Guess who returned to the doggy loft for the first time in sixteen months? She has opposable thumbs and is the biggest dog lover you will find.
From March 11, 2020, until July 14, 2021, I could not volunteer at the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue on Rescue Row here in San Francisco. Thanks to a pandemic, my city and state shut down for weeks and shuttered schools and businesses for months. I missed 64 Wednesday mornings waking up sleepy old dogs. Sixteen months of being denied a steady diet of soft doggy snuggles. How many laundry loads of dirty dog beds, aprons, and towels did I skip? I can't believe I missed mopping up after these sugar faces so much.
Who else can say they honestly like the familiar smell of old dogs?
When entering the open loft first thing in the morning, with its closed windows to keep the more than a dozen old dogs safe overnight, imagine the wall of smell that hits you first. A combination of warm soiled bedding mixed with various late-night pee offers your nose a scent only faithful dog people appreciate. I didn't realize until after being denied my morning shift for months that I missed that familiar stink. That I took comfort in the potent smell because it meant there were warm sleepy dogs behind those doors.
What is old is new again
I don't know what people mean when they talk about a "new normal," but mine is being regularly around old dogs again. Protocols now limit visitors, and dogs are not yet sleeping in the loft overnight. My shift will include laundry again, but no chicken and rice breakfasts or dog walks around the block. Arriving dogs are matched with extraordinary foster homes immediately. A new opportunity for me will be helping welcome new dogs. Employees manage the intake process, but I will enjoy a role in helping get the dogs on their path to a forever home. I feel like I have graduated to the position of matchmaker.
Since I began volunteering with Muttville, my view of the dog adoption process and its success has evolved. I believe in taking the position that a dog deserves to be matched with the best family for them. We should set dogs up for success. I see a dog as an individual piece searching for their family puzzle. My goal with Muttville is to help uncover the unique qualities of each dog to help them find their perfect match. I hope that my affinity for these dogs is the superpower that I can use to make a difference in their lives.
What’s your approach to dog adoption? Are you volunteering again? Leave your comments below…