Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Day in the Life of a Kennel Worker

It's not as easy as people make it seem. Which is probably why a lot of the people we hire don't last too long. They come in with the mind set that all they will be doing is playing with dogs, and picking up after them.

Nope. Sorry. There is a lot more to the job then that.

While, yes, we do play with the dogs, we have a whole other list of responsibilities. Which include, cleaning the enclosures 3 times a day. Vacuum and mop, and if it's really bad, scrubbing it down. We also have to make sure the right dog gets the right food, especially if they have food allergies. We also have to know how to properly medicate a dog, whether it be by pill or injection. We also have to know how to administer minor medical care, like cleaning a scratch or bandaging a paw. Giving baths and nail clippings is something we do too. And we always have to be alert, especially when the dogs are outside and playing. One of the dogs could push another one too far and a fight breaks out. You have to be ready for that. I have a few scars from breaking up dog fights. Nothing terrible, but pretty noticeable.

You also have to go in with the mentality that you will get bit at some point or another. And you will, whether its just a nip, or one where you have to get stitches, you should expect to get bit. I'm not saying you should walk around terrified of every dog, but you should learn the signs of a stressed/scared dog who may lunge out. Usually their ears will go back, their tail may be low, wagging slowly, and they might be licking their lips a lot. There are some dogs who will go completely still and just stare at you. When this happens you can usually sense the tension, and it would be in your best interest to walk away. And one thing you should never ever ever do when meeting a dog for the first time is look them in the eyes. They take it as you challenging them. So it's a totally horrible idea!

Cleaning takes up a good chunk of the day, also spraying down the outside runs with disinfectant, keeping the facility clean and looking nice for when tours come through, it can get to your body. Not to mention if you are not used to being on your feet all day, it is a huge change! You will go home from your first day and fall right to sleep! And it will be the best sleep in your life!

It's a really fun job to have. And stuff like this:
And this:
And also this:

Make it completely and totally worth it :)

Now all of what I just said, it just a fraction of the tasks we do. It doesn't count the cooking-yes we cook treats for the dogs (and cats!)-doing the laundry, washing dishes, and other little side tasks to make sure everything looks good and is running smoothly.
It's a job where....if you don't have the drive or love animals, and are just in it for  the paycheck, you won't last. But just look at those faces up there! How could you not love that? :)


  1. I'd just like to say, I really appreciated your post on the pitbull stigmatism, & then your post on kennel workers! I work at an animal shelter, so I see the hard work & grime rather then just the pretty! I'm Dani, btw !

  2. ACK I haven't been on this blog in AGES xD lol. And you're SO welcome! It all just makes me so angry! I don't like when people say working in kennels isn't a "real" job. If they only knew, right? lol