Saturday, April 2, 2011

Squeaky toys squeak!

Submitted by EARS volunteer Beth Gammie of Phoenix, Arizona

Did I hear a squeak?
Word spread via the "canine telegraph" to the dogs at UAN's emergency shelter: squeaky toys squeak! Juliet, one of the more timid dogs rescued from the hoarding site in St. Johns, Arizona, made the initial discovery. Playing with a toy provided by UAN's Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers, she chomped down. Lo and behold--a squeak emerged! Startled at first, Juliet soon realized how fun this new game actually is. Her playfulness is even more remarkable given the emotional and behavioral "shut down" that Juliet initially displayed when first rescued.

Juliet is just one of the many rescued animals who are displaying more barking, tail wagging and meowing now that they are feeling better. Janell Matthies, EARS Emergency Services Manager, noticed the changes taking place in the animals under our care. "As dogs feel better, there's more barking and acting out. Rawhides and toys are helpful for their well-being. This helps relieve their tension."

UAN Volunteer Coordinator Susie Hawkins
with Juliet and her kennelmate Deliah.
Bucky, another timid dog, continues to open up. EARS volunteer Jodi Jenkins gently works with Bucky to help him learn to trust people. The work pays off. "Bucky has changed so much, even in the short time I've been here," said Jodi, who arrived five days ago. Behavioral work with rescued dogs, who have had little positive human contact, happens at the dog's pace. Jodi sat outside Bucky's kennel and offered treats. On Wednesday, when Jodi fed Bucky, she said, "I went into the kennel and he came toward me then went back. So I put the food down in the middle of the kennel and stood there, so he'd get used to being around a person." By Thursday, he took treats from her hand. Jodi lights up when she tells what happened yesterday: "I said 'Hi, Bucky!' and he was at the front of the cage, tail wagging!"

An EARS volunteer and puppy take a break.
Daisy the pig is also feeling her oats. Our "serenity pig" used to lay in her pen as volunteers made her meals of swine feed, bread, fruit and vegetables mixed with water to a soupy consistency. It's hard not to notice that Daisy is feeling better. EARS volunteer Colette Neron said that Daisy "got right on her feet and came over for her breakfast." Jodi, who was helping, continued, "We were putting the food in to mix up ... She whacked the edge of the bowl with her snout and tipped it over, and started eating the feed" before the rest of her breakfast ingredients could be mixed in.

Seeing the animals under our care come back to life--even if it means dealing with a bit more barking--is a joy to witness. And having a once-terrified cat or dog learn to trust you after experiencing years of neglect and abuse from humans is profoundly humbling.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.