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By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Since 2004, pet lovers in need of a new companion have been coming to the Medfield Animal Shelter - whose residents are often found on Hometown Weekly’s pet page - to find their new best friends. In 2018 alone, 553 animals found new homes after their stays at the shelter. With the comings and goings every day, it’s truly a wonder what happens to make adoptions so successful.
Early each morning, volunteers and staff roll in, ready for the day’s work and preparing for whatever challenges may rise. They are in charge of cleaning all of the cages, giving animals their medications, feeding some of the animals, and giving the dogs their walks. At this point, many of the cats are still snoozing.
During the midday and lunch shift walk, volunteers once again leash up the dogs and take them for walks. Other tasks include cleaning the litter boxes, doing laundry, and socializing with the cats and kittens.
During the dinner shift, the dogs go for longer walks and the volunteers spend some quality time playing and cuddling with the animals. For them, this is just a fraction of the attention they will receive once they are adopted by a loving person.
Though this is the basic routine for most shelter animals, some require specialized attention due to illness or behavioral issues.
One dog, Catalina, who has been at the shelter the longest, has been recovering from complications from megaesophagus, a general enlargement of the esophagus. Because of her illness, Catalina has to be fed several small meals a day. After weeks of recuperating with a foster, Catalina is almost ready for adoption.
Amidst all of this are the daily challenges that arise - small mountains the shelter staff have to climb to make sure they are giving the best care for rescue pets. Each day is usually filled with phone calls, vet visits for tenants, incoming donations, tours for local groups, adoption applications, and animal surrenders. Despite the busy day, it doesn’t stop any volunteers from making sure every single animal gets the attention and love they deserve.
"Anything with fins, feathers, fur, or claws, I'll smooch it," said Shelter Manager Marlene Simmons. This tends to be the general feeling amongst the animal-lovers who work at the shelter. But the Medfield Animal Shelter tends to work with dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other furry friends.
One of the most unique qualities of the Medfield Animal Shelter is that it strives to serve a particular demographic of animals. From stray cats and dogs to changes of circumstances for animals, the Medfield shelter makes an effort to help primarily local animals. Occasional hurricane rescues are the only exception to that rule.
As of Monday, July 8, the shelter has 18 animals staying in their facility and 20 others living with fosters. The shelter mostly houses cats, with three separate rooms dedicated for their care. With summer in full swing and people leaving on vacations and traveling, the rate of adoption tends to slow down. As the shelter has constant intakes, especially since it is currently the middle of kitten season, it is important to keep adoptions moving. As a result, staff at the shelter is constantly looking for ways to improve adoptions and get the animals into good homes.
Just a few weeks ago, staff started clicker-training some of their cats. "Adoptability goes sky high," explained Simmons. In addition to clicker training, the shelter is also running a deal until July 26, during which time cats can be adopted for $25.
Their efforts seem to be working; between July 6 and 8, eleven animals found their forever homes. Posie, a tiny kitten, found a new home just days after she arrived at the shelter.
Fruit Loops, a rabbit that was found wandering around Framingham, was adopted and moved out of his private room in the shelter.
The staff and volunteers are sure to miss Brady, who loved to sneak snacks out of the food bucket while volunteers filled his and his roommate’s food bowls. He has moved into his new home, where he will surely find new delicious foods to try.
Gazelle, a young and playful Tennessee tree walker coonhound who has been waiting for a home for months, finally found her family last weekend. “There was not a dry eye in the shelter when she left,” said Jackie, the assistant shelter manager.
Whether you are looking for a cat, a dog, or another type of furry friend, Medfield Animal Shelter is the place to go. With a caring staff, dozens of dedicated volunteers, and a nearly perfect facility, the shelter achieves its goals every day of giving animals a better life.
No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but one thing is certain: Medfield Animal Shelter will be there to take in any animal in need that comes its way.