A Journey Through the Animal Friends’ Animal Wellness Department

Part 1: Admissions

By: Rudy with help from Suzanne Denk, Behavior Wellness Liaison

Stray dog is what they called me. Stray? I had excellent manners, was affectionate, handsome, and had been neutered. Someone had loved me.  I was wearing a brightly colored collar but my collar had no identification tags and no one had come looking for me.  My legally required holding time at the animal control facility was at an end and there was no place left for me to go. I had heard rumors about what this meant.  

I sat quietly in my kennel when suddenly all the dogs started barking and I heard voices.   An admissions counselor and vet tech from Animal Friends were entering the kennel.  They said they were looking for some friendly dogs to take with them to Animal Friends for a second chance.  Pick me! I thought. 

Animal Friends Admissions Department receives animals in a variety of ways: owner surrenders, Humane Investigations confiscations, strays, transfers from another shelter and, fortunately for me, transfers from the animal control facilities.  Each week the admissions counselor and vet tech came to the animal control facility to medically and behaviorally evaluate the stray dogs that no one had claimed.

Suddenly, they were standing at the front of my kennel looking at me.  Wiggle. Look cute. The admissions counselor reached down and lifted the latch on my kennel door.  I was so excited I burst out of the kennel and ran up and down the aisles.  I did love to run but then realized there were people to greet and that this was probably not the best way to show them my good behavior. 

I greeted the visitors who put me on a leash and we went for a walk outside.  The admissions counselor was petting me, touching my ears, stroking my back, and hey!, touching my paws.  That made me think about getting my nails trimmed which I hate.  Don’t touch my paws!  She hugged me but I was squirmy and really just wanted to play. 

I heard them say that it was time for a Parvo test.  The vet tech then stuck a q-tip in my back end. I found this to be a little brazen (after all we had just met).  Turns out she was testing for the Parvo virus which is highly contagious and can be deadly to dogs who are not vaccinated or to puppies that do not have sufficient immune systems to fight this deadly disease. 

Click!  My ears perked up.  The admissions counselor was opening a can of dog food.  She was scooping the delicious smelling food into a bowl and yes, the bowl was going to be for me!  The bowl was placed on the floor and I began to eat.  I could tell that someone was touching me but I didn’t care.  Next, a hand was in my bowl and trying to take it from me.  I still didn’t care but clearly my two new friends, between the Parvo test and sticking a hand in my food, were a little bad mannered. This new theory of mine was proven further when I was offered a pig’s ear and then it was taken away.  I heard them say I was a good dog and didn’t guard my food.  I was starting to like them despite their rudeness. 

Now, I was simply enjoying some affection from the admissions counselor while the vet tech was drawing up vaccines.  I hadn’t realized this involved a needle but I took it like a man and they gave me treats.  They liked me. What were we waiting for now?  Soon, the vet tech declared that my Parvo test was negative.

Did I want to ride in the car? Yes, I love a car ride and wanted to get out of here.  I followed them out to the parking lot and jumped right in the Animal Friends van.  I didn’t know what was next in my journey but I was starting to get a very good feeling.

Coming soon: A Journey through the Animal Friends’ Animal Wellness Department
Part 2: Rudy visits the Medical Department

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