I left work and came home to get changed into grubbier clothes. I remembered to put a pen in my pocket and clip on my volunteer nametag. I headed out to the Humane Society. I walked three dogs. The first was an approximately six-month-old male Australian Cattle Dog cross. He’s highly energetic and hasn’t learned any manners yet and scratched up my hand. The second was an approximately five-year-old Lab bitch who is somewhat aloof in her kennel, and who is not fond of other dogs, but who turns into a big puppy outside, bounding through the snow. She is strong as an ox and can be very stubborn. The third was an approximately six-month-old brindle female shepherd cross, who is very pretty and very sweet, but who has also not learned manners and cannot keep from tangling her legs in the leash. I stayed out with each as long as I could, until my nose was running and my ears were hurting with cold. I left each with the good kind of treats when I returned them to their kennels. I had a look in the stray pens and fed treats to the lost and/or unwanted dogs there. One was a beautiful chocolate-coloured male Staffordshire terrier. He got an extra treat because he will die. One stray room was blocked off in quarantine. Two female puppies have parvo. I could see through the glass in the door that there were no puppies in that room anymore. I wandered past the cat pods, and there was a petite female calico with a new litter of four or five. The kittens are no more than a week old and are only interested in and capable of nursing and sleeping. Their eyes are still closed and I could fit the entire litter in my hand. It is only possibly to count them by detecting the variations in shading in the fur pile beside the mother. I went home around 6:30. While sewing a face on a sockmonkey, Andrew messaged me and asked if I would help him walk the dogs. He got home late from work, and they’d been alone for some time. It’s also been a few days since they last got out for a walk, and it’s hard enough to walk the two together when the sidewalks are clear. I arrived at 9, and we took them from Wellington to Union and back. Andrew took Barney, even though Gordie is his. Gordie was particularly excited tonight, and particularly upset by passing trucks. Gordie still gets very upset by passing trucks and strange men. When we got home he reverted back to being world’s biggest mama’s boy. Or wicked stepmother’s boy, as the case may be. When we got back to the house I fed them Doritos. Just over two years ago, the Humane Society found a stray eight-week-old beagle puppy sick with parvo. It’s quite often fatal to dogs so young. Janice nursed him around the clock, and gave him a stern talking to when his beagle nature kept causing him to chew up the IV, thus bringing him closer to, rather than further from, dying. Barney will be celebrating his two year adoption birthday in 12 days. Paula, Andrew, Josh and I brought him home on December 28th, the first day adoptions re-opened after Christmas. Janice wouldn’t bring him back to the Humane Society before Christmas; she was determined that he have a home for at least that day. When Paula saw him, he’d been available for adoption for an hour. Barney broke every single one of the rules Andrew set when he told Paula she could get a dog as her Christmas present. I came home shortly after 10pm, and Crumb was waiting for me at the door. Then he knocked items off the bar in his usual attempt to get the lid off the Pounce treats. Now he lays draped along the bar, staring at me with disapproval when he’s not snoring, as he is not getting enough Pounce treats, enough head rubs, enough worship for his taste. When Chris brought him home he was already about eight years old. He had been neutered and declawed on the front paws, and had a collar dent in the fur of his neck. He was used to dogs and female cats and canned food and going outside. He stole Q-tips and paper balls out of the garbage. He was, and is, loud and plump and is used to being well-loved. Something happened. Well-loved is the exception rather than the rule at the Humane Society.
My entire evening has been a reminder of why that article on the adoptions of the the Hurricane Katrina survivor pets saddened me so much. There but for the grace of geography, I might not have done anything after work this evening.