Open-admission shelters are usually short of space and budgets are tight, and euthanasia loomed for Chaco. Shelter work is difficult under the best conditions because there is always pathos that can transform a routine day into a sorrowful one. Needing to make space for more strays and relinquished pets compounds the stress infinitely. Fortunately, the staff had taken the time to post Chaco on Petfinder, so his photo and description were out there, far and wide.
And just in the nick of time, Peg Biedermann in Albuquerque saw him on Petfinder. She didn’t think there was much hope that, being so far away, she would be able to adopt him, but she e-mailed the shelter anyway.
Biedermann lauds the responsiveness of the staff at Sandy City. “Rather than put him down, the girls at the shelter drove him to the airport, gave us a kennel, and we got him a ticket to fly down to Albuquerque,” she says. “It was amazing: At the beginning of the day, he had a few hours left to live and no adoption possibilities, and by the end of the day, he was in our laps.” The shelter staff went above and beyond what was required of them, as is so often the case. (Read Chaco’s adoption story in his mom’s words here.)
We at Petfinder hear stories like this all the time. Here are just a few more:
Volunteers from Evansville Vanderburgh Animal Care and Control in Indiana went the extra mile for Ziggy, who was scheduled to be euthanized. They drove for hours to get him to his new mom, Lindsey Murphy of Cincinnati.
The folks at Tazewell County Animal Control in Tremont, IL, made some phone calls and found a placement for Crash with Paws Giving Independence in Peoria, where he is being trained as a service dog. Had they not made the call, who knows where Crash would be today?
Stax was seriously neglected before he was rescued by Mercer County Animal Shelter in Princeton, WV. “He was found cramped up in a very small space along with some other dogs, very malnourished and skinny,” says his adopter, Bobbie Coppola. The shelter staff nursed him back to health. Today, “he is the most gentle dog I have ever seen,” Bobbie says. “You would never be able to tell that he was ever mistreated.”
Shelter staffers always have a tough job, but this year was especially hard, as shelters nationwide — and especially in regions affected by the Gulf oil spill — experienced higher pet-relinquishment rates and a drop in financial donations due to high unemployment and a still-flagging economy.
Hundreds of thousands of caring people at animal shelters work hard every day, often under less-than-optimal conditions, pouring out their concern and love for homeless pets. They are largely unsung heroes. If I could sing, I would do a little song for them during National Shelter Appreciation Week, Nov. 7-13. Instead, I’ll take them some cookies or donuts. Maybe you will take time to do the same.
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