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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Can't wait for a hot shower

Today I was reminded of the days when I was in the Marine corps., not because of all of the physical work but rather how dirty I was. It felt like those time when I was in the field for days on end when all you look forward to is a good hot shower and a warm bed. There were a couple of reasons I felt this way today.

It began as any other day, a little over cast and a light drizzle. We were a staff member short which meant a little more work for everyone. The big difference in today was that all of our ten Mississippi dogs had arrived and were in quarantine in the south side kennels. Of course I volunteered to take care of them today which was a little tough for me because it meant that I couldn't do any showings with the other dogs. That, and these guys won't be available for adoption for about a week. For the busiest adopting day my day would consist of absolutely zero showings.

Moving on, to clean and take care of these ten dogs meant you had to take a lot of precautions. It turns out that most of them have hook worm which is very easily transmitted to humans, woo hoo. I started by covering my clothes with scrubs and looked like I was going in to surgery. I put all of the dogs on the south show yards and got to work. If you're not familiar with hook worm it causes everyone of these guys to have some pretty wicked diarrhea...all ten of them. After I scooped about 45 pounds of poo I sprayed the kennels down, squeegeed, replaced some beds, fed them their medication, and put them back in their kennels. I have to say that even after their baths the three day trip these dogs took really caused them to smell not so great. That on top of the poop really made for an enjoyable morning. I have to say though that all of the dogs are increadibly friendly and loving. They might not know how to avoid stepping in their own poop but they are very loving towards any human contact. Once I got all of them back in their beds I bleached my shoes, took off the scrubs, and headed for the cattery.

Luckily I just had to knock out the kittery because the rest had already been taken care of. The bad news was since I couldn't do any dog showings today I had to take care of all of the grunt work. I started by taking out the garbage which usually isnt a problem but when the dumpster is overflowing by about four feet it's kind of tough to put eight more bags of poo and litter on top of that. After I took care of the balancing act of garbage I headed over to our new pet kitchen to take care of the dishes. Once that was taken care of I had to start knocking out some laundry. I just got word today that the washing machine was going to be leaving us for a week for repairs. Not sure who made that decision but I gurantee it wasn't a kennel staff member. A week without laundry is like not picking up your garbage for a year. I don't even want to think about the problems that are going to arrise from this.

Once all of the morning duties were done I was tasked with being the grunt all day since I couldn't do showings. What that meant was that I helped out with the 30 or so crates that needed cleaning. That wasn't too bad except that I was soaked down to my scivvies. Next it was time to feed all of the new Mississippi dogs. I put on my bio-hazard suite (not really) and headed into the quarintined area. They were all so happy for any sort of human contact. They still seam a little nervous and hesitant but once I pulled the food out they were finishing it before I could turn around. While I was feeding I was also scooping poo for the second time today. Not quite sure what these guys were eating before they came out here but the smell is like nothing I have ever smelled before. About half an hour later I headed back to the dogs and took them out for their afternoon break. To my surprise...more poo. Of course they were all jumping in it and splattering it everywhere so I had a tough time not getting any on me. I got them all out to their yards and dissinfected again. I got all the bowls picked up, kennels dried out, and dogs put back. I headed over to the yards to scoop up the mess and when I went back to say goodnight to the dogs guess what...more poo. If you can't laugh some times you are going to end up screaming.

I got myself dissenfected, changed my shoes, ringed out my soggy socks, and took care of the final closing duties. I could not wait to get home, undress, and take a hot shower. I have to say I hate not being a part of the adoptions on Saturday, in fact I couldn't even tell you who went home today. Next time an oppurtunity comes up like this I say we draw straws. Sorry for the lack of pictures today but the amount of poo I was picking up took all of my efforts :).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Getting Organized


Today was one of those days that there is so much to do and at the same time so little. The cleaning was pretty uneventful except for the fact that we rearranged quite a few of the kennels in order to have room for our Mississippi dogs that will be arriving later in the week. On top of switching up the temporary homes of some of our dogs we disinfected those that would be used for the new animals. The only thing that was really different was there were a few left over Kongs filled with peanut butter that the dogs didn't eat that were completely filled with ants. It turns out that come summer here at the shelter ants can be a pretty big nuisance. The solution is simple though, all along the edges of the kennels we sprinkle gold bond powder to deter the little pests. It seems to work pretty well but I'm not quite sure about the safety if the animals get to it. After cutting off the paths of the ants I moved into the cattery to take care of the huge number of felines that are in our care.

When I entered the cattery I took care of some of the outlying rooms first. I spent a little time hanging out and got to business. It's unfortunate that there have been so few cat adoptions lately but it is nice to have so many friendly little guys. Once I was done with the indoor/outdoor room I moved in to help out in the north section. It seems that quite a few cats were in a "mood" today and were very difficult to deal with. After I cleaned my first kennel my allergies really got to me. I always say that the more I do it the better my allergies will end up but today was rough. I had to step out of the building several times just to clear my head. Luckily we have a great staff and they were able to finish up while I moved on to the next task.

I said earlier that there was a lot to do today but at the same time not too much, that holds true because there are so few dogs in our care that their needs are met pretty quickly, especially with all of the volunteers help. The work though was there, we finally have our new "pet kitchen" ready for our move in. Not to mention the organization of our laundry room need attending to as well. While everyone finished up with the cats I took to clearing out the old kitchen and making some room for some new shelving that will keep us organized. We moved a large freezer in and continued getting all of the wet and dry food, treats, rawhides, and everything else you could possibly imagine into the 100 sq foot room. It was nice to see that we had some extra room and also some more storage space for extra dog beds in our old kitchen.

With so few dogs in our care it was nice to hear a call over the radio for some dog showings. Overall there were three or four showings today and our little guy that got returned earlier in the week was adopted today and after some training will be a therapy dog. Not only is it great to find this little guy the right home but to find out that he will be helping others in a hospice situation truly makes me smile.

Later in the day a little chihuahua was returned because he was too much of a nuisence to the other household dog. It was sad to see him returned but it was great to see his little face. The bright side of this story is someone had come to see him a mere hour after he was adopted and was glad to get our call saying that he was returned. He immediately headed up to the shelter to see what it would take to adopt. His little chee-hoo still needs to meet so hopefully it all works out and we can find this little guy a perfect fit in his new "forever home".

Close to closing time the weekly crew of middle school students came into the shelter to help out. It is a great program that gets local students involved in the shelter by both helping out with the duties but also getting some time with the animals. Once again, a great way to educate the population of the need for shelters and more importantly the great service that it provides.

Heading out now for my weekend I have to say that this week was a good one. The staff that I work with is so caring and commasionite about what they do it could put a smile on anyones face. The money might not be great but when you realize the difference, no matter how small, that you are making in the community you truly see the reward. I hope more and more people get involved with the care of these precious animals and realize that spaying and neutoring is a necisary thing. If people realized the need and acted upon that they would realize that there is an over population problem and it can only be solved at the source.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day

I am going to keep this short. Today the shelter was closed and we had two staff members assigned to clean and take care of the animals. The day was pretty uneventful and really was just a lot of cleaning. All in all it took about five hours to clean and feed all of the animals ranging from the dogs and cats to the rabbits. Once all of that was done we took out the garbage and started some laundry. I have to say that the volunteers that were here really made a difference in how the animals got cared for. I am really thankful for all of the people that came and helped out on this holiday. The only thing we did aside from cleaning was try to answer the phones as much as possible. The calls ranged from wanted other shelter's numbers to asking about EBR's. We didn't have to answer the calls but we were expecting to hear from county about picking up the stray that we had. No luck in that department but hopefully his owner will call the shelter and be able to pick him up. All in all today went by pretty fast and I truly don't like working holidays. It's not that there is something I would rather be doing but not having the possibilities of adopting is not too much fun. I'll have a longer and better blog for you tomorrow and I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day. Thanks to all of those that have served their country proudly and give me the oppurtunity to do what I do.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial weekend busy

Every weekend there is the theme that Saturday is hands down the busiest day during the week. This was true again this week but Sunday definitely held its own. Normal beginnings as every other day with a whole lot of cleaning. It was a little easier on the dogs since there were so few of them to clean up after. With such a large number of recent adoptions and little intake the number is hovering around 15. Next week there is a group of ten that will be coming in from Mississippi so we are trying to hold off taking too many from around our area. The reason we are taking them from so far away is the area where hurricane Katrina hit still hasn't built up yet and the lack of adopters means a whole lot of overcrowding in the humane societies. It should be interesting to see the group of ten come in next week to see how much work they are going to need.

Me and my sidetracked mind, after cleaning the small amount of dog kennels and disinfecting those that had recently been adopted I moved into the rabbitat. My allergies weren't too bad today so it seems I might be getting used to them. While I was cleaning the rabbits I remembered what the "specialist" said and how to calm the rabbits before you go charging in there and disrupting their routine. She said to slowly let them smell you and begin rubbing their nose and behind their ears. It really does seem to calm them and I have been getting snapped and hopped at a whole lot less. By the time I got done with the rabbits and of course remembering those in isolation there were several calls to the back office for kennel staff. It turns out there was not only an early showing but a stray had been brought in as well. The dog was a beautiful red retriever that was really intimidated by his whole situation. He was friendly but you could tell he was scared. I checked for a microchip but found nothing and with no tags we had no way of identifying him. Our next step is to have the front office call a county shelter since we do not hold strays. We will take care of him until eithier his owners or county come to pick him up. If anyone recognizes this dog, let me know and we can get everyone reunited. Here is a picture I took of him.


After the excitement there were a few showings ranging from family members that needed to meet the animals to couples looking at their first dog. My favorite was a family with two young children that was looking at a malamute mix that has more energy and lack of training out of just about any dog there. Not to mention this dog is an escape artist that has dug under fences and tried jumping out of a moving car said the previous owner. I explained the difficulties with the dog but the family still wanted to meet. Once they were in the yard they understood what I was saying about his jumping and they immediately saw the risk to their young children. Before they could leave I wanted to show them another animal that could be the perfect fit. He was a relinquished Sheppard pointer mix that really would be a great family pet. My one word description for this dog is stoic. He knows all of his commands and is very calm in nature. They immediately fell in the love with the big lug. After a while of interaction it was time to do an intro with the families dog. After everything went according to plan the family decided to adopt. Here is a picture of the well trained bohemith.


The real reward in this job is finding these animals their new homes. With anything in life you always have some worries but you have to enjoy the moment and not think about negative possibilities. If that's all we did in life there would be nothing to enjoy in life. One thing this job is helping me do in my life is to enjoy the moment and try not to worry about "what could happen". Hopefully I can take that lesson with me wherever I go.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

And we're off!


I am still always surprised that my Mondays are actually Saturdays and the busiest day of the week. I never mind it because the day goes by so fast but that doesn't mean that I am ready for it. As usual we signed up to clean a specific area, the big difference today was I was being shown how to give meds to the animals. This is important since I am working on Memorial day and will need to handle that task because we work on a skeleton crew. It was a pretty simply thing, gather up all of the pills and powders that the dogs and cats need to take and shove them in the some wet food making sure you put the right pile over the right dog's name. The one thing that did surprise me was that there are a few dogs that need a lot of pills. Some are vitamins and some are allergy pills but some are antibiotics and others are for thyroid problems. It was nice to see that the animals are getting the care that they need. In addition to all of the medications there are two dogs that recently got "fixed" and require a hot compress two times a day. It's kind of nice to hang out with the little guys and do something that you know they are enjoying.

After all of the meds and cleaning out the kenells we moved over to the cattery. I was surprised to see a volunteer there that early but it was nice to see them showing the cats some attention. The big issue for me was that every time I tried to clean out a kennel the volunteer seemed to be hindering it. Whether she was pulling a cat out that didn't along with another or just standing over the litter it made for a laborous task. I can't complain though because she is here on her own time helping us out and if it takes me a little longer to clean so be it. I was just glad to see a volunteer giving the cats some well deserved time.

Before I knew it I saw customers flowing into the shelter and I realized that it was already 11:30. As soon as I headed back to the office it was nothing but showing after showing pretty much for the rest of the day. There were a few denials because people eithier wanted an "outdoor" dog or wanted to take home an animal that needed to go home to another dog. Even with the denials there were some great adoptions today. Two dogs that have been in the shelter for quite some time found their forever homes and one dog who has been in the shelter for several months with medical issues got to go home today. The feeling of finally finding these animals home is unimagineable. This is the reward for doing this job.

On a sadder note, one of our little terriers was returned today. I know that he will be adopted out quickly but it is very sad to see an animal come back to this stressful enviornment. The reason he was returned was he had some medical issues that were pretty serious. I'm sure that I have mentioned him before, he actually came to the shelter with a broken pelvis and was on light duty for about the past month. The woman knew all of this but when she took him to her vet. she felt that the overall lifetime bills of the animal could be pretty expensive. Anyways, at least he got to get his "bed rest" in a comfortable home and now we can find the perfect family to take him home with them.

In all of the chaos a woman brought in two kittens that she had found. They were quite cute but we couldn't just take them without testing them for feline leukemia. It's a pretty simple test, you draw blood, mix it with a special solution, place it on a testing strip and wait. Luckily both kittens were negative and we were able to take them. I set up a kennel in the kittery and with a little luck and time we can find them both new homes. I have to mention that one of the little guys, pictured below, is what they call a polydactel (I think that's how you spell it) and has five toes on three of his paws and six on one. Not sure if it is evolution or what, but this little guy sure is cute. I have also included a picture of his cute little six toes.

The rest of the afternoon flew by. I helped out again with the afternoon meds and washed some dishes. Once all of the animals were back up I had a chance to notice that all of the laundry was cuaght up. Praise someone because it was some kind of miracle to see that all of the mess that was the laundry was now clean and organized. It was fun day today, seeing some great dogs find their forever homes and learing some new skills at the same time. I just hope tomorrow doesn't pail in comparison because I feel that I have already gone through the loop of this roller coaster week.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Slowly but surely

All I have to say is I am glad that we didn't open up until 11:30 today. News to me, but on Tuesdays there is an all staff meeting that usually takes place around 11:15. Well, we needed those last few minutes in order to get everything in order this morning. I started out with cleaning the south kennels and disinfecting about four of them. It was good to hear this morning that the dog that had to stay here temporarily because her owner was taken to the hospital was able to be picked up and didn't have to stay in the shelter any longer than she had too. Anyways, after the dog kennels I made sure the garbage was out and all of the south yards had been scooped and bleached down, the flies can become quite a problem if you don't keep up with the cleaning. After the dogs were all taken care of I meandered my way over to the rabbits, they were already about half way done but I jumped in and got them done in a flash. Once everything was swept up I headed over to the cattery and worked around a volunteer that was spending some quality time with the cats. It was actually pretty nice to have someone in there to keep me company while I dumped out the litter boxes, changed the bedding and fed the felines. Everything was going fine until one of the fickle torties started growling at me. All I had to do was put the litter box back in the kennel and I was done, of course that's when the cat hissed and swatted at me to where I dumped all of the litter and had to start all over. Good thing we open a little later today.

After the morning meeting and updates on everything from our thrift shop to our marketing department it was time to head back to the laundry room. It was good to see another staff member had the same idea that I had had. She was already getting the chaos back in order and all I was able to do was shuttle some clean laundry while she folded and organized. I'm glad the washer was fixed and it seemed that the new rigging was holding up. The whole reason it "broke" was because it is this huge commercial washer that should have more washers staked around it bracing it but in our place it is merely free standing. When the spin cycle used to run basically it sounded like a helicopter was landing five feet away. The whole building from the foundation to the walls would shake until finally it knocked down the hot water heater and we got to where our predicament was. Luckily we have a crack team of maintenance workers and they put a pretty solid brace on the whole thing and we were able to start the uphill climb of catching up with the laundry.

With the laundry now a waiting game for the cycle to be done I was asked to set up a kennel for three kittens that were in intake with medical. I got some wet and dry food together and got it all set when I walked into the cattery and I had to volunteers waving at me to come into the south cattery. I figured something was wrong but when I went in all I saw was one of our cats screaming, hissing, and basically attacking every kennel that had an animal in it. The volunteers told me that the cat had jumped down and was fine at first but got excited and proceeded to "go nuts" on the rest of the cats which in turn freaked out the rest of them. So now it was time to see how quick my hands are, I started by extending my index finger out to the cats side and moved it in towards the kitties nose trying to be as less intimidating as possible. He smelt me and calmed down a bit but was still really on edge. I was able to scruff him and get him back in his kennel which I covered to give him a little quite time. The next step was to put a "staff only" sign on the outside so this doesn't happen again. Hopefully he'll be able to calm down and we can check on getting him a room to himself. I'm just glad he didn't bite and no one got hurt, especially the cat.

I was finally called to a showing just after we had brought all of the dogs out for their afternoon break. It was with this little relinquished corgi that believe it or not topped the scales at over 44 pounds. The poor little guy can barely walk due to arthritis and being so overweight. We not only have him on some glucosomine but he is also on benidryl because of his seasonal allergies. I was glad to see that when I went through his medical file his orthopedics were fine, just a lot of extra dog to be carrying around. It turns out the family was merely driving by and decided to stop in, they have been looking for a corgi to run around on their ranch and immediately were drawn to the "big guy". They have worked with difficult animals in the past and I couldn't emphasize enough that this dog needs a lot of work and patience to not only get his girth down but to keep it down. They were looking forward to the challenge but had a few more hoops to go through before they could adopt. First the rest of the family (dad and two other children) had to meet as well as an intro with their current dog a 13 year old whippet. It can sometimes be tough when you are introing an older dog just because it can be tough territorialy. Anyways, time will tell if they do come back but hopefully soon our little diet man can go to a home that will work with him rather than indulge him.

Thanks for reading everyone and I look foward to your comments.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pretty Productive

I definitely had a more positive attitude walking in to work today. Not sure if it was because we had a little extra help or what but today was different from the rest of my week. We began by scooping some poo, scrubbing down some kennels, making up some breakfasts, and bringing the dogs back up. There were so many staff members involved this morning that not only were we doubled up on the kennels but we even had someone start the rabbitat right at 8:45.

Once all of the dogs were up we headed over to the cattery. I headed over to the North side and got to it. Luckily there was some extra kitty littler that had been bought otherwise it might have gotten a little difficult in trying to find some. Before I knew it there was four people all busy at work making sure the cats got taken care of very quickly. On top of the cleaning and mopping there was a lot of rearranging that needed to be done. We moved the cats from our isolation unit into "general population", makes it sound like prison. After that we also had to prepare four more kennels for some new arrivals that were scheduled to be relinquished today.

Once the cats had been taken care of and the cattery mopped from corner to corner I was blown away at the fact that it was still nowhere near opening time. Luckily there was still plenty to do in terms of cleaning. Another staff member took the initiative and started cleaning out the yards and replacing the poo buckets, I made it there in time to help them finish it out and afterward took it all to the dumpster. It still surprises me how much poo can actually weigh, I would guess this weeks "load" topped the scales at about 50 pounds.

Once I brought the wagon back to the laundry room I was surprised to see that the place was on its way to being fixed. There was still a little work that needed to be done with the water heater but hopefully by tomorrow we won't have to send staff to the laundromat. There has been a positive to this whole laundry situation though, we decided since the entire place was empty it was time to do a little once in a decade cleaning. Not only did we clear out all of the crap that was in there but we bleached, disinfected, scrubbed, and hosed down the entire place. Yeah, it ended up smelling like a community swimming pool but trust me it is a lot better than it used to be.

Once I was finishing up cleaning I got a call to do a showing with a huskie mix. I look over the adopters profile and initially had some concerns. For one she was very young and the second was that she was a renter. Even with all of those "red flags" she seemed like she would be a very good fit for this animal. The problem is though that this dog has an energy level unlike any other at the shelter. Not only that, but when she is left alone she howls/screams for someone to come and get her. I told the young woman about all of the issues this dog has and that she should go home and research the breed. She thought that might be a good idea and sure enough, an hour later she returned to meet the dog. Now you might think that I don't want to get this dog adopted but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I merely want to find the best home not only for her but for the adopters as well. This is not a short term relationship and the better the match the better the life. Anyways, back to the story, she ended up loving the dog but she would still need rental agreement from her landlord along with a meet and greet with her sister who also lives with her. Hopefully it will all work out because I think aside from a few underlying factors our Huskie would have a great home if he was adopted by this woman.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. We got all of the dogs down in their play groups. You can see two of them below after playing to their hearts content. It's great to see the dogs running around and truly having a good time. Some people say dogs don't smile but I might have to disagree after working here. While the dogs were in their groups we took care of all the closing duties from checking on the rabbits and cats, pouring fresh water for all of the dogs, doing the dishes, and cleaning around the shelter. Without even knowing it while I was doing some dishes I learned that our last little puppy had gotten adopted. It was great news since the little guy didn't have any more brothers to play with at the shelter, not to mention the last poop machine needs no more cleaning up after.


On a sadder note, there was a relinquishment today of a dog that had been adopted from the shelter about one month ago. She is a sweet sheepdog looking girl who apparently was too clingy. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard this. I am not going to judge or jump to any conclusions because I know that we will find her the perfect home. I am a little distraught over hearing that an animal was put back into a shelter because she followed around the owners everywhere. Hell, I wish my dog did that. Anyways, thanks for reading everyone and thanks for the comments. And remember, there are so many ways that you can help animals in need from volunteering at your local shelters, making donations, and yes, merely having your pet spayed or neutered. Thanks again for reading.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Did I say the washing machine was broken?

Heading over to the kennels in the early part of the morning I was surprised to see that a good number of dogs were able to hold it all night. What that means is not only there less mess to pick up but the sooner we can get the guys out to their yards the better chance we have of keeping it that much cleaner. Good thing for us it was raining today so we decided to take all of the dogs out to their covered yards with a little fake grass. They aren't the biggest areas but it is a lot easier to keep the mud off of them there.

After a quick disinfecting of the kennels we were able to drop the food down and of course pile the dirty laundry just a little higher in the back area. The volunteers were here this morning and were able to help put all of the dogs back in their respective areas which meant that we could knock out the rabbitat and cattery without a problem. The rabbitat was covered so I headed over to the North cattery. Definitely not as bad as yesterday but I am still getting used to the smell of cat poop. A couple of the cats got to go home yesterday that were waiting on surgery holds so the job got done rather quickly. I swept up, put the garbage away, and of course piled a little more dirty laundry on the pile.

Next I went into the rabbitat to help finish out the last few cages. I have to say, since being bitten by the dog a few weeks ago I am still a little on edge, even when a sweet little bunny moves too quickly. I really hope my reactions change because in all of my life I have never felt this way and I truly do not like it. Anyways, I took care of two of the last cages while another attendant covered the bunnies in ISO. I swept up and added some more poo stained towels to the pile of laundry.

With all of the morning duties out of the way we took the garbage out, washed the dishes, and assessed the laundry situation. If you could ever categorize a laundry situation as dire this would be the time. All we could do is merely watch the pile get higher and messier. We were lucky enough to have a couple of loads done at the local laundromat by some volunteers but if you want to talk about a drop in the bucket. I have included a picture below just to give you an idea of what sort of problem we are dealing with here. Mind you, this area is usually completely free of any sort of clutter.



For some reason today was pretty relaxed. There really wasn't too much traffic coming into the shelter but we were still able to squeeze out an adoption. I'll be honest, most of the adopters today were no gos for a few reasons from keeping the animals outside to not haveing rental agreement, and my favorite was cat testing a dog that really didn't like the felines too much. Even with all of this a woman came back into the shelter after visiting with a little terrier mix that had broken its pelvis some time back. We're not sure when or how it happened because he came into the shelter that way but the woman still fell in love with him. He is a sweet little guy that has loads of energy and just has about five more days on light duty to allow is injury to heal. The woman spent some more time with him and came to the conclusion that she wanted the little guy for a friend. It was an easy showing since our behaviorist had already done the showing with her and in big bold letters wrote "OK to Adopt". All that meant for me was to talk a bit about training and give her some time alone with the animal to let him work his magic. The woman decided to take him home and we were all able to say our goodbyes which was nice.

That was pretty much it for the afternoon. There were a few more showings with other counselers but none of them really panned out. People wanting dogs for the way they looked rather than the way they behave which is usually not a great fit. Today was a bit better than yesterday in the fact that I wasn't in such a crabby mood after cleaning up poo for a good solid three hours. We also had a great adoption and of course I ventured to ground zero (the laundry room) as little as possible just so I didn't have to be reminded of what was to come. There was one more crazy thing that happened towards closing time. An elderly adopter had brought back her dog to visit with the staff when she tripped outside in the parking area. She got a little broozed up and was bleeding pretty bad so an ambulance was called. We were able to keep her calm and she seemed fine but went to the hospital anyway. The even sadder part was that her dog has to stay at the shelter once again until she is able to come back and claim her. At least this time I get to say goodbye to the old girl that I grew attached too about two months ago and was off when she went home. Thanks for reading everyone and keep the comments coming. Tell a friend as well, the more people that know what goes on in a shelter and how many great pets are here might just get that many more adopted.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The wrong foot forward

It took me a good five hours to finally get in the groove today. There were a number of contributing factors that caused this but I will try to sound as positive as I possible can because today was one of those days for me. Saturdays are my Mondays and usually I am very optimistic and motivated to start my work week at the shelter, however, during cleaning this morning my whole mentality changed.

I started by teaming up with another kennel attendant to clean the South side kennels. They weren't too bad but there were a couple of puppies that were still waiting to go home so the poo works of art were still needing some attention. Oh, I forgot to mention, our laundry machine had been out of commission for the last three days so you can imagine the amount of dirty blankets, towels, and toys that are continuing to get backed up. On top of all the dirtiness in the kennels it has overflowed in to the laundry room with poo stained blankets.

After the dogs were back in their areas and fed it was time to move on to the cattery. I started on the North end which smelled horrible. I later found out that a few of the cats had pooped and peed outside of their litter boxes which is just a thrill to clean. After I switched out all of the litter, changed the bedding and fed the little guys I wiped down the entire area with bleach wipes. I couldn't have a imagined a smell that could withstand those but of course I was wrong and the place still smelled wretched. It was nearly eleven when I still didn't notice anyone in the cattery to help out, a bit surprising considering that we were opening in about 15 minutes. I figured there had to be something that needed to be done so I moved on to the south cattery. I couldn't believe my nostrils, this place stank worse than the first. It turns out that some cats had gotten out of their kennels the previous night, pooped and peed just about everywhere and when one of the kennel attendants tried putting them back in this morning the proceeded to knock over their food and water bowls along with their bedding which broke all over the floor and was welcoming me when I went in to clean.

As you can imagine my attitude wasn't the best at this point. In fact I think that I was pretty much ready to walk out, I know, it was a childish thought but I was so unmotivated to do anything the rest of the day. I took a deep breath and soldiered on and found the last half of my day to be a lot better than the first.

With today being the busiest of days and our staff being a little short handed the afternoon flew by. I had a lot of showings starting off with some kittens. As I was walking into the showing one of the four had already been adopted. Usually we only adopt kittens in pairs but if the adopter has another feline at home we make the exception. My showing however was a little different. It was a mother and her two daughters. They had recently lost their dog and now wanted a kitten for a new pet. I explained to them that we adopt them in pairs and it turns out they were all for that. I got the microchip scanner to make sure we didn't mix up their kittens with anyone of the other kittens. I simply took the ones that the family was going to adopt, scanned their scruff, copied down the numbers, grabbed the corresponding files and got the family on their way.

After the kitten adoption I learned that soon afterward the last little kitten got to go home. Wow, those were a hot commodity. Next I was called into a showing with a little dog that had already been returned once. It was a nice family with a younger daughter that had lost their pet about four months ago. They had been looking online but this was their first time coming into any shelter. They initially wanted to look at a little min pin that had a little too much energy for what they were looking for so I introduced them to a little mellow, yes I said mellow, terrier mix. They immediately fell in love. I told them that the little guy had a tick born disease known as erlychia but we believe we caught it very early and she has about five more days left on her antibiotics. The family wanted some time to think so they went to lunch. Not half an hour later the shelter got a call saying that they wanted to adopt. Later in the day they came back and filled out the paperwork. I gave them some handouts on behavioral training, explained the medication and sent them on their way. Ah, another adoption, the true upside to my day.

The day finished with another interaction that went so so, we might try again tomorrow to see how it goes. Other than that it was a lot of running around making sure everything got done in the little time that we had left in the day. I am thankful that there are some great co workers here that know how to step it up when the day calls for it. Without the teamwork here this machine would surely break down.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Surgery Day

Cleaning and more cleaning as usual as the day began. We started by knocking out the dog kennels and moving one of our dogs into a larger kennel with heat. It turns out the little whippet mix gets pretty chilly and hides under his blankets to keep warm. Luckily we have some open space and got him into a nice comfortable area where he is sure to be nice and content. After feeding and getting all of the animals up we moved on to the cattery. I have to say that the air wasn't circulating too well and my allergies really got the best of me. Luckily there were a lot of people helping out and we were able to finish the task with some time to spare.

There was then a call over the p.a. system saying that there was a staff meeting. Everyone was present from our marketing director, president, and even the guy that runs the thrift store. It was nice to see all of the faces that make this machine work. We went over some updates on the newly renovated thrift store to a pancake breakfast that will be happening this Saturday. I was amazed at how many revenue outlets the shelter has to take such good care for our animals. After the quick meeting it was time to get back to it.

We of course got the laundry going and are beginning to see the pile dwindle down slowly. The dishes got washed and the garbage was taken out when I was asked if I would like to help with one of the surgeries that was taking place today. All seven of the puppies were scheduled to be neutered today so they can go to there new homes soon. I was shown how the puppy was anesthetized with a small mask than given three shots ranging from a non-steroidal to a pain killer. Once the puppy was under a heart monitor was attached to his tongue along with a tube that went down his airway. After the puppy was shaved down and all sterilized it was time to move him to the surgery suite. The little guy was laid down and a local vet began the surgery while another attendant monitored the puppies breathing and heart rate. The procedure seemed pretty simple with a small incision and a little pop. After everything had been cut and removed he was stitched up and ready to go. I have to say it was a little painful to watch but was really educating on exactly how the operation is done.

After the surgery the rest of the day seemed to fly by. Our behaviorist got a bunch of dogs in to some play groups to better socialize them and had another relinquishment that she had to evaluate. I was also called to do another showing with the little guy that I had showed yesterday. The young man looking to adopt wanted to come visit to make sure that it was a right fit. He really fell for the little guy but we were still waiting to hear back from his complex on whether or not he could have a pet in his new apartment. He was very understanding on why we needed the o. k. and said that if was meant to be it would work out. About a half hour after he left we got the approval and he was able to adopt. It was nice to see the effort not only put in by the adopter but also the staff to make this match take place.

With all of the stressful times in the shelter it is still such a learning experience for me. I am glad to say that today was a great learning experience along with finding a new guy his forever home. I am also pretty content to know that since the puppies are now "fixed" they will be going home soon with a lot less poo to pick up. I have attached a video of some of the cute little puppies after their surgery. They are a little groggy but still so cute and I am sure that all of their adopters are looking forward to them coming home.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Still playing catchup.

When my week started everything seemed like it was new for me. The big problem was, since this week began I have felt like everything is going in slow motion and I just can't get ahead of the curve. From the time it takes to clean in the morning to getting all of the laundry caught up, it seems like there just isn't enough time.

I have to say, I will be glad when these seven poop machines are able to go home. They are cute little boogers but the mess that these guys makes is amazing. It was rather funny today while we were putting them in their pin. I was reaching over the sides of the pins to put to puppies in when I leaned down to put them I the ground the weight of the dogs through me off and I went falling straight down. Luckily I was able to put my hands down and keep from hurting both the puppies and myself, but boy did I have a tough time getting up. Luckily there was another staff member there to not only laugh at me but to lend a helping hand.

After all the joking on my behalf it was time to get back to scrubbing down the kennels. Once we got all of them fed and brought back up from the runs it was time to head over to the cattery. I tackled the North side which houses about nine cats. I was actually pretty nice to be in the air conditioning and have the luxury of kitty litter to cover up the smell of poo. Once all the litter had been changed, new food and water placed in the kennels, and all the bedding changed I moved over to cat iso where a group of six cats is waiting to be cleared medically. Before I knew it the clock read 11. I am just glad that I finally finished before people started coming into the shelter. It's always fun to wheel past a wagon full of garbage while customers are walking around looking at the animals.

On to the overflowing laundry room. Since Saturday the pile has been slowly getting smaller but the amount that is still outside of the laundry room is pretty staggering. Even with constantly running the washer and dryer over the last three days, we still haven't caught up on all of the laundry. Makes me wonder what would happen if the mail stopped for a few days. All I know is that if there is a day that we are unable to do laundry we had better have enough staff members the following days to make sure that it gets caught up quickly because boy does this stuff snowball.

Since Mondays are the weekly cleaning days it was time to do all of the poo buckets from all 15 yards. It's not as bad as you would think since the entire kennel staff helps out. I was able to get one yard done when I got asked to help out with a cat relinquishment call. The individual spoke Spanish so me being semi ( and I do mean semi) fluent I was asked to help out. I began by asking the gentleman if he spoke English, he said a little and I told him I spoke a little Spanish. After some really bad spanglish on my part we were able to get all of his information, told him what the fees would be and that he would need to bring any vaccination information. Hopefully I didn't screw up too bad and everything will go well next Monday when he brings his animals in.

Time for afternoon feedings. Another kennel attendant took care of the regular feedings so I started making the special diets. There were only a few since one of the ASP (animal safehouse program) dogs that was on wet only food got to go home today. After making the duck and potato meals for two of the dogs I went in to our lab/greyhound mixes kennel to make sure she ate. She's the one I have talked so much in the past about her not being able to keep weight on and her serious case of IBS. The only way to get our girl to eat is to hand feed her and make sure that she is completely comfortable and not distracted by all of the barking and chaos that is going on around her. After a good ten minutes of coaxing she ate her whole meal. Below is a picture of our sweet girl that just needs a stress free home where she can actually relax.
After all of the feedings and some more laundry of course it was time to bring the dogs down for their last break. While we were bringing them down a showing was called over the radio. It was a young man that was looking at a dachshund mix. It seemed like a good fit but the adopter still needed rental agreement from his apartment complex. He also wanted to think about the big decision over night. Hopefully he'll be back in the morning because it has been a while since I have gotten to send anyone home here and I need that pick me up.

With time running out in the day I was asked once again to help out with a translation at the front desk. There were two women with their dogs asking if they could relinquish them to us. I explained that our evaluator wasn't here today and they would need to make an appointment to evaluate their pets. Unfortunately the two women had to leave to Mexico in the morning and they are unable to bring their dogs across the border. I then had to explain that they were going to have to go to a county shelter in order to drop off their animals. It was heartbreaking to hear their stories and how long they had had their pets but it was nice to see that they just weren't throwing them on the streets and actually looking for a good shelter to put them up for adoption. I told them where to go and that the shelter would find good homes for their companions and prophetically apologized for their difficult situation.

The day came to an end with not much to show for it rather than a shrinking pile of laundry. It was nice that several ASP animals (including a cat) got to go home with their owners. Overall I am looking forward to my Friday to get a break and recharge my emotions. Tomorrow should be fun though, seven puppy neuters and hopefully knocking out the rest of the laundry.

Monday, May 11, 2009

What's that smell?

It's nice when you start your day and from the moment you get there to the moment you leave you always feel one step behind. It seemed like everyone was in a coma this morning and just not able to put it into gear. Well, I say this just because this is how I felt and I was so unmotivated early on that might have imagined everyone else feeling the same way. I began by cleaning out the West side kennels, slowly, then moved to the rabbitat which took a little while longer than usual. I have been knocking out that section of cleaning usually in about 45 minutes but when I went in today I realized that the five empty cages from our recent adoptions had been filled. Needless to say I wasn't finished until after the doors for the shelter opened.

Once all of the cleaning was done I got the trashed taken out and moved on to the laundry room where poo and pee smelling blankets and bedding literally were stacked to the ceiling. Now I have said there has been a lot of laundry before but this is insane. Since the propane went out last week and laundry didn't get done for several days it backed up rather quickly. We were able to get it knocked down to shoulder level so hopefully on Monday we can get caught up (me being an optimist because it might take a few days more).

After leaving the "pee poo room", that's what I am going to call the laundry room until we can get it all cleaned and organized, I headed in for a walkie talkie. I noticed that pretty much everyone was in a showing than I realized that one of the showings was with a lovely English family that I had spent a lot of time last week looking both at cats and dogs. You might remember, they were the ones with a pedigree cat and a "muggle" that they had adopted from us a few years back. Anyways, they had thought it all over and came back to look at some cats. They ended up, at least the children, falling in love with a mother daughter bonded pair and after a little arm twisting with dad decided to adopt. I know they will have a very loving home for these animals and I am glad they took some time to make this very important decision.

Once I had packed up Lyla and Sky, the new names for the kitties, I decided to go give some love to some special dogs. One is our girl that has been here for quite some time that has had some trouble gaining weight. Not sure if I said it but after all the tests and surgeries we finally found some inflamed tissue in her intestine, after all of that, we still can't say for sure what it is except for a little IBS. Anyways, she does eat, she just needs to be in a comfortable atmosphere. What that means to me is I will go in the kennel and pet on her for a while then proceed to hand feed her a special diet of duck and potato food. I think she has put on a little weight which is a great sign and hopefully get her adopted soon.

After spending some time with our little nervous girl I went over to our little special needs chihuahua who is an obvious reason why breeders need to check what they are doing. The little guy has one eye that is smaller from the other, a tounge that is too long so it sticks out of his mouth parcially, and a skeletal system that seems to have its problems as well. The little guy is completly happy but really is pathetic looking. Everytime I see him I just want to take him everywhere I go. He'll jump up on you and give you kisses and just the look on his face is ridiculous. The one thing I have to say about the dog is that he is an obious product of breeders trying to get the animals smaller and smaller. I have included a picture below just so you can see how cute (and pathetic) this guy really is.


With some calming time (for me and the dogs) out of the way it was time to get back to work. More laundry done, a cat intake that really took the cake for pathetic animals, and one more showing and interaction with two of our larger dogs. Once again I didn't have any dog adoptions today but I was able to somehow get caught up with the day. I was able to spend some truly quality time with some animals that needed it and we also were able to take in a cat that was grossly underweight and having problems with its' teeth. All in all it was a good day, a little hectic and out of whack in a sort but a good day. Hopefully the next few days will be a little less chaotic and we can take care of all of the essentials of the shelter so next weekend we can really focus on getting the animals some forever homes. Thanks for reading and I will be back tomorrow to share some more.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Good Ole' Saturdays

The morning began with a little bitter sweetness. I learned that one of our long termers had gotten adopted and was thrilled to hear the news, at the same time I learned that three of our other animals had been returned to the shelter. In fact two of the animals were a bonded pair that I had adopted out about two weeks ago. This is my first "return" so to speak. The news really did hit hard, I was so sure that the woman was a good fit for the two dogs that when I heard the news I was pretty much in shock. When I spoke with the rest of the staff that had a little more info on the situation I learned that one of the little guys (who had lived together their whole lives) was a bit of an attention hog and when the adopter tried loving on the other guy the one would go abosolutely ape. I know that it is tough for me but the positive outlook on it is we know this now and we can use this information in finding the right home for these animals.

Another dog had been returned to the shelter during my days off as well. I was completely blindsided by this one. I thought the adopters were pretty much perfect and really did care about the dog. I was right that they really cared for the animal but unfortuanately their living and work situation caused a few problems. Once the dog was adopted the adopter took her home, left her in the condo, and went to work. For animals that are completely acclimated to their enviornment this o.k., but for those that have been in a shelter and have cortisol levels through the roof it can cause a problem. The animal ended up chewing through some base boards and a door trying to get out and since the condo was rented they felt that the dog would be too destructive and had to bring her back. I really don't blame anyone here, it was an unfortuante event that happened, but people need to be aware that shelter dogs are different from any other animal out there. They need an extreme amount of work and patience but with time they will be your lifelong friends.

On to the busy stuff. All I have to say about cleaning this morning is dissinfecting South with seven puppies that love to poo EVERYWHERE! Once all of the guys were fed, including special diets, we split up and covered the cattery and rabbitat. Before we knew it the clock said 11:00. Opening time and boy I didn't feel prepared. It seemed after being off for three days that I had pretty much forgotten about everything that I was doing here.

I was called to do a showing with a little terrier that is part of our second chance dogs. I read over the file and realized that the adopters had two young children at home and that posed a problem for the animal that they were looking at. The dog gets along with kids fine but had broken it's pelvis before he came to the shelter and had to have some pretty serious surgery this past week. For about the next three to four weeks the little guy can't run around or play and with children in the household that can be pretty difficult. The woman understood, especially becuase she is a physical therapist, but still wanted to meet the guy anyhow. She said she would be back in a few weeks to see if he was still here becuase they really liked his termperment.

Before I knew it lunch time was approaching. That was after a little business got taken care of. There was a relinqueshment of a very old terrier that seemed to be on her last leg. The poor girl was blind, had some massive infections in several areas, and even snapped a few times. Normally we wouldn't take a dog like this because we feel that she was unadoptable, but because of the situation the animal was coming from we felt it necissary. The woman that had been taking care of the animal was stricken with Parkinsins disease and could no longer care for the animal. We spoke with the woman's daughter who brought the animal in and also with the woman herself and informed them about the situation. The owner ended up wanted to put the animal down and her daughter agreed. The rest of the story is pretty unknown to me, as soon as I heard they were going to put the animal down I tried focussing my attention to other things.

Luckily there was a woman that brought in her young pug to have her microchipped. I was glad to get out of the situation I was in to help out. The procedure was very easy, we simply fed the animal some cream cheese, and used a syringe to inject the micorchip under the animals skin right around the neck. Not even a squirm came out of the little pug, probably the easiest microchipping I have ever been part of.

With the day progressing and feedings out of the way I was called to another showing, or rather denial. The family was looking at one of our puppies but on their application said that the animal would be kept outside while the family was away. This is an automatic denial because there are so many issues that can arrise from that living situation. The family had a tough time understanding the denial and through just about every argument at me. They used guilt because the puppy was for thier daughter's 13 birthday and I was keeping her from getting the dog, they also used blind dumbness saying that they did not understand the question on the form, and my favorite one was the dad saying that it wasn't his "fault that his wife filled out the wrong answer, let me just fill out another application". After about five minutes of saying that they couldn't have a puppy the mother was crying and the father looked like he wanted to hit me, that was when I became amazed, the young daughter put her arm on her Mother's back and said that it was o.k.. I was so shocked that I really became speechless. The maturity and understanding astonished me, I just hope it rubbs off on her parents.

To close out the day there were a lot of showings today with not to much to show for. We had quite a few puppies adopted including one that happened right before we closed, but other than that we ended up with more dogs than we started out with today. With a few relinqueshments and a lot of busy work the day came to an end. Even though not to many people went home with animals today it was good to know that there are people out there looking. I can only cross my fingers and hope that some of our guys will go home tomorrow. Thanks for reading and remember, educate, the more people that know about these animals the better.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I feel like I've been slacking

It always seems that when Tuesdays (my Friday) roll around I am so ready to be at home that I do just about everything possible to do as little as possible. This Tuesday I really did start the day out fine, it just seemed that as the day progressed I quickly became less and less motivated.

The day started off pretty unassuming with the usual cleaning. It has been a little different since we have seven puppies that are all free fed so you can imagine how their homes look after 12 hours of confinement. Not only is there about five solid pounds of poo but about 90% of the time the little guys run through it and spread it everywhere, including my shirt as they are carried down to the puppy yard for a morning romp with each other.

After feedings and getting all of the guys back in their kennels I moved onto what seemed like the fewest rabbits I have ever seen here. Apparently there were quite a few adoptions of the little guys which made the cleaning a breeze aside from the running nose and constant sneezing. I really do think my theory is working though that the more and more I work with them the less my allergies will affect me. My reactions are night and day different from the first time I entered the rabbitat to today which is a really good thing.

After the rabbits I moved to iso to take care of the bite quarantined dogs. They were able to get out for a break and I made sure they had lots of good food for the morning. I'm not going to lie though, even though one of these guys was only about 20 pounds I was still very hesitant in entering the kennel, especially after the fact that my hand is covered in band aids after our last encounter. I took things very slowly and had another staff member help in calming the animal who really wasn't ready to leave its area. We decided to leave him be and just put a pile of treats in the kennel, some fresh water, and a bowl of food.

Moving on to taking out the garbage we decided it was going to take two of us today. Simple reason, we knew the dumpster was already stuffed full and today we would need someone to sit on the lid while the other locked it up. To my surprise we were able to get all of the bags in the dumpster, flip the lids, jump up and down a few times, and put all of our weight on the top and were able to get the thing locked down. I'm just glad no one was watching as I started slipping off of the damn thing and nearly broke my ankle. Hey, you gotta do what you have to do, and luckily the garbage will be picked up the next morning.

When I was washing my hands I got a text from my fiance saying that our son, a.k.a. our dog, had eaten a bag of chocolate so I asked around and decided to bring the guy up to the shelter so we could keep an eye on him. It was nice at first to have his familiar face smiling at me but after a while it was more of a nuisance because he really deterred me from helping the other guys. I decided to introduce him to a few dogs to see if we could find him a play date and it was fun to watch him interact and run around with one of our shelter dogs that has yet to make any friends here.

During the rest of the afternoon there was an abnormally high rate of EBR's (euthanasia by request) that was just depressing. I had to help carry in one of the dogs because he was so large. He was a sweet gray lab that weighed in at about 130 pounds that was crippled from his mid section back. We carried him on to the stretcher where he made a mess of himself. The owners were very emotional and you can really only say "I'm sorry". It is so sad to not only know that this animal is about to go over the rainbow bridge but to see the emotions that the family is experiencing truly makes these moments tough. I know that it is part of the job but it doesn't make it any easier. I'm just glad that I was not there to help out with the really tough task.

Luckily I was able to go and throw the ball around with my boy and his new friend. It really got my mind off of the tough reality that we all get old at some point and there is a threshold when we say that it is time to end the suffering. Turning away from all of the depressing stuff, our little guy that has been returned twice and just got through his second round of heart de-worming got to go home today. I have to say, I am probably going to go home and light a candle and cross my fingers that the third time is the charm. This poor little guy has been through so much that he really does deserve to live a full and happy life. I know that he will make a great addition to any family, I just hope that his latest one appreciate him for the companion that he is. On my Dad's suggestion I have taken a picture of him just so you can see how cute this little under bite guy is. Thanks for reading and keep the comments coming, I love to know what people are thinking.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Interesting ending to a pretty good day

It seems when you have seven puppies in attendance your mornings start pretty much the same every time. The amount of poo these little guys put out is absolutely amazing. I know we are feeding them a lot of food but I wonder if they are even digesting any of it or it actually just runs right through them. Anyways, after cleaning all of the areas from the kennels, the rabbitat, and the cattery, oh and of course all of the iso animals and cats that are spread throughout the rooms of the shelter it was time to take out the trash.

I love it when there is a special event at the shelter's dog park because there is usually so much trash that it overflows in front of the dumpster. It's hard to type sarcasm so I'll just tell you it is actually really annoying, especially when I have five more bags of garbage to fit in the dumpster along with the three that were left out in front. After a whole lot of jumping and prying I was able to get the lid shut and the lock put on.

Today being Monday there are a few weekly cleaning duties that need to get taken care of. One being my favorite, emptying poo buckets. Today was a little different in our approach though. Our supervisor decided to join in and show us how she used to do it. It's honestly pretty juvenile but it was actually pretty fun at the same time and made the task that much easier. What we did was collect all 15 garbage bags full of poo, strategically place the wagon that we put them in and stand about 50 yards away, it was now poo chucking time. I know how horrible this sounds but the bags were sealed tight and it put a little flare into our routine. With me sinking one in the wagon on my third try I was declared the winner and actually didn't have to stuff all of the bags in the already full dumpster. Not only was the task fun I got out of jumping on the garbage in order to get the lids closed.

With the laundry running I got a call to bring two dogs up that had been adopted last week but needed to be kenneled while the new owner was out of town. It was nice to see the same enthusiasm from the adopter as I saw the first day that she met the pair. It was also great to see the little guys get out of here and into a less stressful environment.

After the excitement it was on to another Monday duty of cleaning the cattery windows. Now this was a quick job due to Saturday's grand opening that called for all of us to pretty much spit shine the place. Needless to say I went around the entire shelter to clean as many windows as possible just because there was the time and after the excitement of the poo tossing contest I didn't want any down time.

The down time came and boy did I enjoy it. I was able to spend time with a lot of dogs today and it was truly relaxing and rewarding. I sat with a little one year old puppy that was originally ours but had to be relinquished because the owner lost their job and was in need of a transplant.It just goes to show that you never know the situation that these animals are coming from and you should never judge or assume.

Back to work, it was time to set up the west side kennels for the new arrivals. It was that time again that our behavior therapist goes down to a kennel to give some dogs a second chance. This time there would be eight little guys and two not so little. After I disinfected the runs with bleach I set up the beds and added some toys in all of the kennels. Before I knew it all of the dogs were here from their trip. They were all adorable ranging from a little chi hoo that looks like he was very "special" to a lab and a min pin. Of course you can't forget all of the chi hoo mixes that seem to come out of this shelter. After some quick intros it was time to get all of the dogs down for their afternoon break.

That was when I was called to do a cat showing. Rather it was a cat denial. It was a couple that had put down on their profile that they will de-claw because of their leather furniture and not to mention the man's hound has killed the woman's cat before as well. It was a simple I'm sorry but we can't adopt to you and that was that. I was just amazed at how adamant the woman was about how she was going to de-claw even thought she know what the process entailed. Oh well, hopefully she won't be back trying to use a different name to get one of our animals, even thought I have a pretty good idea that everyone will remember her.

Before I knew it the clock read 4:30 and it was time to grab the last of the dogs from the yards. The only ones left were the new second chance dogs that were still on their break. Most had gone up when our behaviorist talked to me about one guy that she had to separate from the rest because he was beating up on everyone. She had decided to put him with a female to see if there was any change in behavior. Of course that was the dog that was left to be brought up. I opened the gate and the little 15 pound guy dashed to get out, I quickly grabbed him and realized my mistake as continually chomped on my hand. After a few profanities I let go and luckily he ran into one of the other kennels. The sad part is I know that he was just scared and very stressed out, but for the next few days he will have to go on bite quarantine in order to best evaluate the situation. Hopefully his cortisol levels we even out and he will turn out to be the sweetest little guy we have, in the mean time I have to go to the doctor to get some antibiotics and a few 12 dollar band aids.

Monday, May 4, 2009

sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!

After yesterday it seems like today was really a cake walk. The cleaning however did create a few problems. We were a little short handed but had some extra help come in to assist early in the morning but after we got done taking care of the dogs and getting them fed we realized that we were going to be very short on supplies for both the rabbits and the cats. It wasn't a huge problem but it did require a little juggling of hay, stay fresh bedding, and kitty litter. Once all of the cleaning and feedings had been done it was already half an hour after opening and it was time to get down to business.

It was really amazing to see how few dogs we actually had in the shelter now. During our morning cleaning we had rearranged them to get them centrally located as well as clearing out the West side kennels to make room for some more second chance dogs that are going to come in tomorrow. After the amount of animals that went home yesterday it was a wonder that we had any animals left at all. It is nice to just have some of the long term ones here and really nothing else because it does almost force people to notice them more. I guess it boils down to that old business model of supply and demand. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that some more of those guys can go home before the new batch comes in.

Speaking of those long termers going home, the people that came to see our Boxer/Sharpei mix came back today with some more paperwork stating that their neutered dog was in actuality a show dog which gives us permission to adopt to them. I know, I know, we are so stringent on spaying and neutering in our policies and for good reasons but this is one of those situations that the rule is overlooked. In this instance I am glad it was too. Our little boy has finally found a home where he will have a little brother to play with and a family to love him. He has been at the shelter going on three months this go round and this has been his second stay here with us. All I can do is hope that the family works out and our little spaz of a dog is happy and well behaved.

After washing some dishes and attempting to catch up on the laundry (one of our all star staff members always seems to be on top of it when ever I go in there now) I was called for a showing with a cat. The family had already adopted one from us about three years ago and was looking for a third to come home with them. They were a lovely group of people with those heavy British accents that you just love to hear. They even said they were looking for a muggle, to my Harry Potter skills I knew they were looking for a mutt. The cat that they had initially wanted to look at was a fickle little girl that can get easily over stimulated and tend to bite. They noticed this very quickly when we went to visit but I wanted to show them some other friendlier cats before they left. Luckily they were already in the room and the family noticed them themselves. The children were quite hilarious trying to tell their "daddy" that this one was the perfect cat and we should get him. They continued on until the father decided it was time to think it over. Of course the mother was no help staying behind a few more minutes to love on the feline a little longer. I let them be and expected them to go home to think about it. I strolled back to the office to finish up on the profile when I was told that they were now looking at the dogs.

Before I knew it they had filled out another profile for dogs and wanted to see our little girl named Twiggy. She is a sweet timid little wire haired "muggle" that loves everyone. Before I showed the family I had to cat test the dog to make sure that it was even possible for this animal to go home to a family with cats. We did the quick interaction and the poor little terrier mix was more scared than anything else. After that it was decided to continue the showing and the family (aside from the father) absolutely loved the little girl. They loved her size, her temperament, and the fact that you could hold her on her back and she would fall asleep. The problem was that the dad was obviously knowing that he would be the one responsible for the animal even while the children were promising to walk her every day. They persisted for him to hold her and said but "she only weighs like one gram daddy" as I persisted in telling the family that it was a huge decision and they should do their research and think about it over night. Extremely long story made merely long, the family continued with some questions, left then came back again, the daughter cried a lot, and the father stood strong. They left without adopting and went home to think about it.

While this whole process was going on there were an old couple of dogs that had to be adopted together. In the time of my extensive showing they had been cat tested and adopted to a wonderful couple. After a few high fives and taking the remaining few dogs out for their afternoon break it was time to go home. Today was a little different in we had to think on our toes and adapt situationally. I will tell you I have been working on my British accent and I should be talking like it for at least two days sharing the showing with the rest of my coworkers.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The big day

I call it the big day because today is what the staff has been preparing for the past couple of weeks. It was finally time for the grand opening of the new cattery. Even though it has been in operation for some time now this was to be the ceremonial day for everyone to attend that played key roles in having the state of the art new addition built. The attendees included donors, builders, and even some local government officials. It was nice to see who was involved in the large scale project and it was even nicer to hear a donor pledge money every year and even begin a trust so when they pass on the shelter will continue to receive money.

With all of the cleaning and organizing done it seemed like we were pretty bored during the opening because there were so many volunteers helping out with the busy day. The did everything from meet and greets at the front to help take animals down to their runs to make our jobs easier. I just have to say thanks to all of the people that helped make this opening such a smooth success, especially the staff members that put so much effort into making it perfect. Another thing I have to add is earlier in the week while we were preparing for an additional ten cats the local newspaper came in to cover the grand opening story. Of course, me being me, I was at the wrong place at the wrong time and added a few quotes and picture to the story. I'll do my best to post it here in a few days.

After all of the formalities it was time to get to business. After last week I was looking forward to getting some adoptions in the book. I say this because just about everything set me off last week and I am having a very difficult time working here right now. Whether it's the money or the feelings I have for these animals I need a pick me up day because the more and more I think about everything the worse it gets. Luckily today was the kind of day I needed. First I learned that two animals that had been in the shelter for quite some time had found new homes. Apparently one of the volunteers took the dog's information and picture and made flyers up that she then posted all over her neighborhood. A family that had recently lost their pet felt that this dog had come to them. They came into the shelter the next day and adopted a sweet overweight mutt that has been in the shelter now for about three months. This is the kind of story I need. It just makes you smile when you think about it.

On to my showings, it started with a little Corgi/Sheppard mix that had already been returned to the shelter once and also just got out of isolation due to a bad case of kennel cough. The woman that wanted to meet him had the same mix but about three times larger. There were a few issues that immediately arose, one was our guys aggression towards some dogs, the other was the fact that the adopter's dog was really overweight. I was tactful enough to get it out of the owner that her dog was on a diet and was working with the obesity which is what I was looking for. Once she fell in love with our little guy it was time to intro them to each other. After some sniffs and a little ignoring it seemed that the two personalities were a perfect fit. I told the woman that it will take time and a lot of patience, as well as some resolve carpet cleaner, to get everything perfect but when that time comes it will be worth the wait. She agreed and decided to adopt. I'm glad this little guy not only gets to go home but he has a new girlfriend that will keep him company as well.

Fast forwarding, there were about five or six more showings that all went very well. We ended up adopting several cats and a whole lot of dogs. We even almost adopted our boxer sharpei mix that has been in the shelter forever but there was still a little more paperwork that we needed from the adopters. So cross your fingers and hope that tomorrow is his big day.

Today was a great day, of course there is always the drama, like having to switch all of the dogs food and adding seven new puppies to south side. That might not seem like much but when you switch a dog's food usually their stomachs do not react well. That is why this had to be the most dog poo and diarrhea I have ever seen in my life. When your day starts by someone saying "are you gagging?, if you're gagging I'm going to start gagging", then of course all you do at that point is try not to throw up. It's funny after starting your day like this that you can still call it a great day. No matter how much poo, how bad your eyes are watering, or how under appreciated you are sometimes it all pays off when you can send an animal home to the perfect family. Thank goodness for that or I don't think I could handle this place.
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