For those who don’t know, I work for a fabulous publishing house in NYC. And one of the things I love most about my employer is that they have a committee that sets up volunteer opportunities that take place throughout the year. It’s a way to give back (and get out of the office).
Today we went to Animal Haven in Manhattan to assist the staff there with their adorable puppies and kitties. We helped for a short 3 hour shift (I may have hung back for an extra half hour to walk a sweet dog who had been eying me the entire time), and I have to say that I have a new-found respect for anyone who works in an animal shelter. Not only do they spend countless hours and resources caring for the basic needs of your future pet, this particular location also employs a trainer to ready dogs for adoption. And you’ve never seen happier dogs. Almond for example:
In those three hours I…
- Gave a tiny puppy named Olivia a bath with the help of a coworker. It’s amazing how squirmy they can be when they want to get away. She didn’t like her bath one bit and gave me the saddest eyes. She was so energetic and happy once she was clean though, and that made it worth it.
- We cleaned a number of the dogs’ “kennels” (for lack of a better word); they’re small rooms with beds, toys, and the essentials. Let’s just say that not all of the dogs were completely potty trained…or maybe there just weren’t enough people to walk them soon enough. Just another reminder of how much work goes in to taking care of these fur babies. So we kept circling back to clean as dogs were taken out for walks.
- We showed dogs to potential adopters (and probably some people who just wanted to meet them). That was another thing I really admired about this place. It was very clear that if you walked in, you could spend some quality moments with dogs who you connected with. There was even a separate room for this purpose.
- Finally, I took two sweet doggies out for a walk. Usually I’m a large dog fan, but apparently a lot of people I work with are too, and I noticed the little ones weren’t getting the same attention.
So the first dog I took out was named Polo (I think–I’m bad with names!). He is a bit older, and I’m not sure if he’s up for adoption. He doesn’t appear on the website. He is such a silly. He insisted on bringing his stuffed lobster on the walk and then, like a little kid, dropped it and made me carry it the rest of the way. Sheesh. Then, after cleaning a couple cages, I took little Miss Pandora out for a walk. I noticed her almost immediately because she was so little and so quiet. She very gently would nose my hand while I pet her through the cage, and the minute I walked away she whined veeeery softly. So as soon as I could (and 5 minutes before I was supposed to leave with my coworkers), I begged to take her for a walk. For a little girl, she wanted to ruuuun and was so much fun. She has already been adopted, I believe. And her owner will be one lucky person.
- So my takeaway from this event is that I’d love to volunteer with these guys again. Not only do they have the cutest, sweetest dogs around (and I didn’t even get to the cats…), but they really have a good set up and system for caring for these animals. Of course it’s never going to smell like a bed of roses when you have 20+ dogs in a building, but those fluffs are getting a great head start in their new lives. It’s clear that they are loved and cared for and learning what it means to be adored.
I’ll leave you with one final awwwww moment for the night: meet Peapod. (Make sure you watch the video.) Oh, my heart!
*I use the title “Domestic Goddess” very lightly.