I came in today and realized that two key staff members were sick. What does that mean for me? No training today and a little more initiative on my part. We basically had double the work and only two newbies to keep the place running.
The two of us that were there to do the job decided to double up on the morning kennel cleanings. We seemed to get things done in a relatively short period of time but of course had to focus on those puppy kennels where the dogs love to walk all in their poop. As soon as we got the dogs down to their runs and the kennels clean it was time to move on to the cattery. This was my first time cleaning and feeding the cats. I have to say that I am not the biggest fan of cats but the ones here seem very friendly. The toughest part of this was dealing with the isolation cats (new arrivals). They seemed so scared and timid that my heart just broke.
Yesterday I spoke of a new relinquished dog that I couldn't believe that someone would give them up. Boy was I mistaken. The dog is actually part of the ASP program. Not sure what the acronym stands for but the meaning is simple. The shelter helps homes and people that are involved in domestic abuse and allows those individuals to bring their animals into the shelter while changes are made in the owner's living situations. This is one of the few shelters that does this and is yet another way that we can help the community.
After the cleaning and a short break it was time to check the laundry and make sure that the animals scheduled for surgery today were not fed. Tuesday is surgery day where the medical staff and a volunteer vet come into the shelter and make sure that the animals are spayed and neutered before they can go to their forever homes. I always feel bad for those guys but it really serves the purpose. There are so many animals that have to be destroyed every year because of negligent breeding.
On to the saddest part of my day. I was spending time with the new puppy making sure that he gets socialized when there was a call over the loud speaker for a kennel staff member to come to the front for a DB. I went up with a smile on my face thinking sweet, someone needs my help. It turns out that owners can bring in their animals that have passed. I then found out what DB stands for...Dead Body. The dog was a lab about 15 years old and had recently passed. I was told to make sure that the dog was in a bag and had to put him in the freezer in the laundry room. Now I know why the freezer is there. The poor dog's face wasn't covered, his eyes were open and he was still warm. I am not going to lie, I shed a few tears and did the duty. I not only felt for the animal but also the owner. My co workers said get used to it but I am not sure that I ever will.
To move to a lighter note, I found out that Tuesday's a small group of middle school students in a community service class come into the shelter in the late afternoon to pretty much do the nasty part of my job. From picking up poo, doing a load of laundry, and even cleaning the dishes. I feel lazy not doing this but I can see the benefits for this program. Every day I am astonished at how many programs this shelter has that really does help the community that it is part of.
Every day that I am here I feel like I am learning more and more about myself and ways of improving people's lives, from adopting animals, to sheltering those in need, to teaching young adults about hard life. More and more I enjoy (even the tough times) being part of a great shelter that gives back to the community. And on one more good note, the little puppy Sheppard mix was adopted to a loving family that will give him a lifetime of happiness.
Our Housepanthers Gracie and Ava!
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