Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday's Tales of Tails

   It is easy for me to write about helping shelter dogs, the need to volunteer, do your part, and contribute for the greater good.  Blah, blah, blah.  The truth is I do believe all of those things.  There is only one problem and it is a major obstacle for me.  I have never been able to bring myself to visit an actual pet shelter.  I feel that I should be standing in a circle admitting this, “Hello, my name is M. K. Clinton and I’ve been afraid to visit a pet shelter.”  It isn’t that I haven’t wanted to go see how they care for the animals, or the inner workings of the facility, I really did.  However, like most of you, I’ve seen a lifetime of wretchedly heartbreaking commercials for shelter dogs.  I know those advertisements must be effective but they are seriously depressing.  In my imagination, the place was going to be full of sad puppies all huddled in the corners of their small metal cages, giving me guilty sad-eyed looks over their shoulder.  I am not that strong of a human.  I’ll readily admit to crying during the National Anthem, ABC’s Person of the Week, and once, a moving story about an oak tree.  How in the world am supposed to handle cages of sad puppies?
 The time had come for me to put on my big girl panties and actually go experience the place I’d been urging others to help.  I contacted Linda S., the founder of PetSavers to let her know I was coming to visit.  A fence and double gate to keep the dogs from escaping surrounded the building.  A chorus of barking and a trio of young adults greeted me.  They were in one of the yards playing with a group of dogs.  Two more people came outside to say hello and ask how they could assist me.  After explaining the reason for my visit, I was led into the office.  Once inside I met the manager of PetSavers, Paula.  She moved around with the energy and determination of five people.  I watched as she handled a kitten adoption, gave a stray dog its vaccination, filed papers, and answered the phone.  She was amazing and in spite of being overworked, she kept a smile on her face.  Her love for the job and the animals in her care was obvious.  It was also very apparent they need more volunteers.
   I spoke with Paula about my blog, the desire to help by continuing to feature the adoptable dogs, and wanting to look around the facility.  One of the things that struck me besides how extremely busy the volunteers stayed, was how much joy their work was bringing them.  Don’t get me wrong, there were kennel runs being cleaned, dogs being fed, litter boxes being changed, blankets washed, all in addition to greeting potential adopting families.  The entire facility of people and animals are in constant motion.  I was in awe of each of the volunteers and the incredible amount of work they handle.  Standing there watching, I couldn’t help but think how wrong the picture in my mind had been all these years.
   When a lull finally happened, the trio I met when I first arrived offered to show me around.  It turned out that both men were in the military.  The young woman was accompanying her fiancĂ©e who is a regular volunteer. They were all there on a beautiful
C.J was so sweet to me.
See his story under
Adoptable Pets tab.
Saturday lending a hand.  What great representatives of the military and their age group.  It was both a pleasure and honor to meet them.  Walking through the kennels, I spoke to several of the dogs that I’ve featured.  We went to the “Hound” area and they played fetch and tug o’ war with some of the dogs.  The dogs ran, jumped, and got belly rubs.  It was great to see them play and have fun.  Clearly, they receive attention and know they are cared for while they wait for their loving homes.
   Before I left, Linda arrived so we discussed some of their immediate needs.  Just as the rest of the workers, she was deluged with calls, customers, and inquiries.  Also like everyone else I met that day, she was a wonderful, kind, and selfless person.  I can honestly say the volunteers at PetSavers in Shreveport restored a lot of my faith in people.  They give their time and energy to do hard, sometimes unpleasant work to ensure the well-being of unwanted cats and dogs.
Smiley is great. Quick to
shake paws and love!
Read his story on Adoptable
Pets tab!
  This is a no-kill, non-profit shelter and although they manage to take care of an incredible amount of dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens, they are quickly reaching their limits.
   It made me want to shout from the rooftops, “Go help this amazing group!  Everyone give, volunteer, PLEASE just do something!”  Since that wasn’t possible, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to scoot this soapbox up and hop on it.  Here is a list of things you should know.
1.     No-kill pet shelters are NOT sad, depressing places.  They ARE places that give unwanted pets a chance to find a home and family.  Would the pets be better in a home?  Sure, but they a much better off than if they were on the streets or facing the certainty of death in another shelter.
2.    If you can’t volunteer your time, please donate money, lightweight flannel blankets (Big blankets are hard on their washing machine), dog treats, scoopable cat litter, durable pet toys, or Wal Mart gift cards for supplies.
3.    If you are in a school organization, sports group, church group, sorority, fraternity, book club, garden club, sewing club, bowling team, or Bunko group then get together and help!  (if I left your group out, add it) Start a campaign to raise funds, collect the items in #2, offer to spend a day helping to clean and spruce the grounds.  The needs are limitless but their funds and volunteers are not.
4.    Join their Facebook page and share photos.  https://www.facebook.com/PetSaversOfShreveport  Tweet out the animals’ information.  Social media is a powerful tool and if you are going to use it, why not use it for helping a homeless pet?
5.    If you are considering a new pet, PLEASE visit the shelter and adopt a deserving dog or cat.  They will love you forever and they need you!
To sum up my first visit to PetSavers, it was a wonderful facility.  I left feeling better about myself, the pets, and my motivation to help was incredible.  The bottom line is this: The only thing sadder than those advertisements featuring the homeless pets is not doing anything to help them.  What would happen if everyone waited for someone else to help?  It has to start with someone, why not you and me?

I am going to finish this story featuring a sweet Rat Terrier mix that I met in the office.  Her name is Reba and she was a friendly outgoing girl.  Someone found her wandering down the middle of busy street, but nobody came to claim her.  They believe she’s about five years old.  Reba is up to date on all of her shots, spayed, and gets along well with other dogs.  She is not a big fan of cats, although she does enjoy chasing them!  She loved me scratching her head and it was difficult to get her to stop long enough for a photograph.  Finally, I caught her resting on top of the table getting cozy on a bed.  Reba will make someone a fantastic friend.  I hope that she finds her family soon.

I don’t usually feature cats, but Linda asked me to feature one in particular.  Dugan is a special needs cat that has been fostered but is once again at the facility.  Neutered, up to date on shots, he has a skin condition that requires medication.  Dugan is very sweet, loves affection, and gets along great with other cats.  The foster parents told me that he likes to “talk” to them.  If you can help Dugan with a “fur-ever” home, it would be wonderful.  The photograph did not show up well enough to feature, but Dugan is a beautiful cat.  You can see for yourself by contacting PetSavers at (318) 636-0400.

Thanks to Dogs 'N Pawz for hosting this wonderful blog hop! Please visit these other blogs for pets needing "fur~ever" homes!


  1. What a great post! Bravo to you for confronting your fears. In the past I've been a shelter volunteer. Unfortunately, the ones near me now are "kill" shelters and I just can't handle it. So, I've found other ways to help than to show up in person at the shelter, including adopting shelter dogs :-)

    1. Thank you! It was a monumental step in the right direction for me. I don't think I'm ready to visit a kill shelter...ever. I'd leave with a carload of dogs! I think the dogs can smell the difference in the two of them. These dogs were all happy to be offered a place to live.

  2. I am so glad you went too. Groups like that work so hard to help the critters and need every ounce of help they can get. They are incredible wizard who magically stretch every single dollar.

  3. They truly were incredible. Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

  4. Reba is beautiful! Loved your article! I have had a hard time going back to our shelter after they put Babe down. They hadn't euthanized a dog for over two years and the week before Christmas they put down 7:( I wish shelters everywhere were no kill shelters. Wouldn't that be awesome.

  5. I've had a hard time with that as well. A few years ago a friend of mine took me to this shelter in my neighborhood, and the dogs were all making a huge racket in their cages. I was weeping, and it was OK. We volunteered to walk some of them, and I recovered for that moment. Sometimes when I go there now, I still cry. I was doing a blog post a week about dogs from the shelter, but I got off track. I don't think I could ever go to the big New York City shelters. We all do what we can to the point that our hearts are intact, and not broken beyond repair. Each person has to know what she can endure, and each person has something to contribute!

  6. What a great post. Cats also need to featured too :)


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