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A day in the life of the Huntingdon County Humane Society

Do you want to know what it’s like to work in an animal shelter? Come, take a walk with me.

I pull into the driveway at the Huntingdon County Humane Society at 8 a.m. What will await me today as I walk through these doors?

Moving through the building, I see there have been new animals brought in. A stray dog who is sadly missing its owner lays on a cot with a forlorn look on its face. In the cat recovery room, a few of the kittens have been moved to one of the cages. They have come down with an upper respiratory infection and will need their medication as soon as they eat their breakfast.

I begin to clean the cat rooms. I remove all dishes, scoop litter boxes and sweep and mop the floors. Milo escapes for the third time when the door opens. I treat him to some canned food while I go to wash dishes. After returning, Milo is not where I left him and is busy exploring the cat laundry room. I feed and water the cats in this room and move along. I retrieve Milo and return him to the room. I continue cleaning the other cat rooms.

Now it’s time for meds. Little Polly and her siblings aren’t fond of the doxycycline and the claws come out. Ouch — that scratch left a mark! Meds are finished and the kitties are all content to play in their cages. Our office manager announces that a cat is coming in with an injury. The cat arrives and the injury is assessed. After a call to the vet’s office, it is determined the cat will need to be seen.

I drive the cat to the vet and the injury is pretty intense. The cat will need to stay for an amputation of its leg. With a heavy heart, I leave the cat and drive back to the shelter.

There are visitors at the front desk when I return. They have an approved application and come to pick out a forever friend. We spend some time meeting cats and thankfully find one that completely steals their heart. A happy ending for both human and feline!

An older cat in one of the other cat rooms isn’t feeling well. After examining him, I notice the insides of his ears are yellow and his gums are very pale. The cat is in liver failure. Another trip to the vet’s office. After arriving with the cat, the bad news is delivered. The cat will need to be humanely euthanized. I stay with the cat as it crosses the rainbow bridge. I leave with tears in my eyes.

Back at the shelter I put those feelings aside so I can finish my work for the day. Food and water bowls are filled and litter boxes are scooped. I clock out. It has been a busy and heart-wrenching day.

So why do I do what I do? Because I love all animals, and enjoy spending time with them, helping them. Some days are filled with joy — the kitten leaving for its forever home with a child full of smiles. Some days are filled with sadness — the ones you wanted to save but it just wasn’t in the cards.

Will I return tomorrow? You bet! Tomorrow is a new day full of love, hard decisions and craziness. Rescuing and saving animals is who I am, it’s what I do!

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