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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It's Fun When You Know You Have the Next Three Days Off

What can I say, when you go to a job, no matter what it is, and you know that you have the next three days off your attitude is usually pretty good. With a smile on my face I attacked the East and West kennels where all of the new arrivals were. This was the first time I had done this area so I was a little apprehensive. As soon as I started I realized why I had been doing the South side my first two weeks...initiation. This new area, even thought there were more dogs, seemed to fly by with a whole lot less poop to pick up. Not sure if it was actually easier or I had a good attitude today compared to yesterday but overall I wasn't thrown by the grueling morning cleaning.

Today seemed a little different from most. It seemed that there was like double the staff that was usually on, and this was a Tuesday. Anyways, after cleaning up the kennels, getting the dogs fed, and bleaching the fake grass yards it was time to check out the new ASP dogs that were brought in during the night. I finally found out what the acronym stands for, Animal Safe house Program. The two guys were really cute but completely unnerved with their new situation. Both of them would bark and snap at whoever went in their kennel. If you were able to get close enough to give them a treat they still wouldn't give you the time of day. Finally I got their two bowls that they came in with, filled it with their usual food and entered the kennel. I guess the term don't bite the hand that feeds you really is true. These guys were my new best friends now, and yet still seemed to bark and bite at everyone else in the shelter.

After a load of laundry and switching out the propane to make sure everything actually got dried we got a call to come show an women her dogs that were brought in last night. I was there so I decided to walk over to where the little rascals were. The young women didn't know our procedures and just opened the kennel...bad idea. Even thought the dogs were looking at their mom they were still very nervous and before we knew it one had bolted. This little 15 pound thing was fast too. Without realizing it just about every gate in the entire place was left open, not sure why because it is never like that for this same reason. The guy made it through the laundry room, out the DB gate, past the cattery and on towards the main gate. All I know is skate shoes are not meant for running. Eventually I made it to the main gate and said a silent "Thank God" we didn't open until 11:30 today (the only day in the week we don't open at 11). It was 11:05 and the main gate was still closed so the ASP dog didn't make it out to the street and the owner was able to coax it back into her arms. A little excitement I haven't experienced yet and I would rather not like to experience again. We finally got the owner and her scared pets together in a quite area and gave her a radio and said for her to call us when she was ready to leave. We were prepared this time for any door dashers.

After the midday workout I went to check what needed to be done next. I was told to look at the new training manual (for dogs) and learn a few things I could practice on some of the more stressed dogs. I did my reading, got my clicker and treats and made my way back to a dog. I worked on sitting on the mat and "look at that" which really seemed to work. These two techniques are designed to calm the animals when there are stressful things going on around them or are just so anxious that their behavior becomes destructive.

At 3:00 I was introduced to a cat intake appointment. This is when someone is giving an animal to the shelter to find it a home. The standards are pretty strict from evaluating the behavior of the animal to its health. The animal I was helping with was a young 14 week old kitten. Everything seemed good so we went ahead and gave it some vaccinations, tested for cat leukemia, de-wormed, gave it advantage, and even micro chipped it. This was something that I had no idea the shelter did. Yet another way for lost animals to find their way home. The great part is, if you have a pet and want to get them chipped it is a mere 25 dollars to do so at the shelter. For anyone that hasn't gotten this done you are putting a lot of trust in a collar that could fall off.

Once the cat intake was done I was asked to help with a stray that was spotted outside of the shelter. I grabbed my radio and a handful of treats and made my way out. I saw the little Jack Russel out in the middle of the street and tried to get his attention. Of course the game is just beginning for him. As soon as he caught wind of me he took off through an apartment complex gate. I was lucky enough to catch a car going in so I didn't have to hop the fence. The bad part is I found that the complex was huge with lots of places to hide. By this point we had called all hands to come and help. I made my way through the complex and around a small park just when we were about to give up then I saw the person that I had followed in pointing me in the direction of the lost dog. As soon as I saw the puppy a women was grabbing him. It turns out the dog was hers and she had no idea that he was out. I wanted to scream at the women for not having a collar on her dog but I kept my cool and tactfully told her that it was illegal not to have a rabies collar on her animal. She looked at me with that dumb blank face and walked in her house. For all of you people out there that think their animal will never get out of your home please reconsider, not everyone in the world will send a team of crack dog chasers out after your pet. There are so many endings that can happen that aren't happy when you have no identifying tags or chips on your pet.

So I really got my workout in today. Running after door dashers and strays isn't really the way I would like to get my exercise but if there is a happy ending to it all I am content. The lesson of today for me is always have your pet's collars on them, no matter how safely "locked" up you think they are. And if you really want to be safe merely head down to your local shelter where 25 bucks can give you a nice sense of security by having your animal chipped.

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