In an earlier blog (A Day in the Lobby) I talked about what an educational experience hanging out in our lobby can be. Today I stumbled upon a column I wrote years ago for our newsletter that was such an example of not only what our staff experiences but the diversity of those experiences. I thought I’d share it again here as while years have passed it is no less current and accurate.
One afternoon right before Christmas a young boy, only 5 years old came into the Shelter with his mother to visit the animals. They were not planning on adopting, but only visiting as the boy had heard about animal shelters, had never been in one and wanted to see what they were like. However, before he could make his way back to the kennel areas to see our animals, he burst into tears. He was too sad to see the dogs and cats in cages at Christmas. It just broke his heart. He left without ever seeing a single animal. From across the Intake counter, Kelly, one of our intake specialist (now Shelter Supervisor) witnessed this display of compassion and sensitivity and it brought her to tears too.
Soon after they departed, a man carried a small tabby kitten into our lobby and deposited the tiny kitten on the intake desk in front of Kelly. He then callously announced that he was “getting rid of it” because it was “too ugly”!
Not only careless, he was rude and insensitive to the kitten. And equally rude and insentive to the staff left to deal with his unwanted animal. As Kelly tried to conduct the normal business of intaking the kitten, trying to gather a little information about the kitten, the man was so obnoxious that others in the office stepped in to suggest that he needed to relax, answer the questions and he’d quickly be done with his business.
His utter disregard for this helpless kitten again brought Kelly to tears. Even a veteran of the world of animal abuse and neglect, could not withstand such callousness.
Kelly gave her the name “Daffy”. She held her until she calmed down and began to purr, hopefully not for the first time in her life. Then, so that she wouldn’t feel scared and alone, Kelly found her some friends in a small litter of kittens of similar age already in a cage in the lobby area of our shelter.
As if by fate, not long after the kitten was settled in with her new litter, a kind woman arrived in the shelter looking for a cat or kitten. Somehow she was drawn directly to our newest addition…the one just earlier described as “too ugly.” The woman open the caged, lifted the ball of fur out and into the soft insides of her jacket. Again the kitten began to purr as she curled up there delighting in the attention of another new friend.
She saw no “ugly” in Daffy but only love and perfection. And thus, she would choose Daffy to adopt and soon took her home promising her a life filled with nothing but love. Kelly cried again, happy tears this time.
There are so many sides to the coin of shelter life. Some cruel and hateful. Some touching and inspiring. Some beautiful and filled with compassion.
None easily forgotten.
Categories: Shelter Facts