Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-21
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



by Sandi Schiffman

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

I am a lowly kennel worker at Animal Haven ( ) , a no-kill shelter with locations in New York State. My main tasks are walking and feeding the animals; doing laundry; and cleaning up urine and poop. I love my job.


Some of the residents of Animal Haven.


My job starts before the shelter opens. I open the lock box and raise the security gate in front of the boutique and go downstairs to the dog corrals. The first thing I see just melts my heart—four 8-week-old rottie/shepherd/lab faces and ( eight paws sticking ) out from under the corral door, desperately trying to see who just came in to give them their freedom.

The first order of business is to walk the housebroken dogs. Then I can go free the rottie pups. They blast out of the corral, falling over each other, racing through the basement, jumping on me and on each other and driving the other dogs crazy.

I mop up their corral and put clean bedding and toys down and get their food. By the time I put the food down, the clean bedding is already soiled. I feed the other two litters: 7-week-old Chihuahuas and 8-week-old Westies. It's the equivalent of the running of the miniature bulls. They race into the corral where all the donated towels, sheets and bedding are piled high—but not for long. The game is King of the Hill. I almost have to clean up after myself from laughing so hard!

Let me say up front: I am not a cat person. That is not to say I don't like cats—I just don't understand them. As I clean the litter boxes, I hear a siren-like sound coming from behind me. I don't dare look to see which cat the noise is coming from, but I do wonder, 'Should I be worried?' Whoever told me cats are neat hasn't seen the amount of cat litter scattered around outside the litter boxes.

I live in a small NYC apartment with a seven-pound dachshund. That is my reality. My Walter Mitty life is in a huge house with lots of land. The shelter is a fair substitute. With no one else there in the morning, the four-story place is mine. I imagine myself living here with several of the big dogs.

As I clean the lounge, the dogs use the couches as trampolines. They fly from couch to couch, eventually landing together and sharing the same one, limbs all over each other. I honestly see them smiling.

From the lounge, we head to the enormous training room. The dogs let loose as I vacuum. I love watching them. Every so often they bound back to me for a pet or a kiss. When I finish vacuuming, we go back downstairs. They know the destination is their corrals, so they get as far as the boutique and they plop on the dog bed behind the counter. Who am I to move a rottie and lab looking so adorable sharing a bed together? I then restock the shelves in the boutique until my shift ends and the manager arrives.

I know some people think working at a shelter must be very depressing. This was the case a few days ago when a tall man with a box rang the buzzer early in the morning. Being alone, I had to make a quick decision about whether he was an axe murderer or a delivery man. I opened the door, only to find out that the 'delivery' was his own cat. He said he couldn't keep her. We are not set up to do intake so I told him I couldn't take the cat. And this big strong man started crying. He could barely speak. I said 'OK, OK,' and between sobs, got some information about the cat. As his sobs intensified, I assured him we would find a great home for his cat and it would be loved.

Fortunately, that was an isolated incident. Working at the shelter is uplifting. The dogs almost always bring a smile to my face and I know that even though they must go to new homes, we will find good homes where they will be really wanted.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

TPAN launches Paws N' Effect program for HIV+ clients 2019-04-06 - TPAN, Lurie Children's Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Division Head and TPAN Board of Directors member Dr. Rob Garofalo and Felines & Canines ...

Gay News

The Fairy Gardener 2018-04-03 - Didja go to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier? Or Macy's Flower Show? If you went to the first, ...

Gay News

Happy Pet Holidays from Windy City Times 2017-12-20 - Windy City Times' annual pet photo feater. ...

Gay News

Happy Holidays from your pets and Windy City Times 2016-12-20 - Enjoy Windy City Times' annual photo gallery of pets in holiday finery. ...

Gay News

Tree House Humane Society gets new home, executive director 2016-08-31 - What would inspire a former police officer and a veteran of more than 20 years with animal welfare organizations from across the United ...

Gay News

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM WE HEART PETS! 2015-12-23 - A special thanks to everyone who submitted pet photos for this year's installment. May you enjoy the warmth and companionship of your pets ...

Gay News

SENIOR MOMENTS Gollums, Muppets and orcs 2015-11-25 - I was intrigued to discover that televangelist Pat Robertson's birth name is Marion Gordon Robertson. John Wayne was also a Marion. He was ...

Gay News

PAWS Chicago honors the late Paul Lutter 2015-03-03 - The late gay attorney and activist Paul Lutter, who died last May, was honored at a PAWS ( Pets Are Worth Saving ) ...

Gay News

Photos: Pets at the holidays 2014-12-24 - HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM WE HEART PETS! A special thanks to everyone who submitted pet photos for this year's installment. May you enjoy the ...

Gay News

We Love Pets 2014-04-22 - Mr. Peppermint is a three-year-old male New Zealand White. He has a lot of personality; he loves to follow you around the house, ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.