Our Kennel Employees are Rockstars I often refer to our kennel staff as “amazing” but I haven’t yet taken the time to explain just how amazing they truly are and why. Today, I thought I would take the time to highlight the incredible never-ending workload they have and how incredible it is that they manage to keep up with it.
Taking care of animals in general is a task that never ends. (I tend to hear the same thing about raising human children, hah.) Imagine having 25 or so dogs to take care of each and every day. Imagine arriving early in the morning to this many dogs waking up in their kennels, needing to potty, wanting breakfast, and almost exploding with “Fresh from a good night’s sleep” energy to expel. Some dogs may have messed their kennels (especially the puppies, and as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, we have a LOT of those right now!) and those kennels need to be thoroughly cleaned, blankets washed, entire insides sanitized, etc.
Not all 25+ dogs will be on the same diet, which means preparing their breakfasts is a lot more than just pouring kibble into bowl after bowl after bowl. Our staff has to pay attention to not just the special diets, but to how much of what kind of food each dog is getting. They have to notice if each dog is gaining or losing weight in order to adjust their diets, both food and intake. They can’t just let the 25+ dogs loose to do their business, they have to be able to notice if a dog has irregular stool because its very important for all of our animals to be healthy when spending so much time in close proximity to all of the other dogs. And this is just the MORNING!
Once all of the dogs (and cats!) breakfasts have been consumed, once they have had the opportunity to relieve themselves and we are assured everyone is having a healthy morning and once all the kennels are clean, its enrichment time. The dogs get to spend the morning in their playroom, and the cats are released into their special room to explore and play as well. Playtime isn’t just for leisure! Through positive reinforcement following the training style of Sophia Yin, the dogs learn proper social skills both among other dogs as well as with humans which is incredibly important for their confidence and adoptability. Some of our dogs come from sad backgrounds and have behavioral issues, and our staff has to work hard to earn their trust and give them the chance to become the amazing dogs we know they are. Our staff isn’t just in the playroom to make sure everyone is safe and happy, they are subtly training, providing learning experiences with the dogs and cats, and improving their quality of life every step of the way.
Around 1PM, lunchtime starts! Not every dog gets a midday meal, but the ones who need it are provided it and everyone else gets an afternoon nap in their kennel. While they’re snoozing, our staff is busy cleaning and mopping the playroom, exchanging observations about the dogs morning interactions, and formulating a plan for the rest of the evening. The dogs are released into the playroom once more after everything has been cleaned, and again the staff has to watch them carefully to ensure their health and happiness as well as working with them on consistent cues to improve their manners. We also strive to give each dog two walks per day, which is just one more thing to add to the pile of amazing things our kennel staff does. Did I mention each dog gets bathed weekly as well? Whew, they work HARD! I don’t want to forget to highlight the cats as well! Although cats are more “independent” than dogs, daily interaction with our staff is still very important for their confidence level and manners to improve adoptability.
Dinner time arrives around 6PM and yet again, special diets need to be adhered to, feeding amounts need to be followed, and eating habits need to be monitored. Is someone not finishing their meals? Is someone scarfing them down and still acting as if they are hungry? These things are important!
More playtime and enrichment in the playroom follows all the way until 9PM at night when everything is thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and the dogs and cats get to settle in for a good night’s sleep.
Whew, that made me exhausted just writing about it, imagine doing that day in and day out, but they do it! ECPR is so thankful to have such a great team in Kennel and we know the dogs and cats are, too. We are lucky to have such a compassionate, animal-loving, dedicated team. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.
And that my friends is only a basic rough draft of an average day in kennel! Once again.. our kennel employees are ROCKSTARS!