Friday, October 16, 2009
Shelter Dogs Head to Aggieland
Texans take their college rivalries seriously—the faithful alumni “bleed” orange (UT Longhorns), maroon (Texas A&M), or scarlet (Texas Tech). We have slogans with hand signals: Hook ‘em Horns; Gig ‘em, and Guns Up! Our mascots are animals: Bevo the brown and white Longhorn, Reveille the collie (who is the highest ranking Cadet), and Midnight Matador the coal black quarter horse (ridden by the Masked Rider). And a “House Divided” is one where one child attends A&M and the other attends Texas Tech.
My son is a junior at Texas Tech, but I have to give a big kudos to those Texas Aggies. Yesterday, our Shelter embarked on a new program—thanks to the connections of our Off-Site Adoption Team Leader—we are sending the first round of 10 female dogs to the Vet School at Texas A&M in College Station (70 miles north of our Shelter) where the dogs will be fully vetted and spayed as part of the school’s hands-on training program. If not adopted by the students or staff in Aggieland, the dogs will be returned to our Shelter, where we will find them homes. The University covers the costs for all aspects of their involvement.
I spent yesterday at the Shelter, helping Dr. Ryan, our Director and Veternarian select and prep the dogs. We focused on adoptable dogs from the Blue Room. We also tried to select a mix of fairly healthy dogs in order to boost their chances for placement through their exposure at the University . This task was harder than it sounds.
We have mostly Black Lab mixes, and many of our dogs are badly infected by mange. Others are heartworm positive. And a disturbing number of our current dogs are heavily pregnant. While we crouched in front of the kennels—me holding the quivering dogs while Dr. Ryan pulled the blood samples for the SNAP heartworm tests—a stoic American Staffordshire was giving birth to a litter of puppies in a kennel shrouded with a blanket to give the birthing mom a little privacy.
When I peeked in on the dog, she had eight tiny puppies of all different colors, each about the size and just as floppy as Beanie Babies. She was licking the tiny pups clean of afterbirth and gave me a serious eye.
Meanwhile, we worked up kennel cards for each of our 10 females—we did the heartworm tests and gave vaccinations, and in some cases gave names to dogs that had none. An air-conditioned van will come from the University to fetch the dogs and those who aren’t selected by adopters will be returned next week. Small medical complaints will have been addressed and the dogs will be clean and well-rested, and the next 10 dogs will head out to College Station. Meanwhile, we now have 10 slots in the Blue Room for new dogs. This is a good thing because we’re overloaded with incoming animals.
So to the Vets at Aggieland, I gladly give a “Guns Up!” Thanks, Aggies, for giving our dogs a second chance!
Photos of Texas College Mascots courtesy of the Interwebs