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Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm surprised I am even writing today

My days at the front desk are usually occupied by a whole bunch of paper work and a lot of answering phones, today was a little different. It turned out that only one animal was getting picked up today so that meant it was going to be a slow one.

The day began with me answering a few emails, mopping the floor, and recording the "on hold" messages for the remainder of the year. Once that was done I found myself trying to find things to do. It was so slow in fact that we ended up sending the other two staff member homes for the day. Of course when that happens you know you are going to get busy.

The first craziness hit around 1:00 when we learned that a volunteer had gotten bit on the hand by our little man Cooper. This is the guy we had down in a yard yesterday that we thought was doing so well. It turns out he got tangled with another dog and when the two volunteers tried straightening it out one got bit by the little guy when he was going after the other dog. In any case, it is something to be taken very seriously. Even if it was an accident the animal still broke skin and is now on bit quarantine for ten days while we asses him. Hopefully everything works out in our favor and his alone time will actually be good because he is so dog reactive. I do know that we will have to spend a lot of time with him these next days to make sure he isn't going crazy in ISO.

The next thing that was out of the ordinary was that the entire kennel staff had a training session on how to work with the overly stressed animals in the shelter. What this meant to me was that we had to postpone all showings during this time. Luckily though the one that did come in I was able to handle. The biggest issue with the showing was the fact that they had adopted from us before and stated in a call back that they had a tough time with vet bills. After saying that and coming in for another dog there were some concerns. Luckily I was able to talk to them at length and learn that it was merely a miscommunication. Unfortunately the dog that they wanted to see still has kennel cough though and they were unable to introduce him to their pet. Hopefully they are going to be patient and wait for the perfect fit.

Moving on to the worst part of my day. Once I was the only one left at the front desk for the day you can be surprisingly busy by answering phones and directing people where to go in the shelter. While all of this was happening I got a call from a previous adopter that had taken one of our dogs home last year. It was a special case with a special dog that had needed consistent work on behavior issues. Well, it turns out she ended up biting a man on the face and it was no nip. The even scarier part is the adopters have a young child at home. The decision was made to bring in the animal to be euthanized. I want everyone to know that this decision is never taken lightly and this was one of those times that everyone in the shelter was crying. We had worked on this animal for months getting her to the "adoptable" level and were very patient sending her home to the perfect family. It's just how things go sometimes.

I try not to dwell on days like today. It does help my by putting it down on paper, sort of. I know that this isn't an every day occurrence but it is incredibly hard to deal with these sort of things. My best line of defense is moving on to tomorrow and hoping for some great adoptions. This line of work is truly an emotional roller coaster and that was one hell of a drop today.


  1. i'm so sorry that you had such an awful day and that poor dog had to be euthanised.. i think what's sad is knowing that dogs don't usually turn out that volatile unless something bad happened to them before.. perhaps her first owners were abusive? at least in dog heaven, she won't be feeling fearful anymore. all of you and the adopters have done right by her i think..

  2. Thank you soooo much for the kind words :)


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