How Playtime Saved Us All

Recess. Your lunch. Vacations. We all savor those breaks from the normal day to day grind. We can’t be “on” all the time. Sometimes we just need time to be ourselves and relax. And that is exactly what our dogs got when playgroups were integrated into our shelter.

I didn’t really know what to expect when we started. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea. It seemed unsafe, and well, downright scary. How could someone control a group of dogs that were running around off leash? But it didn’t take long for me to see what it really was. Most of the dogs participating had spent years in a kennel without any contact with other dogs. Sometimes they didn’t get out to stretch their legs more than 3 times a week. But soon our dogs started playing and making friends and just being themselves. I saw dogs I have known for months change before my eyes.

And it wasn’t long before I became involved in playgroups also. Soon I realized what they could do not only for the dogs, but for the people in the yard. I started looking forward to work in the morning because I knew I would spend hours surrounded by my favorite things in the whole world…dogs. I laughed more. I saw dogs blossom from shy and scared, to confident and playful. Some dogs that we thought were dog aggressive ended up being the dogs that got along with everyone. But most of all I bonded more with these animals that didn’t have anyone to call their own. And let’s be honest we all need love. We all need to feel that connection with another living being. I am happy to be that for all the amazing animals that come through our shelter.

Most of all, I am so thankful to be able to give our dogs that break they need…to let them be totally themselves.

Barking and slobber and dog hair…oh my!

Do you know that feeling after a concert when your ears are ringing and you feel a little out of sorts? Well, some days are like that for me after work. I get in the car and absorb the silence for a few seconds before I start the engine. It is the small price to pay for working at an animal shelter.

I didn’t always want to work in animal welfare. In fact, I knew very little about it. From the time I was little I always wanted to be a vet. But when vet school seemed too daunting I felt lost…what was I going to do with my life after college? And then I got my job at the Humane Society. I instantly knew it was where I belonged.

The next 7 years have been a series of ups and downs. Tears. Frustration. Heartbreak. But also joy, accomplishment and incomparable love. Even though most days I feel frazzled and exhausted I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

This is collection of memories, experiences, feelings and anything else related to spending 40 hours a week working with animals that, through no fault of their own, have no home.