My take on Animal Shelters

Originally posted here:

As many of you know, I will be starting at a county animal shelter very soon. It is not a no-kill shelter (I’m not sure there are any government-run shelters that are), but it is by no means a “high kill” shelter. I live in an affluent county, so as far as I can tell, the shelter is funded reasonably well. I know we (since I start in less than two weeks, I’m saying we as an immenent shelter employee) get animals not just from our county, but sometimes transplanted from WV and other poorer areas. And we take care of not only dogs & cats, but small mammals and livestock (I’ve seen horses there, I know there have been goats & chickens).

So here’s my take on things.

In an ideal world, there would be homes for all the animals that arrive at shelters and rescues.

In an ideal world, pets would not be traumatized by the people who take on the responsibility for their care.

In an ideal world, animals would not be mutilated, set on fire, hanged, drowned, drug behind cars, starved, or any number of other atrocities done to them by people, often “for fun.”

But we don’t live in an ideal world.

I know that I’m going into a position that some days is going to rip my heart out. I know that I am going to work with animals that are going to have had horrible things done to them, and some of them are still going to show love.

Some of them are going to lash out, because that’s what they’ve been trained to do, by people who didn’t know what they were doing, or worse, by people who did know, and did it anyway.

And some of them, I will find the strength to euthanize, even after spending days, or weeks, caring for them. Not because I enjoy it, not because I think those animals don’t deserve a chance. I don’t yet know the exact policy, what determines when that decision will be made. But I know in some cases, that will be done, and I believe I’m prepared for it.

I’ll cry, and likely vent on here about it. But euthanasia is not the worst thing that we as humans do to animals. And until that bridge is crossed, I will do my utmost to ensure the animals in my care have the best lives possible.

I can’t save them all, but I can do my part to make their lives better.

If you are considering a new pet in your family, please consider adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue.


About Kristin S Moran

I have worn a lot of hats over the years. Some of my favorite jobs have been: Naturalist at a state park, Co-owner of a pet sitting franchise, and Intern at a conservation not-for-profit organization. I own 3 male cats and a female rottweiler/border collie dog. I have been learning about pet nutrition for the past few years, and have seen vast improvement in my pets' health and that of several clients' pets. Throughout my life, pets have always had a major role. I grew up with cats, and we got our first dog when I was in high school. I've also owned ferrets, rabbits, and a hermit crab. I started out my college career in a pre-veterinary medicine program, but eventually switched to Wildlife Science, earning my bachelor's degree from Purdue University. I have been an interpretive naturalist at several different facilities, including Acadia National Park, Lincoln State Park, Mesker Park Zoo, and Howell Wetlands. I enjoy learning about the natural world and sharing what I've learned with others. I am also a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, though I tend to write about that and my other crafty pursuits on other blogs.
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