Friday, July 29, 2005
A safe, calm and peaceful journeyI signed off on two unadoptable forms today. You see, whenever it looks like we will have to euthanize an animal for health or behavioral reasons, we have a process that includes documentation of the reasons, the work that we did, the temperament tests and the approval of the the shelter manager, dog training manager (for dogs), and me, the operations director. This process was created to ensure that no one person was making these incredibly important, ridiculously difficult, emotionally challenging decisions.
Health issues are more cut and dry. "Kidney Failure. Cat won't eat, drink, use litter box, move." This is an easy one. We need to stop the suffering of that poor kitty.
Behavioral reasons are more challenging. Temperament tests are not an exact science and we don't pretend to be the experts at it. Don't get me wrong, we're good. Very good. But no one here would ever guarantee an assessment or claim to see into the future. We make the best decisions we can with the best information we can get.
So, as I said, I approved the euthanasia of two dogs today. One came from a public shelter we work with in the county. What they call a 'D' (where A, B and C dogs go up for adoption) dog. He was going to be euthanized there and we took it sight unseen to see if we could turn him around. His behavior was so scary that we couldn't safely even finish the test.
The other dog came from a different shelter months and months ago. She tested great at the shelter, but upon further inspection had many issues. Possession and problems with other dogs were the major ones. Our trainers dug right in and started working on those issues. After a couple months, not only was she doing better, but she was even playing with dogs! We were all proud of her trainer for making such a turn around. She was up for adoption with a disclaimer describing all the issues we saw with her so anyone who was considering adopting her could be fully aware. (We do this when a dog isn't dangerous, but does have some issues that will need to be managed.)
She was here for over 60 days and when a dog hits a certain length of stay, we re-check their temperaments officially to ensure they are still stable and adoptable. She was not. Her possession was worse and she had shown scary behavior out on a field trip with staff. She, as all dogs are that start to show some bad behavior, was put on "probation" (made not available to the public) and moved to the back of the kennels, where clients could not see her. Her trainer kept working with her. Hoping that she could pull through it. But alas, her final retest yesterday was very bad. She was worse than ever and simply put, not safe to adopt out.
I'll help with the euthanasia tomorrow. A day that we should all be happy and celebrating our exciting Adoptathon, there will be a sadness in the air and a lump in our throats. We wish Martin and Maddie a safe, calm and peaceful journey.