Sergio’s Volunteer Diary: Tour and Interview
Animal Care Centers of New York City
I arrived at Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) Manhattan office on the Upper East Side for my interview and tour feeling a little nervous. I’m not a big fan of interviews and this was my first time visiting a shelter since I was a kid, so I didn’t know what to expect. As I sat down in the waiting area, I noticed a woman sitting across from me with her young Pit-Bull mix. She looked sad and I thought to myself maybe she is just here to get medical care for her pooch. A little while later, a staffer called the woman into a room next to the reception desk.
Our guide entered and introduced himself to the three of us waiting for the interview and tour. He explained the logistics of the first floor and pointed out that the room next to the reception area was the animal owner surrender room. (That was heartbreaking to hear; it was the room I saw woman from the lobby go into.) The guide told us that staffers interview owners to learn about their animals’ situations; they then do their best to provide assistance to prevent the surrender. I thought that must be a tough job. I can’t imagine having to hear an owner’s emotional story about having to give up their pet because they are unable to care for it.
We walked through a secured door and our guide explained that the first floor had multiple holding rooms to treat animals with contagious diseases: one for dogs, one for cats, and one for kittens needing neonatal care. There are also rooms for the new arrivals waiting for medical exams, a medical exam room, and an exotic animals room.
The second floor is the dog, cat, and rabbit adoption area. Every animal on this floor is ready for adoption. Staffers also have an administrative area to interview potential adopters. Our guide started out by showing us the rabbit room. He told us that for some odd reason there was an overflow of rabbits up for adoption this year!
Our next stop was the cat room. Our last stop of the tour was the dog area. I noticed that the majority of the dogs were Pit-Bull mixes. I asked our guide why this was so and he said it’s primarily because of the public’s misconception about the breed; it’s much harder for them to find a home. Just take a look at this screen grab from the ACC website to get just a hint of how many of the dogs up for adoption are Pitties.
Each animal in the adoption area has an ID card on their crate with the information about their breed, sex, age, when they arrived at the shelter, and a brief story about their situation. This info helps people interested in adoptions learn about the animal.
We entered the volunteer room to begin our interview. Our first question was: how did we hear about ACC? I had done some research on New York City shelters and said I really wanted to work in a shelter that was local. The next question was how do we feel about spaying and neutering? Now that’s easy, I’m a huge supporter. I believe it’s the only way to control the pet population. The last question was regarding euthanasia. That’s personal and all I can say is that there are times when we have no choice but to stop an animal’s suffering and let them be at peace. ACC does its best to place all their animals with the help of the community and their New Hope Shelter partners. The New Hope program is ACC’s proactive community initiative aimed at finding homes for New York City’s unwanted pet population. To accomplish this, ACC establishes and cultivates mutually beneficial and productive relationships with cat, dog, rabbit, and exotic animal placement organizations that assist and partner with ACC in placing animals, many of which may require specialized medical care or behavior training.
I recently received an email stating that I was selected to join the animal care team. The next step toward becoming an ACC volunteer is to complete an in-shelter training session. During this session ACC will review a variety of handling / safety techniques, as well as introducing shelter policies and medical insight.
Stay tuned for my training post!
And click here to learn more about Animal Care Centers of NYC.