People often ask those of us in the animal welfare business how we can stand it. How can we do the work we do, given we see so much sadness. Homeless animals, neglected animals, abused animals and a ton of animals who are simply unwanted, arriving perfectly healthy, needing nothing more than a person or family to open their home.
We see cats dumped off by families who’ve had them for more than 10 years. They tell us they’re moving and just don’t want to take the pet with them. We also get the dogs who probably got loads of attention when they were pups, only to be relegated to a lonely life in the yard when they age.
Last week we learned of a cat with no chance at all. We didn’t have the cat. All we had was the five-pound weight someone used to drown him in less than two feet of water.
But Thursday night was an example of how the good stuff and happy endings far outweigh all the sad work that we do.
I drove to our facility at Coyote Point that houses the stray animals in our care (animals available for adoption make their temporary homes inside our new Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion at 1450 Rollins Rd. in Burlingame).
One of these strays, a cute Corgi in Kennel No. 22, arrived under unusual circumstances. He was found by folks hiking on San Bruno Mountain, far from a residential area. He seemed friendly, so they had no trouble scooping him up, and then flagged a Daly City cop who took the dog and contacted us for pick-up.
At the shelter, we scanned the little guy for a microchip. It wasn’t one we implanted so we had no information on file, but we called the chip manufacturer and learned that the owners of our little guy lived two-plus hours away in Fair Oaks (near Sacramento). They reported “Yoshi” missing in July!
Just a day before Yoshi’s family got our call, they’d given up hope and tossed all his bedding and blankets. Seeing them make that first contact with Yoshi inside our shelter was something I won’t soon forget. Yoshi looked like Slinky from the movie “Toy Story,” his little stump of a tail and back end seemed like it was going to swing around and touch the front.
Believe it or not, some residents complain when they have to pay a fee to claim a lost pet.
Our counter staff have been cursed at and spit on.
Many others grumble, and some gripe pretty loudly. Some visitors just say “screw it, you keep him.”
We do, and we find them much better homes, thank you very much.
Yoshi’s owners didn’t blink at the fee despite battling rush hour traffic and rain to get to San Mateo from Sacramento before we closed at 7 p.m. They even left a donation and posed for photos.
The photo is for all of you.
I didn’t really need one. I think I’ll remember this reunion for a long while.