I planned two events for today in conjunction with my focus this month on the ASPCA. Then, a few days ago I learned that the third Saturday in August is Homeless Animals Day. The timing couldn't be better.
This morning I got to go to the Jasper County Animal Shelter. Several young friends from my church - Kate, Nina, Rhett, and Tom - plus a couple of adult helpers went with me. We had a great time! We walked dogs, cleaned out cages, and played with cats.
The shelter houses at least several dozen each of cats and dogs. The cats use litter boxes, and so the dog cages needed more attention. Some of us walked the dogs. While their cages were empty, others of us helped the staff clean them. This consisted of spraying the walls and floor of the area with a disinfectant that kills parvovirus and other microbes. Then everything was hosed down. Each dog has a raised bed, which was hosed down and had a clean blanket or towel placed on it. Finally, fresh bowls of food and water were placed in the cage. It was gratifying to see that each animal receives adequate care.
Besides these basic requirements, the animals really just need loving human contact. I especially noticed this with four large puppies (siblings, I'm sure) who shared a cage. We had to walk all four of them at the same time so that their cage could be cleaned. They obviously haven't been on leashes very much, and they were pretty scared when we first got them out. However, after Nina, her grandfather, and I spent a little time with them, they seemed to relax a bit. After a while, they were tumbling all over Nina, who laughed delightedly.
All of the dogs seemed to have good temperaments, including the many pit bull mixes. One of the pit bulls made quite an impression on me when I took him for a walk. He was so strong! He probably doesn't weigh much more than my greyhounds, but I'm so used to my greyhounds' docility that the pit bull's power took me by surprise. I think the shelter worker who suggested I walk him knew that this dog probably would overwhelm the children. He wasn't a bad dog by any means, but he definitely needs someone who will work with him patiently to direct all that energy in a positive direction.
The kids had a blast playing with the many cats at the shelter. I'm sure the cats thrived on the abundance of attention, too.
I got pictures of many of the animals. Here's a gallery of good animals looking for good homes:
As I was about to leave the shelter, a sign on a shelf caught my eye. Because of the shirt I was wearing, I had to get a picture of me holding the sign:
That was gracious plenty to make for an excellent day, but I had more fun in store for this evening. I hosted a Dog Days of Summer Celebration at a local restaurant, Deptula's, as a fundraiser for the Jasper County Animal Shelter and the ASPCA.
The original plan was for people to bring their dogs and enjoying mingling in the grassy, shady parking area adjacent to the restaurant. Unfortunately, it's been raining cats and dogs the last few days, and so we had to move everything inside and nix bringing dogs. Fortunately, we still had a great time and raised $259!
Also, I made dog biscuits for people to take home to their dogs. The biscuits were shaped like bones, fire hydrants, and mailmen:
And don't forget the cool party hats!
It really struck me today how easy it is to be of service. By spending only a few hours, right here in our own community, we did something so worthwhile that was fun, too! I'm so glad that A Year of Centuries has spurred me to engage with my neighbors - two-legged and four-legged - in ways that I might not have otherwise.