Wednesday, December 28, 2005
2005 is snapping shut on us.Shelter Life is always hectic during the holidays. This is the case for a few reasons.
One, common to all businesses, vacation time is used up at an annoying pace.
Of course people need time off, and its a great time of year to take it. But unlike a regular business, the shelter worker's work can't just be put "on hold," until they get back. Every day, whether the regularly-scheduled employee is here or not, someone still has to clean kennels, feed the cats, exercise the dogs, prep animals for the vets, call foster parents to schedule their appointments, answer adoption questions, show animals to adopters (we don't want them here until 2006 if we can help it!), reboot the server, let volunteers inside the building, keep the animals up-to-date on the various websites we use, mop the floor, take out the garbage, complete intake for animals coming in, test and evaluate dogs, and ...
You get the picture.
Two, clients and volunteers are feeling a little more rushed than usual.
Whether it's the traffic, or the pressure of gift-giving or even the financial strain that goes with the season, holiday cheer on the go can be tough to muster this time of year. People are in a hurry and we have less folks to help. Sometimes balls get dropped and for that we are apologetic.
Three, the weather.
Cats, no problem. But 60 dogs who need walks, exercise and potty breaks? Fuggedaboutit. See "mop the floor" above. Every hour.
Four, adoptions decrease.
While adopting a pet before a stay-at-home vacation can be a great way to acclimate a new pet before returning to a full-time schedule, bringing a new, still-adjusting pet into a noisy household on Christmas morning can be disasterous. So while some pre-holiday adopters have great timing, we also encourage many others to wait until after the holidays, especially if their intent is to give a pet as a gift. (We don't allow a pet to be adopted to someone who hasn't yet met the pet.)
So it's hectic and we look forward to returning to your regularly scheduled programming.
2006 is bringing new challenges and new opportunities. We'll continue to see success in the dog population in our community. Fewer and fewer dogs and cats will be killed in 2006 for lack of a home, including pit bulls and incoming kittens.
We will spay and neuter more dogs and cats at low and no cost, than ever before, thanks to generous donors who agree this is the key to ending the suffering of homeless pets.
We will concentrate more resources than ever on finally solving the feral cat problem. While feral cats are not adoptable, and therefore outside of our mission, they are producing nearly 100% of the kittens we shelter and find homes for every year. Concerned citizens will be able to rely on us as a resource in helping them curb the feral cat populations in their own neighborhoods, and that benefits the community. Together, we will make a huge impact.
And we will find homes for all the adoptable dogs and cats in our care. Like we do every year.
2005 is snapping shut, but I see the light peeking through from 2006, and it's bright and hopeful.