At the Dumb Friends League, we believe that how you end your day is just as important as how you begin it, and that’s especially true for the animals in our care. Each day’s success can be traced back to sticking with a routine and winding down peacefully at the end of the previous day. That’s not to say a whole lot doesn’t happen at the Quebec Street Shelter between the time the doors are locked each night and opened the next morning. Let’s just say we’re not using a use a light off and light on analogy because that switch is never actually flipped.
During the week, the shelter closes at 7 p.m., but the end of day routines for the animals start a few hours before then. Typically, the animal care team begins last feeding rounds at 4:30 p.m., which can be a time-consuming process depending on the number of animals in our care on a given day. Dogs then are taken on their evening constitutionals before they settle down in their kennels for the night.
Before visions of sugar plums (or rabbits or feather toys) dance through their heads, the closing management team member walks through the shelter to check on each animal. The management team member acts as another set of eyes and makes sure every animal has what they need, nothing is out of place (and, if anything is, corrects it) and locks the doors.
Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean that work isn’t happening each night at the League. There is always an on-staff veterinary technician who is charged with the oversight and treatment of animals after regular hours. The veterinary technician also performs routine re-checks on animals who have had procedures and handles whatever next steps are detailed in an animal’s treatment plan and recovery. It’s also the responsibility of the on-staff veterinary technician to periodically check the night kennels for any animals in distress. (Night kennels are available if someone finds a lost animal after hours and needs a safe place to take them, for example.) If an animal is in pain and requires treatment, the veterinary technician immediately addresses those needs. Depending on the animal’s condition, it may mean taking the animal to an emergency care facility or calling League on-call veterinarians to help. At no time do League staff not have everything they need (and that means other staff and resources) to address whatever comes up—even in the middle of the night—to help an animal’s suffering.
The night team also includes our janitorial crew, who is tasked with keeping the shelter cleaned and maintained. Taking care of the League is no quick undertaking. Duties include cleaning floors, dusting, cleaning carpets, cleaning vents, cleaning bathrooms, washing walls and glass and removing garbage. If the janitorial team notices anything in need of repairs, they notify our Facilities department.
“We have teams working around the clock,” said Anna Neubauer, vice president of operations. “It takes a village to make sure all of the little details are attended to so that staff can function and work efficiently to be able to do their jobs.”
Caring for the animals, triaging overnight emergencies and cleaning and preparing the shelter for the next day is all in a night’s work at the Dumb Friends League. While the animals settle down and have peaceful nights of sleep, the work continues to end pet homelessness and animal suffering. And, at 5:30 each morning, the animal care team is ready to begin the day’s feedings and cleaning once again. Sweet dreams, dear animals, of forever homes and new families.
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