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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's been a few weeks and there has been a lot of changes

I have been meaning to sit down and share some of the new experiences I am having at the shelter but it has honestly been tough to sit down and focus myself for the time that it takes to collect my thoughts on the week. I'll do my best to catch up on some of the projects I have been working on here at a local humane society.

My main focus lately has been spreading the word about how unique and special our private little humane society is. I'm not taking the traditional approach but rather the grass roots one. Because we have been around our town for so long the best way to get people involved is to physically go out and talk to those people. In doing so I am learning their perspectives on things as well as new ways that their business or time might better serve our community and shelter at large.

Recently I have been working on a few local events to promote adoptions as well as educate people on what the mission of our shelter and many others around the county. I have learned that tying in like businesses is a great way to make a successful event as well as build the relationships that are necessary for our shelter to grow.

With all of this going on a lot of my time is still spent on our largest fundraiser of the year. We are currently working on sponsorships so my cold calling, pop ins, and sales skills are finally coming in handy again. This is kind of the bitter/sweet part of it all. I love helping the shelter and I am 110% confident in what we do but when it comes down to it I am still selling a product and unfortunately not getting as much time with the animals.

All in all I have to say that this new position is a great fit for me. It is allowing me to use my skills and knowledge of the shelter to help it grow and continue to be successful. I just hope that once I settle in I will get some time to go and hang with some animals because I really do miss that aspect of it all.

Hopefully it won't be to long before the next installment and I appreciate everyone reading. By the way, if any of you have any ideas for some sponsorships I would love to hear them. Keep up the great work everyone!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My last day as an adoption counselor


When I first began this job I honestly didn't think that it was going to last as long as it has. There were so many things that I really had to adjust to when I first began over a year ago. I have to say it was more the pay than anything else that took the real adjusting, the poop and manual labor was pretty easy to get accustomed to.

It has been an amazing experience to work hands on in not only taking care of the animals but more importantly helping them find their forever homes. It has certainly been a roller coaster with a lot of tears shed and even more smiles smiled.

I have seen everything and every type of dog there is to see. I was amazed at how much I actually learned in the past year or so working in the kennels. I gained a better appreciation for the volunteers that spend their time with the animals and also for the kennel staff themselves and how much work actually goes into maintaining a working shelter.

There are a lot of things that I am going to miss moving into my new position. It's hard to actually name just a few because this job has to be one of the most rewarding there is. From hanging out with the animals and loving on them to making sure that they are healthy and feeling well. Selfish me of though is going to say that I will miss adoption out the dogs the most. The feeling that I got when one of these animals found their new home was a new high for me. It was amazing to know that I played a part in making sure that the rest of their life was going to be the best one that it could be.

With all of this came those down times too. The days where all you wanted to do was lock your self in a kennel and pet a dog all day long. Those days were few and far between but when they came they came with force.

Closing out, I have learned more at this job than almost anything else I have done professionally. I have grown as a person by leaps and bounds working with these amazing animals. You might ask why I am no longer going to do it and I have a pretty simple answer. I think that I can help more animals in a new position that would bring more awareness to our shelter as well as more funding. I know that there are going to be those days that I wish I could just go back to the kennels and hang out and maybe I will but my focus now is letting everyone in our community know how special our rescue is and how we have now been doing this for fifty years. I will try and continue to blog even though it's not as exciting as getting animals adopted but I have a feeling there are going to be some highs worth sharing. Thanks everyone for all of the comments and support that you have given me. I look forward to you comments and of course reading your stories about all of the good work that you do in your area. Oh yeah, the picture up top is some of our senior one eyed dogs that all love to play together, not to many places you get to see that in life!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

There is always something new


Well, I've been a little busy lately and I know that it is showing in my lack of blogs, but I still want to continue to share my experiences in the animal shelter world. This past week was pretty insane, just when you think you have seen it all something new pops in.

I want to briefly talk about the hectic Saturday that I had at the front desk this past week. First, I have never seen so many animals brought in either as strays or people trying to relinquish them. Before we even opened a young lady tried dropping off her two seven year old labs that she can no longer care for. I explained how our system works and took her information but unfortunately she had to get rid of them today. I understand that the majority of people do everything they can to keep their pets, but I wish that they would also prepare a little more for finding them a new home rather than waiting until the last minute.

Before the doors even opened we also had a stray visla come in. He was a beautiful dog but had no tags and of course no microchip. I checked on craigslist if anyone had reported him missing but got nothing. In this case, because we are private, we have to call county to come and pick him up. Luckily they were coming because we also got a baby bird that was found on the street along with the strangest stray I have ever seen, a twenty pound desert tortoise. Now, I don't want you all to think that they all just went to county, they actually ended up with Project Wildlife and a tortoise rescue. Pretty strange though how many animals came in missing their loved ones.

The oddest part of the day came when an older woman brought in her blind little dog. She initially said that she had adopted form us about eight years ago. It seemed like she was coming in to have the dog euthanized because his quality of life just wasn't there any more. I searched every computer record that we have for adoptions dating back a decade and found nothing on the "adopter". She said that she was 95% sure that she had gotten him from us. Sadly enough, the animal was suffering and there was nothing that we could do. I'll stop the story there but you get the idea, it was on bad experience that I would soon like to forget. It was just sad that this person didn't know what the right thing to do in her situation.

Moving on, there were some great adoptions. Two that really stood out to me were a couple of bonded cats. And when I say a couple, I mean two sets. It was great to learn that they had found homes together because one of the sets had been here for several months. With the adoptions means that we are bringing in more animals. I stumbled amongst one of the play groups of the new guys and found two one eyed dogs, a blind dog, another with eye issues, and one with just a couple of teeth left. We are so lucky that we are able to take these guys in and find them homes. When I hear someone say that they are too old, I can only reply it took them a long time to get this cute.

We also brought in another ten dogs from another shelter, our second chance animals. I have to say that this bunch might be the cutest I have seen in a long time. I know come Saturday when they all become available there is certain to be a long line out the gate. Thanks for reading everyone and I appreciate all that you guys do for the animals. The picture up top might be in my top five for cutest dogs at the shelter. Her name is Miss Priss and is a six month old boxer mix puppy. Believe it or not, her ears are always up like that!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Slacking on the blog posts

It really is amazingly easy to sleep in and just skip writing this thing every once in a while. The down side is I don't get to share the ups and the downs of the life of a shelter worker. Even though I haven't been writing, there still has been some exciting things going on at the shelter.

I'll start with all of the puppies finding their forever homes. It was funny that all it took was once day for the remaining three to get adopted. Of course I still think pessimistically and will assume that at least one of them will be back due to their size and energy level. I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best but I also have to prepare myself for the worst.

Monday we ended up closing the shelter down and had all staff training. We began with CPR, the human kind, and worked our way into animal behavior and new adoption information. I have to say, the information was great and gave all of us a new way of looking at how the shelter works. The biggest part was the class on adopting to families with young children. There is to much information to put in this blog but if you have any questions about adopting to young families or families that are planning on having a family, shoot me a comment, I'd be more than happy to share because the information is that valuable to me and the shelter.

Moving on with the week we saw just about everything. Two of our long term dogs that had both been treated for heartworm here at the shelter both found their forever homes. It was sad to see them go because you really do grow so attached but of course it was better to see the smiles on their new families faces. With every adoption though a new face arrives as well. Sometimes it really does get to me. The analogy of mopping up after a waterfall comes to mind when I think about what we do. I have to step back and realize that yes, we can't help them all, but we can educate people and hopefully spread the word that there are many great animal out their waiting to be adopted.

Finally catching up in the week I had an adoption. It was a sweet little dog that had been returned once already due to fear biting. She never broke skin but was reevaluated when she came back to the shelter and was put back up for adoption, to that certain home that would be able to handle her issues. She ended up finding a sweet retired couple that had always rescued dogs and absolutely fell in love with her. Initially we wanted her to go home with another dog to make her feel confident but when this family came in we threw that aside. I know that they will not only give her a great home but she will be a loving pet as well.

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up, if you are still reading out there. I have taken a different position at the shelter that we feel might further the mission of what we are doing here. I will be working directly with the community to educate and spread the word of the great things that we are doing at the shelter. Hopefully I'll still get to hang out with the animals but eventually I think this position could end up not only creating more adoptions but also educating the public and all that we do. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments. Oh yeah, I had to add a few pictures of the adorable kittens that will be up for adoption soon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A lot of showings


I got to work a little early today to help out dishing out the meds. There was only one med staff today and when there are a lot of new dogs from another shelter it means that there is going to be a lot of time preparing and giving a few specific medicines. The ones that I helped out on where preparing the dewormer panacur as well as getting all of the doxy and cream cheese ready. The doxy is easy but the panacur has to be measured out according to the weight of the dog and then mixed with wet food. This all took a good half hour since there was a total of eight dogs being treated. Typically any dogs that are part of our second chance program (dogs we bring from another shelter) come in with ghiardia as well as kennel cough so we always treat them even if they don't show any signs of the illness, because typically they are all going to start showing them a few days after arriving.

Moving on with the day, once we were done cleaning and the doors opened for business the showings came rolling in. We knew that there could be quite a few because the eight dogs I previously talked about all became available for adoption today. It's funny when our intake specialist brings them in and you know what ones people are going to be waiting in line for. Today it was a little female one year old "affenpinchser" named Moonstruck. The first three showings of the day were all for her. Amazingly enough though all of the people were great homes but they all wanted to think about it before making their decision. Well, eventually a great couple came in and decided to adopt. We knew it was going to happen sooner or later.

There was two other dogs that got a lot of attention. One was a lab/shepherd puppy mix and a little beagle puppy. The beagle puppy ended up being the first adoption of the day but the puppy was still there as I was about to leave. I actually had a great showing with him and a potential adopter that had actually just recently lost a loved one. It was a pretty sad story but she was looking for a companion to keep her company and giver her that love only a loyal dog can. She wanted to bring her adult son to meet and make sure that Donny the dog was the right one. Of course, as I am leaving she comes back with her son. I checked the web just now and he still isn't adopted. I'll be curious to hear the story from the other adoption counselor about the showing.

That's about it for today, aside from the cleaning and what not. Overall it was a nice day. There can always be more adoptions but there is always tomorrow for that. Thanks for reading everyone and don't forget to thank all of those volunteers out there the donate there time so selflessly. Of course I had to add another picture of our puppies that just don't stop growing!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A whole lot of cleaning

Today was one of those days that I just put my head down and went to work. There was nothing wrong with me and my attitude was good, I just had the motivation to go around and clean. As usual, the morning started with taking all of the dogs down to their runs for their morning break. Once that was done it was time to get scrubbing. I focused my efforts on the South kennels and immediately started spraying everything down with disinfectant. Once everything was lathered up I got to scrubbing. I have to say, there should be an industrial use for bird poop, the amount of elbow grease that you have to put into getting it off of the windows is amazing.

Well, eventually, I got the kennels a little cleaner and began getting all of the breakfasts ready. There were a few special meals for some of our senior guys that recently had dental extractions. Nothing complicated, just wet food. After all of that was done it was time to start bringing the dogs back up. It was nice to see that over the weekend there were a few play groups made and all of the animals were out having fun while we cleaned.

After the morning cleaning I headed back to ISO to clear out the kennels that had recently been used. We actually had six dogs dropped off in front of the shelter in one crate while I was away and they had to be kept back in quarantine until county could come and pick them up. I really don't know what else to say on that topic other than at least the people didn't leave them in the middle of the freeway. Anyways, I digress, I ended up disinfecting the kennels that those dogs were in and soon moved on to the next dirty thing, (there seems to be a never ending supply at the shelter).

Luckily we had a solid staff on so I was able to knock out a few of the cleaning projects, with a lot of help. I noticed that the pet kitchen had already been taken care of today so I moved on to the dirty crates and litter boxes, not my favorite job. I pre soaked everything hoping that the cemented on kitten diarrhea might come off a little easier if I left it for a while. In the mean time I recruited another staff member to help me knock it all out. Amazingly enough, when you have two people who are actually working, some of the things that I usually think are tough become pretty quick and easy.

After all of the cleaning I got a call to help with an interaction. It was with one of our skittish little guys named Chili Willie. When he first came to us he wouldn't even come out of his crate let alone walk on leash. With a little work and patience from everyone at the shelter he has slowly come out of his shell. The interact was a little sketch at first with our little guy trying to act all tough, but after a little walking together both dogs seemed to bet a little more comfortable. We decided to move them into the yards and see how they interacted. It was really more just hanging out than anything else, but they weren't annoying each other either. It wasn't the perfect interact but the couple that was looking to adopt were very dog savvy and the questions and suggestions that they had put me at ease with the adoption. It turns out they absolutely loved the little guy and got to take him home today.

Overall the day goes by so fast when all you do is clean. It was nice to organize a few things and it was even nicer to send a dog home. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments. The pictures are a few of our new arrivals from our second chance program. The more I learn about them I will share with you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bouncing Around

Typically Thursdays for me are spent at the front desk preparing files for recently altered dogs to go home. Today was a little different though because for some odd reason the front desk was pretty slow and everywhere is was incredibly busy.

I started by helping out in the kennels and taking care of cleaning the rabbitat. I almost forgot how where the hay was it had been so long since I had cleaned them, I think around two months or so. It was good to see that there were a few new faces in there along with some familiar ones that I noticed were no longer there because they found their forever homes. Along with seeing who had gotten adopted I also remembered that some rabbits can be real turds. I got complacent after cleaning up after the first three and by the fourth just went straight for his litter box, how quickly I got pounced on. I felt bad for the little guy because I obviously startled him but boy did he get my heart racing when he went after me. Eventually I was able to calm him down and was even able to pet him on his nose. I do have to say, after not cleaning them for so long my allergies really kicked up again.

Once that was done I went back to medical to check on a few dog files for animals that would be going home today. When I went back though I realized that it was yet another surgery day and things were kind of hectic. Luckily the front desk was well covered with qualified people so I stayed back in back to help out as best as I could, I actually felt as though I was more in the way than anything else. I was able to do some data entry for a few dogs that got to go home and I did make up some meds as well. In addition to that I also dulled out a few medications as well, mostly just advantage but a few doses of droncit for some young kittens. Surprisingly easy to do with pill pockets and a syringe of water. While I was doing all of this the medical staff was busy doing some pretty gnarly dentals. If you read my blog a few days ago I talked about our old man Wylie getting adopted, well, he had to have a pretty intense dental done today and as you can see had all of his teeth pulled. I was really surprised at how easily they all came out. I knew his mouth was bad, but literally his teeth were just falling out. That is a picture of him up top.

After all of this I made it back up front in time to send one of the other staff members home early. Of course when I did that, it finally got busy up there. It was overall a pretty nice day even though at times there were certainly some stressful situations. I was glad to see so many great animals finally get to go home and of course it was nice for the day to go by so quickly. I am going to close with a picture of Sumo, who was our perfectly white Samoyed, looks like he had a fun time with his new playmate Candy! He actually got adopted today and has a beautiful new sister to go home to as well. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Funny how it goes some times


We had a few dogs become available for adoption today. There were brought in as relinquishments this past Saturday. There is a pit mix, a chow mix, a samoyed, and of course a lab type mix. All of the animals seem very socialized and of course loved but there are always those reasons that they are brought in. Recently it seems more and more that they are here because families are loosing their homes.

One story that stood out to me from the group of new arrivals was the lab mix named T.J. He is a sweet and skittish boy that physically reminds everyone at the shelter of a long termer named Arnie. As soon as you relate him to our buddy the immediate fear of having this poor guy at the shelter for six months sets in. A little history on our new friend. His original owner had him for two years and was moved from state to state until she was deployed overseas for the military. Luckily she had her brother take T.J. until she got back. Three years later she came back and was unable to find him a new home. The really sad part is, the last three years the brother really didn't want the dog, and because he had wood floors decided to keep T.J. outdoors 24 hours a day. Makes me tear up every time I think about that poor dog out there by himself, especially after being an INDOOR dog with the man's sister. Anyways, we got him here at the shelter and his first few days were tough. He was very fearful and every time you put a harness around him he would whine. Rather than be aggressive he was completely shutting down. Not sure if it was learned helplessness or what, but all we could do was wait to see if he came around. Because of all of his issues and his tough life it made us stress out even more that due to our previous experience with Arnie this poor guy would be here forever.

Right as we opened there was a call for a showing with our new friend. It was a woman that had been in several times this past week and had read T.J.'s profile on the computer but didn't get to see what he looked like because there was no picture. I spoke with her at length about T.J.'s history and how he has improved since first coming into the shelter but still needed a lot of work. I did the showing in his kennel to try not to overstimulate him with new people. The woman had recently lost her dog of 15 years and finally thought it was time for a new partner. She fell in love with T.J. and he fell in love with her. He was attached to her hip the entire showing and of course she felt the same way and wanted to adopt. Unfortunately he still needed his medical intake done which I had no idea about but it turns out he is good to go except for an ear infection. A great adoption and certainly put a smile on my face and a few tears in more than one person. T.J. will finally have a forever home that will take him everywhere his new mom goes.

The picture up top, as you can guess, is T.J., he will be going home tomorrow afternoon once all of his ear meds are taken care of. Thanks for reading everyone and I really hope some more stories like this occur sooner than later. I look forward to your comments and to all of the great hearts out there helping animals around the world, keep your heads up, you are appreciated more than you know.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A great adoption story and some new puppies to put a smile on your face



I have to say, since I got back from my time off it has been a little tough both adjusting back to work and of course getting over the jet lag. Well, I think I have finally eased back in and can actually get up early enough in the morning to write my blog and not fall asleep on the keyboard.

There have been a few days since I last wrote but that doesn't mean that they didn't happen. The past week has been great with a few faces finding new homes. My main focus today is telling you about our old dachshund named Wylie. If you're not familiar with him, he is about a fourteen year old that came to us via a county shelter. Typically we do not take in dogs this old but his story was unique. He and his brother had been attacked by a coyote, unfortunately his brother didn't make it. But because Wylie had been through so much we decided it was worth the effort to try and find him a home.

Initially we found him a home rather quickly, sadly though it didn't work out. Apparently little Wylie was pretty stressed in his new surroundings and the adopter just didn't have the patience to let him settle in and they brought him back the next day. Once back at the shelter he became once again a staff favorite. Then of course his age started to show. It turns out that he needs quite a few dental extractions and then the worst part yet, he slipped a disc. The poor little guy is so long and so old that he was just playing and somehow it happened. The bigger problem is that this not only can happen again, it probably will, plus there really is not treatment that we can do except limit his mobility while he recovers. Luckily we have a wonderful foster that has kept him at home and allowed him to heal in a stress free environment.

Now on to the really good news. We were lucky enough to get a newspaper feature on our senior guy and soon the calls came pouring in. It was amazing to see how many people wanted to give this sweet dog a warm and loving home. The issue was though that it really had to be the perfect home because of Wylie's back issues. Well, the call did come. It was a young woman that has a senior rottweiller and dachshund already, and when I say senior, I mean senior. She not only has a one story house so her dogs can't hurt themselves going up stairs she also has baby gates everywhere to limit their movement in the house so she can constantly make sure that they are not getting into trouble.

She came into the shelter and absolutely fell in love with Wylie, as everyone that meets him does. We introduced him to her two dogs and it was like a match made in heaven. She still hasn't taken him home yet because he still needs his dental, but as soon as he gets it he can finally go to his forever home. I think whenever I have a tough time at the shelter I am going to read this story because this truly is one of the good ones that puts a smile on my face whenever I think about it.

After that wonderful adoption we got a call from a man trying to relinquish four puppies because his HOA was threatening to kick him out. He said that he didn't want his unaltered female and male dogs to mate, it just happened! I can only bite my tongue at that point. He initially tried giving them up to another shelter but they charged to much so he was trying us. The big concern for us is that apparently the dad of the pups is part wolf. Now in California it is illegal to adopt out first generation wolves but because these are third generation we though we might as well meet the little guys just in case. Well, it turns out they are all incredibly socialized and of course cuter than anything. We ended up taking all four of them in, now the issue is making sure that we find the right homes for these behemoths, they are already about thirty pounds at eleven weeks. We are going to treat any adoption the same way we would a pit adoption. The people must own their home and of course be savvy dog owners. I have no doubt they will find homes very quickly, because as you can see by the pictures they are absolutely adorable.

Thanks for reading everyone and of course thanks for doing all that you do for animals in your area. I love the comments and I look forward to getting some more from you all :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Slowly getting back into the routine

I have to say that I was lucky to travel to a place with not the best smelling bathrooms in the world. Usually you would think this would be a negative side to a honeymoon but at least it didn't take much for me to get used to the smell of the kennels again.

I began my day by first taking out the dogs for their morning break. This is still kind of tough for me because of the simple fact that there are so many new faces and I still have a tough time knowing where everyone goes and who can play with who. Thankfully the whole staff has been great and helps out whenever I ask.

Once all of the dogs were out doing their business, it was time to get scrubbing. I had almost forgotten that it was spring/summer time and there were a lot of new baby birds around until I started cleaning off bird poop from the kennels. There has to be some scientific use for this stuff because the amount of effort I had to put into just to make a dent in it wore me out for the rest of the day. Anyways, I was able to finish up cleaning the kennels and I am sure the bird poop will be back tomorrow, but at least it looks good today.

After I got all of the food down it was time to bring up the crew for their breakfast. It was to get some interaction with the dogs but at the same time it was good just to be able to pet them. I have to say though that one of the dogs, Nicky, did give me a weird vibe. Of course it turns out that I didn't read his kennel notes and he needs someone he knows to introduce them to him otherwise he can be a bit of a turd. Luckily he warmed up and now seems to be one of the sweeter dogs at the shelter.

The rest of the day seemed to be a lot of busy office work for me. I did learn of a great thing that will be taking place at the shelter in the coming year and it is an installation of a war dog memorial in our dog park. It's a great way to contribute to the amazing animals and their handlers that serve and have served this country so well.

In addition to this I learned a little bit more about our fiftieth anniversary gala that will be taking place in October. I sometimes have a tough time realizing that the shelter has been here for that long. It should be an amazing event that will really bring our shelter onto a bigger stage.

That's about it for the day. I want to thank everyone for the warm welcome back and of course for doing all that they can to help animals in their area. We are truly a lucky nation to be able to do what we do for them so keep it up and the rest of the world will follow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm Back







Well, after a three week sabbatical I am back and slowly getting used to the shelter again. Apparently this is the longest time anyone has ever taken off at our rescue so they were all pretty surprised to see me stagger in after thirty hours of travel and still incredibly jet lagged. I do have to say, after my travels I have gotten a better sense of not only how lucky we are in the U.S. as far as animal welfare goes but especially the shelter that I work at.

I have to say that no matter your job or career, taken this much time off makes it very difficult to get back into a routine quickly. I found myself asking in my head exactly what do I do in this situation throughout the day. Everything from cleaning to doing showings I felt like I needed a refresher course. I'm sure after a few weeks I will be able to get back into the routine, otherwise I might realize actually how difficult this job actually is.

Enough about my day, I want to catch everyone up on the what has been going on in the shelter that past month. I was a little sad to see a few of the same faces, Marco especially, still at the shelter but I did learn of some amazing adoptions. Just about all of the long termers, including cats all found homes while I was away. It was really amazing for me to learn about all of the stories and how good all of their new families were. Heck, even a fourteen year old cat with arthritis found the perfect home

After I finally got a little organized and caught up on all of the adoptions I was surprised to hear over the radio a number of showings. I ended up taking a total of three that were all great homes. The toughest part about the showings was actually having to learn about the dogs from other people. Typically I can go on my own experiences with the added knowledge of our staff and behavior specialist, but in this case I was only getting my info from the computer. I was surprised at how easy it was to assess the animals and which ones might be a good fit from all of the notes on their files, but I still like going into the showing with my own observations, that was the toughest part. Anyways, all of the showings went well, I just wanted all of the potential adopters to take their time with the big decision. Hopefully they will come back later in the week and take home a new addition.

Well, as you can see, I am going to have to gradually work my way back into not only writing this blog but also working at the shelter. I hope everyone has had a great month and I hope there are still a few of you left out there that are going to read this. I didn't take any pictures at the shelter today but I took a few while in Tibet that I thought I would attach. My doctor told me not to handle or pet any of the dogs but I just couldn't help myself.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A few more adoptions for the road


When it's cold and rainy out I usually come into work early just so I can clean up cats in the comfort of our air conditioned cattery. That is exactly what happened today. I do feel a little bad for not sucking it up but what the heck, I really don't want to catch a cold before leaving for my wedding.

Once all of the cleaning was done I jumped into my first showing. I have to say, after reading the profile I was pretty sure that the family would be able to adopt just about any of our animals, that was of course until I actually spoke with them. It turns out that they really don't know what they want but I do know what they don't want. A dog that is too energetic, that barks, that might have an accident in the house, that might shed, and my favorite, one that is not too old. This was all coming from a woman in her eighties. She also wanted to make it clear to me that she "lives well" and her furniture is to good for an animal to mess it up. Anyways, at least they came into a shelter looking, that does garner some points with me. I just really wish they would have listened to what I had to say rather than speaking over me. In any case, they ended up switching from looking at dogs to looking at a declawed cat. It might have worked but I reiterated that they need to "shop" around and see all that is out there. Luckily the cat they were looking at was adopted the next hour because I honestly would not have felt right sending an animal home to this family.

My next showing was one that sent me home smiling. It was with a younger couple, a firefighter and his wife. They typically are only gone a few hours a day and were looking for the right dog that could go one runs and just lounge on the couch. They initially came in to see a dog by the name of Roxy but she ended up having surgery so they were unable to meet. Well, it ends up another dog chose them. It was our sweet little Mississippi girl Darla. We ended up sitting with her for a good hour and sure enough she turned out to be the "one". It was so nice not only to see her find such a great home but for the adopters to find such a great dog. The couple was so nice and so appreciative of what we do it really did send me home with a smile today.

Well, that's about it for me for a while. I am heading out early in the morning to go tie the not with the love of my life. I'll be back though and of course jumping right back into the blog as well as helping the animals. Thanks so much for reading and I look forward to your comments.
Oh yeah, the picture up top is Roxy after her surgery.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A staff favorite finally finds his home

After all of the morning cleaning it seems that a lot of my time has been preparing all of the stuff that I would have done in the next three weeks since I am taking off. I have been doing everything from scheduling to scanning in pictures for our 50th anniversary. The big thing that I have had to do was collect all of the data, adoption numbers and what not, for the first quarter of this year to send to the county for their records. In any case, I have seemed to remain busy but want to make sure that I don't leave any one hanging while I am away.

Coming into work after a few days off I learned of some pretty interesting things. First our old man Wylie, the twelve year old dachshund got adopted on Saturday and returned on Monday. Apparently he was throwing up everywhere and the adopter didn't want to continually clean up after him. I won't mention that his diet was switched immediately and a half of a baby aspirin was given to him before all of this happened, but I won't mention that. Anyways, at least he got out of the shelter for a few nights, I just wish people would listen to us when we give suggestions about acclimating this animals to their new homes.

On with the day. Speaking of people that fail to listen to you, my first showing was a shining example of that. It was with an older lady and her son and daughter. She had never been to a shelter before but I gave her credit for coming in now. I explained how we operated and why we want to make sure that it's the perfect fit for everyone that we strive for. Well, she was more concerned about tearing up furniture, barking, and peeing on the floor because "she lived well" and didn't want her home destroyed. Now, these are all valid points, but if since I couldn't get a word in with them I just chose to walk around the shelter and see if any animals caught their eye. Of course none did so then she wanted to see a de-clawed cat. I think the only thing that got through to them was me saying to take their time because this is a very big decision and commitment. I am just glad that the cat she was looking at ended up getting adopted the next hour by the perfect family. Anyways, I know there is a perfect animal out there for just about everyone, but people need to take their time in finding it.

Closing out the day it was time for an amazing adoption. There was a family that had come into the shelter several times in the last week to visit one of our long term dogs. Initially there wasn't that great of a connection but the adoption counselor suggested that they come back so that our little man could get more comfortable with them. They did and Cooper the dog was playing and jumping right up in everyone's laps. There was just one thing that needed to happen now, Dad had to meet. Luckily today he came in and listened to what the counselor had to say about behavior and of course energy level. Before I knew it little Cooper was getting a bath and going home. This is one of those dogs that has been on the fence here at the shelter just because of his kennel presence and the slippery slope that is a shelter but it just goes to show you that there is a perfect home for every animal out there.

Thanks for reading everyone and of course a special thanks to all of the volunteers and trainers that made Cooper's stay here at the shelter as stress free as possible.

Friday, April 23, 2010

They keep on finding homes!

Today is one of those days that I spend up at the front desk but actually ended up spending very little time up there because of an "adoption" meeting. When I first got into work my focus was on preparing for the day and making sure that we didn't have any situations arise from all of our puppies becoming available today.

Because we work on a first and best match for our animals it is typical that we have an influx of people coming in for puppies. In fact we actually created a binder for all of the applications that we have received over the past month or so. It was well organized though and the staff made sure that they took every precaution in making sure that not only did the animals find a great home but no one was going to get pissed off in the process. It turned out because it was weekday and pretty chilly out that there wasn't the rush of people that we had expected for the pups. Mind you, we would have liked to see them all adopted right when we opened but it was good that there wasn't a mad dash of people fighting over them.

Surprisingly enough there was another surprise adoption today when all we expected was puppy showings. It turns out that two young ladies that had been in yesterday looking at the puppies came back today to look at a sweet little spaniel mix named Tippie Canoe, don't ask me where the name came from. Tippie has been kind of a staff and volunteer favorite since she came back into our shelter after being adopted out. There was a lot of concern with adopting her to that perfect household with some pretty stringent guidelines. After she went on foster several times though we got to see a different side to her. Anyways, the two young ladies with their sweet little dachshund ended up adding her to their family. It was one of those adoptions again that you don't want to jinx but man did it put yet another smile on my face when I heard she had found a home.

The rest of the day remained busy with several more showings. In addition to that we had a level two dog training class that one of the front desk staff members was able to attend. I think that it was a great idea that she go because everyone in the shelter is gaining an appreciation of what everyone else does. In addition to that it makes everyone aware of why we take the steps that we do to make sure the animals remain adoptable no matter their length of stay at the shelter.

Well, hopefully tomorrow the trend continues and there are a few more of our senior animals adopted. I know that's asking a lot but the way things are going I figured why not hope for the best. Thanks for reading everyone and thanks for the wedding wishes. Keep up the good work fellow animal lovers!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A sweet long termer finds a home



I love working outside, but there are some days that you wish you could be behind a computer again. Now those days are very rare but when it is raining and cold outside my longing for the desk job begins, but only for a very short while.

Once all of the dogs were taken care of it was time to jump right into the day. Not sure if it was just me or what but it seems that during the early part of the week we have had a few more showings lately. I grabbed my first one just after we opened today. It was with an older woman who had been in a few months ago to look at our little mange puppies. Of course the day she came back with her whole family to adopt the little guy had already found a home. She was still open minded though and said it just wasn't meant to be. She was still interested in finding that right fit though which was nice to hear. She ended up looking at our Cabo dog Alice, I tried to explain to her the extreme energy level she had but she still wanted to see her. The reason I tried to dissuade her was because she lived in a very quite home with her retired husband. Anyways, she did like Alice but I also showed her a new dog that won't be available until tomorrow. She is a little terrier mix that came from a sanctuary in Mississippi. Hopefully she will come back wither her husband and see if we can find the perfect fit.

My next showing was with a few dogs. I of course had to talk to our vet first to get some clarification on the skin issues that broke a few weeks back. Once I got all of my info I went to talk to the woman and learned that it was an ideal dog home. Someone was home all the time, the dog would go with them wherever they went, and of course they have adopted before so they know some of the issues that can come up with shelter dogs. I ended doing a showing with a sweet little spaniel named Tippie. She absolutely fell in love with her. Of course the rest of the family has to meet so I figured I might as well show her the dogs in ISO as well just so she can get a sense of their personality. She liked them but I think she had a thing for Tippie, hopefully I will see the whole crew in this week so we can find this sweet girl a new forever home.

While I was in my showings I learned that our dog Skipper that had been adopted out by us ten years ago and then returned because the family lost their house was getting adopted. I love to hear about animals finding new homes but to hear a twelve year old found his forever home was music to my ears. Peaks and valleys is what I say goes on here at the shelter. One minute you have all of these returns and the next they are all finding homes.

Closing out the day a construction worker brought in some stray neonate kittens that were certainly needing some looking after. Luckily we have an incredibly experienced staff member to care for them until we can get them out on foster. Here is a picture of the teeny crew, you can really see how small and delicate they are.

Thanks for reading everyone and of course thanks for the comments as well. I also just wanted to let you know that I will off for almost the whole month of May for my wedding but the blog will continue after that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Some really good news...maybe


I finally figured out that if I get to work early enough I can sign up for cats, as was the case this morning. Once I jotted my name down on the sign up sheet I went to work on a little side project. I kept myself busy most of the morning scanning in fifty year old photos of the shelter in to the computer to transfer them into digital format. Once I'm done with that I am going to attempt to make a mosaic of all the pictures over the years for our anniversary gala later in the year.

Once it was actually time to work I headed over to the cattery where I began to clean. I have to say it was really nice just to throw on my headphones and get down to business. It's also nice because I can actually get to know some of the new faces that we have in our cattery. I do have to say that there are a few that I wish I could forget already. In one of the rooms I was cleaning there were a total of about five kennels with covers on them which typically means that the animal is new and is still adjusting. Of course when I went in to clean after them they let me know that they were still "adjusting". Even when I wasn't in their kennels I could here some of them hissing over the music of my ipod. Nonetheless I was able to finish and at least learned a few of the new guys names.

I have to mention a pretty amazing cat story from last week that I was hesitant to right about just because it was a little odd and I didn't want to jinx it. It all began a few weeks ago when a woman and her daughter had come in to look at our girl Ella, a cat that has been at the shelter going on a year now. After a several visits and a lot of thinking the woman decided to adopt and take Ella home the next day so she could prepare her house for the new arrival. In the time frame between adopting the cat and us closing a new volunteer went in and ended up getting scratched by Ella's tooth. What that means is the cat now has to go on bite quarantine to make sure there are no health risks. We were all mortified that after all this time she finally gets adopted and something like this happens. It turns out the adopter still wanted her and decided that while she was on quarantine would still come and visit. It was great to know that a person was willing to wait even longer for her new pet. So, yay! Our longer termer, and I mean long termer gets to go home in just a few more days.

The remainder of my day was spent in a very long meeting discussing some future events and policies at the shelter. Of course when it was done I went back to work and had a great showing with a cute little second chance chihuahua. While I was doing that I learned that our girl Lady, the dog that has been here for who knows how long went into a showing. After about an hour of explaining her "issues" the potential adopters decided on taking her on a "trial run". Now this is not something we typically do but because of Lady's situation and behaviors we want to make sure that we take all necessary precautions in sending her home. I am keeping my fingers crossed and trying not to blink hard because I am so happy right now just thinking that there might be a possibility that she gets adopted.

Thanks so much for reading everyone and of course the wonderful comments, they really do let me know that there are so many people out there that care about animal welfare. Keep up the good work everyone!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some interesting people today

I started my day by of course checking all of the emails sent to the shelter along with the voicemail. There are always a few that surprise me. This morning the messages consisted of a few senior citizens asking about the silky terrier puppy named Peaches. Of course I returned the calls and let the women know that the little puppy was available for adoption but also had to explain her histiocytoma as well. That's always fun trying to explain why we didn't remove the tumor and what the implications could be on the future of the animal.

The big call I had to make this morning was to a recent adopter. It turns out after I left last night one of the longest term animals in the shelter had been adopted. Ella the cat has been here for over a year now and finally found the right family to take her home. The adopters ended up just putting down a deposit because they wanted to prepare their home for the new arrival. In the time that they adopted and the time the shelter closed though an elderly new volunteer went in to where Ella was housed. Ella gave her a love bite and broke skin. When this happens it is law that we put the animal on bite quarantine for ten days and out of public view. Now this is an animal that has been at the shelter almost as long as I have and now has to stay even longer. It was my job now to call the adopter and explain the situation. Because the woman had just spent time with the animal though she could still come and visit if she wanted to. She ended up being very understanding and really felt sorry for Ella more than everything. The one little bit of silver lining on the situation is the last day of Ella's quarantine is her due date for her yearly boosters, so at least it will save the adopter the trip to the vet. In the end it was a little odd but luckily our girl Ella found the absolutely perfect home.

Not surprising at all as soon as we opened the showings started coming in for Peaches. Within an hour she had been adopted. Once again I had to call a few potential adopters and let them know that she had found a home. I didn't want anyone else making the trip in just to find out she wasn't here. Surprisingly enough some people were upset with me because they didn't get her. I threw me back a bit because it was a little unexpected, maybe next time I will just let them waist their time coming in and let them find out on their own.

Closing out the day I wanted to reflect on the biggest thing that I don't like about the front desk. It's part of being in a shelter I understand but it can become very tough for me at times. What I am talking about is the daily barrage of calls from people who are trying to relinquish their animals. On any given day there are anywhere from five to twenty five people asking if we can take their animals in. Not only is it sometimes incredibly sad but it is frustrating as well. Some people can be so irresponsible and expect us to help them out of their situation. The other side of it is the tough part, you have the individuals that this truly is their last resort and all they want to do is find a home for their family member. Then of course there are the ones that you know we aren't going to take their animals do to health or behavioral issues and you have to explain to them why our shelter won't be able to put them up for adoption.

It can be a sad business at times but with that comes those moments when all you can do is walk tall and have an ear to ear smile. Thanks for reading everyone and of course a special thanks to all of the volunteers and rescue workers around the globe who are making all of the difference.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I finally had an adoption again

Since my duties at the shelter have changed these past three months I have found it more and more difficult to get animals adopted due to my sparse time working in the kennels. Well, today was a little different. As usual it began by taking out the dogs and of course cleaning up the kennels. Once that was all done and the doors were open to the shelter it was go time.

I immediately started a showing with a sweet elderly couple who was looking at either a lab or golden mix. I began by talking about their needs and their living situation and found out that they would be a perfect home for just about any animal. I initially talked to them about Lady, our resident long termer but after talking to them for a bit it seems she might be a little to much for them, actually a lot to much. After ruling her out we moved outside to take a look at some of the new faces and see if one might be a good fit. It turns out they absolutely fell in love with a dog named Bali. Unfortunately she isn't available until Saturday but they should be back then. I really hope it works out because the family was incredibly sweet. I can't tell you how many times the man broke down in tears because of the loss of their last dog a few months back.

My next showing was with a young hispanic couple who initially I thought might not be a good fit because of the way they answered the questions on their profile. When I talked to them though I got a completely different feeling. This would be their first time owning a dog so they really didn't know how to answer the questions like where would the dog sleep. After discussing to them our dogs and where they come from they agreed that the animal could pretty much sleep wherever they would want to. I talked to them about being patient and waiting for the perfect fit because this is no small commitment. Thankfully the couple was very attentive and hopefully the rest of the family comes back on Saturday to find their new addition.

After all of that it was time to give our little five week old puppies a medicated bath. We think, of course, that they might have some skin issues that need to be dealt with. I have to say for them never having a bath before they did pretty well. Hopefully it helped because I certainly saw some hair loss. In any case, we will make sure that they are healthy and we are already taking applications for their adoptions which will take place in two or three weeks. The picture up top is one of the cuties that didn't like her bath so much.

Closing out the day I had one more showing. It was with a grandmother and grandson that had been in yesterday to look at Petey the cat. When they came in today they wanted to see the dogs as well. After filling out yet another application I showed them our little chihuahua pomeranian mix named Teensie Marie. They absolutely fell in love with her but were still indecisive about getting a dog or cat. I explained that there was no rush and this was a huge decision. Well, they did take their time and came back to the shelter and decided on Teensie Marie. It was nice to see the smile on their faces and it was even nicer to see Teensie Marie strutting out of the parking lot with her new family.

Thanks for reading everyone and if you aren't already following my I would appreciate the support. I also had to include a picture of Wylie, the ten year old dachshund we took in on Saturday, you almost can't even tell that he has the worst teeth I have ever seen, but we'll fix that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Finally learning some new cat names


Since our hours at the shelter have changed to accommodate daylight savings I have strictly been cleaning up after dogs in the morning. What that means to mean is that I really haven't gotten a chance to work wit the cats in almost two months. Today though was different, we had three openers so I was able to make my way over to cattery.

It didn't surprise me when I almost didn't recognize any names on any of the kennels. Unfortunately I did recognize some at the same time, those special ones that have been at the shelter for way to long. While I was cleaning though it was nice to meet the new ones and get a sense of their personality in order to better explain them if there was a showing. Even though it all seems positive I noticed that one of our cats, Chester, seemed a bit under the weather. Luckily we noticed it because it turned out he had a fever of about 105. Another cat I learned about was Missy, a siamese mix that absolutely does not like me. Good to know that a cat will swat and hiss even if you merely look at it.

Anyways, once the cattery was done I helped bring up some of the dogs to their freshly cleaned kennels. We have a few new faces since our behavior specialist headed down to another shelter on Monday and picked up a group of ten. In addition to that there was a new ten year old dachshund named Wylie that came in as well. This special little guy had come into county as a stray with his brother who had been attacked by a coyote. Sadly his brother didn't make it but luckily Wylie made his way to us. Overall the new group looks really good, even the one eyed pomeranian mix. Hopefully when they become available on Saturday they will all find homes.

It's amazing the ups and downs that you experience at an animal shelter. Right now we have had some adoptions, of course not as many as we would like, but there are some dogs that have just been here way to long. I think that right now we have three or four dogs that are pushing four months and above which is to long for any animal to be in a shelter, no matter how good it is. Once the animal has been here that long it becomes even more difficult to get them adopted because they are acclimating themselves to well to the shelter life. Typically you will see them digress into fence fighting, start inhibiting anti social behaviors, and sometimes even becoming aggressive. We do our best along with a great group of volunteers to keep this from happening but then the double edge sword comes out. While we are focusing on one animal, another isn't getting the attention they need. It's one crazy cycle that I wish we could do a better job with.

The rest of my afternoon was spent bathing our ring worm pit bull, hanging out with our ring worm carrier, and of course throwing the ball for our ring worm beagle. Are you seeing a trend here. We do have a bit of a skin outbreak at the shelter but luckily our medical staff caught on very early. I hope staff and volunteers don't forget to spend time with these animals for the fear that they could catch it because that would mean the dogs would start going downhill faster without the interaction they need.

Closing out the day we didn't have any adoptions but some solid showings for a few of the new guys that will become available soon. Hopefully the week picks up because we have a full house now with some great animals just waiting for their perfect home. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments. Oh yeah, the picture up top is Chester, the poor tabby with a high fever.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dealing with the people one on one

Today was my day away from the animals and at the front desk dealing with the customers. I can never say enough how much of a change it is to jump from the kennels to the office and the complete variety of people that come into the shelter.

My morning began by checking the emails and voice messages. I returned one voicemail of a woman asking for help for a hurt dove that wasn't able to fly. I heard that the message was from about ten minutes ago and since the woman took the time to call us it was only right for us to return the call. I explained to her that we were a private shelter but I would certainly help her get to the right people that could help her out. Unfortunately by the time that I called she said she went back outside and there was nothing but a plume of feathers. I told her maybe it just had to try extra hard to fly and shook out some feathers, not that it was probably eaten. In any case I thanked her for caring enough to call us and she was happy she at least got her call returned.

The other message was from a rescue group that we had called earlier about picking up some donations. Because we have such a great relationship with our community we get in a lot of things including extra bedding and dog food. Because we only use one particular type of food though we find organizations in need and make sure that if we have it and they need it, we will get it to them.

It's finally opening time by this point and today we have three dogs heading home. They were just altered yesterday so they will have to take it easy for a while but I really do love the day that these animals get picked up. The smile on the new owner's faces is priceless, not to mention the gratitude that the adopters have as well.

With the dogs going home today and several showings the front office became a bit hectic at times today. We ended up having two adoptions, Haley and Abby, who both found great homes. It was nice to see two dogs at the shelter for such a short period of time before they found their forever homes. In addition to the two adoptions there was also a lot of showings which was great to see since adoptions seem to be down this month.

Closing out the day we did have a few new animals come in via relinquishment. We had two cats that the families ended up having allergies too. I understand how this could happen but I also have a tough time thinking about giving up my animals if I became allergic as well. I have said it before, that I am not a people hater, but if you truly love your pet there are other things that you can do. This is usually why I don't always trust the reasons why people relinquish their animals. Anyways, the other little guy that came into us was a tiny little silky terrier puppy. The dog was just to much for a the family which is understandable. Luckily the little puppy found its way here because she won't be here for very long.

My days at the front desk are always something new. I learned today that for those people that still use a phone book we are the only number listed in the entire county as a humane society. It's kind of funny because we are actually a private animal shelter and there are four county shelters all around us. What that means for us is the people that still actually use the yellow pages always call us to ask the most random questions and of course for us to get them the right number. Well, at least we actually answer the phone and not some recording, at least we have that going for us. Thanks for reading as always everyone and I look forward to your comments. And remember, there are so many ways that you can help these animals in your area, check out volunteering at your local shelter, it was one of the most rewarding times in my life.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Know what you are feeding your bottle babies!


The morning started off with foster kittens being returned to the shelter because of horrible diarrhea. Now these aren't just any kittens, when they went out they were a mere five or six days old. What that means is they need constant attention, warmth, and of course hourly feedings. We have a great network of volunteers that are trained to get the animals weight up until we can alter them and put them up for adoption, but in those rare instances when something goes wrong they are brought back to the shelter to be looked after until they can get healthy again.

Well, after our experts did some research on the issue because a ten day old kitten that isn't eating and having running of the bowles is a pretty serious thing. It turns out that the KMR (kitten milk replacement) manufactured by PetAg has had a few issues. Apparently there have been several complaints that it has been killing animals. There was a few articles found that basically said that the powdered supplement was actually spoiled. The manufacturers excuse was that every can leaves the factory in good shape but suspects that some delivery trucks stayed out in the summer heat too long and the cans went bad. Not sure who's fault it is but there should certainly be a warning on the can, especially when the expiration date isn't until next year. In any case, if you have bottle babies, make sure you smell the powdered formula first, it should smell almost sweet, and not like chemicals. If if you do find a bad one, make sure you let the manufacturer know.

Well, then, my tirade is over and on with the day because the little kittens are now eating more and their poop is pretty normal. After cleaning it was more cleaning. I forget that the two days that I am in kennels are pretty slow as far as showings go so I try to focus on hanging out with the animals, deep cleaning, and trying to keep myself busy. I was able to almost catch up on the laundry when I got a call for a showing. It was unfortunate because they wanted to look at a dog that has to go home with another dog because of his separation anxiety. Aside from that everything seemed pretty good with the household. Hopefully they find what they are looking for because they seemed like a good family that just wants the right dog.

After more cleaning, scrubbing crates, and washing dishes it was time to take the dogs out for their afternoon break. As I was doing this a woman approached me and asked what kind of dog I had on leash. I explained he was a shepherd mix. Next time I cam down to the yards I asked her if she had any more questions and she then explained that her dog had just passed yesterday and she needed to be around them today. It's tough to come up with the right words to console people but I always try. She was an extremely nice woman who wants to get another dog but she just doesn't know what kind or when to do it. I talked to her for a little while and she held herself together well because I would have been balling my eyes out. Hopefully she continues to come back and we can find her a new addition to the family.

Thanks for reading everyone and of course your comments. All of you our there that read this have some attachment to animals and it is because of you that shelter's like the one I work at continue to be successful. And of course I had to add another picture of the puppies to put a smile on your face.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Smells like rotten eggs



When we began taking dogs out this morning it was important that we focused on a particular order of how we handled the animals. The reasoning for this was cross contamination on some young ones and some sick ones. This becomes very important when you are dealing with five week old puppies. We typically don't take in animals so young but I have to say that their cuteness might have played a part in them being in the shelter.

Having the young animals you have to make sure that you always handle them first and of course wash up every time before you handle them. Once you take care of them then it is on to the rest of the population. Then of course our sickies, which seems like a few right now. It turns out that we have a ring worm issues with several dogs. If your not familiar with the fungus I suggest reading up on it because it can get pretty nasty. And now we have three with the potential of a fourth popping positive.

The treatment isn't to crazy but it does take a while for this fungal infection to clear up. First comes a topical medicine applied twice daily to the affected area. The other form of treatment is medicated baths. I didn't think the baths were that bad because I had actually never used the right stuff to wash them in. Usually I would use a maleseb shampoo that soothes the skin but today was a little different. We ended up using a prescription sulphur bath. You heard correctly, a bath that literally smells like rotten eggs. Even worse, where we wash the animals is a whopping four by six room without the best ventilation. There was a point that I had to leave otherwise my lunch was about to come back up. Luckily this is only a weekly thing because not only was it tough on us but the poor little dogs actually had to have this stuff dry on them. Hopefully it helps because if it doesn't I feel bad that we all had to go through it.

The rest of the day was pretty routine. It was nice though to learn of the adoptions that had taken place over the weekend. Our girl Rikki, who has been here for a while and was starting to get a little nutty found the perfect home. A woman saw her online and new from that moment that she was the dog for her. A few of the new arrivals also got adopted which was nice to see. Of course they can't go home until Thursday when they start their recovery from their surgeries.

Like I mentioned before, in addition to the adoptions we have a whole lot of new arrivals that were taken in by our behavior specialist. There was everything from five young puppies, to boston terrier and bichon siblings, and even a solid white puggle (maybe). It's nice to see some adoptions and some new faces come in. Now I just want to get all of the other long termers out of here so we can get in a few more newbies. It really is tough to see great animals stay in the shelter for so long, no matter how good of a place we have, it is still a shelter and still extremely stressful.

Thanks for reading everyone and of course thanks to all of the volunteers out there that make saving animals possible.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The loudest dog EVER!

My one day a week in medical is always something that I look forward to. The main reason is because pretty much every day that I am back there I not only get to learn something but typically it is a completely different day back there every week.

The day began as usual by dulling out the morning meds. Today it was the typical anti-biotics and pain killers but there was the added miconosol. This is because we have had a dog break with ring worm. Sounds like fun huh. This is one of those times that I take extra precaution not because I don't trust the dog I just don't want to contract this stuff. The amazing part was we might have another dog with a similar issue. We noticed some hair loss on another dog named Kissy and the vet said it could potentially be ring worm or a transferrable form of mange. I haven't ever worked in a place where I could bring home so many crazy things before, hopefully the tests will come back with some good news but for not we are treating Kissy with all of the above and taking every precaution that it doesn't spread like wild fire into the shelter.

Once all of the meds were done it was time to do some intakes on three little terrier pup mixes. I was surprised at the weight of the little guys with an average of about five pounds and they are already almost six months old. You want to talk about tough to draw blood from. When we got to doing the final intake we started to shave the little pups leg and got the loudest screech I have ever heard come out of a dog. There wasn't anything different that we did, I think that the poor little girl is just so under-socialized and has had such little human contact that any little touch through her for a loop. We finally got everything done and once the ringing in our ears stopped we realized that the blood snap test that we were supposed to use was useless because we missed the snap time. What that meant was that we had to do it all over again and put the poor little puppy through another blood draw. I felt horrible listening to her cry but we had to do it. At least now I know I will never ever miss another snap test after that experience.

The rest of the day was occupied by data entry and making sure all of the new dog's files were updated in our computer system. We basically make sure that all of the vaccinations, tests, treatments, and medications are entered so that when an adoption takes place the new owner knows exactly what their new family member will be due for in the future.

Closing out the day we decided to wash our eighty pound pit bull with ring worm. We gave him a medicated malaseb bath that actually took two people to do. I don't think the poor little guy has ever had a bath from the way he took it. Once the ten minutes of letting the soap sit and rinsing him off was done though he seemed like a new man. Hopefully his skin condition won't spread and we can get him out of here sooner than later.

That's it for today, as always, thanks everyone for reading and sharing my ups, downs, and new experiences with me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Front desk kind of busy


I have to say, I absolutely love my quiet time in the mornings up at the front desk. I get to relax, drink my coffee and prepare for the day. My early morning work consisted of changing up the pre recorded on hold messages for the shelter, which is unfortunately in my voice, and of course preparing some monthly reports.

The two reports that I compile every month are very similar but serve two separate purposes. The first is what is called an asilomar report. It basically is a break down of all the animals that pass through the shelter from adoptable to euthanasia by request and then exactly where all of the animals come from. It is then put with other local shelters to compile a county wide number. The other report I send to our fund developer (money getter). The excel sheet I send to that person is basically all of the adopter's information so we can send out cards asking for donations. Since we are completely private, this is where a lot of our backing comes from.

Once that was all done it was time to mop up the floor where the roof had leaked last night. It's amazing when I see pictures of the shelter from fifty years ago and see how much the facility has changed. I really do feel proud to be part of something that has not only been around for a very long time, but has been doing the right things that entire time as well.

Finally the rush of people started arriving at the shelter. There was a constant flow of showings and we had two solid cat adoptions which was great to see. A sweet cat by the name of Maui who was previously adopted and then returned hopefully found her true "forever" home. Another great cat adoption was with a sweet guy that initially had some health issues when first coming into the shelter and still had a heart murmur found his perfect family. His name is Louie and he had been at the shelter going on four months. It was great to see him go but also the smile on the adopter's face when she walked out the door.

Everything else was pretty normal for the day. We did have a crazy drunk guy come in and yell at a few dogs but eventually he left and we all got a laugh out of it. Other than that it was a whole lot of answering phones and dealing with people that are trying to relinquish their animals. I am always amazed at why people give up their animals. I still have to tell myself that I am not a people hater.

Thanks for reading everyone and I had to add that picture of top of our medical director's dog with a new cat. Gotta love it when a boxer and a kitten fall in love!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Almost an adoption, but not quite

Once all of the cleaning was done this morning and the busy work was out of the way it was time to move on with the day. It seems more and more that things are slowing down before the real storm of business arrives during the summer. I expected to have more adoptions and showings this week though for the simple fact that so many kids are on spring break I thought it my pick things up, well, I was wrong up to this point.

I found myself most of the day helping out at the front desk where we were a little short handed. I also, luckily, got to spend a lot of time with some great animals. I first hung out with Billy who is one cool cat that does things on his own terms, more so than most of the felines I have come across. When I visited him yesterday he wouldn't even come out of his bed but today when I sat down he came right out. He rolled over on his back and even made bread while I petted him for a good fifteen minutes. He did give on little love bite but from the Billy of the past that I knew it is an amazing transformation to see how well this animal has adjusted to the shelter.

On to my one and only showing of the day. It was with a middle aged man that hadn't had a dog since he was a kid but was thinking it was about time to get one because his apartment complex now allows them. He asked a lot of good questions and seemed to really want to do the right thing and of course get the right dog that fits his needs. After he filled out his adoption application and I spoke with him at length we figured a relinquished dog that we have a history on might be a better fit since he is away for a good eight hours a day and a dog that is used to that might be best. We also narrowed down the size and temperament to fit his needs. The good and bad news of it all was that we might have a fit but he is pushing eleven years old. Unfortunately as well we couldn't show our little Skipper because he had just gotten a dental and was pretty doped up. Hopefully the potential adopter will be back in on Saturday at least to get an idea of what kind of dogs are out there, and maybe to adopt our sweet senior.

The rest of the day was pretty boring. We did finally have one of our fosters that has been at the shelter for a long time get picked up by their owner. It was nice to see the smile on the kids face's when their dog jumped into their arms. As good as that is, when one goes out one comes in. We had another return, a sweet older cattle dog mix that was adopted out from us several years ago and sadly enough the owner passed away. Because we always take our animals back Dusty is now at the shelter up for adoption. Here is a picture of the overweight little man that everyone has already fallen in love with.

Thanks for reading everyone and of course for playing all the many roles of helping out animals in your community.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lots of new faces


I have certainly slacked this past week but for good reasons. In the last week there have been a few depressing things that in all honesty I just needed to forget. A positive outlook and attitude can go only so far. So needless to say, I took a few days off from the job and the blog, but now I am back and at least a little refreshed.

My day began as usual, taking all of the dogs out for their morning breaks. While I was doing this I noticed a few new guys that had come in while I was off. The group came from a "quasi" rescue a few hours away but seemed to be highly adoptable animals. I was actually kind of surprised at the mixture our behavior specialist came back with. There was everything from a boxer/lab mix, little poodley looking things, and even some of the cutest terrier puppies. They all seemed very sociable but of course they hate to walk on leash.

Once all of the dogs were out we all got to cleaning. For some reason today everyone just seemed to be dragging and before I knew it the garbage hadn't yet been taken out and the doors to the shelter were open. It was nice to see a few people coming in to take a look at the animals on a Tuesday but of course there could always be more.

There weren't any early showings today but there was something that put a smile on my face. I looked at the adoption board and learned about some great animals finding themselves a new home. All but two of the eleven second chance dogs had gotten adopted in a matter of four days. Two of them actually got adopted out together which was quite fitting since their names were Bugs and Bunny. The big adoption that I really noticed was a little guy by the name of Lucky. When he first came into the shelter you thought his name was an oxymoron because of all the things that he had to go through. His first day he actually stepped on a bee and we noticed some blood in his urine. We took him to the emergency vet's office and they were able to take care of the bee sting but we were the ones that took care of his bladder stone and special diet. Well, thankfully his name came true and a perfect woman came in to adopt him.

The rest of the day was pretty slow with everyone finding little projects to keep themselves busy. I personally handled the laundry. I know, sounds thrilling, but at least we were able to catch completely up and actually have two empty bins where the dirty stuff usually is. Other staff members did everything from clean to organize. I guess it really is spring time.

Unfortunately today I didn't get any showings myself but there were at least a few that came through the door. I really think I need to do an adoption soon because the roller coaster that is this job seems to be in a bit of a lull. I know it will pick up soon and hopefully it won't take too long. Thanks for reading everyone and of course thanks to all of you out there that volunteer your time to helping the animals. The pictures above are some of the new arrivals...enjoy!
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