M.A.D.D. 2013 – Spokanimal Tales

Posted on by Jerry

For those who volunteered at Spokanimal and Pine Meadow Farms for our Make a Difference Day in Spokane, thank you for the hard work!  I believe that we once again surprised the organizations we volunteered at by how much were able to accomplish in one day while still having a great time and sharing some food, fellowship, and fun.  With that, I thought we might try a bit of a different fun take on how we spent our day at Spokanimal (I spent my day there and can tell the story), and what it might be like for the animals brought into the facility!


Part 1 – The Grass Is Always Greener

The fence.  Only 4 feet high.  What had they been thinking?  He dug into the soft green turf, his manicured paws digging in, a runner set on his blocks ready to launch himself over the last hurdle to sweet freedom and a life unknown.  He lived for it.  Not ready to be caged, all 45 lbs of Sparky sped towards and jumped over the fence in one graceful bound.

He could take his time now.  The confines of his outdoor prison were gone, the memory fading like the time he’d accidentally chewed through the couch.  

Tongue lolling to the side, Sparky set out at a brisk trot, ready to make new friends, maybe find a meal discarded by one of the more careless humans.

Not Sparky. This was Melanie, the easiest dog in the world to bathe.

The day wore on.  His tongue slapped the side of his face like a limp noodle, his trot neither brisk nor quick.  What had started out as an adventure had become confusing, the sights and sounds of this new world leaving him stranded in a place he didn’t know with people who were not his master.

“Here, boy”, came the voice, cutting through the sweltering heat of the afternoon.  Sparky’s ears perked up.  His master?  But no, the scent told him this was no human he knew.  Friendliness and a little anxiety were all he recognized, sniffing the air.  Maybe this man would give him a treat and scratch his ears.  Why was he holding a stick?  Did he want to play fetch?  It was an awfully long stick.

Usually quick, Sparky’s afternoon lethargy failed to warn him before the noose dropped around his head.  His struggle was brief.  The human had trapped him, but in his panic he felt relief.  The human no longer smelled anxious, only satisfied that he had done his job well.  Perhaps he would take Sparky back home.  Had Sparky been able to read the letters on the side of the truck as he was led in the back, he would have made out the words “Spokane Animal Control”.


Part 2 – There Is No Grass In A Cage

Hunter loved rolling over on his back once he got washed!

The day’s tasks lay waiting, ready for the attack by motivated Career Path Services’ employees.  The mission was Spokanimal, to clean, paint, and wash their way to a better place for the stray cats and dogs in Spokane County.  Weeds flaunted their weediness by standing straight and tall in a flowerbed that had been designated a no-man’s land for all but flowers, and shrubs.  They had to be pulled.  Dogs had to be washed, and given belly rubs at any cost.  Brenda would do this eagerly, even when the dogs insisted on going and rolling around in the dust and brambles of the old dog park immediately afterwards.  Like a bird set to dust his wings free of  parasites, these dogs would wriggle on their backs through the landscape, victorious Olympians doing the backstroke through a sea of dirt and pinecones.

It wasn’t enough to tear the weeds from their tracts of earth, or lay down wheelbarrows full of bark to replace the green invaders.  A highspeed team of individuals moved in to cut hundreds of surgical drapes for the injured kitties that required surgery to make them ready for placement into a new home.  No one was without purpose; even our most injured team member, Paul, worked with deft hands to cut, fold, and stack these life-giving cloths.  The 26-mile marathon he had run only the day before was mere child’s play compared to the need these animals had, and he wasn’t about to let his new-found friends down.  The ASCPA and Sarah McLachlan couldn’t have been prouder at that moment.

Relief arrived at midday.  The morning team would not have to finish these tasks alone.  Caryn, Tessa, and Cassandra had reported for painting duty, rollers in hand.  The unpainted walls were not safe.  No door, no cat, and no dog were left untouched while their brushes dripped with paint.  Their victory was completed; their hard work appreciated by all.

All of the work was not without reward; dogs were walked, their ears scratched.  Some were adopted outright, and many of the intake cages lay empty; a good sign that the people of Spokanimal and its volunteers were winning the fight against animal abandonment.  Brenda herself found it hard to walk away from Hunter, the lab mix that captured everyone’s heart and left all pondering the family capital it might cost if they brought another dog home.  The end of the day saw victory, not only in the achievements of the team’s labors, but by the goodwill of Career Path Services donating $500 to the organization, the proverbial cherry on top of a fantastic day’s efforts.


Thank you to everyone who showed up, and even greater thanks to those that stayed back and kept everything running.  With everyone actively engaged, I think we managed to run Spokanimal out of ideas for what else we could do that day!  Want to see more pictures of the days events?  Of course you do!  Check out the photo gallery and more on our Facebook page!

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