Pound Pooch

diary of a shelter worker.


Stormy Weather

One of the first weeks that I worked at this shelter, we had a random summer storm, complete with thunder and lightening, which are unusual in this area. Dogs were running lose everywhere, and our shelter was quickly overflowing with strays. We literally had strays in crates in the front office and in the recieving area. Most of these dogs were just frightened dogs who were hanging outside on their porches for the afternoon, and the large majority were returned to their owners within 24 hours.

For the last few weeks, we have been having normal winter weather. Lots and lots and lots of rain. Wind, and rain, and cold. It's not freezing here, but it's not warm, either. Last night was the worst of the weather- lots of fallen trees, and power outages. Which meant lots of fences blown over, and lots of outside dogs running the streets, and ending up in the shelter.

People were caling all day today, not sure exactly when their dog got out, because the dogs that got out because of fallen fences are always outside. They get fed once or twice a day, and their owners are not particularly aware of where they are, when. A woman came in not sure when her english bulldog got out, maybe last night, maybe today. It was 4pm when she came looking. Another family reclaimed their 14 year old dog, who never comes inside. The poor dog could barely walk, and had spent the last few hours cuddled in a bed in the shelter. At home, he sleeps outside, with a "shed" over his head. One dog was chased back to her house by an animal control officer- she jumped into her fence and then back out of her gate.

Not all pet owners are the same. I returned the dogs back to their owners. But it wasn't easy to let the old limpy dog back to his house, in the rain. I didn't harp on bringing the dogs back inside. But I'm not going to sleep easily tonight, either.


...and a partridge in a pear tree

christmas is over, but i sing this song to myself year round.

right now, between the two shelters, we have over 50 roosters. we have 3 tortoises and two iguanas. we have a stray lovebird. we have 15 rabbits. we received 8 owner surrendered rats today to go with the 10 rats we already had. we even have an axolotl, a rare salamander that can only be owned with a permit. we have dogs, cats, and guinea pigs. the two boas we had have been transferred to breed rescue.

i don't think we have any partridges, and we're certainly out of pear trees.


the bearer of bad news

Sometimes I feel like a really mean person. I have to tell people all sorts of things that I am sure they are not particularly pleased to hear.

A woman came in today, bearing her 93 year old grandmother's dog. The dog was 12 or 13, and we were not going to be able to put her up for adoption, due to her age. We can barely find homes for the cutest, healthiest 4 year old dogs. I had to break this to the woman and have her sign a form releasing the dog for euthanasia. (I also had to wonder why this woman brought in the dog to die in a strange room with strangers. I also had to walk the dog back and hold her while she died with strangers instead of her person.)

Another woman came in today asking if she could have her animals back that were confiscated from her house. After speaking with animal control, I had to tell her that she couldn't have the animals back until the police were convinced that the animals would be safe from another one of her family members. Not the news she wanted to hear.

Highway Patrol marched in an arrested man, with his dog trailing behind him. We asked him his personal information and impounded his dog. Later that day, I called the man's dad and let him know that the dog was at the shelter and asked if he wanted to pick the dog up. The father had no idea the son had been arrested, and I didn't have the information to tell him why.

I am not a mean person. I want animals and people to live long happy lives, together. I just can't stick my head in the sand.

a phone call

"Um, I'm not sure if this is the right number to call."
"A hawk just flew into my window."
"Oh, is it in your house now?"
"No, it's like stunned outside, it's not moving."

Pause. I don't know quite what to say to this. A hawk?

"Oh, OH! There she goes! She's flying! I guess we're okay! Sorry to bother you!"
"No problem."


a happy ending


this little boy was growing up in the shelter. he was poster child cute, and almost poster child perfect, but when people ask if we have puppies, they don't mean, do we have pit bull puppies.

so zummo sat. he was good with other dogs that gave him his what-for, and showed perfectly. we only had the wrong kind of interest in him.

until zummo's favorite volunteer decided it was time to take zummo home. she has an adult girl, and it was time to add a second, and she couldn't bear to see zummo go where he might go.

welcome home, zoomy!


the boas

The other day, a man called, bewildered. He was outside of a school, and he was looking at two snakes in a tank. Just an empty tank, with two giant snakes in it. He called animal control, and now we have 2 six foot boas.