Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm back!

Just a short post to let you know (or warn you   ;o) that I came home last night.  THANK YOU  so much to all you wonderful folks for continuing to contribute and participate in our project.  Special thanks to Carrie for posting and emailing on the road and Extra Special Hugs for Sandy for doing an excellent job at the helm.

I'm  so ready to get back to painting and I have two images from my SPCA in my email.  For today, I have two items I want to note:

1.  Participating Artists  remember,  if you'd like, ask the recipient organization for a donation receipt.  They are more than willing to do this (ask for the amount you would ordinarily get paid for that piece of art) and just think of it as a means to help you retain income to buy more materials for this project.

2. I know there is a great distaste and resentment to the usually government run shelters that are not 'no-kill.'   I  also made a conscience choice to work with the no-kill SPCA even though there is a county shelter right next to it.   Let me tell you why:

The County or City shelters are supported by "no-kill" shelters and rescue organizations.  Employees at the government run shelters work diligently with these organizations and groups to reduce the number of animals that by law have to be euthanized.  So in helping the no-kill organizations, I am helping the government shelters.  How do I know this?  

I was asked by my former boss to take over and manage our City's shelter after the Civilian Director went off on stress disability.  The City Manager also asked the Police Chief to send a police supervisor over to help the employees that were leaving in droves because of stress and overwork.  So as a Police Sergeant completely naive in all things related to Animal Shelters, I was dropped in the midst of chaos.   Fortunately with the help of the employees, the rescue groups and yes even police employees who started to volunteer their services, the Shelter regained its reputation and organizational health in the 11 months I spent there.   

During that time, I must tell you that it was one of the more physically and emotionally taxing jobs I've ever had.  Because I did not know any thing about the business and we were so short handed, I had immersed myself in everything from cleaning kennels to helping the Animal Control Officers conduct abuse investigations and rescues of injured or neglected animals.  I know it would be easier on the employees to find work at a 'no-kill' in terms of emotional and physical health.   I am proud in being able to retain the only senior AC Officer [ all of 24 years with 5 years of experience] because when I arrived, he said he would only stay until we were fully staffed again.  [ The shelter had lost 26 full and part time employees in a year and a half]   He is still there because I showed every employee there what an honorable and thankless job they have.  Every one who works here come here because they love animals.  They take no joy in euthanizing animals whether it's because the animals is a proven danger or because the law requires an animal must not be sheltered more than 20 days.  I have seen the tears and anger when an officer needs to euthanize an animal because all the rescue organization are full, the animal cannot be adopted because of its challenges and even after several extensions, the law and need to house other incoming animals forces them to do so.  

I started this project in part because of these brave, passionate and much maligned people.  In helping the SPCA, I am helping them.  I may lose some followers because of my respect for government shelter employees but I must stay true to myself and my internal promise to bring awareness to ALL aspects of animal rescue and need for adoption.

I know this 'short post' turned into a novella so when you have more time, read my post in  my other blog about this AC officer I wrote about.  HUGS to all.  Everyone of you are helping my dream come to fruition.


  1. It is So good to hear from you. It seems my comment about our shelter here puting down more than 400 animals last year has hit a nerve. But, isn't that why we are all doing what we can to contribute? 2 of my pets came from the SPCA. One a no kill. I have great respect, and I mean that, for everyone that works in that field. I unfortunatly can't. I have a hard time just looking at the pets on line. THANK GOD for the people that do the work!

  2. I agree - thank GOODNESS for shelters, they give respite to animals where nothing else exists sometimes. Our shelters in Texas work very closely with the humane societies and rescue clubs to get animals out to good homes. What on earth would we do without them?
    hugs from Texas!

  3. Wow, Sheila - so well said, and eye-opening. Thank you. You are amazing to have done the work you have, and you continue to give with such dedication. You are inspirational.