After six years of spending my Sunday morning volunteering at our local animal shelter you would be forgiven for thinking that I’d be ready for a break. It’s true that some Sunday mornings it is a struggle to get out of bed at 6am and it would be easy to roll over and go back to sleep, but those thoughts don’t last long because I love my Sundays. They keep me sane. It is hard to resist smiling at the little faces, boofy heads and wagging tails that greet you, they’re so excited because they know that it is their time for pats, walks and most importantly, breakfast. For a few dogs, the interaction with volunteers and staff is the kindest that they’ve ever had and being in a shelter is the safest place they have ever lived. Their stories will break your heart, you want to take them all home, save them and love them but it is just not possible. Thankfully there are good people out there who will adopt shelter dogs, some visit the shelter regularly looking for the right dog for them and their situation and others only ever adopt dogs from a shelter, returning when one has passed or if they feel ready to add a second dog to their family. I am grateful for those people, they know that taking home a dog without having the details of their past means that they may take time to settle. They understand that puppies require work and that training is an essential. Yes there are people who are clueless, they ignore the advice of shelter staff and they expect that a dog should be toilet trained, quiet and easy to walk without any effort. In time the dog returns to the shelter, for one reason or another. I would like to think that for the most part people do the right thing and I try not to focus on the cruel and the stupid because it makes me sad.
These are some of the wonderful creatures that I have been able to spend my Sundays with, most of them have been adopted and the others, well the staff and volunteers will keep on loving them until the right family comes along.
Mason had a hard life before finding his way to the shelter. A calm and sweet boy who loves to cuddle.
Wolfie puppy, one of a small litter.
Good mannered Paso the American Staffy X
A sweet little boy, Ranger was scooped up quickly by some lucky family.
Beautiful puppy Neo, she is going to be a big dog with her mastiff genes.
Red is a calm, well mannered senior dog. He is still waiting for his forever family which is hard to believe given his nature.
Benji loves to play fetch and destroy tennis balls.
Dear Captain had a hard start in life, at 3 years of age he looked more like 6 or 7 when he arrived. Thankfully, with lots of love and care he blossomed and quickly became a favourite with all the staff and volunteers.
Sweet Ella didn’t stay at the shelter long, such a smart and friendly girl.
Pretty and sweet was Daisy.
Jess the Boxer x was another favourite of staff and volunteers. A shy, gently girl who loved to cuddle and she had the cutest derp face.
Stella was the last of her litter to be adopted. We couldn’t understand it, she was sweet, placid and barked very little. We were happy when she was adopted after a few weeks at the shelter
Whenever I see puppies I feel happy. Their sweet puppy breath, little pink toes and fat round tummies make me want to sweep them all into my arms. I watch them play, they’re silly and often uncoordinated as they wrestle with toys, blankets and each other. When they sleep in a puppy pile my heart melts.
“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”
Sunday I saw a sign at the shelter asking for someone to foster a couple of puppies for a few nights, as soon as I saw their faces I knew that I couldn’t leave without them. Jilly and Jarrah are Staffy Boxer X puppies and almost 8 weeks of age, so very cute and all I needed was agreement from the hubby 🙂
Once the puppies were home we set them up in our laundry, the shelter loaned us a crate and blankets and provided food, we bought a play pen and some toys and took the time to introduce them to our dogs. Maxi was not impressed, she’s not so great with other dogs and prefers to keep her distance with puppies and their sharp little teeth. Bundy played and sniffed and seemed quite happy, he even lay on the floor and let them climb on his face but after a day or two he seems content with leaving them be after a couple of minutes of interaction.
Jilly loves exploring and chewing on everything she can find, Jarrah is less adventurous however he also loves to chew and some of my plants are now covered in tiny puncture marks. Both love a snuggle after they eat and they keep their crate nice and clean, we just take them outside late in the evening so they don’t make too much mess in the play pen attached to the crate. My favourite time with them is in the evening when we curl up on the chair together and they climb over each other (and me) to get the best position on my lap before falling asleep. Mornings are fun too, I take them out into the yard to run on the grass and explore the garden, Bundy follows them for a while before he disappears on his morning walk with Dad, Maxi maintains a safe distance.
They have to go back to the shelter on Friday and hopefully some responsible, caring and kind people will make Jilly and Jarrah their own, I will miss their cutie-pie faces and the puppy smell.
Most Sundays you will find me at our local animal shelter, I volunteered originally as a dog walker but with so much to do, cleaning pens and feeding the dogs has also become part of my role. I love it! When I get home I am covered from head to toe in dog slobber, dirt, hair and poo and I stink, my own dogs don’t know where to start sniffing first. This morning I worked with one of the other volunteers to clean the row of pens containing lots of puppies and small dogs, trying to clean a pen filled with 8 week old puppies can be a challenge, they are like a swarm and follow my every move. At the moment there are six Shar Pei puppies waiting for their forever homes, they are the cutest, wrinklest, funniest little things and I couldn’t resist taking lots of photos as well as a rather shaky video – it is hard to film puppies when they insist on jumping all over you. Shar Peis aren’t for everyone, they’re high maintenance dogs thanks to a myriad of problems cause by their wrinkles, however, if you’re willing to put in the effort (and this really goes for all dogs) you will have a loyal friend for life.
Last Friday was Take Your Dog to Work day, a fantastic initiative that celebrates the contribution that dogs make to us and society in general and also to encourage people to adopt from shelters and rescues. It is well known that having a pet can lower stress levels, blood pressure and improve activity levels so surely bringing them to work can assist with productivity and morale, providing you don’t have any dog haters in your office environment.
Dogs are not allowed in our workplace, for many reasons but the main one appears to be health and safety. To get around this I implemented a ‘Bring Your (Virtual) Pet to Work’ day and encouraged staff to bring in photos and fluffy toys that represented their pets and to decorate their office space as they saw fit. That day was today and it has been lots of fun, many of my colleagues are dog lovers so the majority of images and toys were dog related. We tied the event to a fund-raising morning tea for the Animal Welfare League Queensland, they rely heavily on donations of cash and goods from the general public and are always in need of old blankets, towels, pet food and kitty litter. I don’t know how much we have raised, the collection of donations has been extended to a week to give all of our work mates the chance to make a donation but every little bit helps. In the meantime everyone got the chance to eat cake, talk about their beloved fur-kids and contribute to a good cause – what a great day to end the week 🙂