At risk of being accused of posting the “lamest post evah”….
I’ve been volunteering for the past few weeks at the Atlanta Humane Society. It’s honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had – and I’ve done a lot in life. My first surprise when I started was how immaculately clean the place had to be. You can’t do anything there without sanitizing afterwards. Unlike a lot of people who volunteer and gravitate to the puppy kennel, I prefer the adult dog kennel. It’s like an orphanage, I suspect. People who come to adopt come for the puppies. The adult dog kennel is never busy. And it’s a shame really. When you adopt an adult dog, you’re getting a dog you don’t have to worry about. It already knows not to piss and shit on your floor.
Today was amazing. I was doing my rounds in the kennel – I usually go from pen to pen and just give the dogs a bit of attention. If the dog has pooped, I’ll clean it up (rule #1: No dog should have to go for more than 5 minutes with a mess in its cage.) If the dog needs water, I’ll do that. But mostly, I just spend five minutes with each dog, scratching its ears, playing, whatever. Today, a dog really had an impact on me. It was a small hound (think Bassett, but all yellow.) She was baying and baying and, frankly, getting on everyone’s nerves. I stopped at her pen and went inside. She immediately nuzzled right into me as though she was a puppy doing the same thing to her mother (she’s 4.) When I put my arms around her, she was shaking a lot. I stayed with her for about 15 minutes – just paying attention to her and letting her know someone was there.
For the rest of the afternoon, she didn’t make a sound.
The Atlanta Humane Society is an amazing place. Basically, I clean up poop all day and make sure things are immaculately clean – and I LOVE every minute of it. When I get home at dinner time, I smell like bleach! The best part is that you know you are doing something wonderful for animals that were unwanted by someone.
I’m so impressed with how incredibly well-run the place is. Seriously, you could (almost) eat off the floors. You handle one dog – you sanitize before you touch another. You work in the clinic with sick animals? You can’t touch puppies available for adoption. Everything is done to maximize the safety of the animals – whether they’re dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, or whatever.
The only bad part is coming home at the end of the day. Charlotte (my Labrador) completely shuns me after she smells the dogs I’ve been playing with all day.