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Behind the Scenes at the HSEC: Staff Treats Neglect, Starvation, Injuries and More

Humane Society of Elmore County News

What actually goes on in our Shelter on a daily basis? The public sees our pets on-line and in our adoptable area after having been cleaned up, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and generally recovered from any negative health issues they might have had. What the general public does not see is the day in, day out work our staff is doing to help so many pets recover from neglect, starvation, sickness, injuries, and overall mistreatment that may have gone on for a significant period of time.

In any given week we will likely have a number of pets recovering from neglect and issues such as severe flea & tick infestations, mange, intestinal parasites & poor nutrition. Pets with acute injuries are not uncommon and necessitate quick trips to area veterinarians to get the appropriate diagnosis and care. We seem to always have dogs undergoing heartworm treatment and right now have three completing treatment and three more to get started on their treatment. Long-term neglect is not “fixable” overnight so it is not uncommon for us to have had a pet a month or more before it is recovered and ready for adoption.

Flea and ticks can be much more than a nuisance as we see far too many pets covered in these parasites, anemic and weak from the loss of blood as a result. Yes, fleas and ticks can kill young animals and our staff often has to work fast to kill these blood-sucking parasites so the puppies or kittens can recover.

Too often we receive animals that are terribly underweight from starvation and/or severe intestinal parasites. Re-feeding a starved pet is not just putting food in front of them as they may need multiple small meals during the day to get their recovery started. Pets with large internal parasite loads have to be de-wormed carefully so as not to shock their system and then often have to be de-wormed multiple times to finally rid them of their parasites.

Many, many cats and kittens come to us with upper respiratory issues that can be from contagious cat diseases or just bad overall health from poor nutrition, internal and external parasites, and stress. Goopy eyes & runny noses are more the norm for large numbers of kittens during ‘kitten season,’ and our kitty quarantine area is generally full during those months as we work to help many of these kittens get well enough to be placed for adoption.

What about all of those puppies and kittens too young to be without a mother? Our staff whips up kitten and puppy meals geared to their needs and that means a lot of goopy foods and dirty puppy and kitten faces needing cleaned up after they eat throughout the day. That is a lot of puppy and kitten cleaning going on depending on the time of year. If we have a nursing mother that is able and willing to take on new babies it makes life a lot easier and we are certainly grateful for some wonderful mother dogs and cats who prove to be incredible moms!   Of course, our foster families are unsung heroes as they take on babies to raise until they are ready to find their new homes.

Shelter work is a lot more than just putting food and water down daily. There are medications, vaccinations and parasite preventives to be given, feeding to be monitored, baths to keep them clean, illness/injury issues to be dealt with, exercise to help their physical and psychological health, behavior assessments so that we can help pets and adopters find great matches and lots of documentation to go along with it all. All of this means there is truly very little ‘down’ time in a shelter as there is no end to caring for 200+ pets every day. But you can trust that our staff is there to help all that come to us to the best of our ability as we all love animals and work to find them better futures.