As many of you know if you keep up with the Curiosity blog, employees are allowed one day per year to participate in something they are passionate about. Initially, my Curiosity Day was going to be spent on a trip to the Northeast—Maine and Rhode Island—since neither my husband nor I have been there, and travel is one of my passions.
Due to an ACL tear, our boxer Parker needed surgery, and therefore our budget was hijacked. Ultimately, we decided that if the budget was going to the pup, why not find a way to give the Curiosity Day to other pups, too?
We have talked for many years about volunteering at the Save the Animals Foundation shelter, where we rescued our other dog, Tobi. We have had her for nine years, and she is my first dog; so it is safe to say that I am extremely attached to her and thankful for the foundation from which we got her.
We participated in a training session on Saturday and spent Monday working with the pups. They took it easy on us for our first time—we spent more time playing with and socializing the dogs than we did cleaning—although we did our fair share of that, as well. It was truly a humbling experience. There were so many dogs without homes, and I got an overwhelming sense that all they want is human interaction and love. We got to know 15-20 of the pups throughout the course of our visit (and I tried to remember all of their names): Lenny, Will, Kabuki, Elsa, Obi, Tripper, Jethro, Houser, Lucca, Boone, Rebel and five terrier/beagle puppy mixes! (I am sure I am missing a few names, but those are the ones I can recall off the top of my head!)
Obi was our favorite, hands down. He was super sweet, obsessed with a tennis ball and, after some running around, content to sit between us in the sun and be loved on. He is featured in the photos with this blog—I am sure you can guess which one he is, staring intently at the tennis ball in my hand.
I was extremely impressed with the care the dogs are given at STAF. They are fed twice a day (unless health issues require more often) and always provided with plenty of water. Their entire run, including their water bowls, are cleaned twice a day (I am sad to say our girls get their water bowls cleaned once a week!), and they make it outside two to three times during each of the two shifts throughout the day. Not to mention, local daycares donate visits and volunteers walk the dogs and take them on special adventures. Some volunteers even take the pups home with them for some real, quality “people time.” Of course, none of this comes close to competing with a “forever home,” but as shelters go, this is quite impressive! And everyone there adores the dogs, is super eager to help and never complains about the less-than-desirable jobs that come with pet care.
We left our visit mentally and physically tired, dusty from all of the outside play and looking forward to our next visit to STAF. Being the crazy person that I am, I went home and gave our girls extra big hugs and was sure to explain how lucky they are to have a home. ☺
And of course, what would a blog about a shelter be without a plug? If anyone is interested in more information about STAF, you can reach them at: 4011 Red Bank Road, Cincinnati, OH 45227, 513.561.7823 (STAF, http://staf.org/). Or just ask me! If you couldn’t tell, I could talk about pups and the fabulous work going on at STAF all day long!