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Some days, you just can’t distance yourself

This was Joy’s weekend to clean the shelter, and as I usually do, I went and helped out. I spent a lot of time both days wooing a little Min Pin or Chihuahua mix that had been really skittish and hadn’t made it into adoptions yet because of it; I had him walking on a leash, following me around, jumping into my lap, and am hoping he might feel safe enough not to go to pieces around strangers now, because he is a nice little guy. I hung out in the cat condo with Grayson, who has been at the shelter for months now and is depressed and sluggish. I walked a few dogs. I enjoy spending time with the animals and trying to make their lives a little less bleak, and have gotten pretty good at not getting emotional over it.

Or so I thought. As we were finishing up today, I just got overwhelmed. The shelter is full of wonderful cats that have been there way too long, and so many more come in each day. Joy showed me how far along the little feral guy, who came in last month when we were doing Sunday cleaning, has come along. He’s blossomed into this sweet, confident little man… and there he sits. Along with so many others. There have been lots of dogs and cats over the months that I got to know, that just didn’t get adopted.

It really, really, sucks. Every animal that comes in to the shelter is an individual, a little somebody. Some of them have had a really bad time of it. Some are damaged — physically or mentally — beyond adoptability. But most of them just had the misfortune of being unwanted. Expendable. I looked around me at all the little faces and the sadness that welled up was almost more than I could bear.

This is what Joy and the other shelter staff deal with every single day.

There is a long weekend coming up and they are going to have to make sure there are enough cages for anything the officers have to bring in during those four days. With almost all of the cat cages already full, I don’t have to spell out what that means.  Since we are still trying to find Giles a home, I’ve thought about trying to post him on Craigslist. What has mainly held me back is the thought of dealing with the abusive responses that tend to result from such efforts, but I have to admit that I also feel a bit guilty posting him there when he is at least safe here with us. Maybe instead I should post about Darnell, the great polydactyl cat, or Francesca, the sweet tabby no one gives a second glance to… or the wonderful three legged dog in run# 1… or…

There’s no way I’d have time to tell every story, post every face. And the ones I did put up would be lost amongst all the other animals losing their homes for reasons ranging from the heartbreak of a family having their house foreclosed on and being homeless themselves, to some jerk who decides their nine year old cat and new furniture aren’t compatible.  And all the irresponsibly bred litters.  And then I’d get some more emails from people who point out that they aren’t going to pay for a shelter animal when they can just get one for free out of the Iwanna.

Hopefully I’ll have a light work week again and maybe I can at least try. I knew we can’t save them all, but it means everything to the ones that do get homes.

Giles needs a home!

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Giles is a gorgeous spotted tabby, he looks like a little wild jungle cat! He and his brother were very young when they came in to the shelter so we’ve been fostering them for the past month or so. They are now 9 weeks old and his brother has already gone on to a new home, leaving Giles waiting for a family of his own. He is great with other animals and would love to have another cat or dog to play with.