A dog’s day at the shelter
July 21, 2005
It’s a regimented day for homeless dogs at the Aspen Animal Shelter, but hardly a difficult one.7 a.m.: The staff arrives at the shelter and begins to rotate the dogs into the outside kennels after being inside all night. Dogs are given dry Iams dog food, water and medication, and staff members check that everyone is in good shape after the night, including checking the dog stools.8 a.m.: While dogs are outside, the kennels inside are sprayed with a mix of water and safe chlorine tablets for disease prevention.9 a.m.: The shelter opens to the public, and volunteers begin streaming in to check out dogs for hikes, walks and even overnight camping trips. Dogs are checked in and out all day long, getting plenty of exercise.6:30 p.m.: Dogs are back inside the shelter for the evening.Shelter director Seth Sachson keeps the dogs’ schedules strict, including how much they consume. He doesn’t allow volunteers who check out the dogs to feed them treats.”Some people think I’m cruel, but the dogs are fed an adequate amount of food,” he said. “[Feeding the dogs treats] is like saying to your kid, ‘Here, have some cotton candy, and here’s some mint chocolate chip ice cream. And I know you’re going to bed in an hour, but have this milkshake at Boogies and five French fries.'”Sachson said it’s not fair to the dogs, who aren’t going to refuse the treats and may wind up with diarrhea, which makes it hard to keep a clean shelter.He works hard to pair volunteers with compatible dogs for the temporary check-outs, and some of the more experienced volunteers take dogs home for the weekend to socialize with their own pets.