by Michaela Gardner
I am excited to introduce a new Classic City Paw Print series, A Day in the Life, to follow various members of the pet rescue community, as well as some of the animals that come through the system.
The first installment of this series follows Jorah, a long-term resident of Athens-Clarke County Animal Control. Shortly after spending an afternoon getting to know Jorah and his daily routine, he was adopted! Read on to learn about a day in the life of a shelter dog.
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I had another nightmare. I was back in the bad place. The rope was around my neck, and I couldn’t get away or find shelter anywhere. My skin was blistering and cracked, and my stomach was empty. I hate it when I have those nightmares about the bad place. Sometimes they’re about all that time I spent in the back of the “shelter” as they call it, in something called “quarantine.” I spent a really long time back there when I first got here and it was really scary, but the people that work here were so nice to me and made my skin feel better and made sure my stomach was never empty.
When I wake up, the sun is starting to shine, and the guys that feed us in the morning were starting to arrive. I like it when they show up, because it means that soon enough, the nice people that saved me from the bad place will be here! It also means that my best friend, volunteer Bill, will probably be coming to see me. He’s really nice, and he always brings my favorite toy in the whole world with him. They call it a “football.” It’s funny, because it has another ball inside of it. I always wonder how they got that other ball inside… OH LOOK! People are starting to arrive!
I wonder if today is the day that I’ll finally get to leave this place and live with a “family.” I mean, it’s not bad here at all. I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to get food, and I don’t have to sleep in the rain anymore. Compared to the bad place, it’s really great here, but I’ve seen other dogs that leave with people who just can’t stop loving and petting and playing with them. I’d like to leave with people who do that to me. All my other playmates have gotten to leave with nice people like that. Whenever those people walk by my kennel, I always try to shout the loudest so that they’ll notice me. I try so hard to tell them what a good boy I am, but they always seem to ignore--Bill is here! Bill is here!
Oh boy, do I like Bill. He always has treats and that football. He’s so patient with me, and he’s been teaching me “manners” so that people will be more likely to take me home with them. Apparently, they really like it when dogs can sit down on command. I mean, that’s easy enough. If it pleases them and I get a treat or a romp with my football afterwards, I’ll happily comply! Sometimes when I first get out of my kennel, it’s hard to focus because all I want to do is play with my football and run around. They can’t expect me to not take advantage of that before we get into the whole “manners” thing, right?! Bill seems to understand that, but sometimes when the younger people come to play with me, they confuse me. They think it’s funny when I chew on my leash or jump around so I keep doing it to please them, but other people don’t seem to like it as much. Oh, well. I’ll get the hang of it eventually.
It’s really nice out today, and there’s another dog in the play yard next to mine! I love it when I get to run along the fence with another dog and make them chase me. I never really got to play with other dogs before I arrived here. I didn’t get much attention at all at the bad place, and getting to spend time with these dogs at the fence is so much fun! I’m still learning how to play with them, though. The nice people here say that I’m “under-socialized,” but they’re teaching me how to interact properly with both humans and other dogs.
Now that I’ve gotten to run around a little bit, I just want to sit near Bill in the sunshine with my football. He makes me sit down on command a few times and practice laying down and even rolling over! That seems to be what people get the biggest kick out of so far. Unfortunately, Bill has to take me back to my kennel so that some other dogs can run around, too. It’s always so sad to see Bill go. He leads me back to my pen, gives me a treat and a pat on the head, and tells me I’m a good boy. I lay down near the gate so that I can see when other people walk by and be ready to tell them to take me home.
A few people pass, but they’re just the kids that come here every day to play with us, so I keep waiting. I start to doze off, but this time I’m only dreaming of sunshine and my football. And treats. I really like treats. And my football. Some people walk by, and I stir a bit. These are definitely outsiders that might take me home! I spring up and insist that they take me out to play and that I’ll be the best boy ever! They look over at me and hurry past. I guess they’re more interested in other dogs... dogs that didn’t come from such a bad place like I did… dogs that don’t have bumpy scars on their faces from being so sick.
I get sad when I think about that stuff, but I refuse to let it keep me down. I work really hard to show everyone how happy and grateful I am to be here at the shelter instead of tied up to a big hunk of metal. Honestly, this shelter life is the best I’ve had!
Things seem to be winding down around here. All the young people are starting to leave, which means no more chances to run around or be petted. At least Bill came to see me with my football today. Since it’s so nice out, the kennels get to stay open, so I can enjoy the fresh air while I sleep on my bed inside of the building. Overall it was a pretty good day. The worst ones are the days that it’s raining or really cold, so no one comes to the shelter to play with us.
I know that no one else will be coming by to play at this point, so I decide to go inside and try to get some rest. There’s a lot on my mind right now though.
I’ve lost track of the time, but the nice shelter workers say I’ve been here since September. Apparently that’s the longest time out of any other animals here. Like I said, it’s been really nice here compared to the bad place, but I feel like there still might be something even better out there waiting for me. I’ve heard them talk about “big yards” and “farms” and these things called “couches.” From what I’ve gathered, they sound really nice. I’d like to try one out some day! It basically sounds like a giant dog bed to me.
The uniformed workers are starting to shut all the kennels down and close down the shelter for the night. I guess that means I should try to get some sleep. Hopefully I’ll keep having good dreams about Bill and my football and the sunshine. I don’t want to have nightmares about the bad place. I just want to find a real home.
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Jorah was finally adopted Monday, February 12, to a family with children after spending approximately five months at Athens-Clarke County Animal Control. Remember, adopting changes lives, just like Jorah’s!