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.
A newly completed rail trail through a wildlife haven near Murchison is proving popular with the region's cyclists, walkers and horseriders.
Perfect weather forecasted this weekend will please the many boating enthusiasts registered for the inaugural Lake Mulwala Boat Muster to be held on Saturday.
A dairy cow has died from the disease anthrax in the Tatura region.
Campaspe Shire still does not have an alternative to the Moama slipway more than two years after obtaining permits to build a dry dock at the Port of Echuca.
There was a sentence doing the rounds at the weekend’s Great Northern Show.
Vic Govt issues alert after dairy cow death in Tatura
Two local teenagers have formally apologised to the Finley community for destroying 14 trees in Finley's Railway Park.
St Mary’s Catholic Church in Heathcote has undergone extensive roof repairs due to increasing water damage.
Cobram and District Toy Library secretary Liz Stronge said she was ‘‘really happy’’ with the turnout of more than 100 people to the 25th birthday Playfest at Mivo Park on Saturday.
Strong swimmers off to Riverina carnival.
Bargain hunters were out in force at Tatura last week.
Betty Summer walks 6 kms in a round trip, three times a week to go to the gym. She hates people asking her age, but couldn't keep it secret when she hit the big nine-oh.
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.