Last Friday afternoon the Clark office slipped out of City Hall and over to the Seattle Animal Shelter (2061 15th Ave. W. in the Interbay neighborhood just a mile south of the Ballard Bridge, 386-PETS, www.seattle.gov/animalshelter) for a couple of hours of volunteering. We’ve volunteered as a team a couple of times before both as a team building exercise and also because it’s a great way to learn about parts of the city we deal with on paper or through email. I’d been there before as a user of the services (you can make pet tags in the lobby), but getting behind the scenes for a bit gives a great view of how much work the staff and volunteers do with a range of people and animals.
Been thinking about a turtle? They have five looking for homes right now.
A kitten maybe? They have about 10. One of the volunteer tasks is to “socialize the kittens.” That means you get to take them out of their cage and hang with them Rather, they try to hang on you.
“Mature” cat? These are the ones that break your heart. Strays, the “left behind” after eviction, the “surrendered” because the owner couldn’t cope or had to a new no-cats place due to job loss.
Bunny? Yes, they’re chewers if you don’t watch out and give them their own chew items, but they’re litter box adaptable! They have about 10 right now.
And then there are the dogs. Talk about heartbreaking. Not surprisingly most dogs there Friday were mid to large size. Some were quiet and looked sad or heartbroken themselves. Some were quickly excited at the promise of attention as you walked near. Seattle Animal Shelter (I don’t know if I mentioned that they’re located at 2061 15th Ave. W. in the Interbay neighborhood just a mile south of the Ballard Bridge, 386-PETS, www.seattle.gov/animalshelter) has two off-leash areas in back of the building and you can walk a dog around Interbay. A sort of test drive. We took Angel and “puppy” out for playtime and walks. Angel is probably about eight or 10 years old, a black lab mix, a fantastically happy personality, a very good walker, and a middling fetcher. What she lacks in fetching, she makes up for in flopping over for a tummy rub. Why did she end up in the shelter? Because the domestic violence shelter doesn’t take dogs.
“Puppy” attracted a lot of attention and was a crazy thing out in the off-leash area, zooming from one person to the next and adding in a loop around the pen. The person who found her alone, wandering after her owner left the neighborhood had signed up to adopt her if she remained unclaimed. An odd thing — Puppy started to wag and move toward him whenever Shelter Director Don Jordan appeared. Liver treats in a pocket or is that just what happens when you’re the director and help more than 600 animals find homes every year?
We petted, we walked, we tossed toys, we swept up tipped over food and water, we folded laundry (think of the number of towels and blankets they go through). And none of us walked out with a new pal. That’s the way it should be for me. With three cats and a dog I’m good for now.
If you think you might find a great friend at the Seattle Animal Shelter (and in case you missed it — 2061 15th Ave. W. in the Interbay neighborhood just a mile south of the Ballard Bridge, 386-PETS), check them out on the web www.seattle.gov/animalshelter. You can find the Pet Finder tool on the site and a list of questions that might help you decide when and who to adopt.
Thanks very much to the fantastic shelter staff and volunteers for allowing us in for a couple of hours to help a little and learn a lot.