Finally!! The Sandra Sue Benson Animal Adoption Center opened last summer! How long have we all waited?? Well, in the beginning … I lived in San Diego, CA and would come out to Ingleside to visit my dad twice a year since he moved here in 1995. I remember the first time I drove past the “volunteers needed” sign in front of the center’s land about 10 years ago and I told my dad I was going to move out here to Texas after I retired and I wanted to get involved in the animal center. He was delighted of course! I retired in 2009 from the City of San Diego and did just that! I moved out here in 2010 and was anxiously waiting for it to open.
I watched them build the building and clear the land. I couldn’t wait until it opened!! The center is finally here!!!!!
I became a member in 2015. I love coming to the center and spending time with the animals (and my fellow volunteers). I feed dogs and cats, I clean litter boxes, I pick up dog poop, I walk dogs, I hold puppies and kittens, I take animals back and forth to Dr. Floerke’s office, I get involved in fund raising. AND … I get to love each and every animal that comes to us. Plus, one more good thing, I have made good friends here!
My volunteer coworkers tease me because sometimes I cry when someone drops off an animal and I cry when one is adopted. Mostly happy tears when we find an animal a home, some sad tears when I hear the stories of why some people “surrender” their pets to us to find a home for them. I tell you though, it’s worth every tear!
So, you folks out there that love animals and need a purpose in life or just need something to do. Please come and help us at the animal center. We need people twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon to clean, feed and walk the dogs. You can come once a week or you can come as many times as you want. Trust me, it is the most rewarding job you will ever have. We are also open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 2pm to the public. Please come down and visit, get to know us, and spend a little time with the animals! Our next fundraiser is a Golf Tournament on April 24th and if you want to get involved, let us know!!
Before humans die, they write their last will & testament; give their home and all they have to those they leave behind. If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I’d ask ... To a poor and lonely Stray I’d give my happy home, my bowl and cozy bed, soft pillow and all my toys, the lap which I loved so much and the hand that stroked my fur and the sweet voice that spoke my name. I’d will to the sad, scared shelter dog, the place I had in my human’s loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds. So, when I die, please do not say, “I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain are more than I can stand.” Instead, go find an unloved dog, one who’s life has held no joy or hope, and give my place to him. This is the only thing that I can give …. The love I left behind!
Opening your home and your heart to a new pet is a big step. Being a great pet owner isn’t always easy but it’s worth it. There are many responsibilities to take on and new commitments to make.
When your pet moved in with you, his old world disappeared and he has had to adjust to new smells, new sights, and a new home. Make the transition easier by establishing a routine and being attentive. Pay attention to how well your pet is adapting to his new surroundings. Are there any issues within the home or yard that need to be fixed? Keeping your home safe for your pet will help them and you feel more comfortable. Make time in your day to bond and spend quality time with your pet. They will commit their loyalty to you if you play with them or take them outside everyday. It is good for them to be accustomed to you leaving for certain periods of time, but be sure to have things set up in your home to entertain them while you are out to prevent them from getting bored and destructive.
Your pet is now part of your family and will need your help to stay healthy or to take care of health issues when they arise. Schedule yearly veterinarian visits and keep all of your pet’s vaccinations up to date. Preventative care can help your pet live a healthy life.
Elderly pets may have special needs due to arthritis, weakness, or other health problems. It may become more difficult for an elderly pet to climb stairs, so you could use a ramp or make a comfortable place for them downstairs. Your pet’s eyesight could start to deteriorate and you may have to adjust some of their activities to make it easier on them. Making small adjustments to your home can improve your pet’s quality of life and keep them happy in their elderly years.
Don’t forget to pet-proof your kitchen along with the rest of the house. There are certain types of people food that could be harmful to pets. Put child locks on your cabinets to prevent pets from getting into food or cleaning supplies. Keep all poisons and chemicals locked up out of reach as well.
Things won’t always go as planned, but patience goes a long way. When your pet does something crazy, try to stay calm. They will respond and learn from reassurance and consistency more than they will from anger and frustration. Take a moment to assess the situation to check if their might be something you can do to curb that behavior in the future. Are they getting enough exercise? Did they get into something that could have been kept out of reach? Many times there things we can do to help them not get into trouble.
Over time your pet will learn to love and trust you. Caring for a pet and making it part of your family will enhance your life as much as theirs and you will have made a long-lasting friend.
– Jessica Brody (via email)