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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 :)
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