Monday, August 18, 2008

I have got a crazy job. I knew this going in but didn't really understand the true extent of the craziness until recently. My normal duties are managing staff and the flow of animals through the shelter and can include things like helping out with a customer who is surrendering their animals because of foreclosure and setting up a cage for a pair of ferrets. This past week, I also chased an escape artist Akita through the neighborhood three different times. The second time we caught him as he walked down the drive-through lane at Arbys visiting everyone at their open car windows. The third time one of my fast thinking staff took her car and we learned he likes car rides. We also learned that very large dogs attract a lot of attention even when they are in the back seat. The Akita, Kaden, is still at the shelter. He's a very nice dog, a good walker on the leash, but a handful getting in and out of the kennel. With regular exercise, he should be easier to handle. His kennel is now locked to prevent him pushing past unprepared visitors.

I saw my first (and second and third) botfly larva removed from the neck of a poor little kitten. They were crazy big and one of the creepiest things I've ever seen. They had to be the inspiration for The Wrath of Kahn.

I got called back to the shelter just before close one night to try to help with a kitten who had gotten its head stuck in the bottom of a cage while hiding after a customer set it on the floor. Removal involved dismantling a whole bank of cages but the kitten came out just fine and was placed on hold that night and adopted the next day. A volunteer and I managed to get the cages put back together and didn't even misplace a single screw!

I named two kitten brothers Bo and Luke after which one of the vet techs immediately apologized to them. Choosing names on the spur of the moment is not easy, even if you are creative! My ice cream flavor theme for a large litter of rats didn't go so well the week before. (Most ice cream flavors are too long for the name box in our computer software.)

I endured a 1/2 hour hot (my air conditioning is out) car ride with a coonhound who I brought back to the shelter after he had donated veterinary surgery to have a mass removed from his foot. Our two large dog kennels were in transit other places so I had to put him in the back seat. He alternated between bashing me in the head with his e-collar, breathing extremely stinky dog breath on me which was concentrated and funnelled into my face by said e-collar and trying to climb into the front seat and onto my lap. Did I mention that this was a coonhound? Not a small dog at all.

I can't really talk much about the hard parts of the job without having this post be a major bummer. Seeing adult cats fly out of the shelter (through adoptions) this summer despite the large numbers of kittens makes all the craziness worth it. Seeing people willing to take in an older cat for foster for six months until things are slower makes it worth it. Seeing happy people go home with animals makes it all worth it. Seeing the excitement in a stray when her family comes to find her, makes it all worth it.


Celia said...

My mom's big orange cat had a botfly in his neck, thankfully when i was far away, except that she sent me pictures from the web of the basic proceedure. EEEEEWWWWWWEEEEWWW. She should have switched vets then and there, as the vet she got wouldn't even touch the cat to diagnose it. (I mean, on the one hand, i understand, as I wouldn't have touched him either. On the other hand, I picked a career where comforting disgusting animals would not be a requirement.) He since has also not touched my mom's dog when he got his face ripped up, which is when my mom decided that she's going back to the other vet office.

Kristin said...

How can you be a vet and be so easy to gross out? What a wus! I bet he made a vet tech remove it.

The bot flies we see are usually in the cats necks. One poor little kitten had two which were so big they were probably keeping him from being able to swallow any food. We kept one for the nearby vet tech program but once it hit the alcohol we were sending it in, it shrank down to about a 1/4 of its original size. Every time I see a fly now, I get a little freaked out.