Friday, October 21, 2011

Community Service can be Loud!

Twice a year, our town offers a rabies clinic with $10 rabies and distemper shots for both cats and dogs.  The service is open to anyone and we often get pet owners from other counties and sometimes from other states.  It's organized by our town dog warden (aka, my dairy farmer friend) and the vet volunteers her services and the serum (aka, my sheep vet).  It is held in the Highway Department garage.  And it almost always rains.

And, twice a year, I volunteer to help process the cats and dogs that come through -- and my friend, Kay, volunteers to work with the vet, scruffing, holding, soothing, or whatever else needs to be done to the highly excited/anxious felines and canines (and their people).  It's a great community service, we've all gotten to be a chatty group over the years, and it's a good way for people to license their dogs as well - the Town Clerk is always a volunteer.

We divide the night into first hour: cats and second hour: dogs.  This doesn't always work seamlessly - there are stragglers, people seldom pay any attention to the hours posted, and occasionally a cat makes it's escape and there's a general melee as we try to get hold of it.  Usually someone has to volunteer their jacket as a net. 
And 'jacket' is the key here.  The garage is comprised of cement and metal.  There is almost no heat, the lighting is gruesome and don't even ask me about the acoustics!  Fall or Spring, it's cold and damp.  Last night was the fall clinic.  And, right on cue, it was raining.  The cats and their owners straggled in (there were some amazingly cute kittens!) and there was one escape attempt.  Other than that, it went smoothly.  We can't see outside, but it's pretty evident when the dogs and their people start lining up.  Once we've processed all the cats, we all take a deep breath, syringes are filled, pens are poised, the door is opened and the dogs burst in.  From then on, it's complete chaos.  We yell questions at the owners, the owners yell back the answers.  Dogs hoot and holler, yip and yap, boom and squeak.  Some years we have a lot of small dogs (that's hardest on your ears) - this year we had a lot of hounds.  I don't think I need to elaborate on their particular vocal patterns. 

I had to abandon my tablemates before the end, as there was a Zoning Board meeting that conflicted with the clinic.  I actually hated to go.  It's fun to see the dogs and meet neighbors.  When they've all been run through the gauntlet, the silence is deafening and you can sink back in your wildly uncomfortable metal chair in a state of happy exhaustion, then go home and appreciate the relative sanity of your own menagerie.


The weather forecast for the weekend is brisk but mostly sunny.  That's my kind of weather!  Top-most on the list/s this weekend is starting the run-in shed and rebuild of the greenhouse enclosure.  (You can probably hear me laughing all the way out your way!)  Don't forget to leave a comment for the Apron/Apron Book giveaway!  Winnah announced on Monday!


  1. most definitely not my kind of volunteer-I used to volunteer all the time with school classes going to zoo's and museum.I would work around my other little problem"panic attacks" but one episode to a museum was a bad one ,it was to a certain museum that was straight up hill ,no kidding the stairs went straight up and the movie was RIGHT in your face movie theater-but good thing I was there because there was another little boy that could not sit and watch,in fact he was so scared he had a accident that was right up my alley-not quite the same as changing diapers but close

  2. What a great community service! And how generous of all the people who volunteer their time and I'm sure a certain amount of money.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for a no-rain weekend for your admirable list of projects!

  3. I have to say as the vegetarian, I always get a little scared at all the "processing". You just never know how a post is going to end up with that word in it ;) What a great event for your community to have. And VERY nice of you to donate your time.

  4. What a neat community service event! I'll bet it does get loud in there when the dogs come in!

  5. That is novel to offer shots like that. I can imagine it could be loud at times. I would love doing something like that. Have a nice weekend!

  6. I have a question for you: do you ever sleep???