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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A little concern and a whole lot of cleaning

Starting the day by taking out all of the dogs for their morning break is nothing unusual, finding out that a certain few need to go in special yards for their surgery is. Typically you don't see to many animals with the dreaded cones on but today there were three. Not paying attention to much to the dogs I focussed on cleaning and getting all of the dogs fed and back in their kennels.

Once all of the dogs were up I noticed that our little huskie mix had taken off her cone while in the yard. I was able to get it back on and never paid any attention to it. Ten minutes later I had a volunteer come and tell me that she had taken it off again and was licking her spay site. The bigger concern is that there was some blood. I immediately ran back and grabbed her, I noticed it wasn't a complete emergency but it certainly needed some attention. I brought her back to the medical staff where without hesitation they handled the problem by wrapping a pressure bandage around the dog's waist. The kept her in the office to monitor her and felt she might need a "slumber party" at the vets office just to make sure nothing goes wrong. I have to say that I am glad our med staff can keep their cool because I sure wasn't.

After the excitement it was back to cleaning. We had a full staff today so we all wanted to knock everything out that has been slacked on earlier in the week. We were able to almost entirely catch up on laundry and cleaned a good portion of all of the crates. Of course there is always more to do and hopefully later in the week we can get everything done.

Along with all of the cleaning today I helped our behaviorist introduce our new dog who suffers from separation anxiety with another dog. Recently we have had some fears with the new guy and dogs but we also feel that without the interaction this under socialized dog is going to have a tough time adjusting to shelter life. Luckily the dog that we introduced him to was very tolerant and quick on her toes. Of course our new guy tried a whole lot of mounting but he also would roll on his back and take direction well. Hopefully he will continue to progress and eventually will settle down and become the highly adoptable animal that he can be. Here is a picture of the two drinking out of the hose after a good run around one of the yards.

Even though I didn't have any showings today I was feel like a lot got accomplished. We took care of a lot of necessary cleaning and we also found a new friend for our new arrival. I also learned that we had an adoption which is icing on any cake. Hopefully more animals can find their forever homes this week because after all, that is why we are here. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finishing with a bang

Today, as every other, began with cleaning. I was actually surprised that it wasn't extremely messy but it still took up a good portion of the morning to get everything done. I started out taking care of the East and West dogs which includes those on quarantine still because they are part of our second chance program. What that means is that you have to clean in a very particular order to do your best in trying to avoid cross contamination.

Once the dogs were all done and back in their kennels with some breakfast I headed over to the rabbitat to make sure all of the bunnies were taken care of. I have to say it was quite a bit easier today handling the furry little guys after the pointers I got from our resident expert. I learned the best way to approach them, how to calm them down, how to read their body language, and most importantly how not to get bit.

After all of the cleaning and the "daily do's" out of the way I decided to spend some time with a dog, not only to help them out but to give me a nice relaxing break as well. The dog I decided to hang out with was our new arrival that I mentioned yesterday. He is a sweet guy that is probably the craziest door dasher and humper I have every come across at the shelter. I did learn quickly that once he settles down and if you are patient with him he can be a very sweet and caring boy. He ended up just plopping down next to me on his bed and getting his belly rubbed the entire time I was with him. Mind you it did take a lot of my leg getting humped to get to that point but it's good to see that he can actually calm down.

Of course I couldn't forget my favorite part of Monday's, poop buckets. If that didn't come across as sarcastic I'll have to work on my syntax. Anyways, since we were short handed I found myself doing this task alone, not that it's that bad but to be honest it can get pretty nasty. Luckily we weren't to busy at this time so I was able to get it finished in one attempt.

Being short handed I was surprised that we were able to get everything done in a timely fashion today. That was of course until the late afternoon when an influx of adopters decided to head our way. Before I knew it I was in two showings at once and having to explain to a couple about having the dog they were looking at spayed this week and how that will affect the dog's pregnancy. Not an easy topic to discuss but luckily I came armed with some good reasoning from our med staff and the potential adopters understood. They still wanted to think about it since it was such a big decision but they would check back tomorrow.

While all of this was going on I had another couple that had been in a few times in the past including yesterday back to check out a dog. After a whole lot of time and interaction they decided that she was the one. They seemed genuinely happy with their decision and were looking forward to taking their new addition home soon. They even asked if they can come visit until she has her spay. That I always like to hear.

Of course while all of this is going on there is also another dog adoption as well as a cat. Kind of a busy afternoon with only three kennel staff members handling everything. In any case it was a great way to finish the day and if needed I am sure that any one of us would have stayed late to make sure the adoptions went well.

I couldn't forget to add a picture today, so up top is a blurry picture of Taxi, a spaniel mix with, of course, a huge underbite. I have to say this entire group of second chance dogs has nothing but sweethearts in it. I know that with a little more time all of them will find their forever homes. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

Monday, September 28, 2009

As usual, some new faces and a few adoptions while I was gone

No matter how long I have been doing this, and it feels like a very long time, it is always a surprise when I go back to work after having a few days off. When I came into work today the first thing I did was check to board to see who had been adopted. To my surprise there was more cats than dogs. That was before I actually went out to the kennels and saw the number of adopted signs that were up on the dog kennels. See, we actually don't add animals to the board unless they actually go home, and since we have so many guys that are in need of their spay and neuter that when they get adopted they still stay at the shelter until the surgery is done.

Of course for every dog that gets adopted there is another one waiting to get into the shelter. We had three more relinquishments that were new to me today. Two were some cute little fuzzy lhasa mixes that I am sure will find homes very quickly. The other is a lab mix (maybe some pit) that might be at the shelter a little while longer. You know you have to prepare yourself for the worst when the behaviorist said she didn't know what she was thinking when she took in the animal.

When I first met him I understood. When I went up to the kennel I got a nice low growl that certainly made my cheeks pucker a bit. Then I heard how much he is attracted to legs, like death grip humping. Even with all of this you have to remain optimistic because the poor guy just lost his home and was thrown into this horribly stressful environment. I was glad to see after working with him for a little while that he did settle down and really mellow out. Goes to show you that not only can you not judge a book by it's cover, you need to be able to take a step back here at the shelter and realize no matter how good of a shelter it is, it's still a stressful situation for the animals. I hope that the little guy adapts well and gets adopted sooner than later because it just breaks my heart seeing him clinging to people because he is so nervous.

My first showing of the day was a good one. It was with a family of four that had actually seen a few of our dogs at an event today. From their profile it seemed like a perfect home for one of our animals, it just needed to be the right animal. After asking a few questions, and me being asked a lot, we decided it was time to go and visit Ruca, a sweet collie mix that had been relinquished about three weeks ago. The showing went very well and the family asking all of the right questions. After a good while the father and mother decided to talk about it because it was such a big decision. They then asked me if they should go and check out some other shelters because they didn't want to rush into anything. I told them that Ruca wouldn't be adopted for the rest of the afternoon and to go and check out some other shelters to make sure that she was the one. After a few moments of silence the father spoke up and said he didn't need to, she WAS THE ONE. A great family getting a great dog, that is why I do this.

The rest of the day was pretty normal. I had one more showing that if it pans out I will tell you about it tomorrow. Other than that I just rode the cloud that I was on from the other adoption, that and the news that Lilly, another one of our larger dogs, had gotten adopted as well. I have to say, I am not the biggest fan of working weekends, but it's when the most adoptions take place and boy do I like being a part of them. Thanks for reading as always, and if you're not following us through google or Facebook I would certainly appreciate it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Something completely different and new

As usual, I started the day cleaning. The big difference was though, once I took care of the small amount of cats in our cattery I had a drink of coffee and headed over to the surgery suite to assist the medical staff today.

As soon as I met up with the med staff it was go from second one. Immediately I helped out masking down a dog that was slated for a dental. I learned quickly that when a dog gets anesthetized they can get a little squirmy. Luckily though this little guy was a total of about eight pounds so it was easily handled. As soon as he went down we clipped his toenails and gave him a few shots for pain and antibiotics. We also constantly monitored his heartbeat and oxygen levels. Then it was time to intubate him which was a lot easier than I had imagined. Once everything was prepped I monitored his heartbeat and breathing constantly adjusting the gas mix to keep his heartbeat steady and of course keep him from waking up. After his cleaning and polishing the gas was turned off as we continued to monitor his heart until he slowly began to wake up. Once he swallowed it was time to remove the tube from his throat. Before hand you had to remember that the air was taking out of the small balloon that makes the whole system work.

I found that pretty much all dentals work this same way. The only difference is that one actually had to be neutered first. Now prepping the animals for this is a little more intensive than just the dental alone. The animals are actually given a pre mix of some painkillers before they are masked down. Once all of the shots have been given and the nails trimmed it was time to wash and scrub the actual surgery site. I was amazed at how meticulous everyone was when doing everything when it came to the health of the animals.

There was a moment during surgery, or rather several, that I held my breath. Since this was my first time I was making sure that every little thing that I noticed during the surgeries I let the vet staff know. There was even one time that the animal's heart rate dropped so he was given a shot to boost the pulse. Apparently it does happen, but for my first experience I have to say my cheeks were certainly puckered.

Overall as a first experience it was a good one. Not only did I learn and do my first intubation, I also learned a whole lot more. I did get my heart beating fast a few times but it was so interesting to see the processes that went into surgery and of course taking care of the animals afterwards. There is certainly a lot to keep track of while doing all of this and I am glad everyone was patient with me on my first time. And of course I can't forget the picture up at top, it's Ian our little tea cup chihuahua that had a full day of neutering and getting a dental.

Thanks everyone for reading and sharing the experiences that I have at the shelter. If you haven't already to sign up to follow us on Facebook and you do have time I would really appreciate it. Look forward to the comments and will share some more very soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I like to see patient young adopters

I won't bore you with to many details about cleaning, just know that I was able to sign up for the South side dogs first but that didn't mean that it was any easier. For some reason there wasn't that much poop, but what there was the dog's paws seemed to be drawn to it. Needless to say I washed my hands, arms, and pant legs several times after cleaning.

Once the pile of laundry dwindled (minutely), the dishes were washed and the garbage taken out it was time for a quick break because there was a lot more cleaning to be had. Today's weekly cleaning included washing the cattery windows as well as disinfecting the visitation room that has been home to two allergy prone cats that finally found a new home. When I say disinfecting too, I mean getting down and dirty when it comes to scrubbing, mopping, and more scrubbing. Luckily there was two of us to knock it out and make sure the job got done correctly.

After the cleaning I thought it would be a nice slow afternoon with lots of time to spend with some animals. Boy was I wrong, that's just when things got started. It seemed the radio never shut off with calls from the front office from everything from showings, phone calls, and of course visits for adopted dogs that are still in our care.

I helped out one of our adopters, a very nice gentleman that has come to visit his new dog everyday since he was adopted. Once that was done it was on to the showings. My first was with a young couple that I had met earlier in the week that had an interest in two cocker spaniel puppies that became available today. Unfortunately there were a few hitches with that, for one there was a family that was looking at the puppies first and second there were a few discrepancies when it came to the owner's relinquishment files. Luckily the couple was understanding and I showed them a few more options that might work. They first met with a sweet little chihuahua mix that loves her toys. They liked her but felt that it wasn't perfect. After talking to them for a while they understood how big of a decision this was and that they both have to be in agreement when it comes to their new family member. They did like some of the new second chance dogs that came in yesterday and will check back on Saturday to see if they might be a good fit.

Of course my next showing was a lot of the same. A young couple with a young child that needed that perfect fit for a new addition for the family. The initial dog that they wanted to look at was certainly not the perfect fit. They were going more on size than actual personality. They understood and said that they, like the previous showing, would wait for the new guys to be available. Seems like Saturday is going to be a pretty hectic day.

With the day coming to an end I learned that Tito, a little mix second chance dog I had done a showing with several times in the past week got adopted. It was good to see that someone, after three trips, had the patience to know exactly what they were getting themselves into and that it was the perfect fit.

After all of this, I am going home today knowing that no adoptions were rushed today and talking to people can be very rewarding. Not only did I find out what these people were looking for in a new pet I was able to help them understand not to rush into anything. There are so many dogs out there waiting for a new home that there is no reason not to "shop" around. I feel that every dog here is highly adoptable and I an certainly not pushing certain dogs over others but I also feel that for every dog there is that perfect family, it's just a matter of being patient enough for them to find each other. Thanks for reading everyone and remember how many good animals are in shelters that we know what their behaviors are and what homes would be ideal for them.

Oh yeah, the picture up top is Mindy the chihuahua I did a showing with. She actually was able to find a spot to bury her bear in fake grass. Has to make you smile.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A whole lot of nothing, then some new dogs

Mondays for me have become a day of getting stuff done, and when I say getting stuff done what I really mean is a whole lot of busy work. As usual I started my morning out with taking the dogs down for their morning break. Once they were all out it was time to get to cleaning. Not sure what was in the water yesterday but today the kennels seemed especially dirty, and for some odd reason just about every dog walked right through their own mess and ether spread it around the kennels or actually got it on me when I would enter.

After washing up and getting the dogs fed and back in their kennels it was time to team up and take care of the rabbits. It was nice today since one of the volunteers had taken out several of the bunnies to their run to cleaning their cages took no time whatsoever. Once again I have to thank the volunteers that spend so much time with the animals and really do make a difference at the shelter.

With so little showings today the time was dedicated more to disinfecting and getting the kennels ready for the ten new arrivals that would be coming in from another shelter. To prepare for the new guys we have to sanitize the four break yards that they will be using along with the kennels. Once that is all done it's time to make them comfortable by putting beds, blankets, and toys in the kennels according to the size of the dog.

Now that we were ready for our new arrivals it was time to get back to cleaning. I got asked to check on the dryer since it was over heating again and after a few buttons pushed and some lint cleaned up it was back to working. Along with the laundry today our focus was the poop buckets. To my surprise they were almost done by the time I made it down to the yards and all I had to do was get two of them and take them to the dumpster, the glamorous part of my day.

Soon after the new guys arrived. I was not surprised to see a good number of them looked the same as most do from that particular shelter. There were a few that stood out though, one was a German shepherd mix that was absolutely beautiful. The thing that really stood out to me was that all of these dogs seemed very friendly and outgoing, in fact our behaviorist said "this group might be the best one yet". Before she could finish though I told her to bite her tongue and not jinx it, hopefully she's right though and all of the dogs will find homes very quickly.

The rest of the day was dedicated to getting the guys fed and of course taking them all out for their afternoon break. I have to say I am once again thankful for the volunteers that come in and spend so much time with the animals giving that human contact that they need. Even though what we do is very rewarding I have to say I miss being a volunteer and getting that "quality" time with the animals.

Sorry for no pictures today, I will get some of the new guys tomorrow and be sure to send them your way. As always thanks for reading and remember to spread the word about what good work animal shelters do. The more people that are educated the more our mission can succeed.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Do we adopt to homes with young children?

Today our hours went back to normal with a full staff working the entire day. What this means to me is that we get to mix it up a little bit more when it comes to cleaning. Rather than focusing on either dogs, cats, or rabbits we basically get to do it all. I started out taking care of the East side dogs and then moved on to the cattery.

Being off for two days I was surprised at some of the new faces that made it into the kennels. We had two new spaniel puppy mixes as well as a little shepherd mix. All three were incredibly cute but unfortunately didn't have the best bladder control. Luckily it was confined to only a few kennels and I was able to get it all cleaned pretty quickly. Once I finished bringing up the dogs and getting them fed I headed over to the cattery where it only took about fifteen minutes to change the litter boxes, take care of the special feedings, and sweep. Good thing too, because it was now time to open.

It didn't seem like there were many showings today but the ones that I had not only took a lot of time, they also took a lot of energy and patience. My first showing was with a mother and her three very young children. They initially wanted to see a small chihuahua because their larger dog was getting on in age. I explained our policies and decided to still show them the dog. Not to my surprise the kids were literally bouncing of the walls. I felt so horrible for this scared little dog that really had no idea what was going on. By the end of the showing I think I was ready to pull my hair our and told the woman that this dog might not be the best fit. She understood and went in to details about how the kids aren't always at the home but I told her to be patient and make sure she didn't rush into an adoption. I have to be honest I'm not sure that we have ever had a dog that would be good for this family. Not to say that they aren't great dog owners, I just think that for a stressed out shelter dog going into a household like this might create some bad situations.

Of course my next two showings weren't as crazy as the first but they too included young children in the household. These families however were more open to suggestions and breed types when it came to adding a new pet to the family. One family was pretty much first time pet owners that was looking for that perfect fit and did nothing but ask questions. In the end we really didn't have anything for her but she said she would be willing to wait for their new addition. Hopefully it works out.

My last showing was with a couple and their two infant twins. Now typically we don't adopt to families with very young children, there are just two many ifs in that situation. However this family had adopted their previous dog from us and had spent six months waiting for the right one, they said they would expect the same thing this time around. Hearing that I know that they have the right mentality going into this process. At least we can give it a try in order to find a right dog for this loving home.

The rest of the day sped by with the shelter sending a few dogs out to an event to get some more publicity. The last dog we decided to send out was Bogey, our special needs lupus dog. Of course before we sent him out we had to lather on the sun tan lotion and even put a hat on him to protect him from the sun. Hopefully the right person saw him with his adopt me bandana on and will come into the shelter very soon.

I didn't partake in any adoptions today but I did learn a thing or two. I understand why we tend to veer away from adopting out to families with very young children but I also feel that you have to take them on a case by case basis. Hopefully we can find these young families the right additions and make sure that it is the best thing for both the dog and the family. Thanks for reading everyone and if you aren't following us please do, the more people that sign up the more we will grow and spread the word about the importance of adopting animals from shelters.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Just when you think it's getting boring

Getting out of my car this morning I noticed something moving in front of the gate to the shelter. To my surprise it was two very young puppies that were "placed" there. I couldn't believe my eyes, not only were they there but they weren't even on a leash. Apparently from the time the shelter had closed to me getting there at eight someone dropped these animals off with no thought that they could actually walk off and even worse have something else happen to them.

Once I gathered up the two puppies and got them situated in the shelter and fed a few other staff members and myself went out on a search party to see if there were any more that might have wondered off. I'm not sure if it is a good thing or not but we weren't able to find any more. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that there were only two of them dropped off. All I know is that these little girls, who we named Fionna and Wembley, were incredibly hungry as you can see from the picture below.

Once everything got settled down it was time to actually get to work. We took care of all the cleaning and went to start the laundry when we noticed that we were out of propane. What that means is no hot water and more importantly no dryer heat. Now I'm not complaining that we don't have to do laundry today but the fact that I know it will eventually have to get done makes me cringe.

After the cleaning was done it was back to have some puppy time. It's amazing how calming it can be to hold a puppy. There of course was still a little fear because I knew that there was a good chance that these little five week old cuties would be shipped off to county. To my surprise though I learned that we would be keeping them if their health checked out. Luckily their test for parvo came back negative so it was a thumbs up. Now they are still too young to have at the shelter so they will go on foster with another staff member until the appropriate time.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful but the individual that adopted Prince Charming came in today to visit his new family member. Prince Charming, or should I say Reeses, won't be able to go home until next week once he has been neutered.

To close out the week I thought I would add one more picture of one of the adorable little puppies that made their way to our shelter. There are only a few things in life that can calm you as much as holding a puppy and looking into that face of pure innocence.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I would have stayed late

I started as the late shift today which meant that I was assigned to take care of our feline friends this morning. The good part about doing this is that I can keep a hot cup of coffee close at hand while cleaning which makes the morning a little more bearable.

Once all of the cats were taken care of in the cattery I moved on to the satellite kennels that house another four or so cats. The reason we have so many is because we want the cats to be as comfortable as possible and staring across the room at other cats in the cattery can make a few of them a little nutty. Because of that we have several cats either in their own rooms (offices of staff members) or in large stand up kennels that allow them more room. In any case it's good to use a checklist when cleaning these guys just to make sure that you don't miss any.

Of course the garbage, laundry, and dishes needed to get done but within fifteen minutes the staff members attacked and took care of all of the morning duties. I have to say that after all of the morning cleaning I was rather bored because there just weren't any showings coming back for potential adoptions. At least we had some time to spend with the dogs.

Later I finally got my first showing. It was with several of the second chance chihuahuas that had come in during the previous week. It was an interesting showing because it was with a woman that adopted a dog named Kazi as a service animal about two months ago. She loved him so much that she wanted to get him a new companion for herself as well as for him. We found a few that might work, cat tested them and then introduced them to her dog. One of the showings the little chi got growled off but the other one went pretty well. Now just the husband would have to meet to make sure everyone was in agreement.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful just making sure all of the "daily do's" were taken care of. This was a pretty simple task because KCS (kids community service) started back up again along with the school year so the afternoon jobs were pretty well taken care of by them.

Right at the end of the day I got called to a showing with about four different chihuahuas. I read over the profile and saw that everything looked ideal for one of our dogs, it was just a matter of finding the right one. I spoke with the family about their needs and got a good idea of what they were looking for. Once I gathered all of the information I was able to figure out which dogs would work best. After looking at three potentials and getting different reactions from both the animals and the potential adopters the decision was made on Prince Charming. A small little four pound chihuahua that was a little skittish at first but ended up just lounging in the man's arms for the entire showing. It's funny thought that this is the same dog that the woman had felt was the best fit for her as well. I'm just glad that someone adopted him and that he will go home the first opportunity that he gets.

Even though my last showing took close to an hour I would have stayed longer to make sure that this family found the perfect addition. No matter how bad your day is going when you find the right dog for the right family makes it all worth while. I just hope the woman I spoke of earlier and her pal Kazi find the right fit as well.

The picture above is one of our special needs guys Bogey. He was diagnosed with Lupus but as you can see he is still full of spunk and will watch you from the top of his kennel if you are to low to the ground. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments, and remember to follow us on facebook, the more the better.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A few new requests

After all of the cleaning today it was time to help out with a dog introduction. I'm skipping all of the cleaning today, at least writing about it, but if you want to know what went on you can read yesterday's blog about it all.

The introduction that I was helping with was with our little man Paprika, yes, he is a man even though I keep calling him a she. We were introducing it to a wonderful female service dog that likes to come over to the potential adopters house quite often. I was amazed at the obedience of the animal that we were introducing our dog to. In fact I think this is the first showing where a two dogs did their handshakes, were able to walk side by side together, and in the end completely ignore each other. Since we weren't looking for playmates it was good enough for us. The adoption was a go and our little man who likes to scream at the top of his lungs for attention is going home. This was a good start to the day.

Once the adoption was all taken care of it was back to some daily chores and a whole lot of laundry. I'm not sure how it always happens but no matter how much laundry you do there is always a pile waiting. Well, this past week the pile has grown and grown and is now outside the door. It's really fun when those pee stained blankets and beds marinate in the sun too, you can only hold your breath so long when doing laundry. Hopefully it's a little more overcast tomorrow and the smell won't be to bad.

After all of the chores were done one of our med staff people asked me for a favor. I knew he was and the vet were the only one here today so I obliged. I should have know something was awry when he asked me with a grin on his face. We walked outside and he proceeded to hand me a dog dish and ask if I could get a urine sample on a dog. I figured what the hell, it was something different. I ended up switching the dishes out for a small cat dish, the dog was a chihuahua mix, slapped on some rubber gloves and took the dog to one of the show yards. Luckily within about thirty seconds she started to pee and even lifted her leg a little so all I had to do was toss down the dish and I got the sample. I know you're probably thinking that it wasn't the most sanitary thing to do for a urinalysis but it is going to be a recheck so that was really all they needed. Later on I helped out a few more times just restraining a few animals for a checkup. I have to say it was a new experience for me and I was glad I could help.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch. We did have one more adoption of our little kitten named Wally. He was the five day old cat that was found in a wall and brought to the shelter where he was bottle fed and cared for by fosters. It was great to see him go home to a loving family and know that he will be well taken care of.

That's about it for the day. I do have to say thanks to all of the volunteers as usual and also to one of our staff members that will be leaving us. Hopefully she comes and volunteers and experiences that aspect of the shelter as well. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments. Oh yeah, the picture at the top is Wally napping next to one of his kitten friends before he was adopted.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's been a while

You know, I love going on vacations but sometimes I wish that I could keep in the loop a little better when it comes to the shelter. Don't get me wrong, I do read my email updates and check the website for adoptions but if I was to surround myself with the shelter stuff it really wouldn't be a vacation. Anyhow, my first day back after almost a week off definitely took some getting used to.

The first thing I did when I got to the shelter was to check out the new relinquishment's. I figured since we had so many animals when I left, and a good portion of them being new ones, I would have a tough time figuring out who was actually adopted. Checking out the new dogs was a lot easier since I just had to look at their kennels and see a new arrival sheet. The recent additions to the shelter numbered only three which either means that there were fewer relinquishment's or just fewer that we felt would fit into the shelter. Anyways, the three that we have seem like they should find homes very quickly. Especially the four month old female boxer mix. As soon as you walk up to her she sits for you which means people usually pick up on that and that she at least has the basic skills down. The other two came in together. They are a little older and I think are about five. They seem to be adapting well to shelter life but you know that it has to be stressful. I just hope that they are adopted quickly enough so that I can't remember their names. That was something that I realized yesterday, it is a good thing if I don't recall the animal's names once they have been adopted for the simple fact that that means they weren't in the shelter very long.

Along with the new dogs, there was also a new cat that was coming in today. Everything seemed fine during intake including the behavior which is always the one that concerns us, that is until one of the tests came back. It turns out the cat had been adopted about a year and half ago from another shelter and the woman just didn't have time for it any more. Well, it turns out the cat hasn't been to the vet in a while ether and when we tested it for feline leukemia (FLV) the test came back positive. This is a very serious disease that spreads like wild fire so their was no way we could take in the animal. It was an unfortunate thing but I think our staff handled the problem very tactfully and kept it under control.

Moving on I learned that one of our newer staff members was going to be leaving us. Well, it was nice while it lasted. I have to say that having enough people to actually do a job is nice. I just hope that she will continue to volunteer at the shelter and get to stay involved in helping the animals.

Speaking of volunteering, I am always amazed at how much they contribute to the shelter. Just today I was washing some dishes and a volunteer walked up with a good size garbage bag full of cat poo. She said that the kittery was getting pretty stinky so she scooped all of the boxes and took out the trash. I graciously took the bag from her and told her how much we appreciate her help when she asked if I needed a hand with the dishes! Like I said, it never stops surprising me how much our volunteers help out this shelter.

In the middle of all of my cleaning I learned that our resident pit mix puppy was finally getting adopted. Not sure if it was the publicity she got at an event this past weekend but in any case we finally found her the right match for a home. She has certainly gotten better with our trainers working with her but the longer she was spending her the more downhill her behavior could go. I just hope it works out and this is her new forever home.

As I mentioned before, I have finally realized that it is a good thing that I don't remember an animal's name. The faster they are out of the shelter the better and the more we can save. And yes, that cat's eyes up top are always that big.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New faces and more new faces

Since the holiday weekend I certainly had a few days off for myself. That didn't mean however that there were no adoptions, in fact the opposite is true. Of the ten animals that were adopted Friday and Saturday two in particular stood out to me. For one they had been in the shelter for quite some time and two I had certainly grown attached, as did everyone else, to the sweet little guys. The dogs that I am talking about were Andy and Nikkie.

Nikkie ended up going home with a wonderful woman and her two granddaughters. It was nice because she was looking for an older dog (Nikkie being ten) and once she heard his tough story she was hooked. Andy on the other hand was an interesting story. It was a young couple with two small children and in their profile it said that they were looking for a small couch potato of a dog but had initially wanted to see a dog named Shaq. Once they realized that Shaq wasn't the best fit they were suggested over to Andy the basset hound mix. Immediately they fell in love laying with him in the grass. It turns out this was their fifth shelter today and told the adoption counselor that it was well worth the search. Another adoption and another great adoption story that makes it all worth while.

On to today. One of those days if you ask me. It started as usual but half way through cleaning I learned that we were going to be short handed. What that meant was more cleaning and not enough time to do everything. It was especially tough because of the holiday yesterday and having to catch up on a few things that didn't get done then as well.

Once all of the laundry was started, the garbage taken out, and the dishes soaked I moved on to doing the poop buckets. I'm sure I have mentioned how nasty it is to do these but at least it is a little time to one self. No one seems to bother you when you are hauling a wagon full of poo around the yards and if there is a radio call you merely tell them what you're doing and they leave you alone.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful until it came close to time for me to head home. Our behaviorist had taken a trip to a nearby shelter to see if there were any animals she could get for our second chance program. It was pretty funny when she arrived singing a Spanish song because nine out of the eleven dogs turned out to be chihuahuas. The nice part is that every single one of them looked completely different from the other. Even their colors were all different ranging from faun to brindle. Here is a picture of the little brindle guy below. I do have to mention that she did bring in a beautiful Huskie mix that I am sure will be adopted the moment that she becomes available.

Even though my day today was focused on cleaning and pretty much picking up the slack of others it still put a smile on my face to see the number of adoptions that have taken place recently. No matter how bad of a day you have or what kind of mood you're in, when you think about helping these animals it really does give you an unbelievable feeling. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments. Oh yeah, I couldn't forget the picture of the sleeping kittens, one is even Wall-E, the one that was five days old when he was found in a wall. He has put on some weight and has had an easy time adjusting because of the great foster that has been taking care of him.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The emotional stress can takes it toll

I typically don't work on Thursdays so I'll try to eliminate all of the boring writings about cleaning and the stuff that usually goes on in the shelter and get right to the good stuff.

The day after surgery day is usually pretty hectic for a number of reasons. The main one being that all of the dogs that were adopted the past week were able for the first time to go home today. Typically you get bum rushed early on but for some reason today the dogs all went home at different times which was not only nice for the front office but gave us all a chance to say goodbye.

In between all of the dogs finally getting to leave the shelter there were a few showings, unfortunately I was only able to get one of them. My showing was with Amazon, a cute chihuahua/dachshund mix. The big concern with the potential adopters was that they had two young children and this dog has been know to resource guard with other animals. The good news is that she hasn't done it with humans...yet. The showing went well, the dog was very receptive to the whole family and everyone seemed liked they gelled well. I went over the basics with the family because they were first time pet owners. I talked about the initial ten days when their shelter dog comes home and how stressful it is for them and how they won't see their dog until the chemicals (cortisol) level off after settling down a bit. After the long and thorough discussion the family was ready to adopt but unfortunately the husband/father has yet to meet the dog. They were understanding that everyone needed to meet and were willing to wait. I just hope she is still around when he comes in because I can see some kids throwing a tantrum if she isn't.

That was it for showings for me. The rest of the day went by pretty slow but it was nice to spend some time with the animals and watch our behaviorist do some evaluations. It was interesting to see her test for food guarding and what age children would work best for the dogs. I even saw her mark a basset hound as 6+ for kids which I have never heard her go that low. While evaluating all of the second chance dogs she also was meeting with relinquishers. These is where the emotions came into play. I'm not going into detail but you can never judge a person for giving up their animals. One case in particular really broke my heart. Two animals came in because the owner had to move into an assisted living home and was unable to bring his two dogs whom he had taken care of for the last five years. From the amount of donations the gentleman brought in you could tell that these animals were well taken care of. This is one of those times you really try not to cry because you feel so bad for the animals as well as the former owner that there really is no winner in the situation.

Well, sucking it up and moving on we took the dogs down for their afternoon break. To my surprise one of the dogs that had been evaluated, a malamute, was already in a yard literally tearing up the fake grass. This was a first for me and for a few staff members as well. Hopefully it's not a sign of separation anxiety and he won't end of doing it in his new home. The one picture I got today was the mess he made.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Looking down at your watch and realizing it's time to close up shop

I started my day as the late shift which meant I headed straight over to the cattery to start cleaning there. Nothing too exciting aside from a few new cats and no one actually pooped outside of their boxes. It was a little annoying to find out that we were going to be short handed again and that weren't going to be able to get everything finished by the time the doors opened.

While I was cleaning the cattery I noticed one of the new guys named Spot. He was a little unusual because he was a tabby, but his tail was basically a nub. I was talking to a volunteer and she thought it might be a specialty breed so we decided to look it up. It turns out that he is a Manx, a unique breed with some unique characteristics. After reading up I thought to myself if I ever get a cat this would be the type I would get. The information I got was that the breed has some similar behaviors to dogs, like burying their toys and playing fetch. Hopefully we can find him a rescue that specializes in Manx cats or that he will get adopted very quickly from our shelter do to his uniqueness.

Once the cattery was done and we had learned about our new resident it was time to head over to the rabbitat. Of course by this time it was already eleven and we were getting calls from the front desk to help out with donations that were being brought in. Luckily we were able to get the bunnies taken care of with relative ease. Since I have never included a picture of our bunnies I thought to myself "why not" today. Here is a bonded pair that has been at the shelter for as long as I can remember.

Moving on there were a few showings today with cats and kittens being the main focus. Of course I was engulfed in cleaning so I wasn't quick enough on the radio to take the first few calls for showings. I did however get the laundry taken care of as well as teaming up with another coworker to organize and disinfect all of our crates and and other random things back in ISO. All I have to say is it looks a lot better but not sure if it was worth doing it in the heat with some wicked high humidity. I could actually ring out my shirt when I was done. I have to say I have been pretty spoiled in my careers not having to deal with some of the stuff that I run into here.

I got word that a few kittens, a cat, and our little Bambi the Italian greyhound chihuahua mix had all gotten adopted. It was great news because our cats have certainly got the short end of the stick the last few months. Hopefully the trend will continue and we can get all of our animals out of here.

With the day coming to an end and all of daily chores taken care of I was asked to take another showing with Sprocket. He is a boxer that was already adopted out once but returned because he was just too much for the adopters original dog at home. The people I was showing him to had already been in once and this was their second visit to play with him again. I could see that they absolutely loved him and were fore warned about his "boxer playfulness". They still wanted to think about it for one more night to be sure. I completely agreed with them and told them it is a big decision that will be for the next ten years. I do hope they return to give our guy a well deserved loving home.

Well, like I said, before I knew it I looked at the clock and it was already six. I have to say that today was one of those days that it seemed like everyone was in one of those moods, especially me. I know that with any job those days are bound to happen so I am just going to take it with a grain of salt and move on. I know that tomorrow is another day and since I missed Sunday I will be working Thursday and than also helping out on Friday so get ready for some more blogs and maybe something a little different since they aren't the normal days that I typically work. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I had almost forgotten what it smells like

I started my day with the task of cleaning up East and West kennels which included the ten new arrivals. I had forgotten that on the day after our second chance dogs arrive you always want to come in early to make sure you don't have to clean them. Unfortunately though I was too late and had a whole lot of cleaning to look forward too.

I took care of East first making sure that I didn't cross contaminate anything and do my best to keep the healthy dogs healthy. I was able to get it done rather quickly since there really weren't any messes that needed attending too. Of course then I moved on to the sickies. At first I was really optimistic when I saw a kennel that the dogs held it all night. As I moved to the next one it got progressively worse. By the time I got to the last kennel I was greeted with a few nice pools of liquid diarrhea that definitely made my stomach gurgle, even when I breathed through my mouth. I have to say it has been a while since I experienced this and have actually gotten used to not smelling it, hopefully tomorrow their stomach's will settle down and no one will have to deal with the nastiness as I like to call it.

Once we were done cleaning I was asked to help out with the weekly shopping. I agreed in an instant just to get out of the heat for a little while. Before I knew it we were heading out for the first stop at Wal Mart and then on to Costco. All I have to say is how can these places be so crowded on a Tuesday afternoon. I can't remember the last time I went into ether of these stores and now I know why. I think I would rather be scooping poop than trying to get through the crowds of shopping carts and the people steering them into your kidneys. Yes, that's right, I said kidneys. The one thing I will take from my shopping experience today is the old man that was looking in awe at the over sized package of something and smashed his cart right into me. Then without hesitation, as if in some sort of trance, he never said a word and proceeded to the free samples. Man, I can't wait to come back to Costco.

Now that I am off my rant it was back to the shelter and on to some showings. I had several showings but in the end only one was really a good match for the dogs that we had available. The rest of them should be back on Saturday when our new second chance dogs become available. The one that was a good match was one of those showings that takes a good amount of time which is not a bad thing. The woman was looking at a toy poodle and was taking the potential responsibility of pet ownership very seriously. Not only was she asking a lot of questions she even had one of her close friends come up to visit the dog as well. I honestly like it when people take their time. Too many people rush into pet ownership not realizing how much time and effort is needed to provide for these animals. In the end I left for the day and the woman was talking to her mother, hopefully when I return our little poodle Frankie will be adopted.

Today was one of those days that you really don't have time to think what you are doing. You also don't have time to take any pictures for your blog. In the end it was a good day that went by in a flash. I'll find out tomorrow if it was a great day if there are some adoptions. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back from being sick

Nobody likes being sick, but when you miss the day that I did you tend to really not like being sick. I came into work today just as any other day but at least this time I had checked our our website to get updated on all of the adoptions that took place while I was gone.

Before we got cleaning we had to rearrange a few kennels because we were getting in another group of second chance dogs today. This wasn't so tough because there had been so many adoptions in the past few days that it was easy to make the room. Once we got everyone placed in their new areas we got to cleaning. I did notice a few unfamiliar faces and I learned we had had a few relinquishments in the past week. One guy is a beautiful German Shepherd that's just about a year old. I think he is to smart for his own good sometimes because he is not having an easy time at the shelter. Anyways, got all of the cleaning done and realized we were a little short handed so by the time we actually finished the morning tasks it was already well past eleven.
Now onto the real reason I wanted to be here yesterday, it wasn't for any special adoption but rather a visit from a group of people that were trying to improve the "energy" of the cats. If you aren't laughing yet you soon will be. I found out that this group came in that is part of a class located not to far from the shelter, and as a sort of field trip they came into the shelter to show off what they have learned. I don't know the history of what they are doing I just have some eye witness accounts of a bunch of people tapping on their wrists and their heads while saying a chant in order to improve the cat's energy and well being. If I see a difference in our feline friends I will certainly pass it along to you all. Anyways, I just wish I had a few pictures of it all.

Back to the day, with so few showings we were able to focus on what actually needed to get done in the shelter to keeps things running smoothly. With all of the new dogs arriving in the afternoon there is a lot of prep that needs to take place. We set up the six kennels for them putting in lots of blankets, a few beds, water bowls, and of course a gaggle of toys. After that we couldn't forget the fences and "do not touch" signs that hopefully will deter people from helping spread some kennel cough. After all of that was done we also had to disinfect the yards that the dogs will be going into. Don't want to give the new guys something if you can avoid it.

Before we knew it the new bunch had arrived. I have to give lots of credit to our behavior therapist for picking the dogs that she does. Not only does she have to pick highly adoptable dogs but because of the over crowding at the shelter that she goes to she has to leave a lot behind. She is a lot stronger than me. Anyways, this batch seems like a good one with a least a little variety from the typical chihuahua mixes. Here is a pic of a wire haired dachshund that we have given a second chance to.
That's about it today. Hopefully not that we are filling up again we will get some eager new pet owners soon. Thanks for reading as always and I look forward to your comments.

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