Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend Shelter Snapshots

 My dog Cross

Snapshot 1: Kitten season is in full swing at the Shelter.  Tiny, mewling felines are arriving by the basket-load.  People find kittens and don't see the mom (who is probably hiding nearby), so assume the babies have been abandoned and bring them in.  We're out of kitten fosters (I am not one of those special people who can deal with tiny kittens).  The kittens have no defenses, so they get sick. On Saturday, I saw staff people cradling three different dead or dying kittens. I asked one of the Shelter staffers on Sunday how her day was going.  She smiled wanly and said, "Well, at least I haven't had any dead kittens today."

 Snapshot 2:  A five-and-one-half black shepherd mix puppy is tied with a slip-leash to a door-jamb.  He bats at passersby with his paws and twinkles happily.  He was adopted on Saturday afternoon and brought on Sunday at noon. Supposedly he has diarrhea (what young dog in the Shelter doesn't have loose stools?).  But the client told the intake staffer at the front desk, "The dog is going to be too big for my house."  This begs the question:  Why the hell didn't she think about size BEFORE adopting a young dog?  Geez, people put more thought and planning into selecting the right computer than they do in choosing to take home a pet.

Snapshot 3:  I was at the Shelter loading dogs for an off-site.  I have never been able to develop the steely resolve to simply not make eye contact with any client who might have a question.  Our customer-service is so bad that I can't keep from trying to answer questions.  So the guy asks, "Do you have any English Bulldogs?"  English Bulldogs are the big status dog around town and the breeders charge outrageous prices for them, and puppies are scarcer than quick solutions to the Gulf Oil Spill.  We rarely get English Bulldogs.  I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking the guy if he had researched the breed.  He really needs to be asking, "Do you have any cute, squishy-faced dogs who can't breathe, suffer from countless joint and intestinal problems, and who get all sorts of challenging skin infections, many of which will be made much worse by the humidity of a Houston summer?  I've got a raft-load of money I don't know how to spend so I think I'll get an English Bulldog."

Snapshot 4:  We can only take strays from our own county.  But our client base comes from three counties.  It's always fun to explain to the man with the mange-ridden box of feral puppies that we can't take them because he found them in Harris County and not Montgomery County.

Snapshot 5:  Please, please be honest with your children.  Bringing that little kitten you found to the Shelter does not guarantee that it will live happily ever after.  Especially when its eyes and nose are cemented with gunk and it's already limp in your hands. Don't tell them that the nice Shelter people will give it the loving care it needs--neatly avoiding the obvious fact that the kitten is nearly dead.   At least inform your kids (and no, I don't think nine or ten is too young to be upfront about death and the irresponsibility that encourages it) that the kitten will be put out of its suffering and misery, and will be going over the Rainbow Bridge.

Snapshot 6:  I have two fosters, including a cute Chihuahua mix who crashed on Sunday morning, one week after I got her.  We finagled a Vet exam paid for by a donor, but that was cursory.  I have meds from the Shelter, so my BFF who is a Vet Tech and I spent almost two hours trying to get sub-cu fluids into the dog to combat a 104.5 degree fever.  Last night, the dog's temperature was down and she ate a bit this morning.  It could be distemper (although she is an adult dog) or giardia or coccidia.  Time will tell.


  1. You're in my prayers... as are all the animals needing homes.

    I don't know how you do it, but thank goodness you do!

    I don't see any photos.

  2. Ha! Dio you see the mis-spelled words! I wanted to get this up--the photo has been added!

  3. Rough weekend. I understand the need to define where an animal is from. I managed a shelter on a state line. We might make exceptions, depending upon circumstances, but a nice donation would also be appreciated. Everyone thinks shelters are being funded. People- it is far more volunteer than you know. Every dollar is WORKED for, even those "donation" dollars.

  4. p.s I love your description of Snapshot no. 3

  5. ok, I thought I was looking for photos (snapshot)I get you now, though. I don't see typos on blogs, except my own...after I have proff read it a zillion times and published the post.

    the bulldog description is PERFECT!

    I hoper the chi is feeling better!

  6. we get snapshot three at adoption drives here all the time!! its so annoying! whenever someone asks me if we have any purebred dogs or cats i feel like asking them if they're purebred assholes!!

  7. Thanks, Calsidy.

    Snapshot #5 always enrages me...
    (well, all of the snapshots)
    "Bringing that little kitten you found to the Shelter does not guarantee that it will live happily ever after".
    No kidding:(
    I am so ...
    never mind...
    Thanks for doing the work you do.

  8. Thanks for all your heartfelt comments!


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