First Day at the AAS!

Posted on April 15, 2010


Day one at the Animal Aid Society was incredible! My shift didn’t start until 9pm but I arrived an hour early. Fortunately there were other early birds, and I was able to get out and introduce myself to the other volunteers. Patty offered to show me the ropes, and I helped her with her routine.

First we got out the necessary tools: a yard rake, a broom, a small scooper rake, and an aluminum pan with a long wooden handle. Before we could get started, one volunteer removed Paddy from his run. Paddy is a little unpredictable so they keep him in a separate enclosure during the day. Then Patty and I started with Emily’s dog run. Emily and Eddie are the two young hounds at the AAS. We let Emily out of her enclosure and went in to begin the routine. Patty removed the water bucket from the dog-run and scooped up the feces while I sweeped out the indoor part of the run.

The dog runs are air conditioned. Each dog has a house or igloo, a Kuranda bed, and a water bucket in their rooms. I sweeped out the room and made sure that the blankets were clean and straightened out on the Kuranda beds before moving back outside where I raked the dog run. During the maintenance process we let each dog out and lock the dog runs so that dogs don’t venture into other dog’s areas and so they don’t bother us while we’re working. Eddie and Emily managed to lift up two of the door latches and break into one of the dog runs while I was sweeping! They’re smart little hounds!

We were able to finish early since Patty and I split the work. She scooped the poo and refilled the water buckets while I sweeped and raked the dog runs. When we were finished, we had time to interact with the dogs. Patty and I decided to walk Skip and Pete. Skip is a two year old Schipperke mix. He’s short with a long black coat and soft, chocolate eyes. He’s quite a handful and likes to jump, chase, harass, nip, and pull hair! Pete is a five year old Beagle. It looks like he’s missing some front teeth, but it’s hard to tell. Diane, my shift manager, told me that when Pete first arrived at the Animal Aid Society he had almost no hair on his rump! I helped her with Amelia’s eardrops and Pete’s spraying (for his skin/coat).

Anyway the supply mailbox didn’t contain any leashes so Patty and I went over to the Cafe (the Headquarters of the AAS) to retrieve choke collars and leashes. Finally we were able to get Skip and Pete out into the field. Pete was so happy! Patty said he doesn’t get out very much so it was definitely a treat for him. Pete is one of my favorites… Actually, it seems all the seniors are my favorites! Pete, Amelia, Dottie…

Amelia is a big sweetheart. I walked her next! She is another old Beagle, and very shy. I was told that when she first arrived, she would stay in her corner and was too shy to come out! She’s very sweet and whenever I bent over to talk to her, she walked right up to me for patting! When I took her out of the fenced area, she immediately started rolling in the grass and basking in the sunlight. I bet it felt nice to get out!

Dottie is one that I would bring home in a heartbeat. Dottie is a seven year old chocolate Lab. She’s very small for a Lab so I think she’s mixed with another breed. I can’t help but have an attachment to her already because she reminds me so much of Roxy, except in a much more mature and settled body! Dottie loves to play fetch, enjoys walks, acts very young for her age, and is housetrained! What’s not to love about these characteristics? She’s a little smaller than Roxy and instead of being black and white, she’s dark brown with a little bit of white on her chest and muzzle.

She doesn’t exactly resemble Roxy, but she’s close enough… Geez, first day and I already want to bring the dogs home! I really can’t wait to go back next Thursday. In fact, Kelly, another volunteer, said she liked my pictures and that it would probably be okay for me to stop by the  AAS on days that I’m not scheduled to volunteer. Then I can help out if needed, meet other volunteers, interact with the dogs, walk them, and take pictures!

To wrap up the day we put the dogs into their dog runs and went into the Cafe to get the prepared dishes. We carried the bowls of dog food back to our section of dogs and went in to place the bowls by their water buckets. I fed Pete, Dottie, and Skip. After that we locked all the gates, secured the airlocks, and called it a day! If you’d like to see more of the pictures I took today, click here! I’ll be uploading all of the pictures to that collection from now on, and add more sets as I take more photos.