Friday, March 4, 2011

Because no one told me to shut up about this: A long-ish post about the pound

I think the pound attracts crazy people.

Yesterday when I got there, the clerk at the desk was clearly irritated and clearly had told the woman in front of her the same information a whole lot of times already. There was a Hispanic woman there to surrender a pit bull puppy, maybe 8 months old. Apparently it was her son's dog, but the son moved out and couldn't take the dog to the apartment because it's a pit bull, and the mom told us all that she hadn't signed up to raise no dog. More than once, she told the dog to sit about a dozen times in English, then about seven times in Spanish, then pushed down on its butt until it sort-of sat, then proudly told us all that the dog was bilingual. I was like, Bitch, that dog just ignored you in two languages. She seemed to think the discussion with the clerk was some sort of performance art, and kept mugging for those of us waiting in line.

So the woman wanted to surrender the puppy, but didn't want it to end up being put to sleep if no one adopted it. She wanted the pound to just give it back if no one took him. The clerk explained, wearily, that she had already explained that surrendering the dog means surrendering all rights to the dog. She added that she had already explained the evaluation process and that she couldn't guarantee that the puppy would be a candidate for adoption (it's based on health, temperament, and something else but I forget what) and that IF it were adoptable this woman could be placed on the list to adopt it, but couldn't have them just call her and let her know if no one adopted him. Through all of these patient explanations, the woman continued talking over the clerk and repeating that it was her son's dog, and she didn't want him to be put to sleep, and so on. I got the feeling that this interaction had been going on for a while.

So FINALLY the clerk convinces the woman that if anything is going to happen, it needs to happen now because there are other people waiting. So the woman surrenders the dog - his name is Two-Tone, she had told us about nine times, but she calls him "Toot" - and insists on walking him back to the door to the animal-holding area.

So then the next people in line, also Hispanic, tell her they'll adopt the dog. My Spanish is elementary at best, but I'm certain the woman had said something to the man about being there for a cat, not a dog. The clerk was like, are you shitting me? The clerk has to call to the people in back to bring the dog back out, and the woman just hands the dog over to them. I'm pretty sure that wasn't strictly following the pound's policies about surrender and stuff, but I'm also pretty sure the clerk was mentally weighing the options of following protocol vs. getting this dog and woman out the door, without a reason for the woman to call every day for the next two weeks.

So then we wait while a man asks about becoming a volunteer and starts filling out his application. He interrupts the clerk accepting a surrender of a stray cat so he can ask what the question about "have you ever been convicted of a crime" is asking. The clerk just sort of stares at him for a second, so he continues: "Like, do they mean just convictions? What if you have something, like, pending, or if there was an arrest but no charges were pressed? Or if the charges were dropped?" There's another pause, and the clerk tells him that Animal Services is a department of the City Police Department, so they will do a full background check, so why doesn't he just write down anything he knows they'd find out in a background check.

During all of this, there are constant phone calls, which the clerk takes while still trying to deal with the people at the counter, and volunteers walking in and out with dogs, and prospective adopters wandering through, and constant barking, and stuff. It's a madhouse in there. No wonder the employees all seem so frazzled.

Have you ever adopted from a pound? Have you ever worked or volunteered in one? Are my observations about a higher-than-average level of the crazy correct?

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