I went to the SPCA today instead of on Thursday, my usual day, because WTSP, a local station, wanted to do a piece on citizens who make a difference–and they wanted to talk to me about doggie photography. So I snapped a few doggie pictures like I always do, talked to the reporter (and embarrassed myself by crying–twice–in the middle of the routine talk. I am hopeless), and then went back to work with my camera.
Now–if there’s one thing that terrifies me about working at the SPCA, it’s the fear of having a dog get away from me. I had it happen once not too long after I started working there, and now I take dogs in and out of the kennel VERY carefully, because some dogs CAN jump that bottom kennel door. The sight of a collar slipping over an escaping dog’s head is enough to twist my stomach, and the cry of “loose dog” sends a chill down my spine. If a dog gets away from us, he is minutes away from major traffic and major woods, and neither is a good thing. Plus, there’s always the possibility that one loose dog might attack another, as most of the dogs are a little wary while they’re living in a kennel.
I was finishing up Ethel the coonhound’s pictures when I glanced out of my little fenced enclosure and saw three dogs playing outside. I did a double take–three dogs? No humans?
I grabbed my leash, left Ethel in the phodography studio, and walked around the corner. Yep, there were three dogs playing with each other, no humans in sight. I looped my leash into a slip knot and ran after them, finally grabbing one and then putting him inside a pen where folks can interact with dogs. Then I went after a second dog and put him in a fenced play yard. Then I went after another and put him inside another meet-and-greet area.
I turned a corner and found the problem–somehow, the “back doors” of all the kennels in one building had been left unlatched, and dogs were going in and out like sailors on holiday. One kennel had three dogs in it, so I shooed two of them out and HOPED I left the right dog inside. On the other side of the building, the still-kenneled dogs were barking up a storm, probably jealous of all the partying goin’ on at the other wing. I slammed a couple of gates shut, still not certain I had caught all the dogs, and went in search of help.
I finally found a staffer and yelled what we’re supposed to yell: “Loose dogs!”
“All of them!” I yelled back, exaggerating only a little.
Within a few minutes we ascertained that all the dogs were present and accounted for, though I had no idea where the three dogs I’d stashed belonged.
And later, I realized how blessed we were that 1) no dogs got into a fight and 2) that I’d come in on Tuesday instead of Thursday. If those playing dogs hadn’t caught my eye, there’s no telling how far they could have gone–or how many others could have taken off on a cross-country run.
So yes, one person can make a difference. Sometimes, simply by being there. 🙂
Thought I’d share a few pictures–a hodgepodge of what I’ve been photographing lately. Have a great day!