Saturdays are always busy not matter how many staff members you have working. Today was a bit of a different day from any other one that I have experienced here at the shelter. It began as usual minus one kennel attendant who is on office duty after spraining their ankle. We knew it was going to be tight today but we were all optimistic when beginning the daily cleaning. After we all knocked out the dog kennels and morning feedings I moved on to the rabbitat while the other three workers moved on to the cattery. When I was finally finishing up the iso rabbits and about to move over to the cattery to help finish it out one of the workers came over to me to let me know that one of the staff was pretty sick and would be going home after the cleaning.
It is always best to head home when you are sick because you really don't want it to spread to everyone and then really have a tough situation. Having one less kennel attendant did mean that today would be an incredably busy and hectic expereince. With only three attendants now and our staff trainer we had four people that could do showings and three that would be taking care of all of the daily duties. This is when you just put your head down, try to ignore everyone and make sure the task at hand gets accomplished.
Right when 11 rolled around the front desk made the announcement that we were about to open and there was a line forming at the gate. Not only was it the busiest day of the week for us but all of our second chance dogs became available today for adoption. The showings began pretty steadily and then began pouring in. You know it is a busy day when the front office starts numbering the applications just to make sure no one gets pissy when we skip them becuase they have been waiting for so long.
My first showing of the day was with a grandmother and her daughter. They had several dogs they wanted to see but after going over their profile one seemed to be the best fit. It turns out it was thier first choice as well. She was a little cocker spaniel that had been relinqueshed last week becuase it could not get along with any other dogs. The woman fell in the love with the little girl but did have some concerns, one main one was the cherry eye that the dog had. Not sure exactly the definition of cherry eye but I do know that it does require surgery. That is why I explained to the woman that if she does decide to adopt she would technically be on foster so the shelter can take care of the surgery, otherwise she would be financially responsible for the vet bills. She loved the dog and felt it was the right one for her, the big problem was though was that her husband was not here to interact with the animal. I told her unfortuantelly we cannot hold the animals but the sooner you get back with your husband the better. She said it wouldn't be until tommorow but I knew better. Within half an hour there they all were excited for the dad to meet his new daughter. It was an instant smile and my first adoption for the day. It's amazing how contagious those smiles and laughter can be.
It seemed like it was a constant flow of people wanting to see dogs, so of course as soon as I was done with one it was time to move on to another. It was a showing for two middle age little guys that have to go home together. They are second chance dogs that were brought into another shelter becuase the owner had passed. It's a tough pair because of their age and of course they have to go home together. However the woman that was looking at them from the profile seemed like the ideal canidate. She was a little older and lived by herself and was looking for some companionship, she also wanted both because they could keep eachother company if she was busy. She walked them around the yard and sat with them for quite a while and decided these were the animals for her. There were a couple of problems though, for one the dogs have a dental scheduled for next week and can't go home until Wednesday and the other is the woman was leaving for her grandchild's graduation until next Sunday. She wanted the guys and felt that it would be too stressful to take them home and then board them while she was away she asked if the dogs could stay here. For a nominal fee we would take care of the little guys until Monday. It really is a lot better than getting transfered between our shelter, a new home, and a boarding facility.
With the rest of the staff doing showings I decided it was time to take care of the necessities. Amazingly we were pretty much caught up on laundry and all I had to do was fold a couple of loads. After that it was already time to start bringing the dogs down for their afternoon break. Everyone was doing showings so I was thankful for the volunteers that were so willing to help. Once all of the dogs were down it was time to start bring them up. In the midst of the choas two more little guys got adopted along with an older lab with hip displacia that was a blessing to find him a home. Before I knew it the dogs were up, everything was locked and ready for the next day. I changed my shoes, had a drink of water, and headed home.
The days you work the harderst can not only be the most rewarding they can also be the ones that go by the fastest. Even though we were short handed you tend to forget about how busy you are and really just take it in stride. If you trust the people around you, you know that everything will be fine as long as you take care of your end. Another thing I learned today is I do it for the smiles, man, becuase that pay check is something else :)