A week with the dogs at the SUST animal shelter Galati
Updated: Oct 4, 2020
Wow - week 2 is just behind and it's hard to believe time elapsed so fast!
On the first day of that week, I've been shown what to do in the dog area: mainly to clean the dogs' enclosures and provide food & water; then I spent the rest of the week taking care of 2 halls by myself, which correspond to 34 enclosures for a total of 90-100 dogs. It's quite a different atmosphere than the cat area since the space to manage is much bigger and there are more dogs than cats (>300 dogs in the SUST shelter area, and >700 in the older sections). So each person working in the dog area is pretty much on their own during the day. Hence I declared from the second day onward that music was going to be a great motivator and indeed, the dogs were watching me with a dubious look as I was mopping the floor in rhythm with salsa steps or singing along French 80's songs!
Having spent one week with the cats and one with the dogs, I noticed a key difference in how to manage these two areas from my perspective. It's obvious that cats are directly approachable and in fact, they would jump on me - or any other person - upon entering their enclosure to get their load of daily cuddles. The relationship to dogs is more subtle and it relies clearly on how much trust there is with the person entering their enclosures.
I was also amazed how my relationship with some dogs developed over the course of that week, going from a scared look and avoiding me at the start of the week to coming closer to the fence to smell me and maybe get stroked by the end of the week. Many dogs have been here for months or years, each came with their own story. Several have only 3 legs as they required amputation following car accidents for instance. Some are elderly and partially sick due to their age. In all cases, it's heart warming to see they have a safe & comfortable space, and receive adequate food & care so they can enjoy their remaining life in greater welfare than when they were found/handed over.
Time to watch
By popular demand, I have continued the "Meet the..." video series, so you can get to know some of the dogs at the shelter in the short films below. Happy watching!
As week 3 begins, I am going to focus more on understanding how the clinic works, and support animal care to the extent possible. Today I even watched for the first time in my life a sterilization surgery of a female cat (partially), without fainting - woohoo!!
More to come about it and also the amazing team behind the scene :)