Jay County Humane Society

October 14, 2009

I have been a volunteer with the Jay County Humane Society for the past year and a half and I have loved almost every single minute of it. I have watched many of the cats and dogs that I have worked with find their new homes and new beginnings. In just two months I watched some of them turn from dogs or cats who were scared and frightened of the humans around them, to people loving faithful companions who would always stay by their owner’s side. It sometimes always isn’t happy working with this place, but the rewards of happiness after each adoption is well worth being apart of.

I first started volunteering at Jay County Humane Society in early June of 2008. When I first started, they had about fourteen dogs and ten cats. The shelter was practically full and more animals awaited on the list to be brought in. Most of the dogs, nine of them to be exact, came from the same home. They had been seized because they all had been kept outside in a single kennel for most of their two years and were not being taken care of properly. All but two of the dogs were extremely timid around people and their future didn’t look too bright. I worked with all the dogs every day that I was there and it wasn’t until I had been volunteering for a month when I realized that this was one of my callings.

I had taken Coco, one of the nine dogs from the kennel, and took her outside to the play area. Normally, I would have her and one of her brothers, but I wanted to get one on one training in with her. Before I started in on her training, I decided I would let her run around free leash in the cage backyard. I sat in a chair nearby to keep an eye on her. As I watched her sniff around the fence, I could see her tail gradually rise higher and higher. Coco had always been one to keep her tail between her legs, for she was extremely submissive. It was in that moment that I realized that I belonged here.

There are tragedies when volunteering in this place. I have been lucky enough to only be through a few. There was one time I came in to find that the shelter had been hit with the Parvovirus, a friend of mine, who is also a volunteer, and I spent about a week, disinfecting each of the dog kennels to make sure we killed the strand. Luckily, there was only one loss to the virus. Tragedy struck again back in August; I got news that three dogs had to be euthanized due to aggression. I had worked with two of the three, so hearing that was a little disappointing. Jay County Humane Society is a no kill shelter, but they have no choice once a dog bites a person.

Fortunately, there are always good things to cancel out the bad. Jethro is an extremely good example of that. Jethro, also known as “My Boy”, is 100+lb shepherd mastiff mix that is just full of love. I take one look at those amber eyes of his and I know everything is ok. Jethro is a dog that is still in the shelter looking for a home, he deserves that more than anything, because all he wants it to be loyal to his guardian. He is very goofy, too, He will give me puppy dog eyes as he is destroying a squeaky toy as though he is completely innocent and I can’t help but to laugh.

Sadly, the shelter is reaching its end. We are running out of donations and have had to turn away animals because we can care for them all. In the past, adoptions had always been free, as long as the guardians had the pets spayed or neutered within the next month, but it has gotten to the point where there had to be a fee, so we could keep the shelter running. The last thing that I want is to see this sanctuary die, because if it does all of the animals in the shelter and that are found on the street s will go to the kill shelter where more than half of them will be euthanized simply because there is not enough room. I’ve been trying to help with donations, but being a full time high school student with a part time job it is difficult. I just hope that there is some way to save this shelter.

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