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Wed Oct 10, 2012, 09:01 PM

Shelter work---have to share.

Last June I began volunteering at a nearby animal shelter. It is one of the best experiences I've ever had---the dogs are incredible!

Most of them are brought in as strays, after (probably) being abandoned. But after being out in the fields and woods scrounging for shelter and food, instead of being distrustful, most are ready, willing, and eager to be with people.

Many of our dogs are found running in pairs, and enter the shelter bonded to their partner. At first I thought they were simply reverting to pack behavior in the wild. But so many of the pairs seem too odd to be just a survival technique. For example, a mastiff was recently brought in with a tiny mixed-breed dog that the mastiff could've eaten for a snack had he been so inclined. Instead they are devoted to each other. The tiny dog could not have been a survival asset to the mastiff, yet, for some reason they teamed up and formed a strong bond.

Another pair brought in included an almost blind, elderly sharpei, and her younger partner who served as guide dog for his blind friend. Again, it seemed so much more than two dogs reverting to pack animals for increased survival odds. How could the blind one possibly be helping his partner survive?

There is so much that amazes me about these wonderful dogs---it's a privilege to work with them every week.
If anyone is thinking of becoming a shelter volunteer, I recommend it wholeheartedly. For me, it is the best job I've never gotten paid for

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Reply Shelter work---have to share. (Original post)
grntuscarora Oct 2012 OP
CurtEastPoint Oct 2012 #1
Stinky The Clown Oct 2012 #2
ginnyinWI Oct 2012 #3
grntuscarora Oct 2012 #4
ginnyinWI Oct 2012 #10
sinkingfeeling Oct 2012 #5
grntuscarora Oct 2012 #7
hamsterjill Oct 2012 #6
Grateful for Hope Oct 2012 #8
MadrasT Oct 2012 #9

Response to grntuscarora (Original post)

Wed Oct 10, 2012, 09:08 PM

1. I have a friend here in ATL who does adoptions and fostering

and he just loves it. Bless you!

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Response to grntuscarora (Original post)

Wed Oct 10, 2012, 10:14 PM

2. Thank you for doing what you do

I don't have the heart for it.

I would be simply unable to "leave it at the door." Those dogs would be almost impossible for me to leave at a shelter.

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Response to grntuscarora (Original post)

Wed Oct 10, 2012, 11:08 PM

3. I just spent the afternoon volunteering at my shelter

Last edited Thu Oct 11, 2012, 12:04 AM - Edit history (1)

I have been volunteering there for about 15 months, mostly just one afternoon a week. I've been an office assistant/data entry person, a cat socializer, and now I'm taking photos of cats for their website. It's been fun, and a nice way to get out and meet very nice, animal-loving people. It's a no-kill shelter and doing very well for its size, as far as adoption rates go. www.ebhs.org

For anyone afraid to volunteer because they think they'll not be able to resist taking every animal home, I'd say this: you take care of the animals but you know you have your own at home. And you know that sooner or later every one of them is going to find their new home--it isn't up to you to save them by adopting them yourself. And when you watch this happen over and over again, and see even the most ordinary or flawed cats and dogs still finding good homes, you relax and just enjoy the process of watching them go from shelter animal to well loved pet.

Story that illustrates this: someone told me today about a cat we'd had for a couple of months. A nice enough cat but he was very high energy, jumping around a lot, and a lot of people passed him by. He was eventually adopted, though, and he is now a happy farm cat, living in a barn and hunting rodents with all that energy. He's still a nice friendly cat to his owners, and comes up for an ear scratch, etc. Happy as a clam. Just goes to show, there's a place for them all.

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Response to ginnyinWI (Reply #3)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 07:52 AM

4. Ours is a no-kill shelter, too.

I don't think I could work at a shelter that wasn't no-kill---that would be too hard.

When I come in for a shift and one of the dogs is gone, I know it's because he or she was adopted out, and that is cause for rejoicing. Last week I came in and one of my favorites, an arthritic, senior beagle (approx. 14 years old) was not there. I really thought he'd be with us for a long time, possibly for the rest of his life, but sure enough his picture was on the "adopted out" bulletin board! He had found a good home in which to spend his retirement years

My only sadness is that I don't usually get the chance to say goodbye to them.

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Response to grntuscarora (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 03:02 PM

10. same with the cats I work with

I usually say to them, "see you next week if you are still here." I know they don't care, but it helps me keep it all in perspective.

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Response to grntuscarora (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 09:25 AM

5. First, I applaud you for working at the shelter. I would be bringing home

every single one of them.

I have two such parings between dogs. The first was a male Eskie with a female Samoyed, 8 weeks younger than he. He would wash her face and ears, share bits of rawhide with her, and of course, tear up her 'babies'. Just like a big brother and little sister.

After losing those two, I got two male Eskies from a rescue group in Ohio. I only went after one, but when I was told they were best buds, I took on both. Now one of them has cancer.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #5)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 12:13 PM

7. I always hope the bonded pairs

will get adopted out together. That's great that you took both Eskies!

I'm so sorry about your dog's cancer---I know that must be hard. Good wishes are being sent your way.

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Response to grntuscarora (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 11:55 AM

6. I work with a rescue group, and the people I've met are amazing!

We don't have an actual location, but do our rescue work through foster homes. The animals never disappoint, but in my life, there have always been humans who disappoint.

I'm happy to say that my rescue partners are some of the best people I've ever met. They have a very good understanding about man's role in the universe, in general, and understand that how we treat those who are lesser than we are says a hole helluva lot about us (i.e., mankind) in general.

Kudos to you for giving your time!

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Response to grntuscarora (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 03:38 PM

8. The dogs sound very special. You are very special too for doing the work you do.

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Response to grntuscarora (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 07:53 PM

9. That's really cool.

I have volunteered at a no-kill cat shelter for almost 10 years... don't know much about dogs.

We always try to adopt bonded pairs in sets.

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