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.
McDonald's owners to pass on baton
The first preliminary final on Saturday saw the Tungamah seniors start their campaign against Waaia at the Rennie Recreation Reserve.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
If too much footy is never enough for you then get down to Echuca South’s oval on Sunday and catch the Echuca Moama United masters, the EMUs, in action.
TRUCKS, cars and vintage machinery took over Rochester Recreation Reserve on Tuesday last week.
KYABRAM’S Margaret and Leonard Flint have come a long way since meeting in the early 1950s.
Avenel win over Nagambie to take top spot
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
YOU probably wouldn’t expect to find an intensive care nurse running an award winning hotel and brewery, but that’s exactly what you will find when you visit Tooborac.
The preparations for the 10th Cobram Swap Meet have been given a boost with a brand new line marker. The Rotary Club of Cobram, which organise the swap meet, applied for a volunteer grant from the Federal Government, from which it received $4600.
At 77 years of age, popular local golfer Paul ‘Tango’ has claimed his second hole-in-one.
Tuesday, August 16
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
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.