As a volunteer at the San Diego Central Animal Shelter, I see so many animals that deserve a chance at happiness and life. Too many of them are getting less, as people continue to purchase their pets from stores and breeders. I have learned the hard way not to ask about a favorite dog I have enjoyed walking if I don’t see them him or her in their kennel.
Awareness and compassion is the key
As I look around me, I see that there is still a lot of work to do in spreading the word. With more public education, a commitment to spaying and neutering, and making kind choices when it comes to pet ownership, there really could be much less animal suffering than there is today.
Things to know about Shelter pets
Before I began volunteering at the San Diego Central Animal Shelter in 2009, I had very little idea of some of the things that I’ll be sharing with you. Very often when I am there, many of the cats I see and the dogs I walk are healthy, loving, well behaved, physically appealing pets. I believe that many people who haven’t been on the inside of a shelter as the volunteers have may think that most of the animals there are not the best adjusted or most attractive pets. Not only is this not true; some rare and pure breed pets are there, as well as the “most adorable puppies and kitties in the world”.
Other good pet sources
Shelter pets are all ages. In looking for a specific breed, if you don’t find the exact type of pet you want, than taking a little more time and looking in the five shelter locations is likely to increase your odds. Many of the pets are included on the shelters websites. If you don’t find another just as wonderful pet as you look, you may so at Petfinder.com, a specific breed rescue group or The Humane Society. I have also experienced first hand that the pets that don’t stand out in the crowd are often a real gem as I get to know them.
More quality control and reassurance for you
Another important fact; every cat and dog in the shelter has gone through an observation period so we can get to know their personality better and take note of anything that needs to be addressed. Some of the dogs attend obedience training. The volunteers that interact directly with the animals answer specific questions on an intake form and add other behavioral patterns they have noticed. These notes are available to the public when inquiring about a particular pet. There are interaction areas in the shelter if you would like to look more closely at a particular animal to see how the “chemistry” is between you. You are also welcome to bring your animals from home to see how they respond to a pet you are interested in. The 30 day grace period that every adoption allows will give your home companions a chance to make sure all is copasetic with the new family member. The shelter highly encourages all two-legged family members to come in to meet the dog or cat of interest. There are medical forms available at all times in case the volunteers have noticed anything that needs to be addressed medically. The Shelter is diligent about maintaining a high level of health with all their pets.
What is included in the adoption fees
When a pet is adopted, the fees include licensing, spaying or neutering, all shots, a micro chip for future identification, and a health exam before they leave the shelter, as well as another complimentary health exam within a month.
In San Diego County, pets that are five years and older are half price, and these pets have the added benefit of having out grown “puppy syndrome”. Seniors pay half price for their pet, and from time to time there are half price discounts on animals that have been at the shelter for more than 30 days. The cost for puppies and dogs is $69.00, kittens and cats are $58.00 and rabbits and guinea pigs are $25.00. Pet Sponsoring, volunteering and donations are a great way to help support the shelter as well.
Sensitivity and resiliency
As animals are sensitive beings; they do respond to the stress and loneliness of shelter living. This is likely to be the only side the public sees of them. This being said, they have an amazing ability to rediscover their true nature of loving, playful, nurturing companions, with a little love and attention. I experience this regularly as a volunteer!
Other animals available at the shelter
Felines and canines are not the only residents at the shelter; there are rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and reptiles also. If one is interested in a parrot, conure or cockatoo, there are local bird rescue groups with a variety of birds to choose from.
Inspired to care
I am inspired to be a voice of these wonderful animals. They are so worth it. With more education, diligence with spaying and neutering and a commitment to making caring choices, I believe we can all help end the cycle of cruelty to animals! It is very clear to me when I remember that for every pet that is purchased from a breeder or pet shop, this takes the chance away from a shelter pet to have happiness and life. With all the problems in the world, it is nice to know of one that has a simple solution: adoption!
Please help spread the word and information to your family, friends and the community by sharing this email or its message. Thank you!
The web info to all San Diego County Shelters is http://www.sddac.com/. The phone number for the Central Shelter in Linda Vista and South County in Bonita is (619)767- 2675, Chula Vista is (619)691-5123, North County Coastal is (760)438-2312 and North County Inland is (760)746-7307. If you would like to become a volunteer, you can download an application, pick one up, or call (619)767- 2782.
This email is a volunteer public service by Cheri Joseph, with no affiliation with any organization, agency, company or club.