Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2018 >Daily Dispatch #318

November 14, 2018: At the Mat Su Borough Animal Shelter

There I was, at the Shelter, there for animal emergency preparedness training. The image that is going to stay with me the rest of my life is this – a large, very large paw sticking out from under a cage door. The lower half was made of metal so I could not see the dog. I looked through the upper bars, over the top. There was a St. Bernard.

He was not the best representative of his breed. He was sway backed and slab sided. He had droopy eyes and big, slobbery lips. The form on his cage said that he was six years old. You really do have to wonder how it is that this dog, as well as the others, ended up here, in a cage, with little hope for a happy future.

Demo on how to intake a dog

And there were so many kittens on display. Cats are very cute when they are young – I had to keep this in mind as a twelve-week old calico watched me move around her cage. And there was a pumpkin colored kitty – reminded me of a cat I had as a kid.

Heart breaking. Absolutely heart breaking. At the day’s end I went out the wrong door and came upon a horse pen that contained a chocolate covered horse with a white blaze. He or she nickered at me as I walked by.

A tough day, seeing all these animals incarcerated – but I knew it would be. I had to keep reminding myself that should I take on any more, the quality of the lives of the animals I have here would decline because attending to a newcomer would take time away from each of them. I’ll just have to live with my bad dreams.

The training went well. The fellow in charge was Josh Carey, Director of Operations and National Animal Rescue Chair. He was tall and thin, wore a dark blue shirt with the Red Star Animal Humane Society logo, and a matching hat. He sported a long black straggly beard that had gray flecks. He was wearing narrow wire rimmed glasses. He did not ever stand still – he was always moving. He knew this and apologized for this. A very likeable fellow.

He did tell us he likes animals more than people – and when I talked with him there was that kind of disconnect. No matter – he has found his niche and is very good at what he does – he teaches individuals and service organizations the ins and outs of emergency animal preparedness. He also spends considerable time in the field, working with organizers and animals. And he attends lots of meetings. He did not say much about himself, but did mention that his wife (they have a child) remarked to him that she feels like a single parent.

We mainly learned about the emergency management hierarchical structure and about how to set up, organize, and maintain temporary animal shelters. We also did a mock session in which half of the thirty attendees set up a mock shelter and the rest of us came in with intakes. (We’d been given a photo of an animal with an accompanying write up. I had a photo of Trooper, a pregnant mare who was protective of her foals. I had a good time with this – but, ultimately, I think I should have been even more demanding. Live and learn. Live and learn to be responsible, which means at time being demanding.

Next: 319. 11/15/18: Darkness Descends

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles