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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Day With Emotions Bouncing Everywhere

Today I am not going to go into the whole this is what I cleaned because if you have read any other blog I have posted you would get a pretty good idea of what it was. Anyways, after the normal cleaning and feedings, and of course laundry, I was asked to help move some cabinets. I knew that I was the jack of all trades but moving 200 pound filing cabinets was even new to me. After a couple of scratches and bruises we got it done though. That is when I decided to spend some time with the pups.

There are two dogs in particular that I wanted to spend time with. One is a sweet little Terrier mix that just doesn't get along with other dogs. He loves people but if you put him with other animals it is either complete aggression or fear. He even has to go to his own private yard for potty breaks so he really gets no interaction. The other dog is a chow mix that was brought back a few days ago that is being kept in isolation. He is the guy that just craves some company and attention. He really is a good and innocent dog but when you try to leave his kennel he grabs on to your pant leg. I mentioned yesterday that he even bit one of the staff members and that is why he is in isolation.

When I was putting a harness on him I learned the bad news. It looks like he might not be with us that much longer. With the unpredictability, aggressive behavior, and what the former owner told us he might have to be put down. This is the toughest part about being here. Seeing the good side and the bad side of the dog and saying there really isn't anything wrong with him and yet you know that he just won't going make a good pet. I really do wish I had a bunch of land to take all of these animals to. It really does motivate me to open some sort of safe haven for the animals that aren't a threat, just are a little unpredictable.

Well, got to get over the sad stuff because there are a lot of other animals that need help in this shelter and even more that haven't yet arrived at the shelter. Speaking of more dogs, the shelter accepted four new puppies today, a mix of pit bull and Irish Terrier. Luckily one of the staff members is taking them home to foster them because the amount of poop those guys put out is insane. The good thing about puppies is though once you get them all updated on vaccinations and tests (about two weeks) they usually get adopted pretty fast. At least that's what I hope because it's tough to get them socialized when you have so many other dogs that need attention as well.

With a hectic day of cleaning and getting lots of new kennels ready for some new dogs arrival, I forgot to mention, our trainer went around the state to different shelters and rescued eight new dogs to bring to our shelter. This usually occurs every couple of weeks depending on how many adoptions we do. The new guys seemed really nervous about their new surroundings but I think in a couple of days they will be a little more comfortable.

So when it comes to getting new dogs at the shelter today was busy and exciting. With four new puppies and eight new shelter dogs the house is full. It is always nice to have a large selection of animals for adopters but I can't help to think about all of the work that goes into taking care of a large group of dogs. Hopefully all of the new arrivals aren't too sick and we can start adopting them out soon, otherwise, they will be on quarantine for a week or so.

After a busy day of dealing with emotions and a whole lot of manual labor it was time to see if I can help out that little terrier I talked about earlier. I decided to introduce my dogs to him and if they get along we would bring him home at night and give him a comfy bed to sleep in. We weren't going to foster him but really just wanted to socialize him a bit more. Unfortunately the energy of a Whippet and Italian Greyhound didn't mix well with a shelter dog that is already very nervous around other animals. The poor guy was terrified. My boys showed no aggression and you could tell they just wanted to play but the terrier was so under socialized he had no idea of my dog's intentions. I guess we will have to take it slow with him but I think with a little time he is going to make a great pet.

Right before it was time to leave the shelter got a call. It was the adopter of Sparky. The dog that had been returned once after about 18 hours at his new home. The woman spoke with our trainer for quite a while and without me getting to emotional when I think about this, would be bringing him back. The animal showed signs of aggression towards the vet and was very scared at any new environment the woman brought him to. I kind of got a feeling of not knowing the dog's intentions when I worked with him. It was one of those do you like me petting you or are you going to bite my hand off? The woman said she didn't feel safe around him. This is horrible news because the next step is euthanasia. It is a very sad thing but animals do digress in any shelter setting.

It doesn't matter what shelter an animal goes into. Of course some are more comfortable than others, but dogs should stay in that surrounding for as short of time as possible. In the few weeks I have been working here I have seen great animals become dangerous ones. It is very sad to watch but the stresses that are felt here I can't even imagine. I think the longer the dogs have been here the more work they need which in turn takes away from the dogs that haven't been here that long. It is almost a snowball effect on the psyche of the animals. I guess the best thing for me to do is realize that no all of the animals that are here are going to end up in a home and deal with it rather than dilude

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