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A day in the life of an HSOV employee

Our days begin at 8 a.m. with a staff meeting. When you are caring for over 100 animals, it’s important for all the staff to be on the same page. We then separate to our specific areas for the day and begin by making sure all the animals have water until it is their turn to be cleaned for the day.

Kennel technicians make up around 50 bowls of food every morning and evening to feed our hungry canine guests. Our feline crowd always has a bowl of food available, so they just wait for it to be freshened up or topped off.

We often have animals on medication, so that is next on our to-do-list. Then the real work begins–cleaning every single kennel in the shelter.

Our kennel technicians prep their supplies and move from room to room cleaning each kennel. It’s important during this time, to interact with the animal and check on the status of their health and mood. It’s impossible for us to help match adopters if we don’t take the time to get to know our animals’ personalities.

Cleaning usually finishes up around 3 p.m. Dogs go outside twice during that time period and the last few hours of the day are used for special projects or giving animals some extra TLC.

We may have a dog that doesn’t trust people and just needs someone to sit with them and be a comfort. We have dogs that play hard and get crazy dirty in the process so they are in dire need of a bath.

We have cats that really don’t understand what it means to be cared for by a human so they take patience and extra attention. We have kittens that are learning to eat for the first time and have just shoved their face (and every other part of their body) into a bowl of “mush” (wet food and kitten milk) that have to be bathed or else they will crust over.

We also cannot forget about any strays that have come in during the day. Each stray needs to be weighed, vaccinated, given de-wormer, and treated for fleas.

Most days are pretty routine, but things can get a little crazy when we have more animals than kennels. Regardless, every animal has a clean place to sleep and fresh food or water until they are reclaimed or find their forever homes.

Our days generally end around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.. We put music on for the dogs, say good night to all the cats, check waters before we leave, and lock up for the evening ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Reynolds is executive director of the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley.

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