Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Animal Shelter Monday

Final day of my Lunar New Year break. The parents had to drive Big Bro and Sis-in-Law down to Johor so they could get a bus back to Singapore, since there were no bus tickets available otherwise. I fed and bathed Amber before leaving for the SPCA with a box of goodies for the staff and vets.

I was the only volunteer around today, which guaranteed work getting done. I took out the dogs from Kennel B for walks, and then I bathed them and washed their coats with tick and flea solution. 2 of the dogs needed deworming pills and another needed treatment for tick fever.

As I was taking a dog past the office on our way for a walk, I saw a lady lifting a puppy by the front legs. I immediately stopped her and advised her that she could break the dog’s legs that way. I showed her the correct ways of picking up a dog, holding the dog with one hand while cleaning the cage with the other, and teaching a puppy to sit on command and come when called. The lady and her male companion were quite clueless and impatient with animals. Apparently, they had adopted a puppy earlier but have come back to the shelter to return the dog in exchange for another, because the dog was terrified of them and would not respond to instructions. Well, if that is the way they have been picking up and handling their dog, I’m not at all surprised to hear that the poor mite goes into hiding each time she sees them approaching.

Mrs. Wheatley, who overheard the conversation, came close to spitting with rage. She started upbraiding the couple and telling them that we will refund their money but will not let them bring another dog home. I took the opportunity to make my escape with my very patient dog companion. At the same time, I wondered if Mrs. Wheatley’s reaction had been appropriate. People learn better when they are not angry or humiliated, and I suspect that if denied another shelter puppy, the aforesaid couple would just make a purchase from a pet store or breeder anyway.

Linda arrived at 1630 hours, and having walked and washed all the occupants of Kennel B, I helped Linda feed the animals and let the adult dogs out to play so we could clean the cages. I washed, scrubbed and disinfected the Cattery and the litter trays, and then I cleaned all the dog cages. I took in the donated newspapers and took out the trash and recyclables. I soaped and scrubbed the animals’ living quarters and the shelter floor, sinks and gutters while Linda washed all the feeding bowls and cleaned the food preparation area.

Finished work by 1930h, showered and went back to the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters. Spent the rest of the night roughhousing with the cats and cleaning the Quarters. The festive season is over and it’s back to Combat Zone again, boys.

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