The Ville Voice – Only the Voice of One Villain Friday, Dec 16 2011 

I haven’t posted in a long time, I know. The politics and whatnot of LMAS just became so drab and convoluted that I faded out and focused on volunteering (or my actual job). We’ve since appointed a new director, Justin Scally, who has made some minor good changes I guess (like putting up barriers between kennels to reduce spread of disease), but we’re still waiting to see if he’s going to do any huge long-term good. Still doesn’t look like we’re going to be no-kill anytime soon, what a shocker. I know that being a government-run facility we have a LOT holding us back like… well, the government. We have much less freedom than an independent shelter would have, I’m not sure how many folks realize that.

I guess what really brings my post today is an article on “The Ville Voice” written by a fellow called Jake. He has a history of writing articles slamming LMAS, which is fine. I’ve agreed with his articles in the past, but vaguely paid attention until now. I would have no problem with him writing articles bashing LMAS… if he were any good at it. He comes across very much as a 17-year-old, testosterone-riddled jock who just sputters whatever rant pops into his head. He forgets important things a real, half-decent “journalist” who “digs up corruption and incompetence” should have such as, y’know, integrity and knowledge. He clearly fails to research the things he writes about. Here is the article in question: http://thevillevoice.com/2011/12/14/lmas-stories-now-actually-write-themselves/comment-page-1/#comment-272990 

He snuggles up with several fallacies including sweeping generalizations, begging the question, dismissals, and most childishly of all, ad hominem. You know, those things that have no place in knowledgeable debate. He is very much one of those “this is my opinion and it’s right, so shut up” types. You know the kind. The ones who stubbornly stew in their own boiling pot, fearing to open their mind and accept what others have to say because god forbid he be wrong or ignorant of something. He can’t be. He knows everything. Right?

Maybe I’m missing the point of his article entirely. Maybe, as he says, it really is just a place for him to post his opinion, facts or no, with no constructive discussion? But isn’t that what a blog, like this, is for? Man, maybe I should get into journalism – it’s obviously way easier than I thought. I just have to be able to type words I think!

But if it really is just a place for him to vent, why doesn’t he just disallow comments altogether? He allows his one good buddy “Rosebuds” to comment, and takes a few of the other comments (most of which agree with him, of course), but once one too many people crawl out of the woodwork who have – gasp – a differing opinion (and more relevant experience) than him, well, we can’t have that. So their comments are deleted. I’m pretty sure that’s listed in a Top 5 Childish Moves list somewhere. It should be, anyway. Act like an adult and hear what other people have to say too. Or at least let their comments go approved so the commentors can bicker and discuss amongst themselves while you ignore it all and stick to your opinion. Whatever. I just really don’t see the point here. If you really just wanted to rant you’d have a quiet little blog like this one. You put yourself out there as some sort of actual media source (don’t bullshit yourself, you do) and feed the public ignorant information. You say you don’t care, but the mere fact you cherry pick the comments so tediously and get defensive proves otherwise, moron.

I called him out, asking what experience he has with LMAS, but he has repeatedly failed to answer. I guess he is too much of an internet tough guy who doesn’t care, man. I did look at his profile and his Twitter. Apparently his only credentials are “geek” and that he’s written stuff for some other outlets and I guess some politicians read his stuff or something, I dunno. The bottom line is he’s just a geek who writes his opinion. You know, that thing millions of people are/do every day. He has no apparent experience volunteering or working with a shelter. Hearsay doesn’t count, cowboy. Just read the comments for yourself. What you’re not seeing the comments I tried to add but were deleted. Here is what I tried to add:

“First of all, Rosebuds, some of that “shit you could find w a simple google search” is inaccurate bullshit. I would NOT want anyone to learn about something as complicated as canine behavior via whatever random crap pops up in a simple Google search. Also, these classes are led by Ashley of Slugger City Bully Buddies who I have found to be very knowledgeable. I trust her advice (plus she’s just finished a degree in training and is working on a vet tech degree as well).

Second, yes, pets and kids should be at home first time around (like ANY trainer will make you do). Any training anywhere is about educating the owner first and foremost about behavior and to properly implement training techniques. I do think they should make an exception for the parents that simply can’t make babysitting arrangements because them getting into the class and learning is ultimately more important than whether their kids are there being bored or distracting. Ideally they would have the owners later bring in the dogs to supervise interactions and see where problems may lie, but LMAS has only so many resources and this class’s main focus is education (which is a huge priority).

Jake, that doesn’t tell us much. I have TONS of experience with my car. I operate it every day. But that doesn’t mean I could tell you the first thing about how it works. Michael Vick has a lot of experience with animals, but you sure as hell wouldn’t trust any advice from him would you? I’m not saying that means Rosebuds has no valid credentials, but at this point, they’re still unknown.

I’m with Jeff on this one. Why the hell are so many people attacking a knowledgeable person’s attempt to educate the public? Is it a perfect execution? No. But would you rather we continue to sit on our asses and twiddle our thumbs as ignorant owners keep surrendering their dogs due to easily-solved issues that this class is trying to help with?”

 

Several people in the local animal community (whether they are involved with LMAS, KHS, SCBB, etc.) agreed with me completely. Jake claims me and those who disagreed with him were off having a Justin Scally circle jerk, even though none of us really mentioned the guy. I think he’s a little more hung up on him than we are. Man this felt exactly like internet flame wars I’d have when I was about 14. Ahhh… Also what the hell does “queened out” mean? Is that some sort of poorly executed slur against the drag community? Childish, ignorant, stubborn, AND a potential bigoted douchebag – what can’t this guy do?!

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Politics Continue to be the Enemy Saturday, Jul 23 2011 

Well, it’s about time for an update. First of all, some follow-up on the drama from the previous post. The deal with the KHS consult ultimately fell through, thank god. Instead Mayor Fischer decided to open up a bid on LMAS. Any other animal agency was welcome to submit a bid to take over our sheltering and adoption operations (animal control would still be up to the city). KHS wisely decided not to put in a bid. The only agency that bid on us is No Kill Louisville. This was great, we love NKL and know they would do a wonderful job! We were pretty excited. Until Mayor Fischer declined their bid. If I recall correctly, he stated two reasons for the decline:

1. NKL did not have prior experience running a shelter. This point is somewhat fair, but you have to start somewhere. NKL is only a year old and has managed to become hugely successful. That alone shows me they have the skill and know-how to run a business. I have met and talked with the president of NKL on a couple of occasions. I am in awe of her perseverance, intelligence, plus her ability to remain calm and civil when anyone else would want to lose it and  punch someone’s lights out. She is one of the most caring  people I have met. There’s no ass-kissing bullshit masquerade with her, she’s a very transparent person who likes getting to know all the people involved. I would be thrilled if someone with her determination and compassion were to be in charge of our shelter. But no. Mayor Fischer (who I will point out has had no prior experience as a mayor, hurrr) seems to view them as some incompetent child that needs to go in the other room while the grown-ups talk.

2. The other reason was that the repairs NKL wanted to do to our dilapidated old shelter would cost too much. Now, if they were wanting to install a decorative fountain and gold-plated floors or some such nonsense, I would agree. Their proposal for the repairs was completely reasonable. That shelter is in TERRIBLE shape. Those repairs are necessary. If those repairs aren’t made then it will not be long at all before the shelter is unusable. This place was built in the 50s, and it looks it. I was pretty turned off and felt gross when I went there the first time. The staff and volunteers there can only do so much to keep the place nice, but some drastic repairs are needed (air-conditioning, leaky ceilings, wiring, plumbing, etc). Mind you most of these repairs were one-time deals. So as far as I’m concerned, the mayor just pulled this reason completely out of his ass because the city government has some backwards agenda that is determined to keep NKL from running the shelter. Was he honestly just hoping some non-profit agency would swoop in and pay for everything themselves? Who’s the idealist now? They really had nothing to lose if they had accepted the bid. If NKL fell through on their promises? Fine, kick them out and find someone else, but the evidence showing they were a competent agency for the job was pretty deep.

So now the mayor has re-opened the search for a new director for LMAS. This search should have never ended in the first place, but he decided to pull his WACKY agency bid plan. Yet the only agency to throw their hat in the ring is one he seems to have something against, so that was a dead-end and a complete waste of time. You can read NKL’s proposal here: http://www.whas11.com/home/History-of-No-Kill-Louisville-123393423.html

I will admit I have no idea what it’s like to be a mayor and have no idea how city government works from the inside. So it would be naive and stupid of me to say I have any idea what the mayor is thinking or going through. Because of this I feel my words may be a little callous and hasty, but I’m tired and bitter. I’m tired of waiting for him to get LMAS some reliable and competent management so that more animals can be saved. When he was campaigning he came to events, set up his little booth, and actually talked with us crazy animal people. Once he was elected, he’s nowhere to be seen. Won’t talk to us.  Won’t hear us. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt and think he just doesn’t have the time and resources now that he has all these mayoral duties. But I just don’t know. It’s all politics. Animals’ lives are in the hands of politics – of superficial games – and that thought depresses and enrages  me.

Yeesh, sorry for the downer… In better news, come Monday or Tuesday I will be getting my first foster dog! She’s a 7-month-old German shepherd/collie mix named Lisette. You can see a picture of her here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elysica/5965914816/in/photostream .  She’s so gorgeous I can’t STAND it!  A rescue is set up to take her next weekend, so I won’t have her for long. Didn’t feel I could take on a longer-term commitment at the moment. But I’m so excited! Also, I recently became an official volunteer for No Kill Louisville as well!

(Ack, I know I said in my last post that I would tell you guys what our shelter looks for in potential adopters, but… it’s going to have to wait. Sorry! I promise I’ll eventually write up a nice post on our policies, etc. Until then, have fun!)

Easter Must Be a Lucky Day Monday, Apr 25 2011 

Now, I normally handle the Petsmart dog adoptions on Sundays. I sit there for five hours with 3-4 dogs and talk to people about them in hopes that one of these people will be a great fit for the dog and adopt them. Normally Sundays are pretty slow, and since today was Easter and many places were closed and families were off hunting eggs and gorging on chocolate, I figured today would be especially slow.

I drove out to the shelter, picked up the three little dogs (Marty, Bianca, and Akiko) that were to be my charges for the day, and drove them all in my tiny car to Petsmart. One dog in particular, Bianca, was very vocal about her displeasure of being in a crate. One of the less sunshine-and-rainbows aspects of being a volunteer.

The fellow who was in Petsmart working for Blue Buffalo (which is a pretty good food if you can afford it) became smitten with little Akiko (a Chihuahua/Rat Terrier mix; her papers said Jack Russell, but we all agreed she looked way more Rat Terrier). The adoration was reciprocated as the tiny dog seemed quite fond of him too. He couldn’t help himself and adopted her. This was fantastic, because I wasn’t really expecting to get anyone adopted, let alone to someone who would feed high-quality food.

Then some people called and asked if Marty was still there. She’d found him online and was interested in perhaps adopting him. I told her yes, and they informed me they were going to come by and check him out. Awesome, I thought. Hopefully that goes well. Over an hour later they show up, and after hanging out with Marty for a bit, they decide to adopt him. Score! Two out of three, not bad! At this point I’m excited.

Then at the last minute a couple comes in with the fellow’s mother. They were hoping for a larger breed like a boxer, but all I had left was noisy little Bianca. Now, she’s only noisy when crated – outside the create she’s a sweetheart. They read through her paperwork and held her and it was clear their desire for a larger breed was being melted away. I was suspicious that they were acting on impulse, but they decided she was far too sweet and they had to give her a try. She was incredibly calm and content with them. How could I say no? And bam, just like that, 3 out of 3 adopted! Holy cow was I excited. A great day is when you get one dog adopted, but to get all of them adopted is downright magical.

Thanks to that last minute adoption I was half an hour late getting back to the shelter, but they agreed it was completely worth it if three dogs found good homes. By the way, for those of you wondering what exactly we look for in a good home, I’ll cover that in my next post.

MORE DRAMA!

Yep, that’s right, more drama going on at the shelter. More evidence that volunteering isn’t all happiness and giggles. As usual, it’s involving our old, crappy shelter on Manslick Rd. For a link to the story, click here: http://www.whas11.com/news/local/Dog-attacked-and-killed-by-another-dog-after-being-seized-taken-to-shelter-120240524.html?id=120240524&sec=553687

Two dogs get taken from a guy for being malnourished and one of the dogs is killed by another while being held at the shelter. First off, this is what our kennels there look like: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elysica/5155200633/in/photostream It’s the only decent photo I had so it’s not the best. You see that doorway in the back? That has a metal door that slides down so that workers can get in one side of the kennel and clean it without having the dogs bouncing all over them. On one side of that door the kennel is inside, and the other half is on the outside, so the dogs can get some fresh air. They are NOT meant to be left down to make one kennel into two. But thanks to overcrowding, that’s what they’ve had to resort to. Unfortunately some dogs are strong and smart enough to lift the door and get to the dog on the other side, which resulted in tragedy this time around. But apparently, this isn’t the only time this has happened, as you can see here: http://www.whas11.com/news/local/Documents-show-multiple-family-pets-have-been-killed-by-other-dogs-at-shelter-120397884.html

On the one hand, I understand the shelter has had to resort to keeping the dogs this way due to overcrowding, instead of just euthanizing them all. But on the other hand, it’s just depressing and sickening. Fortunately the Manslick shelter is going to be receiving some funds to make improvements.

By the way, some of you may have heard about the mayor (Greg Fischer) hiring the Kentucky Humane Society to consult with MAS to raise adoption rates. Sounds great right? Well, no, not really. First of all, KHS is not a no-kill facility (which the mayor and everyone else agreed was going to be the city’s goal – to become no-kill). Second, their euthanasia rates aren’t any better than our own. Well, actually, I’ve heard two stories. One is that they euth the same amount as us, if not more. The other is that KHS refuses to release the documents stating how any pets they euthanize.  Either way, no bueno. Third, they’re being paid $9,000 a month JUST to CONSULT with us. This contract is for up to 3 months. So, they’re being paid $27,000 to tell us what to do. Not only that, but apparently they took the information of MAS’s foster parents and put it into their system without even asking them. Some fosters are not pleased with this.

What Mayor Fischer should have used that money on is improvements to the Manslick shelter, supplies, and more employees. But I am not a politician/mayor and have no understanding of what it’s like to be one. I don’t know what it’s like to budget for an entire city. For all I know a lot of this simply isn’t feasible, but damned if it isn’t awful screwy. I could be getting this entirely wrong, but apparently in our budget cut the employees that worked with local rescues are no longer being allowed to do so. So none of our dogs or cats are being allowed to be pulled by rescues, which makes not a damn lick of sense since that would do nothing but HELP us. We need to get rescue connections back up and running. We need a lot of stuff. But paying out the ass for a mere consultation from a shelter that isn’t doing much better than us isn’t it.

Holidays, Drama, and Updates – Oh My! Saturday, Mar 26 2011 

I am terribly sorry (to like, what, all two of you who read this?) for sucking at keeping this sucker updated. But my time and energy had been drained, leaving no inspiration for blog posts. I will try to cover all that I have missed without dragging on and putting you to sleep.

Holidays with the Shelter

So Christmas has come and gone, but I’ll fill you in real quick on how things went. Our shelter has a “pet pics with Santa” type fundraiser at Petsmart. Pretty self-explanatory. You bring your pet in, we take its picture with our volunteer Santa, and some of the money from your picture purchase goes to charity. Woohoo. I volunteered to be one of Santa’s elves for many of these days. I was often the one taking the pictures and printing them. I can’t say it was a bad experience, but you can only try to get a dog with ADD or a contempt-filled kitty to look at a camera so many times before you’re ready to call it quits.

One person brought in their ferret. They sat next to Santa, holding their ferret and posing nicely, and I snapped the picture. Upon review, I saw that I had taken the picture while the ferret had reached over and grabbed a mouthful of Santa’s costume. It was incredibly amusing, and I was delighted that that was the shot they chose.

Of course there were picky owners who needed their Fluffykins to look JUST right before I was allowed to move on to the next customer. Everyone knows God will smite those who doth not have a perfect Santa pet photo, complete with cheesy sweater. There was also the lady with the ~*IMPORTED PUREBREDS*~ because she refused to buy from FILTHY American breeders! I understand this; they have stricter breeding requirements over in Europe. But there are still PLENTY of puppy mills over there absolutely willing to ship to America. Your precious Wire-haired Dachshund from Germany looked pretty damn neurotic and anti-social to me, lady.  And your French Bulldog from Russia (which you just LOVED to shout, “He’s a Russian!” to anyone who even breathed in its general direction) was just delightful with his little bald spot on his forehead from where he’d gotten into some glue. And thanks for reminding me for the 47th time you have some purebred champion thing by telling me he might look sideways when he sees the camera flash because he’s used to stacking (he didn’t, by the way). Sorry, these sorts of people irritate me. I had to rant and rabble a bit there.

I also got to help decorate our (new and totally awesome) shelter, Animal House, and developed and irrational rage toward Christmas lights. We mastered this electricity thing long ago, why the hell can we still not come up with Christmas lights that work right? Anyway. Our new shelter has an awesome cat room (Pussycat Lounge) that looks, to me, like a futuristic Japanese hotel. There are also two large cat rooms complete with cat trees and such. We have a small critter room for rodents and the like, but it’s not much. There are some nice glass dog kennels, a small dog/puppy room, groom room, laundry room (Laundromutt – oho!), kitchen, and a huuuuuge side yard for exercising doggies. But since I last checked it still is not completely fenced in… sigh, some day. Anyway, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xJHPZSFNI4

Okay! Enough about that. On to the…

DRAMA!

Now, the first I heard of this drama bullcrap was when word got out that one of the employees over at Metro got fed up with something and threatened to euthanize all the dogs in the 100 building (the building containing all our adoptable dogs). I heard from others it was a misunderstanding and blown out of proportion. I can’t ever tell you for sure what happened because I wasn’t there, but I personally believe that (like most stories) it was blown out of proportion.

Then many of the employees came to the media to talk about the horrible conditions (a case or two of abuse, heating not working in the cat room, etc.). I hear they had been complaining to the higher-ups for years, but nothing was being done and they had to resort to the media. I believe it. I’ve met many of the employees there and they’re great people – it’s the management with the issues. Sadly, despite trying to remain anonymous, one of said workers was fired for speaking out and trying to shed some light on the shelter’s issues.

Here’s a video on some of the drama (including our interim director also running an escort service): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LMFYn0Tcsk And that’s enough drama crap because drama isn’t needed. Metro has a bad rap because of all this now. So why do I stick with them instead of going to one of the “better” shelters? Because if people don’t stick around and work with them, how are we supposed to expect anything to change? This is why I have mad respect for the folks at No Kill Louisville, including Jessica Reid. She and NKL have been awesome to us and I am thrilled they have gathered so much support when the organization’s not even a year old.

OTHER UPDATES

It’s past midnight and I’m starting to forget what other updates I had.  Uh. Hm. Well, one of the things I started doing was cleaning the cat room at Petsmart on Tuesday nights. I’m there for around 3 hours scooping poop and wiping down cages. I let some of the cats (particularly the kittens) out so they can bounce off the walls and expend some of their energy, which is always good times. I get to know some of the cats’ personalities and write a bit about them on their kennel cards in hopes it will help them get adopted.

Almost a year ago I adopted our 3rd cat, Chaplin, from that very cat room. His shelter name was Night. He is a black and white ball of doofus. Not a day goes by that that cat doesn’t make me smile. Seriously, adopt a shelter pet. It may be the best thing you ever do for your mental health.

And now I need to go crash. I will hopefully update this sucker in a more timely manner from now on. If by some chance you have some spare time that I have somehow not killed, go read the blog Hyperbole and a Half:  http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/ It is so amazingly awesome and funny (especially the entry about her dogs’ reactions to them moving to a new house).

Don’t Volunteer If You Won’t Commit Wednesday, Nov 10 2010 

Hi folks. I wish to share one of my pet peeves: shelter volunteers who are lazy and won’t dedicate themselves to volunteering. Shelters don’t need a volunteer who might come scoop some poop once every couple of months. It is better than nothing, but it is frustrating. It is because of the dedicated volunteers that many shelters can stay in business. Several times now I have seen our volunteer coordinator request volunteers to help out with events and we’re almost always short a few. Many times I am the ONLY one who has volunteered for an event, and it’s pathetic.  I don’t understand why all these people have gone through the orientation to volunteer if they just want to play with the animals for a couple of days and then never show up again.

I do understand that life can get busy or hectic, and I respect that. I also understand that maybe you started volunteering and found that it’s just not for you, and that’s okay, we appreciate you giving it a shot. It’s the ones who don’t help out because of laziness that irritate me. I take volunteering as seriously as a paying job, that’s just my personal attitude toward it. I know the shelter needs my help – the dogs need my help – and I can’t feel like anything but a horrible person if I were to stay home because “eh, I don’t feel like it.” If you really want to help but don’t have the time/energy to volunteer, then make a donation (money, pet supplies, food, cleaning supplies, etc.). Okay, rant over now.

The Hope Fund & Million Mutt March Monday, Oct 18 2010 

The Hope Fund

Some of you reading this may have heard about what happened to the Border Collie named Hope. For those of you who haven’t, Hope was thrown from a car on the interstate here in Louisville. She survived, but was hit by another car before seeking refuge at the side of the road. We still do not know what horrible person has done this, but we believe she was thrown from a small black car, possibly a Nissan. A $7,500 reward has been offered for any info that may help investigators catch these people. Hope has made it through all of her surgeries and is doing really well. Her surgeries cost a whopping $12,000, but No Kill Louisville was able to raise well over that! Any money over the $12,000 is going toward Hope’s rehab and to other animals in need of immediate care. The money was raised in just a few days. It’s amazing what can be done when people come together and spare what they can to help out. Thanks to those who donated, Hope gets a second chance at life. The Hope Fund will be an ongoing fund for animals in immediate need.

To read more about Hope’s story, go here: http://www.nokill-louisville.com/immediateneeds.htm

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Million Mutt March

Today No Kill Louisville held their first Million Mutt March. There was a huge turnout which was fantastic! I believe something like a couple hundred people showed up with or without their dogs and walked about 2.5 miles in Cherokee Park to support the pursuit of a no-kill community. We MAS volunteers showed up to walk some of our adoptable shelter dogs. I had a the pleasure of walking the energetic handful known as Josie, an Aussie mix. She was a sweet girl who wanted to be everyone’s friend. After the walk there was a couple with a Boxer looking to adopt a dog. Their Boxer and Josie got along really well and were having a blast playing together, so they adopted her! We also adopted out three other dogs – Zeus the Chihuahua, Audrey the Beagle, and Chapman the… well, I don’t really know what Chapman is. He looks like a hound mix. Oh well. The important thing is they all have homes now! It was a lot of fun (and a big success) and I really hope NKL makes it an annual event. That’s all for now – I’m tired!

 

Day 1 – Orientation Saturday, Oct 2 2010 

Metro Animal Services Mission Statement

Metro Animal Services is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of all humans and animals as they relate to each other in our community. With the utmost courtesy and professionalism we: investigate all suspected situations of animal cruelty and/or neglect, enforce all aspects of the ordinance that governs animal behavior, ownership and responsibilities and maintain accurate license information on all individual animals and businesses. Educate the community regarding responsible pet care through programs and services that teach pet owners how and why it is important to be part of the responsible pet owning community. Bestow professional care and medical attention to all animals impounded or received by our department. Create innovative and proactive programs that will eliminate the largest cause of cruelty, pet overpopulation and fulfill the need of spay/neuter services for financially challenged individuals. Adopt as many adoptable animals as responsibly possible or favor their return to their family. Ensure healthy departmental management and generate revenues to be financially self-sufficient. Being the Animal Care authority and becoming the leader in creating a responsible pet owning community.

-=-=-=-=-

Firstly, I want to apologize in advance because my first couple of postings likely won’t be terribly organized or well-written as I try to catch up on the experiences I’ve had so far. Anyway…

In early September, I checked the MAS website and discovered they were finally holding an orientation for new volunteers. Excitedly, I scribbled it down on my calendar. Then came the day – Saturday, Sept. 11th, 2010. I rushed over to the shelter and was directed to the appropriate building. It’s not the most attractive facility, but that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I would rather they spend the money on caring for the animals than on fancy crown molding and landscaping.

I sat in a cluttered room with four other potential volunteers. The volunteer coordinator came, gave us our handbooks, and began talking about the shelter and volunteer duties. So far I liked her, she seemed nice. She knows what she’s talking about and tells it like it is.

MAS is an open-admission shelter. This means we cannot turn any animal away. If someone brings us an alligator, we have to take it (and yes, apparently they have had alligators before – what the heck?). Unfortunately this also means we do have to euthanize some animals. But with the help of an organization called No Kill Louisville, we hope to one day be a no-kill shelter, meaning no animals will be euthanized as long as they are deemed adoptable. Visit http://www.nokill-louisville.com for more info on that whole shebang.

So what do volunteers even do? All sorts of stuff. I’m going to make a bullet list because there are a lot, and I don’t want to delve into run-on sentence territory. Some of the things volunteers can do include…

  • Greeting people. First impressions are important.
  • Kennel helpers (yes, you will have to scoop poop, deal with it).
  • Socializing animals. Well-socialized animals are MUCH more adoptable.
  • Medical care assistant (mainly for future vet-techs and such)
  • Foster a cat or dog. Fosters are HIGHLY valued!
  • Help out at special events (adoption events, rabies clinics, fundraisers, etc.)
  • Animal photographer/writer. Photos/descriptions for the animal’s ad online.
  • Adoption specialist. Basically, you adopt out animals.
  • General cleaning. Wash dishes, do laundry, scrub floors, etc.

That’s a lot of important stuff. You see why volunteers are badly needed? I thought we were to just sort of choose which position we wanted as a volunteer, but it’s a little less organized than that. For your first 20 hours, you’re stuck doing the less-than-fun duties such as washing dog dishes and laundry. That’s only fair, really. It’s important to know how much work goes into running a shelter.

So now, what exactly do I do? Well, I did things a little backwards I guess. Since the shelter is a 20 minute drive away, that makes it difficult for me to get out there often, especially with work and school butting into my schedule. Stupid money and education… who needs it?!  So I started participating at events on the weekends. If I had to actually go with labels, I would be considered an adoption specialist, event associate, and greeter.

My first event was a small adoption event at Petsmart. I and roughly 4 other volunteers were there with 6 dogs. Basically, our goal was to talk to people and get them to adopt these dogs. We sat there for 5 hours, talking to people, taking the dogs out to go potty or walk them around to fight boredom. For a lot of people that doesn’t sound terribly thrilling. But as someone with a passion for animals, I would do it every day if I could. Adoption specialists are very important as they are the link between whether or not these dogs and cats get a home.

On that note, I’ll end this entry. More to come later. Perhaps there will be an interlude post in which I talk about my cats. I know, I know, you’re all on the edge of your seats, I can tell! Stay tuned.

Greetings! Saturday, Sep 25 2010 

Welcome to Blog of an Animal Shelter Volunteer. The title is rather self-explanatory, but let me give you all some background. I’m a 21-year-old lass who also happens to be a full-time student and part-time cafeteria cashier.

Recently I started volunteering for the local animal shelter – Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS or MAS).

Before becoming a volunteer, I (naturally) wondered what it was like to be a volunteer. I decided I would like to write about my experiences with MAS and give anyone interested in volunteering an idea of what to expect. A little preparation never hurt nobody.

What can I say about this blog? You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll lose 15 lbs.! Well, okay, hopefully at least the first part is true. I hope to show you the animal shelter volunteer world for what it is. Some of it is heartwarming, some of it is heartbreaking – all of it is worthwhile.

Stay tuned.