Headwaters Animal Shelter residents receive great attention
"My fellow shelter worker and dog manager, Lorena, put this into words greater than I could have ever thought of: 'The animals here are often better off here than where they were before.'"
I’ve heard it time and time again that visitors state that they feel badly for animals that temporarily reside here with us at the shelter.
For some, visiting an animal shelter is a very emotionally tasking event.
Why, you might ask, is due to the sheer number of homeless animals that shelters, such as us, tend to accommodate. It can be very loud, especially in our dog areas, which can be very overwhelming if you are not used to it.
My fellow shelter worker and dog manager, Lorena, put this into words greater than I could have ever thought of: “The animals here are often better off here than where they were before.”
This, for the most part, holds very true, considering a large number of our dogs and cats were found living outside as strays.
In this column, I would like to shed some light on how we try our best as shelter staff to make sure the time spent here by each individual animal is full of love and hope.
For our shelter dogs, they are taken outside to our spacious and open fenced-in yards. This is where they are matched up with a friend or two, so they can get maximum socialization time.
If we run into a dog that does not do well with other dogs’ company, they are still outside with other dogs, just in a separate fenced area.
If it is nice enough, especially during the summer months, pools are placed outside (plastic sandboxes), that they have free access to.
This also includes water dishes that are filled frequently and replenished with fresh water.
If there is enough staff or if we have a volunteer(s) come in, the dogs are often walked, fetch is played or just a simple decompression visit outside is also very common.
Food is provided to the residents inside, and for the most part, with the exception of at night, they always have access to food unless they have some medical issue that prevents this. (Such as Emma, with her weight-controlled diet).
They are given toys in the kennel, unless the dog is at risk for ingesting said toy.
For our kitty residents, they truly do live a life of luxury.
We have two colony rooms, with multiple litter boxes that are cleaned and replenished once a day.
Food and water are constantly available, so their little bellies never go without sustenance.
They are given a plentiful number of toys and enrichment items that keep them busy. Their favorite often seems to be the window sills, where they can relax and watch the birds eat out of the feeders.
Each animal is treated with love by our shelter staff and all of us absolutely adore that we can supply a temporary stay until they are able to find their permanent homes.
Holly Packman is the cat manager for the Headwaters Animal Shelter.