As social distancing affects the world around us, not much has changed for the animals at the Oregon Humane Society.
This morning, Boone awoke when a volunteer stepped into his kennel for his morning walk. He can be a little nervous, so they knelt down and coaxed him over by speaking softly and offering treats. Boone arrived at OHS on March 11, so he is getting used to the routine now.
Down on OHS’ ¼ mile dog path, Boone whines when he sees another dog, not sure if he wants to say hello or not. When he reaches the pond, he stops short — there’s a duck splashing around and he watches intently. His volunteer ushers him forward, but on the second loop past the pond he stops again to see if the duck is still there. It’s not, and Boone continues on his way.
Back in his kennel, the volunteer loops off his leash and kneels down for some reassuring pets. Boone’s kennel was cleaned while he was away, and he sniffs the new bed on top of his blanket.
Shortly after his walk, a staff member walks through and hands out breakfast to the hungry dogs. Boone gets a bowl full of high-quality wet and dry dog food, stirred to perfection.
On a typical day, OHS will see 200-500 visitors. They walk through the kennels and cattery, speaking to each animal, looking for a connection. Some animals thrive on the attention, standing at the front of their kennel to greet each person. Some are more reserved, resting on their bed or moving to the back of the kennel for some respite from the activity.
Today, there is no traffic. In the kennels and cattery, it’s difficult to maintain distance between people, so they have been closed to the public in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Boone settles in for a mid-day nap, ignoring the tennis ball and stuffed animal that are ready for playtime whenever he is.
Throughout the day, staff and volunteers make their way through the kennels, sitting and playing with dogs. They offer different forms of enrichment, like a frozen Kong, a blanket that was used to pet a rabbit, or a training session working on basic manners like “sit” and taking treats gently.
Later in the afternoon, a staff member steps in to greet Boone. An adopter made an appointment to find a small dog who can hike with them and Boone may be a match. He’s not sure about hiking, and sniffs the person and this new room hesitantly. The staff member and adopter talk while Boone adjusts, giving him time to get comfortable. In the end, he’s not quite the right fit for this adopter, and they both continue their search for family.
Boone returns to his kennel for another nap. Meeting new people can be exhausting, and he is grateful for the break.
Later in the day, a volunteer steps into his kennel and tries bouncing a tennis ball. The bounce is a little spooky and — noticing Boone’s anxiety — the volunteer quickly stops the ball and rolls it away. They usher him forward with treats and step out for another walk. The duck is back at the pond.
Back in his kennel, it’s time for dinner and Boone eats quickly. He can hear the other dogs barking as their dinner is handed out, and considers joining in, but decides he needs to focus on finishing his meal first.
When dinner is done, he settles back in for a nap as the lights turn off around him. It was a quiet day without many people passing in front of his kennel, but a dog is supposed to sleep 14 hours a day, and it’s time for bed.
While this is an uncertain time, the need to rescue homeless, neglected and abused pets like Boone continues — and they are counting on you more than ever. Here are ways you can help pets in need right now.
For the latest updates on our COVID-19 response, visit oregonhumane.org/coronavirus.