Getting Hubby Out of the Home Office

Hubby and I were “orientated” to volunteer at our local no-kill animal shelter. We particularly want to help socialize cats. That is something we both know how to do. We have four elderly cats. They all love humans. One day I will have to write character sketches of these, um, characters who live in our house. Now that they are all old at the same time, they are a ton of work. So I truly can’t handle any more cats right now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to help some more!

The orientation was led by the director, a personable and caring lady who seems like such a great caretaker of the animals. After the talk, we went on a tour of the facility. It used to be a daycare, so there are various features: a cage around the front door so nobody can get out onto the busy street, rooms for sick animals who are recovering, a social room for cats, and kennels for dogs. Out back, the playground has been divided into large pens and runs. The dogs have some exercise equipment out back. It’s all very nice and clean. They plan to put up some shade for the dogs in the yard before summer.

The animals live at the shelter until they are adopted. Those who cannot be adopted have a home for life, but the shelter is not a sanctuary. Their goal is to adopt out as many animals as possible. They want to find the best homes for their animals, too. Cats must go to people who agree to keep them indoors entirely, and they cannot be declawed. Arizona is not a safe place outside for cats: coyotes, owls, hawks, and a myriad of other dangers.

What I learned is that Maricopa County (where Phoenix is located) has a high kill rate at the pound. And that by far the majority of dogs there are pit bulls/pittie mixes and chihuahua mixes. So very sad. By the way, there were two pit bull type dogs I met last night that were simply the sweetest dogs ever. If you’re in the Phoenix area, check them out.

Because of my bum foot I can’t handle large dogs or dogs in a group setting like this, but I did learn that they allow volunteers to take dogs for outings. The dog you take out for a walk or to the park or wherever wears a little “Adopt Me” vest so that strangers see that this dog needs a home. Β I will give that a try with one of the small dogs and see how it goes.

This shelter has a good relationship with PetSmart which houses some of their animals for them. PetSmart, with the help of shelter volunteers, also showcases the animals every weekend at their stores. And PetSmart donates goods to the shelter, which the shelter then sells as a fundraiser. You can purchase low price collars, kennels, and the like there.

Mainly, hubby and I want to play with and cuddle the cats and kittens in the cat room. Last time I told you about meeting the Mayor. He was king of the cat room last night. His name is Henry, and he has a dignified, but outgoing personality. There were fluffy gray kittens and many other cats. One mama cat was isolated in a cage with her kittens so that they could feed in peace.

My photos stink because when I tried snapping pix, even surreptitiously, other new volunteers gave me the stink eye. So I will wait and take pix later of the kitties in the cat room!


Above are the photos of some hopeful animals. Let’s face it, they all want to go home with YOU.

(Tagging this post “research and prep for writing” because there have got to be some stories behind the bars . . .).


Filed under Arizona, Cats and Other Animals, Essay, Inspiration, Nonfiction, Research and prep for writing, Writing

40 responses to “Getting Hubby Out of the Home Office

  1. Both of our cats came from our county shelter. Our local Petsmart also has a shelter area, and that is where my daughter found them. After that, she volunteered there for a while when she was home on college breaks.

    • Oh, that’s wonderful that she volunteered there. Was it a shelter like this one that partners with Petsmart? My daughter and son both volunteered at shelters for some time when they were younger. Maybe they will go back to it at some point when their lives aren’t so hectic! About your kitties, best place to find them, isn’t it?!

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience, Luanne. I’m curious, are your cats declawed? I had a cat many years ago and until I had her declawed, she did some major damage to my furniture.

    • Of my 4 cats, one is completely declawed, 1 has her front gone, and the other 2 are not declawed. These two were done before I knew how awful it was and I had an ultimatum. Now I would never ever ever ever do it. It’s awful, and if a cat gets outside has no protection. To begin with or with new furniture, you use sticky tape that you put up on the furniture for awhile and provide them with a tall, straight scratching post. If it’s at least 28-30 ” it’s best so they can stretch all the way up and use it. I have very nice furniture and don’t have to worry about it. However, when I go out of town, I cover my piano just IN CASE they get rowdy and somebody chases somebody across the piano and scratches it by accident. I also clip their nails regularly. They don’t need those little plastic covers on them.

  3. We had a VERY bad experience with an attempt to take home a big dog from a no-kill human society in our area. I presume in their zeal to home the dog, they neglected to tell us about some of his “issues”. It was one of the saddest episodes in our life with animals. My kids were really touched by the “cat room” and we went back once in a while to cuddle and comb them. I’m curious about why so many chihuahuas (did I spell that right?)?

  4. Awww, what a wonderful story. I tried to volunteer at our local shelter but was turned away (can you imagine them turning away a cat person like me????). We have several no-kill versions and I really need to volunteer there. I am not sure why but there seems to be a lot of pitbulls that are homeless. I don’t know who is allowing their dogs to reproduce but I’d sure like to find them! I have 4 cats at various ages and yes, they are work as they get older. Traveling gets costly. The oldest has to be boarded because of meds while the other three get a daily visit from a pet sitter. Wouldn’t do without them though. Absolutely post stories about your roommates!

    • Wait, WHAT? They turned you away? Why??? What in the world? I know what you mean about the dog reproduction. Horrible. And the overbreeding. Traveling is very costly. Because I travel on a regular basis for work, I have 2 pet sitters that switch off. And then I worry about them when I’m gone :(. My goodness, I can’t believe they didn’t want you!

  5. One of our doggies was adopted as an adult, and she did have issues. She was a repeat runaway, terrified of thunderstorms, and my husband saw her as a challenge. She had been an outdoor doggie during Hurricane Charley, broke her chain and was found on the other side of town. She’s the sweetest doggie ever, an Australian cattle dog. Once we got the back yard fenced and suited for her, she still tried to claw/paw her way out. The vet put her on Prozac and problem solved. She’s the happiest doggie ever. What you are doing to help keep the animals socialized is just admirable. They need you so much to get over their fears and stay emotionally healthy.

    • SK, what a wonderful success story! Thank you so much for having the patience and determination to make it work! How rewarding that it did work. Whenever I see frightened dogs I get so angry at the unknown person or persons who created that fear!

  6. Luanne, I love that you care enough to volunteer your time to help them. xoxo

  7. I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want you to take pictures in the pet place. You might show the pictures to someone who might come in and adopt one of the sweet things. I feel very sorry for neglected or lost animals. These shelters do what they can. It’s good that you’re supporting them.

  8. Great story, Luanne. You and Marshall are doing a good thing and having fun, too, with animals you love!

  9. I could never volunteer because I’d wind up trying to take all the cats home πŸ˜‰ It is hard work caring for elderly cats. We’ve had several and, just like people, they develop all sorts of problems. I don’t regret anything that we’ve ever done to keep them happy and comfortable. It can be heartbreaking at times, but they are family.
    Regarding furniture: We’ve tried the sticky tape with our new (now old) living room set, but it wasn’t long before we just had to shrug and say, “It’s just furniture.” Our cats have scratching posts and things like that, but there’s nothing like nubby sofa fabric to get a cat excited πŸ˜‰

    • Marie, I used to think that I too couldn’t do it because I would want to take them home. But my four cats are so old that I KNOW I cannot bring another cat home as it would stress these guys out way too much. And I am at work overload. So I feel that I am doing something for these other cats that makes their lives better and leads them to them having happier lives once they are adopted! Yes, it’s just furniture. And even my best furniture doesn’t fare too badly with the cats. But I am proactive: clipping, appropriate scratching posts, and special tape to use when needed.

  10. What a wonderful place and what wonderful people you and your husband are to volunteer!! Bless your hearts, as Granny Selma would say. πŸ™‚

  11. Good photos. Blessings on your compassionate work.

    • Ah, thank you so much! I really like to take headshots of cats, but I didn’t want to stress these guys out by saying “Smile” and “Cheese” πŸ˜‰

  12. How wonderful that you and hubby are volunteering in this way Luanne. Declawing is illegal here, considered barbaric. I had never heard of it until I lived in CA and couldn’t believe that it happened there. The behavioural impact on a cat is awful and if they ever get out they are utterly helpless. I trim my two cat’s nails regularly and they use a scratching post – have two in the house – but the bottom line is that if you have cats, you have to be prepared for some furniture damage…but hopefully not too much! Hope you manage to get more pics…love your expressions… ‘stink eye’. Haha…you make me laugh Luanne. And I love your kind, loving heart πŸ™‚ xoxo

    • Declawing should be illegal. It’s awful. I agree about the trimming and the scratching posts. I especially like the TALL ones because the cats like to stretch all the way up to scratch! Thank you so much for your sweet words, Sherri! Haha, I didn’t even think of “stink eye” as being an expression!

  13. I definitely admire you and your husband doing this together. It is easier to drive off and talk about the animals you left behind. I would take my youngest daughter and she and I would concentrate on the dogs. I love cats, thanks to my good friend Jenny. I am their official cat-sitter. I loved your orientation and the way you described this loving place. It is sad that the ones who may be the first to go are those you met and seem very good and nice. (Friendly) I think we both talked about Yum Yum and Koko, how those interesting characteristics of the Siamese cats help to make Lillian Jackson Braun’s stories really fun to read. Qwilleran is a unique detective. I love reading little kids’ books with dogs, cats or other animals, Luanne. Have you ever read the book about how Rosie became Pinkerton’s friend? The way Rosie creates an upheaval gets my grandkids giggling, there are elaborate drawings, which I have met Steven Kellogg and love his writing and illustrating. I hope to read a poem about cats, have you ever tried this? I am already thinking of how Jenny’s two cats have their own personalities… hmmm!

    • I love Qwilleran’s cats! Those books are so great. I also like Rita Mae Brown’s mystery series with the 2 cats and the dog! I love that you’re a cat sitter. Such a fun sideline!
      I have not read the children’s book you are talking about; it sounds wonderful. Hmm, writing a poem about cats Have I? One of my cats keeps poking his head into my memoir, although I don’t know if he’ll be in there when it’s done. But in a poem? I know I’ve tried . . . . In Doll God there is an elegy for my last dog, though . . .

  14. You’re an angel Luanne:-) we love cats (and dogs) but because we travel so much for work etc we decided a few years ago not to keep pets πŸ™ The odd thing is we have never had to find a pet – all our cats came to us!

    • That’s exactly why we don’t have a dog any longer–too much travel for work. The cats are ok at home with a good cat sitter stopping by regularly, although Pear Blossom sticks her nose in the air when I first get back. It takes her almost 30 minutes to warm up. She wants me to know I’ve been bad! Isn’t that so often the way with cats though? Funny thing: all of ours, too! Mac was born outside our house, in a crawl space area, before we moved there, Pear decided to live in our bushes after somebody dropped off her and her brother, etc. You get the idea πŸ˜‰

  15. Love the idea of an “Adopt me” vest. I can just imagine someone out walking, seeing the vest, and saying, “I believe I will.” What good, fun work y’all will be doing. Best of luck with it.

    • Me too! Otherwise, how would people ever know? And it’s sort of a poignant reminder that here’s a cute little guy sniffing everything in his path who needs a home or he has to go back to the kennel and the other barkers.

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