Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fold The Page

Over the past couple of months, we haven't updated Shelter Diaries nearly as often as we should, or as often as we'd like to. There are many reasons for our abscence, and I felt that it would be a good idea to explain why our blog - unlike our enthusiasm - has waned recently.

Many of the reasons are ones that Sophie and I deal with every day; specifically, our own cast of animals at home. In the past year, we've lost my parrot Sam to old age and our dog Buster to distemper. Currently, we're keeping an eye on Gheera, one of my two fourteen-year old cats, who continues to baffle us. His poor, withered body seems to be shutting down more with every passing day, and yet he seems more content and happier than I've seen him since he was a kitten.

Then there's Amelia. She and Rufus are practically inseparable, even when they're driving each other up the wall. But poor Amelia's been sick since we brought her home from the shelter nearly a month ago. Her fourth trip to the vet will be next week, and we'll probably find out by then if she'll recover or not. Thankfully, young Rufus has turned out to be nigh-invulnerable to most any malady, other than a chronic lack of attention span.

Amelia's mystery illness is more than just a worry for us - it also means we can't put the shelter's animals at risk to possible infection. Which, in short, means no interaction with the shelter dogs for us.

When things are finally resolved for Amelia, we'll be faced with yet another major consideration before continuing. This summer's outbreak of distemper, coupled with the steady and swiftly rising tide of stray and abandoned animals (both healthy and ill) have necessitated new health procedures and regulations at the shelter. In sticking to "the rules" - as all volunteers at the shelter vehemently try to do - we find that we can no longer interact with most of the dogs until they are adoptable. Basically, by the time we can meet an animal, it is most likely adopted, rescued, or euthanized before we can post anything about them.

What would be available to us would be a hurried, first-impression "hey, look at this dog before it's gone forever" kind of thing, which Shelter Diaries was never intended to be. Russell Posch already does a phenomenal job of giving everyone a thorough "first-look" overview of the dogs on a daily basis (see our sidebar - no, really; we'll wait while you check it out), and there's no need for us to do a slapdash rehashing of his excellent work. At the shelter itself, our particular skills have no real place in the new dynamic. So although things are much better and safer for the dogs now, we ourselves have become a bad fit. We're happy square pegs, but square pegs nonetheless.

Perhaps when the shelter gets its new facility, we might find that there is once again a niche for us to fill, and something good that we can bring to the dogs and to the shelter personnel. But for now, it seems the most helpful thing we can do is keep from being underfoot.

Like the health of my cat Gheera, it isn't something that we want. But we can follow his lead and be content, knowing that as backward as it may seem sometimes, it's the best thing we can do for now.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to help out a dog whenever the opportunity is there: we owe them for about 14,000 years of unfaltering friendship, and all good friendships are worth taking care of.