Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Sick DayI should be at work today, but instead I've spent most of the morning either unconscious or throwing up. I don't like being sick. There is a special sort of guilt that comes with missing work when you're part of shelter staff. On the best days, when everyone's there, we still have just enough people for the job. Whenever anyone goes on vacation, the rest of us stretch ourselves a bit thinner to cover. Sick days are the worst though, because there's no time to plan. Everything has to get rearranged that same morning.
Today is Tuesday. We're closed so on the one hand that means no clients which means no one has to cover customer service. On the other hand, there are only two Canine Associates at work today, and I was one of them. So now there's one Canine Associate to get all the dogs out. There will be some volunteers today to help walk dogs, but they can only spend time with dogs in adoptions.
I feel bad because I'm making the rest of the staff work harder. I feel bad because I don't know if my assigned dogs will get out. I have a sick, pushy puppy in the back who needs daily exercise and training sessions. I have a shy girl with aching legs who, despite it all, would much rather play fetch than anything else in the world. I'm less worried about my four dogs in adoptions since there are a few dedicated volunteers that show up every Tuesday.
There's no way to reduce the workload either, as it all has to do with the demands of living things. Shelter Operations staff work holidays (though staff members can request them off in advance). There's no such thing as a long weekend. We close the shelter on the big holidays, but the animals still need their kennels cleaned, their food provided, their legs stretched. This can be eminently rewarding or utterly exhausting.
Sick days and vacations. Get me every time.