Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shelter Duty

So every week, I spend a couple of hours at my local animal shelter volunteering on the "Critter" team. The critter team is so called because we feed and socialize all the animals in the shelter that do not fall into the category of dog or cat.

I love dogs and cats...I love all animals...but the critter team is fun because we get to work with and learn about so many different types of animals...from rabbits and rats, to parakeets and iguanas,  to peacocks, roosters and pigs. We get a wide array of animals through the shelter...of course not all at the same time.

While I was on duty this past week, I took a few snaps to share...

This is Lena, a beautiful young girl, who has already been adopted since this photo was taken (yaay!):

Meet Dex, a very friendly little piggie...

...he runs right out to get pets and scritches...this is unusual for guinea pigs in the shelter, they are usually far more timid. Dex was surrendered by his owners.

And here's a different type of piggie who is currently in the shelter:

Miles is a pot-bellied pig who was surrendered by his owners when they had to move out of their house and couldn't bring him along.  He wasn't too keen on that carrot, but a few minutes later, he was grubbing around and found some earth worms...apparently, he prefers worms to carrots. The shelter is trying to get a place for him at Pigs Peace Sanctuary...fingers crossed for Miles!

UPDATE: Miles ended up going to the BaaHaus Animal Rescue.

This little lady is Doris. She was adopted by one of the other Critter volunteers...yaay for Doris!

Birds get adopted very quickly as a general rule, with the exception of  chickens and roosters. Unfortunately, with the new fad around here of keeping chickens in the city  for their eggs (boo) we get hens and roosters very often. The shelter tries to place any "farm" animals in sanctuaries rather than adopting them out.

Moving on to Roscoe now...a very sweet little ferret, up for adoption with his cage mate, Elizabeth (not in photo). I had never met any ferrets before volunteering here...they are very charming and fun little guys...very playful.  For socialization we bring them out into a special play area, and they have a wonderful time chasing cat toys and being chased around and tickled. They are a lot of fun...and their bodies feel like furry serpents.

This next fellow is a bearded dragon...he's basking under a heat lamp. I don't think he has a name yet. He likes to eat bugs and also a wide variety of fruits and veggies like collard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, squash, blueberries and melon, just to name a few. Not sure where he will go...he's not currently up for adoption.

And this lad and lady (the big one is a female, the little one is a young male) are red slider turtles...they are aquatic:

And finally, meet Harriet:

She is the sweetest, funniest, friendliest little rat you could ever meet. She was found after being abandoned in an apartment building. When she came into the shelter, she had a large tumor under her left front leg. It turned out to be a benign and easy-to-remove tumor. She's had that removed and is recovering in foster care at my place.

Here she is exploring the premises...

Feets close up:

Here she is enjoying a chickpea that she found nestled on her dinner plate. Harriet is vegan too! And just in keeping with the blog...I'll describe Harriet's vegan dinner..she had brown rice, chickpeas, cherry tomato, steamed butternut squash, red leaf lettuce and broccoli sprouts.

OMG, she's's difficult to get a still shot of her because she's always on the move. This photo makes me laugh every time I look at it:

I totally  understand if it doesn't make anyone else laugh...cuz maybe you had to be there :)


  1. "he prefers worms to carrots"
    a boy is a boy is a boy, my little girl piggy would never think of doing such a thing *sniff of disapproval* miles seems like a good piggy walking on the leash and all

    these are some great shots, wonderful animals, and a whole team dedicated to handling them?excellent!

  2. Hi Dirty Duck.. made me laugh..."a boy is a boy is a boy"...I had never met any pigs before Miles. You should post post about your girl piggie friend sometime, I'd love to learn more.

  3. Great pictures! Thank you for sharing them. I don't know which one is more adorable. The guinea pig is pretty sweet. Harriet eats better than most people I know.


  4. Hi Ali,

    The little GP is pretty darn adorable... and it's true, Harriet eats pretty healthy... a sort of sub-set of what we eat w/o any fancy sauces or spices and the like. I'm thinking of adopting her...but not sure yet.

  5. Rose,

    Not that I get a vote, since I don't live at your house. But if you have fallen in love with Harriet you should keep her. She won't find a better home!


  6. What a sweet, heartwarming post, Rose! What lovely, soulful work you and the rest of the Critter team are doing, and what a wonderful shelter, taking in such a variety of animals in need of homes, and trying to place the chickens in farm sanctuaries instead of back into exploitative situations.

    I think ferrets, along with otters and some monkeys, may win the prize for "Most Playful!" They look like they'd be a lot of fun. I'm so glad Lena found a forever home already, and think Dex is just adorable!

    They're all precious, every one of them, but Harriet takes the cake! (And I love her name!!) She is too cute for words! (I especially love the close-up of her busy little feet!) I used to have a rat named Ratatouille years ago. She was such a fun little friend! I'm voting with Ali, Harriet deserves a home with you! :-) (I also agree with Ali that Harriet is eating better than most people!)

    Thank you for sharing your shelter duty pictures and sweet little critter friends with us! May they all find loving homes soon.

  7. Wholly crap! That pig is awesome!

  8. Laloofah,

    I think you're right about ferrets being one of the all-time most playful creatures...they really are so charming.

    As for Harriet, I'm so tempted...I haven't decided for sure though...I've fostered about 12 rats in the last 4 years, so I'm kind of ready for a little break from the vet bills...but will keep posted on Harriet.

  9. HayMarket8

    The pig is pretty awesome; he caused quite a stir at the shelter because so many people, including myself, had never met a pig up close and personal. He loves to have his belly scratched.

  10. Methinks if you give up Harriet, she will die of a broken heart. Who could love her as much?

  11. That is a lovely sentiment SV.

  12. I love pet rats, we had several when my kids were young and they were charming little animals. They often seem to get tumours, I've been told this is because they have come from breeding lines used in animal research, which is a pity.

    Well done for helping out and telling us about it.

  13. Hi Catofstripes,

    I just adore rats...before I volunteered at the shelter, I had no idea how charming and intelligent they are.

    I know, the tumor thing is a bummer!

  14. I believe you about Harriet though I don't have personal experience with rats ... as pets. I've had gerbils, hamsters, cats, dogs and birds, though, and I loved them all. It's great that you spend time with the critters at the shelter. I used to play with the cats at our shelter.

  15. Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for stopping by. All the critters have their own unique charm don't they? I love them all too.

  16. Thanks for posting the adorable pictures. It's so great that you volunteer your time to give the critters a little bit of love.

  17. Hi Allison,

    I'm glad you enjoyed the pics.

  18. I enjoyed the tour and Thank you for sharing this with us all. Other than the cute factor, it really is heart warming.

    We are hoping to adopt a dog from a sheltered home this year. Let see what happens.

  19. Hi Mangocheeks,

    I wish I could adopt each and every one of the little guys...of course that would be keep us posted on your search for a dog companion.

  20. Funny little rat feet. Both my daughters go to our local animal shelter, SPCA, on Easter week for their kids program called Camp Kindness. It has taught them so much, and they both love it. My oldest daughter's favorite animal is the pig, and it's been her latest merciless mission to beg me for a pet pig. I'll have to show her these photos, but then I may have to endure more relentless begging!

  21. Hi BlessedMama,

    I love those busy little feet...

    It's wonderful that you're kids participate w/ the local SPCA...children just seem to get animal compassion so much more readily than adults...

    I commend you raising a vegan family...we need more parents like you!!!

  22. Thanks, Rose. It's one of the few choices I've made as a parent that I know for sure is the right one. :)


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