A Typical day for kennel techs starts at 8 am. After everyone gets in and gets their foster animals situated, First things first, FOOD. Everyone is ready to eat and get their morning loves. While food is being prepared any dogs that need anything special that morning is discussed and a plan formed. As food is being handed out all dogs are looked at and evaluated for immediate needs. Medications for sick animals are given out shortly after breakfast. After all the dogs have been fed and medicated, cleaning begins. All food and feces are removed from the area, and fresh water and clean blankets are given. While in the kennels with the dogs they are evaluated further for medical or behavioral issues that need to be addressed, and of course, there are kisses and cuddles to be had! Once the morning routine is finished, work is far from over! There’s always laundry, dishes, poop to be scooped and enrichment and further evaluation to give!
It’s time to spray the drains from spraying the kennels, but all of the drains on one building are clogged, so the team sets to work to unclog the drains, up to our elbows in poop water doing all we can to unclog the drain so a plumber doesn’t have to be called, after some time, we finally get it! Back to normal work we go!
It isn’t even lunch yet and Intake calls, there’s a puppy that’s been found as a stray and needs some TLC, he is covered in fleas and ticks, from ears to toes, as well as emaciated. After he is in our system and had all the proper medications he gets his name, Scrappy-Doo, then we bathe and pick any ticks we can find off, he then goes to a nice quiet area until the end of the day, where he will go home with a kennel tech as a foster, which happens a lot. A few other dogs make their appearance throughout the day, we help with intake, evaluate, photograph, and get them squared away with food, water, and a warm bed.
We never know the temperament or personality of the dogs animal services bring in, their past, or what humans have done to them before they made their way to us. It’s our job to figure this out, to find out who that dog is, what it likes and doesn’t like. We are the ones that tell their stories with our voices and help them find their fur-ever homes! There’s a dog that’s never been on a leash before, an emaciated one that thinks we’re going to take its first meal in a while away after giving it to them, a scared mom and puppies that don’t trust us, puppies with skin issues that need medicated baths, a little senior who doesn’t want to eat.
Intake calls again, an owner is waiting up front for their dog that was found and brought here! We take the dog up, elated that it’s going home with mom or dad! Once the happy tail is out the door the kennel that dog was in needs to be scrubbed and sanitized and prepared for the next dog in need!
Between morning and lunch, dogs that need special care receive it, the scared ones that don’t want to eat, the ones that don’t know what a gentle pet is like, the ones that don’t know what a leash or a toy is, the ones that need to be bathed. We have dogs we have to take over to the clinic to get medical attention, started on medicine and emaciated dogs that need their extra meal. Love and compassion are a big part of the Kennel Tech job most people don’t talk about. We talk to people interested in certain dogs and tell them a little about them. On pretty days dogs get to go outside in play yards, and in playgroups and play together! We have photoshoots and let the dogs teach us about them and what they can do and what they like and don’t like! And there’s always something that needs cleaned or sanitized in between all this!
It’s getting close to the end of the day, it’s dinner time, bowls are being handed out, and kennels cleaned once more with blankets, beds and waters being checked. Medications are given as needed, and the temperatures are good. They are all quietly tucked into bed as the lights are turned off until the next morning.
As kennel techs, our jobs don’t stop when we walk out these doors. Most of us have fosters at home and always take work home with us. We give our blood, sweat and tears to these animals every day. We show up rain or shine, and even on holiday, weekends. Our job doesn’t stop. We don’t do it for the money, or because it’s “just a job.” This is not just a job to any of us, this is our passion. Every day we wake up and do it again, never knowing what the day might hold. We do it because they need us, we do it because they have no voice and we do. We do it because they just need love, and we can give them that. We don’t work a 9-5 like most people, and our job is never the same day-to-day. It takes a special breed of person to work in an environment such as an animal shelter.
In a perfect world, there would not be overflowing animal shelters everywhere. As long as there are “unwanted”, “unloved” or abused animals in need, there will always be kennel techs with a passion for helping, healing and loving the certified good fur babies of the world!
Ambi - Kennel Tech Lead