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Department Dish: Pet Admissions

Josh Ball in front of overnight kennels

by Robin Russell, volunteer writer and Jenny Trawick

Pet Admissions is the entry point for most of the animals the Dumb Friends League receives. They may be owner surrenders, lost and found animals, or euthanasia requests. Because of the nature of the admissions, it can be a stressful, yet rewarding area in which to work. The staff and volunteers offer compassion and understanding to owners who relinquish their pets and a warm welcome to the animals being entrusted to their care.
The Dumb Friends League believes that preserving the bond between people and their pets is preferable, yet realizes there are situations where that can be difficult. The Admissions staff knows the resources available to help with the most common reasons for relinquishment: housing, inability to pay for veterinary care or pet food, general financial issues, pet behavior issues, too many pets and/or an unexpected litter and domestic violence. Oftentimes they are able to direct people to these resources so they can keep their pet.

Most of the animals are brought in during business hours, but we offer another option that is used for varying reasons. That option is the 10 night kennels in front of Pet Admissions.

The kennels are open while the shelter is closed, and lock once the doors are shut from the outside. Once an animal is dropped off, it’s there until the Pet Admissions staff arrives to unload the kennels at 7 a.m. Overnight, any animals dropped off in a kennel have clean water and a towel. The kennels are even heated if it gets cold during the night.

Anyone dropping off an animal is asked to complete a small amount of paperwork so the League can gather as much information as possible. Unfortunately, not many people leave information, so staff really depends on their knowledge of animal behavior to gauge next steps. If further investigation is needed, there are cameras focused on the kennels as well as a license plate camera.

If there is no paperwork, we assume the pet is lost and it is transferred to the municipal shelter (Denver or Aurora) with a five-day hold to give the owner a chance to find it. If the animal is an owner surrender, it is then evaluated, gets any medical attention it might need, and will either go to a behavior program or be put up for adoption.

You never know what you’ll get in the night kennels. Staff gets a little nervous when a box or a bag is dropped off. Who knows what might be inside? These usually end up being full of in-kind donations. One of Josh’s favorite night kennel memories was finding an arctic fox! In situations like these, we will work with one of our partner organizations to help the animal.

Whatever the circumstances that bring an animal to Admissions, the League realizes it is usually the most positive option and our staff works to make the best experience possible for the animal and its humans.

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