Follow along with an OHS volunteer as she welcomes Mr. Beefy, a Boston terrier mix, to OHS as part of a recent Second Chance transfer from a shelter in need of assistance.
Mr. Beefy slowly steps out of his crate, blinks his eyes and buries his head in the back of my leg. He looks around at the other people in the room as they coax other dogs out of their crates with treats and soothing sounds. He’s obviously unsure. Then comes that magic moment when his canine brain decides to trust me, and he follows me out into the night to find a patch of grass.
Mr. Beefy is one of a few dozen dogs and cats who were transported by truck to OHS that night. They came from California shelters as part of the Second Chance program. OHS began the Second Chance program in 2001 to make use of available space at its shelter in Portland to help animals from other, overcrowded shelters on the West Coast. Mr. Beefy is about to find out how the well-oiled Second Chance transfer machine works.
I decided to volunteer with the program earlier this year, after adopting my own Second Chance pet from OHS. I was welcomed by an extremely dedicated group of volunteers and staff, all willing to work late into the night (and sometimes into the next morning) to get each group of Second Chance arrivals settled in and ready for adoption.
After his first Portland potty break, I walk Mr. Beefy through the rest of the intake process. First we get his weight (not so beefy, actually, for a Boston terrier mix—just about 25 pounds), then a volunteer photographer takes a glamour shot for the OHS adoption website. After the photo shoot, he meets a couple of veterinary students (more about our partnership with Oregon State University here) who give him a health check, vaccinations, flea treatment and some cuddles. Then we head to the kennels, where there’s a bowl of food and a cozy bed waiting. He has a meet-and-greet with a few other dogs to find a compatible roommate before settling in for the night, dreaming about his future family.
Volunteers do everything from driving the transport trucks to paperwork; from scheduling spay and neuter surgeries to kennel prep; to the literal dirty work—cleaning out crates with a pressure washer.
The night goes by in a blur of activity, punctuated by laughter and lots of barking. We start off in gowns and gloves to safely handle the puppies, then move on to the adult dogs, carrying those who don’t know how (or just don’t want to) walk on leash.
We do whatever we can to make these animals comfortable during an undeniably stressful day, whether it’s giving them lots of love or just some space to calm down. And that’s really the best part—getting to know new arrivals like Mr. Beefy, seeing them settle in and knowing their next stop is a new home.
Note: Mr. Beefy was adopted shortly after his arrival at OHS. Happy tails!
Contributed by Jamie Kline, OHS Volunteer