Skip To Content

    22 Things Animal Shelter Workers Will Never Tell You

    Our job is 50% cleaning up poo and 10% getting bitten. But we love it. H/T Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.

    1. We get bitten a lot, especially while we're training.

    2. And cats can be even more dangerous than dogs.

    Cat bites and scratches are more likely to become infected, as cats' sharp teeth penetrate really deeply, injecting bacteria into our skin. This is why we often have to roll them into a "purrito" to give them medication.

    3. We hate it when people say, "I wish I got to play with animals all day."

    4. And we get really annoyed when people say things like "the poor dogs must be so miserable in kennels."

    5. About 50% of our job is cleaning up poo, but we don't mind.

    6. But it's never OK to call our work unskilled.

    7. It's incredibly hard to resist taking animals home.

    Which means most of us have a heck of a lot of pets. Sometimes we kid ourselves by saying we're going to "temporarily" foster a cat or dog we're particularly fond of, and then end up permanently adopting them.

    8. A surprisingly large number of visitors just start sobbing as soon as they come in.

    They're overcome by emotion when they see the cages and react to the fact the animals are behind bars. It's OK though, they really are fine and well cared for.

    9. The very best part of our job is having a previously terrified animal start to trust you and begin to bloom.

    Watching dogs and cats transform from terrified things into happy, friendly, and loving pets thanks to our hard work is wonderful, and it's what motivates us the most. The first time the animal you've been working with for months approaches you voluntarily, purrs when it sees you, or lets you pat them is amazing.

    10. It can be hard to say goodbye to dogs and cats you've looked after for a long time.

    It should be the best part of our job, and sometimes it is, but you miss them when they leave. We often have a lot of say in who gets to rehome our charges though, and watching them go home with the "ideal" family really helps soften the blow.

    11. So we love it when people bring our ex-residents in for a visit.

    People sometimes think that we won't remember them, but we almost always do! What's even better is that they almost always remember us, particularly the dogs.

    12. Loads of people return pets they've rehomed without even giving them a chance.

    13. We're always really disappointed when visitors think Staffordshire bull terriers are "vicious".

    14. It's even more disappointing when pets get passed over because they're "ugly".

    It's can be a bit infuriating when we put a pedigree fluffball up for adoption and it gets snapped up in an hour, especially when the less cute (but equally loving) dog next to it has been with us for over a year. Unfashionable pets deserve homes too.

    15. We occasionally have to turn down potential adopters.

    Some pets and owners really aren't suited for each other. If we know a dog has separation anxiety and you're planning to leave it alone most of the time, we can't let you have it. The same goes for young couples who have only been dating for a week and decide to get a puppy together. Maybe leave it for a few months!

    16. A few customers won't take no for an answer, and try to fib and bully their way into getting a pet.

    17. People often try to rehome puppies and kittens as surprise Christmas gifts in December.

    18. But what's worse is the people who dump their pets just before Christmas, and their excuses.

    "My mum's staying and she doesn't like dogs," is one excuse. "Her food is too expensive and I want to be able to buy presents" is another. It's pretty shocking.

    19. Although the excuses people use at other times of year are almost as shocking, to be honest.

    20. We cry at work way more often than you'd think.

    21. But our passion is stronger than our heartache.

    Our job might be hard, pooey, and sad at times, but we do it because we genuinely care about animals and we know that they need us. We're always there for them, and the passion and love we have for our furry charges help keep us going.

    22. And meeting people who genuinely love animals and want to adopt them definitely brightens our day.

    This post was put together with the help of staff at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home in Scotland. Click here to meet their cats and dogs, or you can donate here.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form