Fostering allows one to see behind the scenes of how shelters work and it’s not pretty. As with everything politics its ugly including animal care. Considering the majority of the shelters receive funding from their local government it’s no wonder they’ll rather kill the animals than provide quality care for them. This is a disheartening thought and feeling when it smacks you in the face. That reality smacked me in the face last Saturday when I picked up our second foster Holiday. We named her Holiday after the famed singer Billie Holiday. Both stories are tragic however; this Holiday has another chance at life. No one told us the condition Holiday was in. The shelters website had her picture that was it. NO information about her age, how she arrived at the shelter, health the typical information one would expect to see on animal for potential adopters to read. It was just a pathetic picture of the “unknown.” We are not shelter workers; we’re just advocates for animals and their rights; we don’t know the inter-workings of a day in a life of a shelter worker. With that no process or procedure in place it spells disaster for the animals in the shelter and their workers.
As mentioned we’re fairly new to the fostering game however, new eyes see everything. When we arrived to pick up Holiday she was a mess, a nervous wreck and more. The shelter worker informed us upon bringing Holiday to us that “she’s a little nervous and tends to poop” when she’s picked up.” This was clearly an understatement. When Holiday was bought to us she was visibly shaken and scared out ofher mind. Did we mention that she’s only2-3 months old? We asked what was her story and the shelter worker said “don’t know” (matter of fact) she was found walking around.” The worker seemed unemotional and extremely detached. We’ve been to this shelter before and out of everyone we spoke with one person seemed to care. It has been overwhelming to see so many animals being abused, tortured and their souls gone because of the neglect. Yes, we understand you have to distance yourself but to be heartless and cruel tells us you’re in the wrong business.
After receiving Holiday, she attempted to jump out of my arms and find the nearest hiding place. This was insane, she pooped and peed everywhere because she was scared, never had I seen a case like this face toface and from a 2-3 month old pup. As we were getting her settled to leave we asked the shelter worker about her eating habits etc. What the worker said floored me "all of the animal sare fed ONCE a day!" ONCE a day are you kidding me we exclaimed! “oh but she eats all of her food, and that’s the best we can do” Is that best you can do? What about water, walks, human interaction? Once again, no answer but a dumb look on her face answered our questions. It’s not her fault and we’re not placing blame on the workers however, someone has to step up to the plate and demand change. It’s no wonder many animals die in shelters. They learn to become despondent, detached, angry,frustrated and a host of other emotional let downs because the ones that’s suppose to care for them have abandoned, abused and neglected them. With no loving hand, calm voice, a walk outside to smell the various smells other than the their own urine and feces and that of the other animals and see the various sights they lose their domestic side and become wild and untamable animals. Pit Bull & Paroleesis a perfect example of this behavior. The episode last Saturday bought this fact home. Tia needed more hired hands (she only hires parolees), long story short the majority of the parolees were fresh out jail and looking for a fresh start. As the parolees were making their rounds around the dogs they stopped and stared and commented on how they know the dogs feel having someone stare at them because of the way you look, because they’re caged and wanting affection but no one is there to give it. Those parolees looking at those dogs who are well taken care of know what it’s like to have little to no hope yet with a kind gentle hand to guide them they too can be tamed and live a productive life. With the spirit of the holidays upon us make time to volunteer and you too will see the benefit of YOUR kind hand, YOUR gentle voice change a chained, confused and confined beast into a well behaved domesticated, loyal, loving and appreciated animal.