Before there was Katelin and the team there was Jo and Chris*. Both had helped me to run dog walks and were around to help me think out the beginnings of a plan as to how volunteers might help at KAPS.
Chris was on her way home in a couple of months, after fostering both dogs and cats and having them adopted into good homes whilst teaching English. She was excited about going home and starting at university, where she would go on to nursing school and then on to a career in nursing.
That day we had rather more people turn up for a dog walk than normal. We had managed to empty all the cages. Chris asked me where she could get another dog and I turned to the room. I don’t know why I hadn’t considered taking them before!
We opened the door and like something out of a movie this little Shih Tzu launched himself over the step and, I think, immediately rolled over.
Chris took this little happy boy for a walk that day and he flirted with her shamelessly the whole way around. He rolled over for a tummy rub at every opportunity, when he wasn’t on his back he was strutting his stuff with his tail held high and a wide smile on his face.
We returned to the shelter and on the way up the stairs Chris said to me ‘I think this is my dog’. The match couldn’t have been more perfect, Mitchell was the most happy-go-lucky dog I ever came across and Chris was also always happy, friendly, and looking for the good bits.
After the walk we sat in the office to discuss it with Miss Yee. This was one of the good dogs, from her personal stash, I knew she might be a bit worried about letting him go. But she had seen Luna go from strength to strength and she had met Chris regularly for dog walks.
Sunnan helped her tell us Mitchell’s story, or as much of it as she knew. He was a good dog. She didn’t know about his life before, but he had been in the shelter for eight years.
Eight years! That was the beginning of my vow to get everyone of them out of that room. I knew she was trying to do right by them, but eight years in one room, I couldn’t imagine. You would never know though, Mitchell never appeared traumatised by his past, rather he embraced his future, wholeheartedly.
Chris took Mitchell home that day.
*Obviously changed those names!