Just Another Day at the Shelter

Volunteering at an animal shelter is such a bitter-sweet experience. On one hand you’re surrounded by all sorts of amazing and cute animals, and on the other hand you see how humans have caused so much hurt to such helpless and loving creatures.

First up are two wonderful chihuahuas, both at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter. Both are sad stories in serious need of fairytale endings.

Here is Tito, a resilient and shy little guy who just doesn’t know how to be defeated. Sometime in January 2012, someone found him laying lifeless in the middle of the street. Thinking that he got hit by a car, the good samaritan called up Animal Control. Tito was still alive – barely – so he was rushed straight to the hospital for emergency care. X-rays showed that Tito did not have any broken bones, yet he was almost dead. Some blood tests were done, and it was determined that Tito had been severely poisoned. The theory is that he wasn’t hit by a car, but instead ate some poison – either snail poison found in someone’s yard or from someone looking to hurt him. The poison took effect, and he collapsed in the middle of the road before being found.

In any case, the little guy was put on an IV drip for a month until his organs were able to repair themselves. I can’t imagine how expensive this would normally be (we’re talking thousands of dollars), but fortunately there are veterinary practices like Vet2uLA and Dr. Jones Animal Hospital that are kind enough to volunteer more than their fair share to help those in need.

A month later, and Tito rose from the ashes, full of life again. There are some minor bite marks on the top of his head (maybe some unrelated abuse he endured?) and he’s shy of strangers at first, but once he understands that you’re not out to hurt him he turns into a happy playful guy. Tito’s favorite thing to do is jump on your lap and lick your face until you can’t stand it anymore. After he gets to know you for a few minutes, he shows absolutely no sign of emotional trauma or distress. He’s just… Happy.

Next is Randy, who endured a similarly horrible event before coming to us. We found him with a twisted jaw, a patch of skin missing on his muzzle, and a bloody wound on his chin. His fur was really frazzled and dry (probably indicating malnourishment), and one of his nails had been ripped almost completely off.

We suspected that his jaw might be broken, so we rushed him to the hospital. X-rays showed that his jaw was still intact, but something (maybe a bite from a larger dog or a car accident) had punctured his jaw and ripped many of his teeth out of place. His injured teeth were removed and the wounds were stitched up, and now he’s on the road to recovery.

Randy’s mouth still looks a little crooked, but at least he’s able to eat normally. He forever has that sad look on his face, at least until he’s safely in your arms. Randy is very sweet and gentle, and would make the perfect companion for someone looking for a calm and loving dog.

Sad stories aside, the shelter also got some incredibly cute new additions.  There’s this little hamster, a friendly little critter with huge round ears. When I say “huge”, I mean ears the size of your thumb nails!

We be rollin'

We be rollin'

A homeless person turned the littly hammy in, saying that he found the critter somewhere. I have no idea how these things happen!

I'm on a pirate ship out at sea!

I'm on a pirate ship out at sea!

Though it’s hard to see in the photos, this hamster has unusually large ears, similar to a Dumbo Rat’s ears. This makes for one very rare hamster.

Look at my new set of wheels!

Look at my new set of wheels!

The shelter also got a litter of very young kittens:

Guess which one is the rebel in the family?

Guess which one is the rebel in the family?

They’re around 5 weeks old, and are waaay too young to be without their mother. But, sometimes you just have to make do with the cards you’re dealt with.

Sooooo CUTE!

Sooooo CUTE!

At this point they spend most of their time sleeping together or eating. In a week or two they’ll grow enough to start playing like the kittens everyone thinks of. We’ll eventually vaccinate them, and if all goes well in a month or 2 they’ll be adopted.

One of the kittens has a unique heart-shaped spot on the side, and I think this kitty will be adopted fast. Everybody wants a kitten with a heart-shaped spot! Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the spot, but maybe I’ll get one next week when I return to the shelter again.

I'm a lion, watch me rawr!

I'm a lion, watch me roar!

We at Happy Six support volunteer work such as animal care and food drives for the needy. If you find a cause you truly believe in, we encourage you to jump in and make a difference!

Update on 4/24/12: The little hamster was adopted! Yay!


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