There are days when I walk in the shelter door and find myself on a roller coaster ride. I have not bought tickets. I have not stood in line anticipating being dropped from dizzying heights and yet, there I am, improperly seated, unbuckled and blindsided by the rush of it all. The only saving grace is that after having been in this business for so many years, I know within seconds what’s coming. Such was the case this past Friday.
I knew that it would be a busy day because we were transferring 47 cats and kittens out to our rescue partners in the morning. Transfers of this size require a well-orchestrated effort to get them out the door. All of their medical care must be updated and verified by the veterinarian and they must be cleaned and fed early to prepare them for the car ride. Then they have to be moved into carriers with their identification and accompanied by their individual records and paperwork. This is particularly challenging with morning transports because all of the other shelter pets must be cared for at the same time.
What we had not anticipated was a call from a similarly shell-shocked animal control officer requesting help transporting 12 dogs off of a property, where they were being kept in horrific conditions. So now, in the midst of trying to get our 47 felines onto their transport out, we needed to send a couple of staff members to the property where the dogs were and get the shelter staff ready to intake them.
The dogs arrived before we could get the cats on their way. These poor pups were in terrible condition; starving, emaciated, infested with parasites and filthy. We had a scare with one of the pups as she had been vomiting on the ride here and had to be tested for the Parvo virus before we could even bring her in the building. One of the adult females had a bad discharge from infection and required immediate surgery. All of the dogs had to be examined by the veterinarian, vaccinated, tested for intestinal parasites, treated for various afflictions of their skin and ears and bathed to remove from their coats the feces and urine they had been living in.
Thanks to a staff that is all too experienced in dealing with in taking a large number of animals in distress and plenty of help from Dr. Lisa Mazzochi, all the dogs were fed, hydrated, treated for their ailments, cleaned and enjoying their peanut butter stuffed Kongs within four hours.
As I walked through the kennels at the end of the day to check on them, I was struck by their obvious delight in the small comforts they had been afforded. One of the adult females seemed to be in wonder of the big quilt we had given her, it was as if she had never had never experienced anything soft and cushy. Another had a big Nylabone that he was parading around with proudly as if he had never had such a prize in all his life. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. After the life they’ve lived, the shelter is like a palace to them with all the accoutrements of a five-star hotel.
These dogs are desperately deserving of home where they can know the simple comforts of being cared for and loved as all our pets should be.