the woman had adopted her previous dog from us made it one of those exceptions. The showing ended up going great, I'm not sure however that the family actually listened to everything that I had to say since this dog has some potential medical issues. Hopefully everything checks out when we spay her and she will be able to go home sooner than later, in any case, it was a nice adoption and my first in quite a while.

The rest of the day was pretty busy as well, the rest of the staff all had showings and of course more adoptions. A total of five in total today, not to bad. In addition to this we even had a familiar face come and visit, it was Jack and Sweetie's adopter who came in with some donations. It was great to hear how well the duo was doing and to see the smile on the adopter's face when he spoke of them.

The day ended with a dog introduction with two gentleman that had adopted a dog from us about seven years ago. I let another staff member take our dog out for the intro since she had more experience with her. From what I hear it went very well so cross your fingers for T.J. and hope that she finds her forever home soon. Oh yeah, the two pictures are some of our recent second chance dogs, I love the one of Larry peeking his head over to the next kennel.

Thanks for reading as always and I look forward to your comments. And remember, as Bob Barker used to say, "help control the pet population, have your pet spayed or neutered".

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Some quality time


Amazingly enough, today I got to spend some truly quality time with a few animals. Aside from the usual cleaning there were very few showings, in fact, none that I did myself, so it left time to hang with some of our residents.

After I did a load of laundry I decided to stock up the cattery with some towels and cat beds. Of course while I was in there I decided to hang out with one of my favorite cats Molly. The cattery is a funny thing, it kind of works on seniority in there and if you have been here for a while the cats tend to get more space to roam free. Such is the case with Molly who has her own room with a giant window to gaze out at the world. I'm not exactly sure how long she has been here but I do know that she is the friendliest cat I have ever met, sometimes a little too friendly. When I went into her room she immediately started talking and when I sat down she jumped right up in my lap and started purring. Then came the cleaning of my jacket. I have to say a cat's tongue on a wind breaker is pretty similar to fingernails on a chalk board. She ended up just laying in my lap for a good fifteen minutes and purring until I figured there had to be something I could do at the shelter. Overall it was incredibly relaxing to hang out with my favorite feline friend Molly, here is a pic of her laying on my lap, a little blurry but it's tough to get a cat to stay still when they are trying to clean you.

The rest of the day was pretty routine. We, as always, needed to make sure that all of the special feedings animals got taken care of as well as all the rest. Wednesdays you always have to make a little extra to put aside for the surgery dogs that haven't eaten in the past twelve hours but nothing else special about dishing out the food today. It is pretty funny to see customers faces perk up when they think a dog is barking at them just to learn that it's actually because the food bucket is making its way around.

Closing out the day it was time to bring all of the dogs out for their break. For some reason though we had a lot of "LOOSE DOG" calls. It seems when it rains it pours. I think I counted a total of about five dogs that got out today. On top of this, at one point I was carrying a small chihuahua from the new second chance dogs while holding another two on leashes, as I was trying to get out of the yard where they were kept another staff member was taking care of the other three. Unfortunately my chuck taylor's snagged on the bottom of the fence, tore a huge hole, and of course I went flying backwards straight on my butt. Luckily no dogs were harmed, just my ego. Lots of excitement for a simple task of bringing dogs up from their break yards.

Of course it wouldn't be a Wednesday without some cute surgery pictures. These are a few of the guys that got altered today and were still not quite sure what the heck was going on. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments, oh yeah, I had to add another picture of my favorite little mange puppies and their mom in the world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Not the way I like to start the morning


I usually don't start out with a picture but today it seemed fitting. When I first came in today I figured I might as well get right to it and as soon as I saw the first kennel I was about to clean I nearly gagged. Apparently the 65 pound dog that was staying there got a little jumpy last night but not before pooping a few times. What this means is that there was some nice artwork painted all over the kennel, as you can see from the picture. Just be thankful that computers have yet to perfect the smell o vision because it was pretty rank.

Once all of the morning cleaning was done it was time for, you guessed it, more cleaning. There are those Tuesdays when you are incredibly busy with showings but unfortunately today was not one of those days. Even though I would have loved to have seen some adoptions it was nice to have the time to catch up on the necessities and even get to spend some quality time with the animals.

The next thing on the to do list for cleaning on the day was to disinfect all of the crates that our behaviorist had used the day before to bring back the second chance dogs. This can be a pretty daunting task but luckily we had three people attack it and knocked it out rather quickly. There were those nasty parts those where you would find some swollen ticks and of course a little vomit from the four hour long adventure to make it to the shelter.

During the week there is always the weekly cleaning assignments. Today was no different but at least a little easier, and more pleasant, than Monday poop buckets. The assignment today was cleaning and organizing the cattery. This includes vacuuming out the sliding door tracks because litter accumulates very fast, washing the windows, and organizing the cabinets. This sounds like it can be done very quickly but with three separate rooms it took up quite a bit of time, luckily though we had a few staff members tackle it together and get it done in a timely fashion.

Personally I didn't have any showings today, I did however help out a Spanish speaking gentleman with some cats. I am always amazed that I am the one that speaks the most Espanol her at the shelter because I really can't speak it that well. Luckily though as long as you try people are willing to work with you, and if I speak a little Spanish and they speak a little English we can usually get our messages across.

With everything pretty much done I had some time to hang with the animals. Of course I am going to hang with the new guys to see how they are but there is only so much bad smell that you can take. I know that sounds horrible but being gone for so long I think I got my sense of smell back.

One dog I payed particular attention to was a little terrier mix that literally looks like Benji. The only bad part is we had to separate her to ISO because of the amount of nasal discharge that she has. This could mean several things but until we can separate her and monitor her eating habits it might be tough to see what direction of treatment and testing is necessary. I do know that she is incredibly sweet and loves to be loved so hopefully we can start some sort of treatment on her soon and get her adopted come Saturday. Here are a few pictures of the cutie just so you have an idea of why I became so attached.

Well, hopefully tomorrow I can write about some great adoption stories and not about cleaning, but it is what it is. As always I appreciate your comments and keep them coming. Thanks for reading and of course thanks for helping out the animals.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A week away but it felt like a month

Well, I am finally back from my vacation and back at it again at the shelter. It's tough coming back to work after being off for so long, especially trying to play catch up on all of the new adoptions and animals. I think the toughest thing though was getting used to the smells again.

The first thing I did when I got in was read the board to learn that there were a lot of cat adoptions while I was gone, I think the total was about five. I also found out that a few dogs got to go home as well. It's nice to see so many adoptions on a holiday week, I just hope that all of those adopters kept their animals close during the holiday and didn't leave them unattended while they adjust to their new homes.

My first order of business at the shelter, besides cleaning, was to find out what new animals we have. I learned quickly that we were pretty low but our behaviorist was heading out to round up a new batch. I did see a mom and her three pups in one of the kennels. This was not your typical family though, apparently all of the puppies have a form of mange that isn't contagious but certainly needs some attention. Aside from being pretty pink, having little hair, and a few scabs these little guys seem very happy and they are certainly growing on my. Here is a picture of the group below.

I felt today that I never got into a routine. After being off for so long it seemed like everything was new. Luckily it was a Monday and we were pretty slow otherwise I'm sure I would have been more flustered. I was a little nervous going into my only showing of the day. For one thing I didn't know to much about the dog I was going to be showing and the other I hadn't even thought about doing a showing for an entire week. Luckily the potential adopter would be a perfect home for any of our animals. She ended up wanting to see out bull dog mix Chica who came to us from another shelter. The showing went great but the tough part is yet to come, an introduction with her pit mix.

Later in the day the woman returned with her dog. We did the initial interaction and everything seemed fine. Once down in the yard both dogs were pretty much ignoring each other. After a while though they did show some interest and Chica even play bowed before trying to dominate the woman's dog. When all the hair on both dogs backs were standing up it was time to calm them down. What I got from the showing is that Chica just has no idea how to play, probably because of under-socializing but there could be something else there. I don't think the interaction was a complete loss, I suggested that the woman come back again and try it on another day when both dogs can be a little more at ease.

Closing out the day our behaviorists arrived with the new dogs, fourteen of them to be exact, a new record. As usual all of them were incredibly cute and seemed like they had good temperaments. I'm looking forward to hanging out with them tomorrow and getting to know them better.

As always thanks for reading everyone, I look forward to your comments and of course thanks to all of you out there that help out the animals. I had to add this one last picture I took last week of the hair dog our med staff made after brushing one of the new guys, check out the hand next to it for scale.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A change of pace


There have been those days where I have helped out in surgery but today was a little different back in the med room. Today I helped with intakes of the new second chance dogs along with a few rabbits that came in as well.

My day started with helping out with the morning meds. This is usually pretty quick but when you have a group of ten new arrivals that test positive for ghiardia you have to administer panacur, a de wormer, to all of them. This sounds easy but it's in powder form so first you have to mix it into wet food than try to get every one of these new dogs to eat all of it. Eventually we were able to finish but not before we got pooed by the little dogs paws. Luckily this is only once a day so hopefully by the time I go home I won't smell as bad.

Next it was a matter of getting ready for the intakes. This is a pretty simple process of cleaning up the med room, laying down a nice comfortable blanket, and getting some cream cheese and dog treats ready for the new arrivals. Once all of the that was done it was time to get the syringes ready for blood draw which included running an anti coagulant through them to make sure the blood flowed freely for the test we were going to perform. Then of course we actually had to get all of the tests ready. They are a simple snap test to check for a few things including heart worms and erlichia, a tick born disease pretty common in these animals. In addition to this we had to get all of the microchips and scanners ready as well.

Now it was time to start bringing in the dogs. I have to say, this group was very cooperative. After going through a "tutorial" on blood draw it was my turn. After a few failed attempts I was able to draw enough and got the hang of it by the end. In fact by the last one I didn't even blow the vein. I still feel bad for the majority of the little guys that now have both of their legs shaved because of blood draw.

Once the blood was drawn it was mixed with a solution then put on the snap tests. You have to wait about a minute, without taking your eyes off of it, until the blood runs down to a certain point then you click the test. Unfortunately one of the tests came back positive which means we have to to a jugular draw and send the blood work out to the lab. Hopefully the animal was just exposed to it because you never want to see a sweet dog like this go through anything difficult.

Of course on top of all of this we also had to microchip all of these animals. It's a pretty simple procedure but when you actually see the size of the syringe compared to some of these dogs you are amazed that you can actually do it. Luckily, like I said before, this group was amazing and we only had one screamer. I really can't explain how loud it was except for the fact that everyone was a little dazed afterwards.

Closing out it was time to do the rabbit intakes. I pretty much remember weighing the little guys and that's about it. When you are confined in an eight by eight room with ten or so rabbits with the door closed your mind tends to get a bit hazy. Weather you are allergic or not, the amount of hair and dander in this room was crazy. Luckily fresh air was waiting for us, along with a lint brush, and the intake was over. If I hear of what actually went on in there I'll let you know.

Thanks for reading everyone and the picture up top is a sweet little puppy named Digit that we brought in from another shelter. The picture isn't great but the underbite on this guy is hilarious.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wow, is that for real!

I'm going to keep this blog short and sweet and skip all of the crap about cleaning. I know that it is a good portion of what we do here but I know it gets pretty repetitive when you read it every day and for me when I actually do it every day then come home and write about it.

Once the doors opened I was once again expecting a crowd since we still had our little ten week old poodle puppy up for adoption. The reason she didn't go yesterday is because our policy states that everyone in the household has to meet the animal. This can be difficult sometime when an animal becomes available during the week and there are several people who either work or go to school that are unable to come in. We did have a lot of really good families come in to meet but in the end it's the one that fits best that will ultimately get this new addition to their family. I do have to say I felt really bad for a young girl that came in with their mom and spent a good amount of time with the dog just for us to tell them that they cannot adopt until their father meets as well. I know it sounds a little cruel but there are reasons for our policy and we just want to make sure that this is going to be the perfect fit that will last a lifetime.

I was actually surprised how slow it was today which meant that I got to hang out with some animals until I was called to help out with a showing. I ended up having to use my Spanish to get rental agreement. The tough part is, I don't speak that much Spanish but I can get by. Eventually I got that the family could have the second dog and the adoption was a go. I just hope my interpretation was right and this dog doesn't get returned.

Closing out the day we had gotten a new bunnie relinquished to us. This are few and far between but this rabbit was especially sweet when I petted him in his cage. The big surprise came when I pulled him out and learned that we needed to trim his nails. I have never seen anything like this and I have to say I was shocked to see an animal go neglected in this way. I don't want to go on a rant but at least the animal is in our care now and hopefully a little more comfortable. Here is a picture so you can see for your self.

I'll be writing in a few more times this week because I am doubling up on shifts to take a nice holiday with my family. Thanks again for all who read and of course a special thanks to all who help out in shelters.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A trend I like to see

I like starting my day out knowing that you have a full staff and that there are no worries about getting all of the morning cleaning done. Of course since we got in a large group of new dogs I was lazy and signed up for cats and rabbits again. I know, I know, I actually feel a little guilty about not stepping up but every once in a while I like to steer away from lots of poop.

Again the cats were a breeze to clean up in the morning and there was plenty of time to make it over to the rabbitat where another staff member had already started cleaning. Like I said before, it's nice having a full staff and know that you aren't going to be in a rush to get everything finished in time for opening. After the rabbits were done we quickly knocked out the laundry, dishes, and garbage with time to spare.

After our morning meeting it was time to hit the ground running. Today it was decided that we were all going to pay particular attention to the special needs dogs and work on making them more adoptable. Another staff member and myself decided to hang out with our crazy puppy Waylin who we have been working hard on making more adoptable and of course more socialized. We ended up grabbing a new arrival named Mollie who we heard got along great with him and went down to one of the large play yards. It ended up being a half hour long play session where both dogs had a blast and never really got out of control. It was good to see that there are dogs that this little puppy can get along with and it gives me hope of finding him not only a new home but maybe a sibling as well. Here's a picture of the ruckus below.

After logging our experience with the two dogs in a folder to make sure we are monitoring progress I learned of another showing with a truly long term animal in the shelter. The showing was with Kissy our overweight cat who has graced us with her presence for the last year. There are a lot of factors that play in to an animal staying here for so long including age, breed, and of course looks. All of these combined made it difficult for people to look past and see the animal that the entire staff fell in love with. In any case, that perfect household came along and Kissy was exactly what they were looking for. I also think people in general feel good about adopting an animal that has been in a shelter for so long, it's really a win win situation. Anyways, I digress, Kissy got adopted! I hope that the trend continues and all of our older guys get to find their forever homes soon as well.

Closing out the day we had a group of Kids Community Service volunteers come into the shelter to help out. This is the program that helps educate people on what a shelter really does and how it benefits the community and of course the animals. Once again, working on as many things as possible to make sure that we are doing our part to help out the animals in the long run. Thanks for reading everyone and as Bob Barker always said, "remember to have your pets spayed or neutered".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Great way to end the day

I got to work early today and when that happens I take my pick at what I want to clean. Since it was a little chilly out I took the low road and went for the cats and rabbits. I was surprised to see how few cats there actually were in the cattery due to all of the adoptions that have taken place in the past week or so.

It was quite easy work to get all of the cats fed and their litter boxes changed. Once I was finished I headed over to the rabbitat to get started there. I had almost forgotten that one of the bunnies had been adopted yesterday as well. I have been at the shelter for a little while now and this is the first time that I am seeing a steady flow of adoptions, not sure why but I will take it with a big smile on my face.

Once all of the animals were fed and taken care of this morning it was time for the garbage, laundry, and of course dishes. I was surprised to see very little of everything, once again because we have had so many adoptions recently there are fewer things to pick up after them.

The doors opened and of course we were pretty slow. Rather than make the day pass by slow everyone hit the ground running, especially because we had to prepare for the arrival of eleven new second chance dogs. I started by getting the kitchen organized while other staff members disinfected the runs the new dogs would go to along with changing out all of their poop buckets. In addition to all of this we had to set up the six kennels where all of the new guys were to be held.

While all of this was going on there were a few showings and my was with a Kelly, our resident Grandma. It was a good showing with a woman who recently adopted from us and was looking to add to her flock. Kelly's age and medical concerns didn't bother the woman too much but she wanted to make sure that both dogs got along. Since she lived so close she headed home to get her "daughter" and was back in a flash. The showing went alright, they ignored each other more than anything. Unfortunately the woman wasn't all that thrilled about how things went and said she would think about it.

Later in the day the front desk was a little short handed so periodically kennel staff would go up there to help out. The first call I took was with a nice English woman once again asking about Kelly. I answered her questions and explained everything that I could, all I can say is I was amazed at how much attention our little old lady was getting.

Of course this was the only call that put a smile on my face while I was up at the front desk. I covered a lunch up there and was pretty surprised at some of the questions that were thrown my way via phone calls. The first was a woman who asked what she should do because her dog had eaten a lot of gummy worms and lactose pills. Besides not being qualified to answer this the phone seemed to be ringing off the hook with other questions that needed to be directed elsewhere. Once I got all of the lined answered I told the woman she should call her vet and that we weren't qualified to give her advice, she then said she thought she was calling the vet. That was enough excitement for me and thank goodness our front desk associate was back to take it over, I think I'll stick to the dogs.

Later in the afternoon all of the dogs arrived and of course everyone had to go and look. In addition to these eleven we also got number twelve from another shelter. Now this girl looks like something straight out of a comic book. Check out the picture for yourself. All of the new dogs seem very friendly and it's good to have a full house again. I know it's easier to clean up after less dogs but I really feel bad knowing that we have the space and ability to take care of more dogs.

Closing out my day the English woman I had spoken to earlier in the day had come in with her husband to take a look at Kelly. I went over their application and the thought came to my mind that I wish all of them looked like this. They were looking for a mellow dog that would get along with visitors and not be nippy. They didn't have any children and treated their animals as such. Once in the showing they absolutely fell in love. I left them alone for a bit and came back to Kelly laying on the woman's lap. It was a go! I couldn't have ended the day in a better way. I am so happy that our little Grandma found the perfect home and a family that will enjoy having a wonderful senior pet.

Thanks for reading everyone and if you aren't already following I would appreciate the support. The more education we can spread about these wonderful shelter animals the better. I look forward to your comments.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Signs of life

I love going into work after having a few days off and seeing which animals have gotten adopted. In the past I would stay up to date by checking the web but lately I've been waiting to see the surprises when I go in. Today was a good one to start my morning, Laverne and Shirley, a bonded pair of young cats had gotten adopted. On top of that a spunky little dog named Luigi got to go home as well. I've found that no matter how much I'm not looking forward to my week, the minute I learn of the adoptions my optimism comes back.

And on to the day, all be it a short one. I started by signing up for the East and West dogs, I had a good feeling that there weren't going to be to many messes on this side of the shelter. Of course when I assume I usually get proven wrong. After scooping all of the poop, scrubbing down the kennels, disinfecting a few, and drying out the rest I got all of their food down. I made sure I got the special diets done for our "slightly overweight" dogs and started to bring them back up from their breaks. Once they were all up I headed back to our kitchen to sign up for some daily chores.

I ended up taking the garbage out since everyone else had already gotten on top of everything else. Once that was done the day was beginning. There were a few showings early on but mine didn't come for a while. In the mean time I decided to take a look at our disinfecting spray nozzles that I learned were pumping out about 12 times as much as they should be. Not sure if breathing in the stuff is healthy but at least we shouldn't have to order it as much now.

On to my one showing of the day! The initial application had a new puppy listed but after reading over everything we thought it might not be the best fit. Reason being is they have two small children and the reason they gave up their last dog was because it kept biting. Pretty sure a young puppy who is teething will probably do the same thing. With that being said they wanted to take a look at Shaq, our old guy who got a reprieve a month ago. I was ready to send him home when I finished looking at the profile and noticed that they might get a cat in the next year, this was unfortunate because when you open Shaq's profile you see in big all caps letters "WILL KILL CATS!". I'm glad the people were understanding and still were interested in finding that "right" dog.

I decided next to show them the two ends of the spectrum when it comes to older dogs. Of course I am showing them two that get along with children. The two I showed them were T.J. and Kelly. Both ranged in ages from six to eleven with the energy level easily seen. When I showed them the energy level of T.J. they said it probably wouldn't be a good fit, they were looking for something a little mellower. I then decided to show them grandma Kelly, our eleven year old Schnauzer. They seemed like they really liked her and would have to discuss some things but I was glad that they were open to looking at a wide variety of dogs rather than just a puppy. Hopefully they find the perfect fit and are able to take home one of these great animals.

That's it for today, I called it early for some personal reasons. At least now I can go into work tomorrow and see what surprise adoptions await. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another day, crossing my fingers and hoping for another adoption.

Today I started with the dogs and I have to say, because of all of the recent adoptions there really aren't that many of them to clean. Mind you that doesn't mean the ones that are there didn't make a mess!

I was able to get all of the dogs taken care of rather quickly and back up to their kennels to eat just after ten. Of course that doesn't mean the cleaning is done. Next you have to make sure that all of the yards are scooped and also hosed out, don't want those flies hanging around. Once everything was done with the dogs I headed over to the rabbitat where I was met by another staff member. It's amazing when there are two of you how fast you can get things done.

Once all of the animals were looked after it was on to the daily do's of taking out the garbage, starting the laundry, and of course washing some dog dishes. Thank goodness for the staff we have because even before the doors opened we had finished everything.

With all of the kittens we currently have at the shelter it was no surprise that the showings kept on coming for them. Throughout the day it seemed there was always a kitten heading to their new home. Even though I wish it were the cats as well, we have so many kittens on foster waiting to get into the shelter so it is good that we are gaining a little more kennel space for the little guys.

My first "quasi" showing of the day was with one of the new second chance dogs that have been here a little over a week. I call it a quasi showing because I was actually leaving it up to one of the new guys and chiming in when necessary. The showing ended up going great and the new adoption counselor did his part very well. In the end the young gentleman ended up being the perfect home for our little Megabyte and the adoption was a go. I wish the little guy was able to go home now but because he still needs to be neutered it might not be until next week.

I had only one more showing the rest of the day and it was a father and his two young children who initially wanted to look at Waylin the puppy. The big problem that I see is that there are constantly grandchildren that visit the household and with the puppies current behavioral issues this might be a problem. In the end they completely understood and decided to take a look at Bobbie, a sweet 10 month old lab mix. They ended up falling in love and the match was perfect to say the least. The only problem is the mother still needs to come and meet. Luckily they were able to get a hold of her and they agreed that she will be in first thing tomorrow morning. I explained that we don't put holds on animals but because it was so late in the afternoon it should work out fine. Hopefully she shows up in the morning and this sweet little girl can find her new forever home.

Another day down and a few more adoptions to account for. Not sure it the shelter can be an economic gauge but things are definitely seeming on the up and up with all of the adoptions this past week. I truly hope that it continues because unfortunately there isn't a shortage of dogs that we can find homes for. Thanks for reading as always and I look forward to you comments everyone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Staying busy all day long


Typical Monday's consist of playing catch up from the weekend and of course a whole lot of cleaning. Well, that is exactly how today started, especially since we were one staff member short. I began with cleaning cats today since I really don't know to many of our feline friends.

After a quick morning of scooping boxes and getting climbed all over I headed over to our isolation unit to take care of the sick guys, or rather one guy now since everyone else is back in the regular cattery. I did have one extra attendee today, she is a sweet cat that had been adopted about six months ago and was back because she ended up biting someone and had to go on quarantine. She seemed fine to me except for one thing, she was completely covered in poop! Now usually I am my selfish self and do nothing but complain about the smell but I really did feel bad for this cat, she was so scared that she really couldn't help herself. Because she is healthy we decided to set up a larger kennel in dog iso so she has some room to stretch her legs on her ten day sentence. Hopefully it flies by and she is able to go home in a flash.

Once all of the cats were finished I headed over to the rabbitat where I was met by a senior volunteer whom I always see at the shelter. She is a big bunnie fan but typically spends her time with the cats. Of course though I always feel that the rabbits never get out enough and explained to her that in the mornings, especially when we are short staffed, we just don't have the time to get them out to their runs. She was more than willing to help out though which put a smile on my face, these animals can never have enough love given to them.

Early on I was greeted by the same woman who had come in yesterday to visit with the schnauzer I like to call Grandma Kelly. This time though she brought her husband. They both absolutely love her but still have some concerns because their dog is a bit of a handful. After spending some time asking the right questions and seeing Kelly run around they came to the conclusion that once the holidays are over and they will not be traveling they will bring in their dog to meet. They don't want to do it now because in either case they don't want to bring her home now because they feel that they don't have the time at home to make her adjustment as easy as possible. I have to say, I really enjoy these types of showings, where you know whatever dog these families have, they are going to be well taken care of.

The rest of my day was spent trying to find a good mentor for a puppy named Walyn, who is a bit of a handful to say the least. He is absolutely the cutest thing with great kennel presence but when introducing him to other animals he ends up being a little to pushy and not taking direction well. Luckily we finally found a dog that he listened to, a seven month old male lab. They seemed to be doing great in the yard and it was good to know that this puppy could go home to a household with another dog, all be it the "right" dog.

Of course as soon as we find the puppy a play mate, the play mate and his sister get adopted out together. One of those bitter sweet moments, well, more sweet than bitter. While all of this was going on I was in another showing with a great family. They were looking at one of our second chance dogs named Turtle, a sweet old beagle. Luckily the family already had a beagle so I didn't need to explain to much of the breeds needs. We ended up doing an interaction and the pair got along great. Turtle can't go home yet because he still needs to be neutered, but come Thursday he should be in his new home.

Once again we have yet to catch up from the weekend, luckily thought most everything did get done today with the help of a solid staff and of course some great volunteers helping out. In the end all I can say is that we have actually run out of adoption signs, a first for me. Today I will be going home with a smile on my face.

Oh yeah, the picture up top is our blind little Annie with her new seeing eye collar. It looks funny and ridiculous but it actually helps her not bump her head into things. Thanks for reading everyone and if you're not already following on Facebook or Google I would really appreciate it, the more people are informed about the great animals at shelters the more we can save.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Coming back to a different place today


I truly enjoy coming back to work and finding out that absolutely no cleaning got done the day before for one simply reason, it means there were a lot of showings. Today was one of those days and I had no complaints. I found out that yesterday was a barrage of showings from the moment they opened the doors to the moment they shut them with an enormous amount of adoptions to show for it.

Just about every dog that was a "long termer" here got adopted yesterday, that's including Copernicus, Bogey, and even Hannah. I don't have all of the details on the adoptions just yet but I have no doubt that they all went to wonderful homes. On top of those three dogs there were probably a good six more from the new bunch that just came in as well as a few cats. For the staff yesterday I commend you for working so hard and like I said before, it was one of those days today where I like the place to be a mess.

Luckily we had a full staff and were able to catch up with everything in the shelter pretty quickly. Even though we caught up we still had a fair amount of showings today as well so tomorrow might need a little extra attention to the laundry.

My first showing was a continuation of one from yesterday. It was with a relinquished Jack Russel named Lexie. Originally when she came in we set pretty high ages for family members just because of her issues with restraint and her mouthiness, but because she has gotten better we were opening up a few more age groups. I start with this because the biggest issue the adoption counselor saw yesterday is the same thing that I saw today, that the family has a nine year old son and if not properly informed Lexie could become a bit of a handful. Luckily the family was very receptive and understanding of Lexie and after a good while in the showing everyone knew it was the right fit. Not sure what it is about this weekend but we will soon be an empty shelter once again waiting for some new arrivals, you can't see my face right now but there is a huge smile on it.

The rest of the day was pretty steady with a few more dog showings and a lot of kitten showings. There were a total of three kittens that got to go home today and there would have been more if we had allowed them to. The biggest issue with kittens is denying potential adopters if they plan on declawing or making the cat an indoor/outdoor one, this immediately disqualifies them.

My last showing of the day was with a very nice woman who came to look at Kelly, our resident grandma Schnauzer. The woman had heard about the dog from a friend who volunteers at the shelter and had to come and meet her. She immediately fell in love but there were a few concerns, mainly with the woman's dog at home who she felt my corrupt our Kelly. I explained to her the adoption process and how we wouldn't send home an animal if everyone didn't get along and she was very receptive to this. Hopefully she will be back soon to do a dog introduction and we can say goodbye to our favorite little Schnauzer.

I was happy to come into work today and learn of all the adoptions, of course it was a little bitter sweet because I never got to say goodbye but that's just me being selfish. I love seeing empty kennels as well because I know there is no shortage of dogs that are waiting to get into our shelter, I just hope some day that places like this humane society aren't needed because every animal will have a home of their own. Thanks for reading everyone and keep your fingers crossed for Kelly!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm beginning to see a trend


Usually I start this blog off with what I cleaned but today it's going to be a little different. I'm going to discuss a something that has happened yet again making it three days in a row. What I am talking about is the abandoned animals that keep showing up at our front gate. For the last three days I have seen everything from two chickens on Sunday, a kitten in a box on Monday, and a sweet little chihuahua mix today.

I'm not sure if it's the economy that is fueling this issue or over crowding at other shelters, either way it is a problem. I understand that people can be put into very difficult situations where they are forced to relinquish their animals, but there are the proper ways of doing it. Our shelter being private we are very strict on the animals that we take in and the process can take a while but it is possible. I think if people didn't wait until the last second to find a home for their pets they might not have to leave them all alone hoping that they will be alright.

Now I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining because there are far worse things that these people can do to their animals. At least they are giving them a chance rather than dropping them off on the side of the road, but I'm not sure that these individuals know what they are putting their pets through. When you drop off an animal at our shelter all we do is put them in a kennel with some food and have county pick them up as a stray. I wish they we could keep them all but because we are private and these animals are considered strays it is our job to get them to county. Now just imagine if you were that animal, first you're left all alone in a dark cold box for who knows how long, then you are dragged into this jail like setting where you are put into a kennel, next a truck comes and picks you up to transfer you to yet a smaller "cell". If you knew all of this, would you put in a little more effort to find your pet a new home?

As far as legality goes, it is against the law to abandon your animal with a fine reaching up to 5,000 dollars. The issue than will be actually catching the person that does it and of course prosecuting. I am no legal expert but it might be tough to convict someone when they are abandoning their animal at a safe shelter rather than the middle of the road.

So that is my vent for the day, now on to a great showing I had with our boy Bogey. He is a sweet lab mix who has been at the shelter for some time because of his lupus. It's nothing to serious but when people hear that they tend to veer away. In any case, he seemed like a perfect fit for this potential adopter and hopefully after he talks to his vet about Bogey's condition he will be back to adopt, so cross your fingers everyone.

At least I ended on a good note after my rant about people leaving their animals at the gate these last three days. I hope everyone that reads this, and I have no doubt, realizes the need to adopt shelter animals, not only to save one, but because they make such great pets. Thanks for reading and spread the word about all of the great animals that need a good home. Oh yeah, the picture up top is the latest surprise that was found at our gate.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another day, another surprise left at the front gate

Today I decided to clean the cattery again to better get aquatinted with our feline friends at the shelter. I always tend to focus on the dogs and really never keep up with new arrivals and adoptions when it comes to cats, well this week I'm changing that.

The nice thing about cleaning cats, in addition to spending time with them, is that your socks don't get wet. Now this is just the added perk since so many of our cats are sociable animals. While I was cleaning Molly in our visitation room, and yes, she gets her own room, she actually jumped on my back while I was scooping her litter box and she started to clean my hair. I have to say I was a little freaked out but she really is such a nice cat. Once I got all of the healthy cats taken care of and fed I headed over to the isolation unit where there are still six cats.

Our medical staff has certainly stayed on top of those sickies and I can now say that they are certainly getting better. I remember when they could barely open their eyes because they were caked with so many eye boogers from their URIs. Now they are up and about and very talkative. It was sad to see a young bonded pair, Laverne and Shirley, separated and just crying out for each other. When I would let one out of their kennel they would immediately go to the other's and just paw at them, it really was sad. Hopefully soon they will be able to go back to the healthy side and to bigger kennels.

Of course once I took care of the cats I headed over to the rabbitat where I made quick work of changing out hay boxes, blankets, and water. Surprisingly enough though for some odd reason my allergies acted up on me and once I was in the small little building that houses our rabbits I couldn't stop sneezing. All I have to say is that I hope it was allergies!

You know it wouldn't be a Monday without taking care of poop buckets. Thank goodness we are running a little short on 150 pound dogs this week! Since we have all little guys it was pretty easy to take care of all of the runs with just two people, but we still had to disinfect the four fake grass yards since we were to be getting some new arrivals later on in the afternoon.

Once we got everything set up for the new arrivals I headed into our break area where I heard the unmistakable cry of a hungry kitten. Sure enough, there was one in a postal box literally covered in fleas. Once again someone had just dropped of this animal in front of our gate hoping that he would be found. Now this is better than the alternative of leaving the animal in a canyon or out in the wild but couldn't you take better care of it in the first place and at least leave it with some water and food. In any case his new name is now Huku, which is apparently Hawaiian for flea or lice, not as cute when you hear the meaning.

With all of the commotion I learned later that there had been a showing with my good buddy Skeeter and Taxi. It turns out the reason I didn't hear about it because it was such a long showing and I had no idea it was going on. Unbelievably it turns out that our staff members were actually introducing them to each other and they ended up getting along great. Because of this the potential adopter is actually going to be adopting both. Not a bad Monday afternoon I have to say. In addition to this great news, another adoption counselor was showing a little poodle named Monty and the family absolutely fell in love and ended up adoption too. Now this adoption is a win/win as well because in all honesty this little guy has a scream that will cut right down to your bones!

Closing the day out the new arrivals came in. After their four hour van ride they were a little shaken up but seemed to be adjusting just fine. Of course there are a few more puppies and several other dogs that for some reason look exactly like ones that we have gotten in the past. In fact one staff member said we should contact the AKC to get these little guys recognized because literally every time we bring dogs from this shelter there is always one that looks like this basset hound, dachshund, chihuahua mix.

Well, hopefully I can give you a better update on the new guys tomorrow and also have some more great adoption stories.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I have to keep telling myself I am not a people hater

Luckily today I got to work a little earlier than usual so I was able to sign up for the cats. Usually I won't say this but it was actually a lot easier and less stinky than taking care of the dogs today. It's a pretty simple philosophy, when we have puppies, make sure you sign up for cats.

I took care of the surrounding rooms in the cattery first and then made my way to the south cattery. I was really surprised to see so many empty kennels. Apparently in the last two days there was a total of about seven cat adoptions which is unheard of. In any case I was not only glad that so many great felines found new homes but that I had less cats to clean up after. I did however have to disinfect about six of the kennels which took some time. Once I finished with that room I headed over to the isolation room. With six cats in here I had my work cut out for me. Apparently one of the rooms broke with URI and that's why we have so many sickies. In any case, there was a whole lot of kitty diarrhea and I was wrong about having to clean up after puppies, it's a lot stinkier cleaning up after six cats with liquid poop.

I went back in to check out if anyone had signed up for the rabbits yet when a volunteer came in to ask for my help. It seemed pretty urgent from the look on her face, when I asked her what she needed I was a little surprised by what came out of her mouth. Apparently a black SUV had pulled up to the front gate and threw out several chickens. I couldn't believe my ears but then again very few things can surprise me at the shelter so I grabbed another staff member, a small cage and headed up to the front. Interestingly enough the chickens were very easy to catch and seemed very socialized. I talked to one of the witness and they said the vehicle came up, opened their door and simply threw the animals out. This is one of those instances that I have to tell myself that I am not a people hater. I mean, how difficult is it to either look online or even open a phonebook to see where you could actually drop off these animals. Rather than taking five minutes out of your day to think about animals you simply throw them out of your car and expect someone else to take care of your problem.

Oh well, we caught the chickens and got them some feed. They seemed pretty content and eating well and we at the shelter were almost tempted to keep them out of our sheer love for all animals. In any case, it wouldn't be feasible for them to stay here but luckily we found them a good home and they are now living with several other chickens who have the full run of about an acre. Good ending to a bad beginning for these little guys, it seems that's kind of a motif around here, starting tough and ending with a smile.

The rest of the day was pretty hectic and seemed to fly by. Another bonded pair of cats that have been at the shelter for some time got adopted and put the total for the last three days at close to ten. Funny how these things come in waves.

I was called to a showing with my girl Chloe, a sweet Jack Russel mix who was actually adopted out of the shelter about a month ago but was returned because of her destructive behavior. Of course the dog was left in an apartment for ten plus hours by herself with nothing to do, but I blame the dog right? Anyways, I am not a people hater. The family that came to look at her today had actually adopted a dog named Wally from us about two months ago and they were looking to add to their family. Immediately they fell in love with Chloe and it came down to the interact with the two dogs. When we all went down to the yard we couldn't believe our eyes, Chloe was playing like we had never seen her play. It was a perfect match and the adoption was a go. This is one that really puts a smile on my face.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I did get to spend some time with Copernicus and Bogey which will always put a smile on my face. I had a few more showings late in the day but the matches just weren't there. Hopefully the trend will continue for adoptions and these week we will empty out the place. Thanks for reading as always and I truly do appreciate the comments.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A nice phone call and a few new dogs

For some reason, today I was motivated to clean cats. Not sure if it was the fact that I didn't want to get my socks wet or I actually wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee at work but in any case I took care of the felines today.

It had been a while since I cleaned the cattery and I have to say it was pretty nice. There was the instant though when I took care of the kittery and as soon as I changed the litter one of the little guys let out a nice stinky one that took over the whole room. Then of course once I cleaned it again they knocked over their food bowl, hey, kids, what can you do.

Once the cattery was cleaned I headed over to the rabbitat where a volunteer already had out several of the bunnies for a little early morning exercise. I can't even explain how much easier it is to clean when the cages are empty. Since the volunteer was there I was able to knock it out before eleven which is unheard of. Of course there is the laundry, dishes, and garbage to take care of but the four of us working this morning had no trouble getting all of the morning duties taken care of.

I had a few showings today but nothing too exciting and no one overly interested in adopting. I think rather everyone that I spoke to really just wanted to hang out and play with some of the animals. I really don't mind this, especially on slow days, but when there is stuff to do I would rather people who are seriously interested in the animals take the time to interact with them. Oh well, at least the little guys got a little extra loving.

So none of the showings I had panned out today but I did get a phone call from a woman that I had shown a dog to on Sunday. He is our little Shitzu that is going to require eye medicine for the rest of his life. She had come in with her husband and other dog to interact but the humping kind of steered her away. I told her to think about it because there is no rush in making this decision. Surprisingly enough she called back today and said that when she woke up this morning she knew that he was the one. Put another one in the books, a great adoptions for a great dog.

Later I was asked to help out in the med room, without hesitation I went. When I entered the room I saw a large dog that had just been euthanized. I froze and became speechless because he looked exactly like a dog that I have grown close to at the shelter. I also hadn't seen him all day so you know my thought process went quickly to the worst outcome. Of course as soon as the medical staff saw my face they explained to me that this was a euthanasia by request or EBR. Apparently the poor old guy was on his last leg and the owner felt that it was time to stop his suffering. I was just there to help carry him out because he was so large. It was one of those bitter sweet moments if you know what I mean, no matter what it was a horribly sad moment but I was still glad it wasn't the dog that I thought it was.

Trying to close on a good note our behaviorist was able to take in five new dogs from a county shelter today. They were all adorable and well behaved as always but one in particular stood out, as she would to anyone. She is a ten month old Shitzu that apparently had some head trauma as a puppy and the shelter was forced to remove both of her eyes. I know it sounds horrible but she is still a spunky little girl that loves her rawhides, playing with dogs, and sleeping in your lap. I have no doubt that this little angel will find a home as soon as she becomes available. Here is a picture, but be warned, it is a little freaky the first time you see it.

Thanks for reading everyone and to all of the volunteers at any shelter, thank you for the time and love that you give.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Not your typical Monday

It's always fun when you go into work thinking that you are going to be short handed when in reality everyone shows up and you are able to get everything on your plate handled. Well that was the morning in a nut shell. Initially I thought there might be just two of us to take care of everything but ended up having the full four, you want to talk about letting out a sigh of relief.

Now there was still a lot of cleaning to do since yesterday we were so short handed that just about none of the closing duties got done like taking out the trash or even cleaning the dishes. What this meant was that even though we had a full team but the time eleven rolled around everything still wasn't done.

After all the animals were taken care of and the morning chores signed off on one of our staff members headed home. I really don't blame them and in fact I was surprised to see them there in the first place having bronchitis and all. In any case, it was nice that they came in to help us out in the morning because if she hadn't come in we would have been playing catch up all day long.

I can't forget the weekly cleaning duty for Monday's, the dreaded poop buckets. Luckily the weather wasn't too hot and there were three of us to knock it out but no matter how much of a positive spin I put on it it's still doing poop buckets. In any case we were able to get it done pretty quickly and there was only one scary point when one of the staff members tossed a bag into the wagon and the thing ended up splitting open, not a pretty sight for the eyes or the nose.

Once I headed back to the office I was surprised at the flow of people that were making their way through the shelter. In fact as soon as I made it back I was called into a showing. It was with one of my favorite little guys Skeeter, a wiry little guy that has a great temperament. The showing went well and he ended up just lounging on his back and getting his belly rubbed the entire time. Unfortunately the woman still needs her roommate to meet and of course a rental agreement saying the dog is allowed. I was a little disappointed that I didn't see her back later in the afternoon but hopefully she will be back soon.

I ended up have one more showing with the same dog and the same reaction as I expected, the potential adopters absolutely fell in love with him, even with his Rocky Mountain fever, which took some explaining. I'm not going to go into details except that it is of course a tick bourn disease that if treated early gives the best opportunity for the dog. His titer was low so hopefully it was just exposure to the disease but he will have to be tested again in the future after his stint of antibiotics. Anyways, back to the showing, the showing went great but we still had to introduce our guy to their golden retriever. I thought everything would be good to go but the interaction wasn't what we were looking for. Their dog was a bit older and a little more laid back while ours is young and wants to constantly play. Anyways, after a few growls and a lot of ignoring it was decided it wouldn't be the best fit.

No adoptions today but at least we know what type of home would be best for our boy Skeeter. There were a few more showings with other adoption counselors but nothing that panned out. It was good to see that we were having the interest though and that gives you a sigh of release to know that it might take a little time but these animals will be adopted.

Just as an update, Wendy made it to her new home in Arizona and is now romping around with her older brother and sister. Just goes to show you that there is a perfect home for every animal. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

Anne, I just want to say thanks for all that you do and the heart that you have.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back with a bang!


After an interesting week of being sick, today I was ready for anything, or so I thought. Let me start by recapping some things that were of some importance that I ended up missing in the last few days. For one, there were two great long term adoptions that took place. One was our girl Sasha, a huskie mix that had a few problems. She ended up going to a wonderful couple and the family couldn't have been happier. The next big adoption was Wendy, our Weimeriner mix. You would think because this dog was so beautiful that she would have been adopted sooner but because of her "hound deafness" or doggy ADD it has been tough, especially because of her size. She has been in a lot of showings but just hadn't found that right family, until last week that is. It turns out one of our postings on petfinder payed off. A man from another state actually came to visit her with his two dogs and absolutely fell in love. After a two day courtship he had made up his mind that Wendy would be the new addition to his family. There was an obstacle to get over thought, Wendy had actually not been spayed yet and the man had to head back home. Lucky for us we have some great staff members and a great relationship with a local vets office. Typically our surgeries are done at the shelter on Wednesday but we were able to get her done on Friday, now it just left getting her to her new state. I couldn't believe what I heard next, one of our adoption counselors was actually going to drive her out to her new home. Talk about going above and beyond! All I know is that two great dogs that have been at the shelter for far to long finally get to go home.

Now on to today, of course my first day back we are short by two staff members leaving us with three adoptions councilors. What that means for us is a very busy day of cleaning and trying to stay caught up on just about everything. I have to say though that the dogs really didn't make to much of a mess and we were able to take care of them rather quickly, especially with the volunteers help. I really don't know how this place would run without their help and love for the animals.

Anyways, after all of the cleaning it was right to work on adoptions. My first showing was with a dog named Blitzen that the group had already seen yesterday but they still needed their rental agreement. Everything looked good but when I went back over their profile that mentioned that they were thinking about getting a cat in the future as well. Because of this I had to cat test the dog just to make sure that there wouldn't be any problems, and as I expected he did fine with the felines. It was a go after that, we verified his rental agreement and another dog had found his forever home. Of course he would be here until next Thursday so we can "alter" him.

Today I was surprised that any of us were even able to take a lunch. We were so busy with showings that if every one of them had been an adoption I don't think we would have any animals left. Unfortunately lots of them weren't adoptions for one reason or another. With all of the good showings there were a few bad ones as well. By saying bad I mean denials. There was everything from wanting to declaw cats to give animals as gifts which are big no nos here at the shelter. Luckily there were more showings waiting to take your mind of the ones that weren't so great.

My next showing was with a new little shi tzu that was brought to us as a stray from a county shelter because we could better deal with his medical issue. Nothing to serious but would require eye medication for the rest of his life. When I was called to the showing with him I was ready for a quick one because this usually deters people pretty quickly. When I explained to the couple his problems with dry eye that completely understood and recognized it was common with the breed and they would still like to meet him. After only a short time with him in the yard they were hooked. The issues now were cat testing him and introducing him to their 13 year old dog. The cat test went alright, I was a little concerned with his aggression and persistence but the family didn't think it was an issue. Another issue that arose was when we introduced the two dogs, now mind you our little guy hasn't been neutered yet, but he persistently tried to hump. After about ten minutes of this I said my suggestion would be to come back in a few days and try it again because nobody wants to put their dog at home in that situation. Hopefully they will think long and hard about it and come back for another meet and greet.

My last showing for the day was actually with a bunnie. Now I have done a little research online so I didn't totally go into the showing blind but I have to say there were some questions asked that I had to go back to the computer. In any case the family seemed like a good fit and the father came up to the shelter to meet as well and it was a go. My first rabbit adoption was definitely a learning one but I am glad to have it under my belt.

Closing out today a family that was supposed to pick up their dog tomorrow ended up coming in today and cutting their vacation short. They said they couldn't wait to get their girl home. It was so great to see the looks on their faces when I brought their new addition out. This is why I am here.

What a busy, cray, hectic, insane, GREAT day. I know that there are the tough days but those days are far and few between when you are finding loving animals new homes. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments.
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