Shelter Tales…Not Just For Dogs And Cats

During my volunteer days at our local shelter, I quickly discovered that the Animal Control Shelter wasn’t just for dogs and cats.  While it is designed primarily to accommodate unwanted felines and canines, occasionally there are other boarders–such as horses.  

Back in our shelter’s beginning phase, if a case of animal abuse was reported and confirmed, the animals were rescued–just like on “Animal Cops”.   I’m sad to say, that due to county budget cuts, this is no longer the case. Animals are only picked up now if they are a danger to society.  The incidents in this story took place in the shelter’s beginning phase. 

 During my first summer of volunteering, a horse was rescued and temporarily housed in the fenced in back yard of the shelter.  This particular horse didn’t stay long, but there were other horse rescues after this one–including an entire herd rescued from a flood. 

temporary shelter resident...a horse


One day I entered the shelter and found a flock of chickens housed in the end kennel!  That was a strange sight–those little white chickens housed among all of those dogs.  Apparently, someone had been keeping those particular chickens in an abandoned car!  I guess being housed at the shelter among dogs and cats was a little better than being kept in an abandoned car…but the chickens didn’t stay long, they soon found an appropriate home. 

At one time the shelter also had two abandoned parakeets.  The animal control officer decided that she would like to keep the birds in the lobby of  the shelter.  One of my volunteer duties was raising money for the animal shelter–a duty that I gave to myself.  Thanks to a generous, kind-hearted co-worker at school(who also loved animals), I was able to buy a nice, large,  cage for the shelter birds to live in.  I jokingly called it the “cage condo”. 

the shelter birds in their new cage


The birds were very happy in their “cage condo” for many months…Then one day the unthinkable happened. 

Lo, the shelter officer would occasionally allow a couple of well-behaved dogs or cats to run loose in the front part of the shelter.  They were sort of like our “greeters” to any visitors who came in.  When the shelter was closed, sometimes she would leave an animal loose in the lobby area.  Occasionally it was a dog, but usually it was a cat.  One particular day, Lo left the wrong cat on the loose…  

While the shelter was closed,  one of the feline “greeters” decided to have our shelter birds for lunch!  I don’t know how that cat managed to do it, but she pried the door of that bird-cage open–despite the fact that it was  wired shut!  When I arrived at the shelter–there sat the empty cage, door open, feathers strewn all about…That darn cat ate both of the parakeets! 

me holding two of the oppossums


During my time of volunteering there, the shelter was also a temporary home for an abandoned rabbit (which I adopted), a chinchilla, a small, parrot-like bird, a hamster, and a family of baby opossums.  Shelter volunteers rescued all animals,  except the baby opossums, which were had raised by Lo, then turned over to a sanctuary for wild animals.  Lo became very attached to her baby opossums during their stay at the shelter,  and it was a bittersweet good-bye when Lo left her babies at their new home.  

That’s it for today.  Thanks for sharing my memories of my shelter volunteering days.  I still have a few more tales left to tell, so I’ll be back before long to share some more.  Thanks for listening…and remember, shelter animals make the best pets–I speak from lots of experience!

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 9:30 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. awww the baby possums are too cute! We rescued a horse one time that was really, really skinny. You could see all his ribs which you know takes a long time to show on a horse. It took us almost a year to get him healthy again. It just breaks my heart when people abuse animals.

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