Friday, April 8, 2011

Wasteland

Back in the summer of 2005, I took a job working for the Peninsula Humane Society in NorCal. My stint there lasted for only six months, but I think it was probably the longest six months of my entire life. I saw so many things there that just cannot be unseen. Even though I gained some valuable experience, a good friend, and a loyal, retard-cat out of the deal (not to mention paychecks), working for PHS was one of the worst experiences of my life.
peninsulahumanesociety.org

My title? Animal Care Technician. My job? To care for the animals (dogs, cats, guinea pigs, mice, rats, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, and some chickens here and there) -- as in to feed and clean up after them. It really doesn’t sound too bad… until you realize that large shelters house large amounts of animals. That’s a lot of food, a lot of soiled linens, and a lot of poop. Too much poop -- especially when you take medical conditions into consideration. For instance, a sensitive stomach can usually lead to diarrhea. Then there's pancreatitis, which can also cause diarrhea. Oh, and then there's parvo, which causes bloody diarrhea. (I did more dry-heaving during a single shift there than I did during both of my pregnancies, and my bout with the stomach flu combined.) 

The Animal Care Department was also responsible for euthanizing animals, disposing of bodies, and performing post-mortem decapitations for rabies testing. I was never certified to perform euthanasia (though I did sit in for more than my fair share), but decapitation requires no paperwork – just a disposable surgical scalpel, some gloves, and your bare hands. Instead of going into massive detail about that part of the job, I’ll mention the chill room, which was where the dead bodies were kept. No amount of cold air and industrial strength cleaner can keep the smell of death at bay. I remember being told by the supervisors that it’s something you “get used to.” For the record, I never got used to it. Not by a long shot.

So, now that you have some adequate background info about my time working at the shelter, it won’t seem completely insane when I inevitably go on various rants about Satanic hamsters, overly aggressive chickens, drunken laundry, or the Easter Bunny’s homicidal brethren.

2 comments (+add yours?)

clara said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh yuck. Decapitations. I don't know if I could have lasted six months.

Yeah, to answer your tweeted question, I don't think it's shit talking if it's just straight up truth.

Ginger said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Considering I couldn't even make it through high school biology, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to handle the decapitations. Talk about things you can't unsee.

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