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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Second Chance Dogs


Like I was saying yesterday, today was a bit different than any other day at the shelter. It began with me waking up at 6:30 in the morning and heading to the shelter a little over an our before the rest of the staff got there. I met our behavior therapist in the parking lot where she had already packed up a van with crates and whole bunch of donations for a county shelter that we were about to head out to.

The drive wasn't to bad at all, it took about three and half hours or so and seemed to fly by as we were discussing everything from Caesar Milan to the reasons why people need to feel dominant over their animals. After a short restroom break and a stop for 130 dollars worth of gas we turned the corner and were at our destination. It was a county shelter here in California that is usually completely overrun with animals. I have to say I went to the shelter with low expectations but the facility was better than I had imagined. It was however still very difficult to see so many animals just running around and even more crammed into a few kennels.

Once we arrived it was time for some evaluations. There are definitely some requirements for the dogs that she picks because there is no point putting a dog through the stress of this trip if it is only going to make them worse and even less adoptable. She proceeded to go to each kennel checking both age and a little background info before she would step in to each kennel to assess the dogs. One main stipulation that I had no idea about was that any dog under four could not be taken back to the shelter. I guess they had some health problems in the past with some youngsters that they are trying to avoid now.

With all of the evaluations were done we were able to narrow the search down to about a possible 15 dogs that we could take back. The only problem is that the limit is ten so some decisions are going to have to be made at this point. The behavior therapist said that I could suggest some dogs if I would like but my problem with that is then I feel responsible for the ones that aren't able to make it to our shelter. I know that sounds pretty weak but when you see all of the dogs just giving you those "help me eyes" you can't help but want to take them all home.

Once the dogs started getting narrowed down to good possibilities they were written up on our list with information about their breed, age, sex, and of course their color. It's really amazing how you can get so many dogs confused. I do understand why it happens though, there must have been like 20 chihuahua mixes running around who all looked like they could be related. As we made our way around the kennels the tally of dogs grew who were going to be coming with. They all ranged from beagles, puggles, and of course all of the chihuahua mixes. That's when I noticed two very large dogs and one was barking pretty crazy like. The thing was the other one seemed sweeter than any dog I have seen in a while. I'm not sure why but I had to point this dog out to my fellow staff member. She had noticed the dog earlier but was hesitant to enter the kennel with the other one being so protective but had calmed down a bit since we first arrived. She decided to go in and the dog seemed like she would be a good fit for the shelter. Of course it's all on me now if anything goes wrong which I am completely will to take responsibility for. I'll post a picture of the sweet girl who I named Maria in honor of my Ma.

All of the dogs had been picked, oh yeah, and our limit of ten turned into eleven since the little five pound chihuahua really doesnt count. After a little bit of paper work and getting all of the vaccinations straight it was time to load em up and head on out. Surprisingly the drive went increadibly smoothe. I was able to eat my lunch, read a book, and even discuss some world issues with the driver. There was only one instant that a few of the dogs barked when we were climbing in elevation and the poor little guys might have felt some pressure if you know what I mean. We were both amazed that when we got to the shelter around 2 and took the dogs out to their yards for their first break in their new home none of them had made a mess in their cages. Of course a few ticks had fallen off but that was about it.

Seeing all of the dogs running around was amazing! After a long break from the car ride they were paired up and put into their kennels where food, water, toys, and a warm bed awaited. Oh, and did I mention that rather than wait for intake the med staff decided to give them all their vaccinations and micro chipping today. They felt that it would be easier on the dogs and also on the med staff as well. I helped out by holding all of the animals and it seemed to go o.k., of course there were the few that took it like champs and those that squirmed and tried to bite you.

Today was a good day, it was interesting to learn how we recieve our second chance dogs and the criteria we have for making sure that they have a good chance of getting adopted. One thing that I hope for is that we have a few adoptions this weekend so that we are able to go down again on Monday to get some more dogs. I can only cross my fingers that this will happen and some of those young puppies left behind will loose those baby teeth so we can call them at least four months old.

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