Echuca Lost Dogs Home shelter manager Kate Kemp shares some of her stories about the highs and lows of working in an animal shelter.KATHLEEN TONINI December 27, 2012 4:45am
Seeing abandoned animals re-housed makes it all worthwhile for the Lost Dogs Home’s Kate Kemp.
Though she sees the worst of the human relationship with animals, she and her staff also see the best.
Shelter manager at Echuca for about 2 years, Ms Kemp has always loved animals.
Dogs were initially her favourite, mainly because her family was in possession of a ‘‘not a very nice’’ cat.
She trained as a vet nurse and has worked at vet practices, in animal welfare and even at a zoo.
She started working for the Lost Dogs Home in North Melbourne about five years ago, as a locum vet nurse, before becoming nurse manager at the facility.
Here, though, she now oversees the whole operation, not just the medical side.
The shelter not only cares for abandoned animals, but takes animal surrenders, seized animals and animals picked up by the ranger.
She said some animals were too damaged or difficult to be re-housed.
‘‘Some hard decisions have to be made,’’ she said.
‘‘That can be a very hard time.’’
They see animals that are starving, have nearly drowned, that are filthy, unkempt and terrified of humans.
Some are emaciated or alternatively obese, others have been hit by cars.
Each time an animal comes in, the staff have to start from scratch
‘‘Most of the time we don’t know the history of the animals,’’ Ms Kemp said.
Staff take time to get to know each animal and work out its behavioural tendencies and give it the love and care it needs before finding a new family for the animal.
While mostly the adoption process works well, sometimes it does not last.
‘‘It’s heart-breaking if they do come back,’’ she said.
But when its been a tough day, Ms Kemp and her staff always have the folders filled with correspondence from adoptive families to cheer them up.
There are photos, Christmas cards, letters and emails detailing the progress made by the animal.
Some families even write from the perspective of their animal which Ms Kemp particularly likes.
‘‘It reminds us of all the good things we have achieved,’’ she said.
‘‘We do genuinely remember most of them’.’
And there a lot to remember
The Lost Dogs Home takes pet ownership seriously; it wants to make sure animals don’t come back.
Potential adoptive parents are encouraged to complete an online pet licence and to consider the implications of adopting an animal.
‘‘We want these animals to have a home for life,’’ Ms Kemp said.
Ms Kemp herself has only one dog, and though her partner also has one, she is not thinking of collecting another any time soon.
Albert, a pug border terrior cross, is her self-confessed ‘‘baby’’.
He came home with Ms Kemp from the North Melbourne shelter when she worked there.
‘‘He just looked into my eyes and that was that,’’she said.
On the day the Riv came to visit, Albert split his time between napping in the bed he has behind Ms Kemp’s desk and demonstrating his rendition of Slice of Heaven (he howls along to the tune).
‘‘I would not be without him,’’ Ms Kemp said.
Budding Kyabram actor Taylor Smith Morvell is one of 20 Victorian students chosen to perform his Year 12 theatre studies monologue in Melbourne next week.
The Yarrawonga and District Cemetery Trust has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Department of Health to undertake development work at the Yarrawonga cemetery.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
This year's Southern 80 ski race has reaped an estimated $36.2 million for the district economy.
Rochester and Elmore District Health Service has increased its radiology services from two to four days a week.
Tongala family hopes for transplant call for six-year-old.
Family of former Seymour man killed in a road crash in Los Angeles before Christmas set up a Melbourne University scholarship in his honour.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Leitchville-Gunbower at home was too strong for Heathcote’s senior footballers in their first Good Friday clash.
Huge crowds turned out for Cobram Barooga's River Beaches Festival, which featured a special splash for 2000 rubber ducks.
South West Arts ArtOut will be held again in 2015 after last weekend's inaugural success.
Some of Australia’s greatest horses and just a few racetrack characters have appeared at the Benalla Racing Club’s grounds in its 150-year history.
Benalla's Kevin Harper will be honoured in the motorcade lap of honour at Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow for his service during the Korean War.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.