Reflections after week 1 at the SUST animal shelter in Galati
Updated: Oct 4, 2020
What a great week this has been! I am delighted about my experience so far, the cat area was a positive surprise. As described in my first day blog post, the cat area is very clean and tidy, and most of the cats are in such good shape/health status that it warmed my heart! Many are in fact ready for adoption - only the adopters are missing.
About the daily routine
Each day starts around 8:00 am when all staff arrive and gather for a quick morning coffee. Then each person goes to his/her assigned area and the day flies by. I realize it's already 1 pm when my stomach reminds me it's time for food (for those who know me, I'm not the same person when I'm hangry... ;)) Most of the staff, Gabi & Iulia at the cat area, Irina & Mihaela at the clinic, do not take a lunch break. They work non-stop till 4 pm - I am amazed by how much they get done and always with a smile!
From a clinic perspective, the day is filled with many surgeries: spaying/neutering cats & dogs account for a large part of them. Either stray animals are brought by people who know the clinic offers free spaying, or pets brought by locals who can't afford to pay for the procedure. Other surgeries include wound management, and in some cases amputation. Unfortunately, this happens when the limb is too badly injured and cannot be saved. You will notice some pictures of 3-leg cats and dogs in my future posts.
From a shelter perspective, the tasks described on my first day are part of the regular routine. In addition to that, there is the weekly visit of the vet from the clinic. As a caretaker, it's important that we report any unusual behavior or suspected health issue so the vet can take the appropriate action and avoid any further complication for that animal. Also it is of utmost importance for the other animals living within the same enclosure: indeed some viruses or diseases can be highly contagious and can spread across animals rapidly if the sick ones are not quarantined and the area properly cleaned (example: parvovirus in dogs which is fatal up to 91% of the cases if not diagnosed & treated quickly enough). That's why all the daily hard work and cleaning routine is key to ensure a good health for all animals in the shelter.
Another beloved moment for the cat area is the wet food distribution that happens twice weekly. Enjoy a short video on how crazy the cats go when they smell it (featuring Portocala the climber)!
About week 2: the dogs
I've been very happy with the cats during my first week, but I also want to experience a variety of animals and learn around different people. For the first day of my second week, I've been assigned to dog area. I am working with Viviana, managing 2 halls that have each around 20 enclosures, with a maximum of 3 dogs per enclosure (so around 100-120 dogs in total across these 2 buildings). See how it looks on the inside:
I was a bit anxious at first as I know stray/rescued dogs do not necessarily behave like a pet dog. But in fact, most of them were avoiding me and would go in the outside part while I was cleaning the inside - I think the water hose is a bit scary to them! So the cleaning was easily done, despite being quite exhausting as it's 32°C at the moment! Several dogs were happy to receive attention and smelled me with pleasure, which often led to a cuddle session and in rare cases also full-on jumping love as portrayed on the above picture :)
Enough reading, let's watch!
Given the large number of cats, it's impossible to present them all in pictures. So I decided to create a mini-series of videos entitled "Meet the cats" showcasing some special ones. You can watch them below, most are less than 25 seconds long. Let me know your thoughts and if you like them, should I do a "Meet the dogs" series too??
Thanks for reading & watching!