Just checking in to say hello to Our Pack and all of my friends back home!
Today was good, even though we were short of help for most of the day. Winging the clean up, two daily feedings, constant moving of dogs from one crate to another, or just holding and attending to those who needed
(AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dawn Majors)
a small break from their crate, along with minor emergencies here and there. One fellow and I managed to get through forty-two dogs at least twice in the matter of 10.5 hours. In addition, we were able to leave each of our beloved new friends a clean Kong filled with peanut butter to end their day with, until our return tomorrow morning.
The usual shift for this endeavor has been 4-5 days, maybe one week. I did not know that my commitment to a 15-day work week would be utterly exhausting, both physically and mentally draining. I have been told by other volunteers that a two-week stint was considered quite unusual, although a number of volunteers have promised to come back again, or were here on their second visit upon my arrival.
I must say that the volunteers who have come to help these dogs because of their love for animals—in particular to help those who have been so unfairly mistreated, abused and misaligned—are saints in my book. The HSMO staff are also incredible, putting in hours upon hours of time to assist these dogs who have been “rescued” from a cruel, cruel life in the hands of people whose souls remain unfathomable to me and others.
When my co-workers and I grab a quick bite to eat at lunchtime, we often fantasize about what we would like to do to the people who have done the atrocious things we have witnessed to the dogs in our care. I won’t dive into the details on that...BUT, I will share with you what it means to each one of us who has the unique opportunity to work with these dogs: The look that each dog gives you as you open that gate first thing in the morning, and make the long walk down the center of that kennel floor. These dogs know their friends are here, we are the excitement of their day, we ROCK their world and they show it by barking, jumping and looking for some acknowledgment, just to say "I’m here and I’m happy you’re here too!"
At first it was a little overwhelming, forty-two dogs begging for your attention, barking loudly and some jumping with enough force to slide their crate away from their original tied-down location. But, ya get used to it. You get used to the non-stop barking, the smell of urine, the smell of poop and your poop-stained clothing, the never-ending cleaning and the constant noise. As I like to say: Barking, Poop, Barking, Poop, Clean, Barking, Poop, Poop, Poop, Clean, Barking, etc.
What you surely don’t get used to is seeing a dog that has no lips and is missing part of her mouth and nose, but who still wags her tail every time you pass by her crate, looking at you with such loving eyes and complete trust. This dog has been severely damaged on the outside, as shown by the front teeth protruding out from her mouth because she has no lips to cover them, but who is just looking for a little love and companionship from a friendly face. She goes by the name of Fay(e).
The picture shown here was taken by the Associated Press, you can read the article by AP reporter Cheryl Wittenauer here:
I take care of Fay(e) and watch her everyday as I pass by her crate or walk her down the aisle for a little jaunt to our special seat, where she can give me her warm hugs and kisses, a little toothy, maybe, but oh so gentle! Fay(e) is at first shocking to look at, then she becomes just another warm Pit Bull “kisser and lover." She reminds me that I can do whatever it takes to get the job done and to keep on going regardless of my circumstances, just like her! I love Fay(e) and I love all those tenacious Pitties that keep on going no matter what, and wiggle their butts while they do it, regardless!
Tracey Tate Cutler