Yesterday was a busy Sunday afternoon at the shelter. I am usually there in the morning, but the afternoon crew was shorthanded and I was asked to help out. As it turned out, only two other volunteers worked the shift aside from myself and one of them spent most of her time at the cattery. That left me and this newly minted volunteer to work the dogs. He plans to be a vet tech in the future, and so he is doing volunteer work for experience. All dogs have to be walked, watered and some of them fed a second time in the day. The scrubbing and washing of the kennels is the morning crew's job. With approximately seventeen dogs at the shelter, we had some work to do ourselves.
As always, the entire dog population throws up a cacophony of barks, howls, and plaintive cries as we led one dog after another for their walk outside. Everyone wanted to get out, but they had to wait their turn. This is typical. When I walk a dog, I don't just go one trip up and down our walkway and access road. I take the dogs several trips along this route, and sometimes into the woods. They are cooped up for hours in their kennels and they truly need to unwind and work off some pent up energy and frustration. I include a visit to our fenced-in yard where I let them loose, one dog at a time. It pleases me to see them run free and loose. All these things take a lot of time and attention.
Complicating the routine are potential adopters, and there were several of them yesterday. They arrived at the shelter and they wanted to see a certain dog, or any dog we have up for adoption. Not all dogs at the shelter are up for adoption, by the way. Some are slated for medical treatment before adoption, and some dogs are not yet legally ours. The latter group comes from our animal control officers, cases of divorce and foreclosure, and strays coming out of the woods or out on the roads whose owners---if there are any---haven't been identified yet. Showing one dog could take from 15 to 20 minutes. I take the dog out for a walk with the people. I take them to the yard where they can play with the dog. The dog's history is discussed. Questions are answered. I showed four dogs yesterday from which two will probably get adopted ( the people filled out application forms).