Monday, February 9, 2009

Twisting the days (and nights) away

Submitted by Janell Matthies, UAN emergency services manager

Day four here at the North Carolina puppy mill temporary shelter. Our charges are still coming around. Many are still in shock and just terrified, but quite a few are improving. We are still discovering major medical issues with some of the dogs. We’ve found more parasites and a few who appear unable to walk. The groomers and vets worked together all morning removing ingrown toenails, horribly painful to even see, but I’m so glad we were able to take care of that. I imagine the dogs are even happier. The vets are here working with the animals and trying to diagnose and treat what they can. Some of the dogs have been transported to a local vet for blood work and other things that we are unable to do here at the shelter.

Now that our charges are starting to settle in, we are getting to know them more and more. Even though we have around 300 dogs, the volunteers still talk about "the black one in the back that does this," or "the white one with the curly tail." And they know exactly which dog the other is talking about.

We now even have an official mascot. Twister, a (probable senior) Lhasa apso who is blind in both eyes and has multiple other issue and the appetite of a grizzly bear, has become our comic relief. When I first saw him my heart broke; he was obsessively circling his cage and licking the bars. I went to say "hi" and when he heard my voice he stopped, cocked his head and immediately hopped out of his cage into my lap. I have no idea how he knew right where I was. We were worried because he wasn’t eating. One of the volunteers thought that maybe he didn’t know his food was there. We put some stinky wet food in his cage, pointed his nose toward it and he gulped it down in seconds. We also have to show him where his water bowl is. If you interrupt his spinning, he cocks his head, wags his tail and genuinely seems happy to know we are visiting. We moved Twister's cage outside into the sun today for some fresh air. He circled for a while then settled down for a nice nap in the warm sun. What a trooper. This has to be terrifying for him, yet he still trusts us and seems relatively happy.

We’re still waiting for word on the mom who went into labor. The vets are still vetting, the groomers are still grooming and the EARS volunteers haven’t stopped moving. They have been tireless. We are now getting dinner ready for the dogs, setting up for a final cleaning and making sure we have everything we need for tomorrow. My feet have turned against me and complain bitterly every time I walk, but the rest of me is getting used to doing squats (top cage, bottom cage, top cage, bottom cage) for 10 to 12 hours each day. I forget what the rest of the world is like, I can only think of dogs, dogs, dogs ... very stinky dogs, but there is no place I’d rather be.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you to everyone there helping these animals. It's a tremendous job and very hard work you all are doing. We are praying we will give one of these dogs a forever home with the love it deserves.
    Again we thank you for all your efforts.
    marjie and craig Winston-Salem, NC


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