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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.

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