December 1, 2011

The Time Between 2200 and 2300

The arrival of 2 small dogs from South Carolina sent me to Angels of Assisi late tonight, and sometimes staying up past bedtime is pretty darn rewarding. 

Carter and Lilly arrived around 10 pm, and they are wonderful. Lilly is a little Chihuahua mix who was rescued by a former Humane Society worker. This compassionate lady now works for the utility company, and uses her position to watch out for the animals on her route. She found Lilly tethered with a huge chain weighing down her tiny body, and convinced the owners to sign her over to safety.

Carter was rescued with several other Pomeranian dogs, and he actually has black and white stripes around his body- so cute. He seems to love being held and is very laid back and sweet; he even stayed still for me to take this horrible cell phone shot:

On the drive to Assisi, my phone was buzzing with messages about a dog that needs foster, a pending cat rescue, and an important message from Vickie Holt. She had just sent updated pictures of the 10 beagles that were seized last July. They have a very special day tomorrow that will most likely decide their fate. I do not doubt that Vickie had been working on the photos all evening.

Our building at 415 Campbell Avenue was dark when I arrived, and after the alarm was silenced and lights turned on, our office cat, Miss Piggy, gave me a sleepy salutation from her perch on the counter. She was sharing her space with the clipboards neatly lined up, ready and waiting for a full spay/neuter clinic tomorrow.

The cat colony rooms were quiet and peaceful. In the back hallway one of our newest additions, Mowgli the bull dog, snored away in his kennel. Turns out that Dr. Spengler's foster dog has some pretty serious skin issues, and he is staying with us to receive treatment. Next to his kennel lay a new leash, treats, and special dog food. Watching him sleep, one word pops into my mind: innocent. I wonder how long he had been out own his own, and am grateful that he is safe.

Next stop was through the break room, where notes for staff adorn a bulletin board and Miss Piggy has a pretty sweet set up in the front window. Someone had brought in cake, and there is perhaps a little tiny piece missing (thanks!).

A visit to mama beagle was next, and she was delighted for the company. She has lived in the clinic since last July, and the staff loves her and takes very good care of her. I hugged our girl tight, and gave her an extra smooch from Amanda. Mama always has a worried look on her face, and I tried to tell her how hard people have been working to ensure she has a better life. The folks in charge of her future have worried right along with her. However, at some point, you have to believe that diligence will pay off, and right will win over wrong. Tomorrow will tell.

As I ventured down to the adoption center, the dogs and cats started perking up- they are certainty not used to company in the middle of the night. Kittens were snuggled up next to each other in cushy beds, and puppies stretched and yawned. Most of the cats gave me a one eyed look, while others pushed to the fronts of their cages and purred for attention. The fact that they are so trusting and sure that I won't hurt them is not lost on me.

I settled the new guys in, made sure Lilly had her sweater and beloved toy duck, and turned off the lights once again. Heading back to the front door, I stopped, took a mental picture and inhaled the enormity of what happens in our building and beyond everyday.

Just tonight, a snapshot in time, there was a network of staff and volunteers working on court cases, looking for foster homes, taking care of their own foster pets, and planning a major meeting with other rescue groups to take place in a week. We have a clinic that is ready and waiting for a full day of spay and neuter surgeries tomorrow, not to mention wellness appointments booked every 15 minutes. In other words, the clinic staff is ready to serve the responsible pet owners in our community, while the adoption staff and volunteers care for the animals that are our responsibility. These duties often overlap, and are always handled with care. 

More than anything, we love the people who get it all done, everyday, and enjoy what they do. Are we perfect? No. Is there room for improvement and growth? Of course. But we will grow and improve, and along the way we'll embrace each other and the animals we love. And we'll believe that diligence will pay off, and the right thing will happen for all the innocent lives that are trusting in us.

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