An overworked kennel worker and caregiver of wet noses and tails with numbers laments the constant challenge of finding an open cage for new arrivals. “One goes out the door and animal control brings in two more,” he said and looped the leash around another shaggy neck.

Animal shelter staff sees the sad and sometimes tragic results of pets without homes in our throwaway society.  The friendly ones with and without microchips that no one comes to claim. Breeds banned and shunned without exception. Sickly kittens born to a dying mamma or abandoned before they’re weaned. Senior pets with years of love yet to give, surrendered for convenience, rescued from a city street or a rural road.

So we celebrate the big and little victories. Aptly-named “Bella” the beautiful white Husky who howled in her kennel for the family that abandoned her, then pranced proudly beside the adopter who promised to give her a good, forever home. “Gus” the emaciated orange tabby, liberated from the zip tie that cruelly cut into the skin of his throat, now purring at the touch of the loving pet parent who had never before cared for a cat.

From heartbreak to joy, unfolding stories witnessed, told, remembered.

As development manager, my job raising money isn’t easy. Donations are gifts. They’re not a given. But gifts help kennel workers care for wet noses and tails with numbers that may or may not find homes.  And that’s a much tougher job.