So it’s week three of my volunteering at the shelter, and I’ve been thinking about starting a blog about my experiences, maybe even doing some follow up stories about people who adopt. Not sure if it’s a separate blog or can just be incorporated into this one (or if they’ll let me talk to people after they’re finished with the adoption process).
But I’m definitely learning a lot and seeing a side of animal care and rescue I never knew about.
I volunteer at the front desk, which means that I help answer phones, file paperwork, and generally spend much of the time I’m saying, “I’m a new volunteer ” to explain why I seem to have no idea what’s going on.
Sometimes it’s mind boggling. You’d be surprised, for example, by the number of pet owners who either attempt to be their own vets or who eschew the vet altogether because it costs too much money.
My first day I took a call from someone who had given their dog worm medicine, was still seeing worms in the stool and wanted to know if it was safe to give the dog another dose. I asked him what his vet said, and the dog owner explained that he didn’t take the dog to a vet; he just ordered the shots and medicine over the internet and dosed the dog himself.
Sometimes it’s sad.
A man surrendered two purebred Persian cats today; but he had no choice. He tried to give them away but no one wanted them. We can’t guarantee they’ll be adopted; if they’re adoptable they’ll do everything they can to find them homes but we’re overrun with cats. Summer is the season of kitten overload and people go right for the cute little furballs instead of the older – litter trained, loving, very wonderful – cats
Then there’s the behind the scenes stuff that I didn’t expect.
Today I had to go into the clinic to ask the vet a question for someone who called, and when she OK’d me to come in there was a dog on the operating table being prepped to be neutered. It was very weird, but I have to confess that would have been a little funny if not for the tube down his throat: the dog was on his back, legs splayed out in four directions, out cold. You don’t see that every day.
I took a call from a man whose neighbor has had a dead skunk in her backyard for several days and his local town animal control wouldn’t come to pick it up. Because he’s not in the city, we couldn’t help him, but I could just imagine the smell that skunk was making after this heat wave we’ve had.
Today, a woman came in and adopted a bunny. And we have to neuter it before she can take it home. I didn’t know you could neuter a bunny.
It’s not all bad or weird.
Today I did a puppy visitation with a couple who recently lost a dog and are looking to adopt a companion for their remaining, lonely dog. They live in the country and have a huge kennel and land. The puppy they looked at is a great dog and I love that he’s not only going to a good home, but that I got to meet the family, too.
A little girl brought home the dog they’d just adopted; I wish we could bottle that excitement. Another couple adopted an older cat, and there was a flood of calls for a French bulldog that became available this morning and adopted right away.
And that’s just a small peek at life at the shelter. It’s good and it’s bad, but there’s no question that the animals are very well cared for and that the shelter staff and volunteers do a great job trying to find homes for the animals. I love working there and I’m so glad I volunteered.
You can find out more about Rochester Animal Services on their website, and see dogs and cats (and even rabbits and iguanas) available for adoption. The 2 FUR 1 special is extended into July, so if you adopt one cat you can take home another one for free.