Dear Ft. Bend Star,
When friends ask how I can bear to volunteer at the Sugar Land Animal Shelter, I know what they’re thinking. “Isn’t it unbearably sad? Isn’t it dirty and smelly? Isn’t it just a horrible place for all those poor animals?” They are describing the conditions at many shelters in this area -but they are not describing the Sugar Land Animal Shelter, not by a long shot. In fact, the reason I do volunteer at this shelter is because it is such a kind, caring, decent place for animals who find themselves lost or otherwise in need of rescue.
I am part of a group of volunteers who go to the shelter every week to walk dogs and play with cats. One or more of us is there every day the shelter is open. And every day, we see staff members who discuss the animals by name, get to know them, and treat them with the dignity they deserve.
Each time we are there, we witness gentle, kind, compassionate care. That care includes cleaning a dog’s cage again, even though it was just done, because they don’t want the dog to be confined in a smelly area. That gentle care also includes administering treatment with soft voices and gentle hands, taking the time to speak quietly to calm a frightened cat, even though there are 150 more who all need treatment.
Working at a shelter can be unbearably stressful. It is devastating to witness firsthand the neglect and cruelty that some animals have experienced at human hands. It can be overwhelming to provide exhaustive care when the incoming stream of animals in need just doesn’t end. But the SL Shelter is staffed by people who first and foremost love animals. So they may feel the stress, and they may even curse the humans who create this stress, but they don’t shortchange the desperate animals who have done nothing to deserve this. They care for them, and dare I say, love them, for however long they are there.
The shelter cannot control the steady stream of animals in need. And as much as they would love to, they cannot go door-to-door to find wonderful homes for each animal there. But the community can help in both of these areas. If we are all diligent and responsible for our animals, if we neuter them, microchip them, and keep them safe, we minimize the workload of the shelter.
If we all make the Sugar Land Shelter our first stop for a new pet, and tell our friends and families about this wonderful place, we help these deserving animals in a life-changing way. There is no doubt in my mind that the staff at SL Animal Control is doing everything in its power to make a positive difference in the lives of the lost and neglected animals of our community. It can only benefit our animal friends if we all step up and do what we can to help them in this difficult endeavor.