Sometimes I wish my days at the animal shelter would switch around just because I start on the busiest day of the week and end on the slowest. It's like riding a roller coaster that starts off dropping 300 feet and finishes with a slow clink clink uphill climb. It's not so bad though, just makes for a long day when you know it's your Friday.
Today I started by cleaning the South kennels. This is the area where we have four eight week old puppies. It's funny how everyone loves puppies until you have to clean up after them. I was however surprised at how little of a mess these guys made. Unfortunately, it was the first thing I had to this morning since we don't want to cross contaminate the little guys with any other dogs. The story is the puppies' mother never had any vaccinations so we are a little concerned with their immune systems. They have gotten all of their shots that can be given but you never want to put them at risk when you don't have to.
After picking up all of the poo and smelling that distinct one of a kind puppy breath, I moved on to the rest of the kennels. I'm still amazed at what a workout you get scrubbing a floor. Some people have no idea how relaxing it can be too. Jamming to your favorite music when there is no one around, it's like having a whole gym to yourself.
With my mad chef skills I took care of all of the special diets ranging from just soft food for those guys that just had their dental work done, mixing up the hoards of puppy food, and of course some of that diet flavorless stuff too. The dogs were fed and their beds cleaned and replaced so it was time to do some laundry and wash some dishes. On days like today you really try to find things to do to try to make the day go by faster. Of course when you get all of the necessities out of the way then you get to spend some time with the dogs, which is what I am working towards.
The busy work out of the way and all of the garbage emptied, I went to spend some time with a little wire hared corgi mix. The poor guy has been in the shelter a while and for some reason we just haven't found him a dog that he can get along with. I went into the kennel and noticed a little throw up. It didn't look to bad but it did require some attention. That is when I saw him coughing and doing it again. I felt so bad for the poor little guy and moved him to iso, turns out he has kennel cough. If you don't know what that is look it up. If you want a funny way of finding out what it is watch the Seinfeld episode where Kramer has the same cough as a dog and decides to take the dog medicine. Anyways, with a little antibiotics the little guy should be doing a lot better inside a week.
When everyone seemed to almost be falling asleep because it was so slow we heard "LOOSE DOG" from one of the volunteers and here comes a new lab just strolling up to me looking for some love. He was part of a pair of brothers that were relinquished to the shelter earlier this week. Apparently he overpowered the volunteer and simply put his weight into her pushing the gate open. We posted a sign stating the dogs were door dashers and to only use two people to leash them up because they are so powerful.
Now I'm not sure if it is something in the water or what but later in the day when I was stocking dry dog food in cat iso I took my eyes off of Minnie ( a cat with a cold who has free range of the room) for two seconds. As soon as I turned around I lost her. I had no idea if she was hiding or she had gotten out through the cracked door. My heart sank, I thought if this cat is outside there is no way I am going to find her. As soon as I grabbed another staff member to help me I noticed something rubbing up on my leg. There was that cat just hanging out looking for some more attention. What a relief, hopefully I learned from this and will keep a better eye on a cat's speed.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I said earlier that I wish I would start on a slow day and finish on a busy one but I really do love days like today. Being able to spend time with the animals and really work with them is what this job is all about. I am paid to make sure they are clean, healthy, and their mouths are fed but what I enjoy most, aside from finding them homes, is taking care of them emotionally. I know that it is a tough time for them and the less they know they are here the better. Whether it is taking them to a quiet room where they can get some sleep or just hanging out with them in their kennels, feeling the love that they are looking to give is what it is all about.
One more bit of news, there might not have been any adoptions today but two of the relinqueshed dogs that arrived yesterday got to go home. The former owner somehow was able to take them back. It was really a win win for this family and the shelter. The two dogs not only got to stay together but they get to go back to their own home. To add to that they were only here for one night so their stress levels shouldn't have gone up too much. In addition to that good news one of the ASP (animal safehouse program) dogs got to go on foster with a loving volunteer. When you know that an animal is going to be here for up to three months it is comforting to know that they will spend their times in a comfortable home with a caring family.