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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


You may or may not know what the title of today's blog stands for but if you don't you will soon realize why I used the abbreviation. Getting on with the morning, the typical scrubbing and scooping ensued with some special attention paid to the new arrivals or "second chance" dogs on the west side kennels. It still amazes me that even in this stressful situation most of these animals are able to hold their potty breaks for a good 12 hours or more. It's funny because you really want to get the ones that didn't mess in their kennels out to the yards as quickly as possible. You always get a nice cardio jogging all of the animals down to their runs.

After the feedings and doing some quick laundry I decided to spend some time with the Chow mix that might not be with us much longer. He is such a sweet guy but he definitely has some behaviors that make me a little nervous. I still wish I could just run him off to a farm to run freely instead of being locked in a small isolation kennel. I did make sure that his meal was a good one rather than the usual dry kibble. After a little time giving some love it was time to get back to cleaning and me trying to keep my mind off the the lovable pup who seems to be barking at me every time I walk by.

I took a little initiative and started scrubbing all of the crates that were used to transport the new arrivals that were brought in yesterday. It isn't the worst job in the place but it isn't the best either. The task is basically sanitizing and drying about 30 good size cages and making sure they are ready for the next go round. About mid way through one of the senior kennel staff members asked me to help her with something. Me being the guy that wants to learn everything here jumped at the opportunity. We went back into the back office where a cute little black cat was meowing. I assumed it was an intake since we have quite a bit of space in our cattery. I was told to make sure the quite room (used to get animals into a stress free environment away from the stress) was empty. I was a little confused but still thought we were going to be making sure the cat wasn't psycho. When we entered the quite room I was told we were doing an EBR. I had a sinking feeling once I heard that. EBR stands for euthanasia by request. Basically when an animal is beyond repair and has had a good life they are given an injection that puts them to sleep, forever. If you can't handle this, skip the next paragraph.

The cat was 19 years old and the owner felt that it was time for them to move on. The animal wasn't going to the bathroom and seemed to be in pain so they decided to bring it to the shelter to be put down. The process wasn't that difficult to do but is was pretty tough to experience. I am not going to lie, this was very sad, and a little freaky at the same time. I think if I had blinked some tears might have come out. However, this is part of the job and part of life so I am glad I experienced it. I do know it was a little more bearable for the simple fact that the animal had a good life and I wasn't close to it. I'm sure it will be a different story when it is an in house dog but I will deal with that when the time comes.

With quite a bit of emotions brewing I decided to go back to cleaning and move on. That is when we heard two of the new dogs going at it in their kennels. The new guys really haven't been evaluated but this was some crazy rage that I haven't seen before. Luckily everyone at the shelter know that the quicker you separate them the better. The vet tech knew exactly how to separate them safely, a big bucket of water. I knew it worked for humans but it's good to put that knowledge in my bank for future uses.

After some hard core scrubbing I saw the med staff and asked when the neuter was. I was told that I would be sitting in on the operation so I would know what goes into it. Unfortunately they had forgotten to get me. I was a little upset that I was overlooked but kind of glad I didn't see the eight year old Schnauzer lose his manhood. It was kind of funny when the vet tech brought the surgery "remnants" over to me to look at since I missed the operation. I happily declined out of shear respect for the dog. At least it put a smile on my face after a tough day.

Closing on a good note, since today is my Friday, there was another dog intro close to closing time. It was with a little terrier mix that I like to call chicken wing. I gave him that name because one of his legs has an old healed break that doesn't hurt him but it sure does look funny. He was meeting a big lab mix for the second time to see if they got along. There was some butt sniffing and a little ignoring but about 15 minutes into they became best friends and went into to play mode. This is always great to see and the adopter agreed. The little guy not only found a new home but he got a big sister at the same time. At least there is some light at the end of today's tunnel.

This week was a bit of a rollercoaster but what in life isn't. The microcosm that is this shelter is such a vivid picture of life set to light speed. You see puppies coming in, dogs getting a second chance, dogs screwing up their third chance, and the life cycle ending. I have to go back to the Marine Corps saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".

1 comment:

  1. chow mix- Better not be Sparky! I love the dogs but man I wouldn't have neen able to take many losses of really good animals.