There are some things I am conflicted about. There are some things I want to do but don’t want to do. There are some things that rip my heart apart.
I have wanted to volunteer at our local animal shelter for a while. Something kept me from venturing over to sign up. After stockpiling towels and blankets from my last clean out, I needed to go.
It was hard to do. I procrastinated for two weeks finding flimsy excuses to reschedule the day. Finally yesterday I did it.
We have several animal rescues locally. Most are no-kill. One is a Cadillac version with cat rooms instead of cages, water therapy for dogs and spacious reception and meeting areas.
Several are run on a shoestring and are fairly barebones with most of the animals fostered in homes. All are run on donations. Some get trust money from estates. Some are all volunteer organizations and some have paid employees.
Then there is THE animal shelter. It is the “projects” version of shelters. This is the one that takes all animals. It is not a “no-kill” shelter but they do try to find homes for the animals.
The other rescues and shelters will not take animals when they are full which is most of the time.
I took my surplus linens to the shelter that takes in all animals. I had adopted Mollie from them. I don’t know what was different about yesterday but it was different. Maybe I just went there on a bad day.
There is a double set of doors with an air lock chamber in between so cold or hot air doesn’t come into the building. When I opened the first door I nearly passed out. There was an indescribable stench.
I am not a wuss. This wasn’t mild animal smell. I have smelled stinky without barfing. My uncle had a farm with lots of smelly animals. I am familiar with decomposition. I wasn’t prepared for this.
I held my breath and opened the second set of doors into the reception area. Yikes! More stench!
There were two professionally dressed, friendly women behind the counter taking care of visitors. They did not seem to notice the smell. I made my delivery. Taking a leap of courage because I wasn’t sure if I could volunteer to work in this odor, I asked about volunteer positions available.
I was stunned to find out that they did not need any volunteers at this time. No need for litter changers or food servers or cage washers or even kitten fostering. They could surely use someone to scrub the main area with industrial strength bleach!
I did visit the cat section. Fortunately, that area did not stink. They have two rooms for cats. One is an open room where cats are allowed to roam and there are towers to climb and toys. The other has the traditional cages, rows and rows of them. Most were populated by older cats who were sleeping. No place to move around. Nowhere to go.
I moved from cage to cage with the lump in my throat swelling in size. There were several gorgeous black cats which are harder to place in our area. There was also one precious cat, maybe 6 to 9 months old with only one eye. She was beautiful and perky, moving around in her cage and talking to anyone who stopped by. Did she have a chance to get adopted?
I left with a very heavy heart that stayed with me all day. I couldn’t get the smell out of my nose. I showered and changed clothes but it wasn’t in my clothes. It was in my head and mostly in my heart.
For the record, my cats will not tolerate stinky. If their litter box is dirty, they will make do with an area outside the box because they will not soil their paws.
After I recover, perhaps I will try another shelter.