Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Volunteering at the Animal Shelter

First, I have a confession to make.  I am definately behind the times with technology, and the only reason I'm here blogging at all is because my husband, a computer programmer, set me up.  That being said, I tried navigating the blogesphere last night for the first time and became overwhelmed, like I usually do with anything technology.  I'm a PhD kind of girl, i.e. Push here Dummy.  But I don't want to get left behind, and I want to stay ahead of my girls for their safety, which I fear is already too late as I watch my four year old navigating the internet between Disney and Nick Jr sites, and dressing virtual paper dolls.

That being said, going back to my experiences at the animal shelter, I had started going to volunteer in August of 2010.  When I started, we already had at home a 10 year old dog, a bunny named Mocha, a 26 year old cockatiel named Odie, and two fish tanks.  (The tanks are my husbands' hobby, I like cute and furry).  Since then we have added two more dogs, and though I wish I could add more, I know I'm maxed out, especially because one of those dogs needs a lot of attention.  Her name is Lilly.

What attracted me to her first was the paper describing her as calm on the outside of her kennel.  They are overflowing at our local shelter, so there were actually two dogs in the kennel and I had mistaken her description and thought the calm one was her kennel mate, so when I opened the gate, a powerful ball of pent up energy pushed past me and began madly dashing about the shelter.  I ran after the loose dog, and by the time I had caught it and brought it back, straining wildly on the leash, my oldest daughter had slipped a leash over Lilly's head and was calmly waiting with her while I tried to control the pandemonium.  I struggled with the dog and eventually won in getting him back in the kennel, and after wiping the sweat from my brow, we took Lilly for a walk.  I'll have to figure out how to include pictures later, but she's a German Shepherd mix with who knows what else.  Something small though because she only weighs 40 lbs.

I hadn't started out going to the shelter with the intention of adopting, but it was inevitable because I wasn't resolved not to.  When you walk past the rows of pleading eyes begging for love it's hard not to take them all home.  It had come down to either Lilly or a smaller terrier mix named Winnie, who melted in my arms when I held her.  My oldest daughter was leaning heavily towards Lilly, which was the ultimate deciding factor, that and seeing Winnie wildly jumping and barking non-stop in her kennel; behavior which has separation anxiety written all over it.  So Lilly it was.  A man working at the kennel confirmed this decision after telling me Lilly was one of his favorites, and he also pointed out her arrival date, which was 5 months ago.  She was 10 months old, and had spent half her life in this shelter.

Since then she has been like an onion, after I'd peel back one layer of behavior issues, there'd be another to uncover.  It's getting better, and I'm committed to helping her.  She is now in obedience school at Petsmart, which is the first time I've ever taken a dog through this kind of training, and it's been great for both of us.  I need to note that none of the behaviors involved biting or aggression, it's more fear, energy level (after all she is still a pup), and chewing. 

On a side note, Winnie went to a rescue, so I felt good about that too.

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