A Day in the Life of The Shelter

blog-26By 9:30 or so, the staff are back from catching and are busy preparing for the day. After we eat breakfast, everyone is busy. Saila feeds the dogs (those not due for surgery today) and cleans the kennels. Rudra sterilizes the surgical equipment, while Lil is gathering the necessary forms to document the dogs undergoing surgery today. Subash and I are preparing ourselves to operate, scrubbing in and making sure everything we need is at hand. Catrina, the manager, sits down to some work at her computer at my desk, where she can speak with clients or fill out donation forms if the staff are all busy during operations.

Operations begin, and it’s a busy couple of hours. We average about 10 dogs per day, sometimes more, but we’re so familiar with the procedure that we can work both efficiently and quickly. Often, multiple cases will come in while we’re operating. Catrina lets us know when a case has arrived. Our long-term volunteer, Bharat, is often the most available to interact with these clients to answer questions and give information, or they are asked to wait if treatment is required. In the meantime, Saila helps with ear notching and runs dogs to the appropriate kennels when they begin to wake from the anesthesia. Rudra handles shaving and site preparation and helps run dogs to the kennels if more than one has woken up, while Bharat prepares the anti-rabies injections or brings other medications or supplies when needed. Lil handles filling out the forms and topping off anesthesia. After an hour or so, Raju brings us all another cup of tea to keep us going strong! After two to three hours, around 12 or 1 pm, we are usually done with operations and all the dogs are recuperating in their kennels. I take this time to handle the waiting cases, which often include such ailments as parvovirus, anorexia, injuries from cars, diarrhea, fever, or any number of similar problems. Meanwhile, the staff are busy getting the operation theater back in order by scrubbing the instruments, soaking the drapes, throwing away the garbage, and washing the floors.

blog-28We all sit down to lunch together, prepared by Raju, and take 45 minutes or an hour’s rest. Afternoons are times for errands, maintenance, and treatments. Rudra, the unofficial assistant manager, takes the time after lunch to meet with Catrina in her office to account for the previous day or two’s advances for shelter goods, to acquire another advance if more shopping is required, and to sign the vouchers she has made up for recent bills. Since the staff are available then to request money, present bills, and other such things, Catrina is in her office more in the afternoons to do such work, and also keeping busy logging received medicines, accounting for monthly expenses and donations, emailing prospective volunteers, and other office tasks.

blog-27After money is sorted, Subash will often drive the ambulance to town with Lil and Rudra for releasing of recovered ABC patients and for any required shopping, errands, or rescues in town. I stay at the shelter with Saila, Bharat, and Catrina to deal with any cases and handle any in-house treatments we may have at the time, while Raju is busy cleaning the kitchen and beginning to prepare dinner for the resident staff. Saila will feed the dogs again around 4 pm, and he and Bharat—and the other staff if there is no need to go to town on a given day—spend time in the afternoons sterilizing any contaminated areas, washing shelter laundry, working on maintenance projects like the garden or cleanup, and other such tasks when there is a break from treatments. When things are quiet otherwise, Bharat and Catrina often groom the dogs or bathe them when they need it, and I often socialize the pups we have for rehoming, check on patients, or work on monthly reports or other such work that may be required.

The workday ends around 5pm, and Saila, Raju, and Bharat go home. Lil, Subash, and Rudra all live on site, so they head to their room for some downtime. Catrina and I head home, and we all take a rest until we start it again the next morning!

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