It is eight o’clock and the kennel area is buzzing The sweet aroma of coffee is filling the air.
Carla has worked her magic. Ted is popping his breakfast sandwiches into the microwave and the day is ready to roll. The van is gone. Lauren and Colleen are on their way with 17 dogs and cats to be spayed and neutered. Matt, Ted, Nikki Judy and Hannah are moving 50 dogs from their inside kennels to their outside runs. The little ones will need their sweaters.
Outside the dogs will be fed and left to run all day as long as weather is permitting. Back inside, the morning work begins. Fifty dog kennels and runs will be scrubbed, and all bedding washed. The three free-roaming cat rooms are cleaned and sanitized as well as the cat cages. This work must be completed by noon to be ready for the public.
Colleen and Lauren arrive back about nine o’clock with their work just beginning. Phone messages will be checked, the office must be cleaned, the office cat room scrubbed, the animals in the isolation room cleaned and given medication. Adoption applications must be read and references called. C and L have jobs with many hats.
The phone rings. The caller is frantic, a dog is lying in a ditch two miles north of Alexandria. Judy comes up to run the office. C and L race out the door to pick up the dog. After evaluating the dog, it is taken to a local veterinarian where the dog is treated and brought back to the shelter.
The public arrives! Families and individuals visit the dogs and cats with the hope of finding a new furry friend. The generous donations of newspaper , cleaning supplies, dog and cat food, cat litter and many other useful items arrive all afternoon. The phone continues to ring non-stop. The dog walkers arrive.
Now come the animals. Found and surrendered dogs and cats arrive all afternoon. They are checked for a micro-chip and evaluated. Vaccines are given, testing is done and all are given antibiotics and their pictures are put on Facebook and the local newspaper is called. Hopefully a volunteer or two will arrive soon to help in the office.
It is four o’clock! Ted and Judy jump in the van and are off to the pick up the 17 sleepy dogs and cats. The staff will be preparing the kennels with fresh bedding and on each dog bed there will be a treat. The outside runs are cleaned and bleached and the day has come to an end.
Some nights after the staff have gone home I will sneak back into the kennel area to see the animals sleeping peacefully safe and warm. I thank our caring staff, our giving volunteers and our generous community that make all of this happen. It certainly does take a village.
Susie Schieve, executive director of the Madison County Humane Society, writes a column that appears the first Sunday of each month. She can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org or the Humane Society at 2219 Crystal Street, Anderson.