It's pretty simple...Times are changing and I have taken the opportunity to pursue my passion with animals. My goal is to share my experiences with working in an animal shelter to promote not only the importance of animals but the benefits of adopting these loving pets. Professionally I have done just about everything and feel that it is time to give back and share the stories that I see. Remember, each person has the responsibility to share their stories in order for everyone else to learn.
Clean, clean, clean, and of course have a long meeting
For some reason I always feel like the harder you work the more is put on your shoulders. Today I felt that once again. As with any other day it began with cleaning, since I was the early person I got to taking care of the dogs immediately at eight o'clock. After I had gotten all of the animals back in their kennels and monitored a few of their feedings I headed over to the rabbitat. Not sure if I was working fast or not but usually the later crew takes care of the rabbits but since I found the time I decided to bust it out. Once I finished I remembered that I still had to clean out the yards that I had put the dogs in earlier this morning, when I took care of that I came back and saw that the one rabbit left in ISO had be done. It was nice to see everyone working together with the "common goal" of getting everything done as quickly and efficiently as possible. It's also nice to have everyone help each other out which is what I am seeing more and more of at the shelter. Once thing that I have learned here, of the many things, that if there is a problem, it is every one's problem.
After we took out the garbage, got the dishes washed, and started the laundry it was time for a kennel staff meeting. Of course that didn't stop a few of us from putting together a four story cat condominium that was donated to the shelter. While we were busy reading the directions the meeting started off with a bit of a psychotherapy session. It began with our head of medical speaking to us about the difficult times that we face working in a shelter. It covered the four stages that we all go through and focused heavily on euthanasia. It was good to hear how she personally dealt with the emotional stress that one goes through but also to hear a better explanation and reasoning of why it is a "necessary evil". The big thing that she said we have to focus on is the bigger picture. There are so many animals that need homes and so few shelters that you really need to get the good ones out there in order to promote the shelter throughout the community as well as having more people understand that shelters are a great place for great pets. I know that sounds pretty harsh but if you put a dog out there is barking and biting and being aggressive people will think that that is what shelter dogs are like when in reality those types are few and far between. Overall I thought it was a great explanation and truly did help my understanding of the incredibly sad process that is part of every shelter.
Once that was taken care of the meeting moved to animal behavior itself and how difficult dogs are to be handled. I think this portion was focused on me since about two weeks ago I was stirring up a dogs food and he came over and started eating without any signs of aggression. I past this info along to our behavior analysis who took it as I was food testing a dog that had already shown signs of aggression. Then the meeting went into the cost of workman's comp and so forth and how even if the shelter was made out of money the concern for the safety of the workers is a top priority.
Finally on to the day. Of course since I was part of the early crew my day was almost over. I did have time however to do a little more deep cleaning in the cattery and even got called to a showing. It was with a young boxer mix named Hounder. The match with the family seemed pretty good but a few more people had to meet. The potential adopter said he would be back this afternoon with everyone but unfortunately was unable to make it. I did however get a call from them saying that they would be in first thing in the morning since we work on a first come first serve basis. Hopefully everyone, including their other dog, gets along and Hounder can head home after he gets neutered.
There was an adoption that took place today though. It was with Hounder's roomate and she found an older brother who fit perfectly into her life. She is going to go home with a loving family and an older giant Italian Greyhound, or whippet if you ask me, and will be able to play all day. It's nice to see dogs that have been here such a short time able to go home so quickly, it is tough though when you think about all of the ones that have been here entirely too long.
If you didn't notice the picture up top yet you have to take a look. It's a picture of Sweetie, a sweet older girl that has been in the shelter now for about four months. She was lucky enough today to have a volunteer take her to the doggy salon and get her hair done. Hopefully the cute new look will draw some attention and get the pretty girl adopted. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to hearing your comments.