Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day four at the shelter

Submitted by EARS volunteer Margaret Blackman of Oshawa, Ontario

Today was about one of the things UAN volunteers do best: care and comfort the animals. No vets, no groomers, no poking and prodding of furry bodies, just Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers and their charges. Feeding, cleaning and socialization were the watch words of today.

The atmosphere was different in the shelter. As we were having our morning briefing, you could hear the growing excitement from our canine charges. It was as if you could hear the word being passed down the rows of cages: "They're here! Food, water, clean cages!!" The tone of the barking had changed from fear and uncertainty to one of anticipation.

Word was spreading among the residents of Montreal in similar fashion. Two van loads of supplies pulled into the shelter parking lot just after lunch. UAN volunteers formed a chain in the parking lot and within 90 minutes, rows and rows of bleach, towels, newspapers and dog coats sat neatly arranged. One man who brought in a donation of blankets and bleach stood out. He was hurrying to work and just stuck his head in the door to hand off his contribution with the words, "My mom sent these, it's not much, but she wanted to help." All those contributions of "it's not much" now fill row after row of storage shelves. Who knew that bleach could say "I care?"

Blankets were handed out to all the animals yesterday. They had been placed in the back of the cages where the dogs felt the most secure. Today, one little fellow dragged his blanket to the front of his cage. He wanted a front-row seat to watch the action and coax some attention from passing UAN volunteers. Another little one has learned that if you soil your cage a bit at a time, people come and pet you more often.

A cheer went up as one UAN volunteer entered the evening debriefing. Word had spread during the day that she had been able to coax one of the more critical dogs to finally eat. More and more name tags are appearing on cages as personalities come to life -- for possibly the first time in their lives. The dogs were very happy to settle into the business of living rather than simply existing. Today was a good day.


  1. Yeah for all the volunteers!!!! You guys are making such a HUGE difference to these dogs, and to the people who will eventually adopt them. I'm so glad to read the update, I knew when I left that the animals would be well cared for. Thanks Margret, for taking time to let us know how it's going. Bless you all! It was an honor to work with you.

  2. What a heartwarming update Margaret. Great CTV video too. I will confess to shedding more than a few tears upon leaving them on Monday when it came time for me to go home. Volunteering with this rescue was a life-altering experience in many ways. So glad to hear and see that our furry friends are progressing and feeling better with each passing day. Keep up the good work everybody! May the day come soon when puppy mills are no more.


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