Monday, 4 October 2004

Humane Society Update

i spent the entire day yesterday volunteering at our local Humane Society .. i still can't believe its been a year since i signed up for my training and began volunteering .. i know i've been lucky to have been teamed up with people who are willing to spend their time teaching me and training me in several areas of the shelter
i was curious to see what (if any) changes have taken place now that the city of San Jose opened their own Animal Care Center on October 1st and will be responsible for a large percentage of the animals that were previously the responsibility of the Humane Society
there are currently 6 cat kennels at the humane society .. "KR", "Adoption Room B" and "Kitty City" are designated as the adoption kennels .. the nursery, Cat Room A and Cat Room C are the stray and holding kennels
we spent the majority of the morning setting up Cat Room A as an adoption kennel instead of a holding kennel, transferring the cats and kittens still in their holding period into Room C, and then sterilizing and cleaning the room which holds approximately 20 cages, from top to bottom .. we had simply run out of room for the cats that had passed health check and were available for adoption
the dog adoption kennels were also filled to capacity .. so healthchecking additional dogs into adoption just wasn't feasible since there were no adoption kennels available
we started out with behavior check on a confiscation due to an abuse complaint .. a local man was arrested after being seen beating and kicking his pit bull on a public street .. it was our job to evaluate the dogs temperament and behavior .. sadly and predictably, the dog was not suitable for adoption .. situations like this make a lot of people angry .. its not the dogs fault, yet the dog is the one that pays the ultimate in consequences
the next dogs to check on the daily list were the small dogs that have been placed on a "preferred breed" list .. we vaccinate and healthcheck the dogs but rather than place them in public adoption, they are returned to the holding kennels until the Special Needs supervisor can call the people that have paid $50 to be notified when their preferred breed is available for adoption .. cocker spaniels, pomererians, maltese, shih tzu, jack russell terriers, pugs.  are all popular dogs and are first offered to customers on the preferred breed list before going up for public adoption
playing with the smaller dogs while checking their behavior really is a lot of fun :)
i got to take a break from that for awhile when Sarah came in and asked for my help in the feline healthcheck room .. 2 people are required for taking blood for the feline leukemia and FIV tests .. even though it had been several months since i assisted in cat healthcheck, we breezed through the 10 cats in just a few minutes with no problems
i had just returned to the canine healthcheck room when the supervisor asked for my help cleaning up one of the socializing areas for the dogs .. Shelly (the supervisors own dog) had been paired up with Tank .. a silly little 6 month old bit bull boy with an abundance of energy .. Tank's parents had been confiscated for attacking their owner causing her severe facial trauma .. since aggression is a learned behavior, we need to keep a special eye on him to make sure he didn't pick up any of his parents aggression
last weekend he passed healthcheck and spent a week in adoptions without showing any signs of dog or people aggression .. saturday, he was pulled from adoptions for a reevaluation when he growled at customers and started "fence fighting" with other dogs while being walked past other kennels
i've explained Shelly's responsibilities at the humane society .. she is a wonder dog at evaluating other dogs temperaments .. she is well trained at keeping younger, rambunctious dogs in check .. disciplining them and teaching them some much needed manners
while Shelly and Tank are left alone in the room, we had a baby monitor set up to be able to listen to find out if any squabbles started .. throughout the day we stopped by their play room to give Tank some human socialization .. bringing treats for both Shelly and Tank .. by the end of the day Shelly taught Tank that if he's calm and sits on command he'll get to share some of the treats
Shelly continually watched over Tank during the day, keeping him calm and continuing to place her paw gently on his back whenever he passed near her to show him that she was in charge
i'd have to say that being able to spend so much time with a pit bull that shows promise at being a perfect companion with some training and socialization is the biggest change in the humane society .. a mere week ago we wouldn't have had the man power or time to concentrate on Tank
the other change i saw immediately was that the dog socializers have now paired up to work together to socialize the dogs .. since its important to keep the dogs social skills sharp, they are often paired up with other dogs of similar size or breed in the adoption kennels, which makes socializing difficult at best .. now that they've been instructed to pair up its a lot easier for 2 people to socialize the larger paired up dogs in adoptions
the last dog we healthchecked before i went home was a small australian cattle dog .. a 4 month old puppy .. cute as the dickens but she immediately showed signs of dog aggression, fence fighting with every single dog that we passed on the walk to healthcheck .. i literally had to pick her up and cover her eyes to keep her calmed down .. she also failed the food test, scoring a 10 by attacking the hand we use to test for food aggression .. thankfully rescue had already put a hold on her with instructions to send her to rescue if she failed behavior check .. since she's going to rescue, she'll get the training she needs to hopefully cure her of her aggression

on a more personal note .. i do believe i've been "cured" of my crazy mad crush on the supervisor at the shelter .. apparently he's already found the love of his life and now i am forced to cross him off my list .. so ok, he was the only one left on "the list" so i suppose i should just throw the damn stupid list away
for the life of me, i can't figure out why i'm so disappointed .. it was the perfect "fantasy" (while it lasted) and he's hooked up with his ideal partner (as far as i can tell) and i should be happy for them .. i know i should just be thankful that his dream lover decided to confide in me that they had been a "couple" for several months now before i made a complete fool out of myself and approached him indicating my own interest
maybe she simply confided in me to cure me of my crush eh .. regardless, it worked .. back to the drawing board .. or maybe not
::big sigh::

No comments:

Post a Comment