A Day at the Shelter

All photos taken by Minju Kang

November 24, 2015

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A cloudy morning of Oct. 17, perfect for a day of volunteering outdoors. After a 40-minute drive up to Agua Dulce, the students finally arrive at the Brittany Foundation, a privately-owned and “no-kill” animal sanctuary.

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B.A.R.K. (Benefit All Rejected K-9s) is a club on campus designed to help neighboring shelters with fundraisers and volunteering service. The members of West Ranch club, B.A.R.K. are greeted by Nancy Anderson, owner of The Brittany Foundation. She takes the girls on a tour, introduces all the animals, and demonstrates how to properly clean out the kennels.

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In the back of one section of the shelter, there are around eight small and medium-sized dogs walking around in a gated area. They have fear in their eyes as humans approach them. These animals are “feriles,” as Nancy calls them. Nancy rescued these animals after hearing that they were hoarded with 200 other dogs in a lady’s apartment in Baldwin Park. Having socialization with only dogs, the “feriles” avoid the volunteers. Some have greatly improved in interacting with humans since their transfer to the Brittany Foundation.

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The volunteers move on to see the larger dogs. The Brittany Foundation hosts around 12 large dogs, including pitbulls, which is a breed often unfairly discriminated against.

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From here, the members split up. Three members stay with the large dogs and take them on long walks and clean their roaming area.

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Member Emily Robles picking up dog feces, a job that is not-so-much-fun but must be done.

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Meanwhile, in the small dog area, the other three members are cleaning out kennels. A great thing about the Brittany Foundation is how the dogs live in a spacious area. The dogs’ kennels are huge; each kennel hosts two dogs, and includes a dog-gloo, at least two beds (sometimes even old couches), and many donated toys. Nancy usually opens up the kennels so that the animals can hang around outside in the enclosed area.

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When refilling the water bowls, volunteers must scrub the sides in case of growing algae.

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Walking the dogs is crucial because exercise lessens stress levels.

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Siblings Lucy and Desi eagerly waiting for their turn to get walked.

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After finishing their tasks, the volunteers spend the rest of their time at the shelter playing with the dogs.

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The animal sanctuary truly changes these furry friends’ lives. Kloee was abused by previous owners, but now is a one happy gal.

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Also, the Brittany Foundation specializes in rescuing abused or disabled animals. Here is J-Lo, who was found with an engraved line across her lower back. Nancy speculates the scar to be from the previous owner’s abuse, cutting a wire into her skin. J-Lo will not be able to regrow fur in the scarred area. However, her scar doesn’t stop her from being a total sweetheart.

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Meet MJ, who shares a heart-breaking past. She was hit by a car and her owners did not take her to the vet or give her any care. She is now left with a dysfunctional spine and hind legs. MJ is only two years old, yet she will live the rest of her life struggling to walk. The B.A.R.K. members were especially touched by this energetic and overly-loving dog, and has planned to fundraise for her recovery during the first week of December.

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Precious is another adoptable furry friend at the Brittany Foundation. After being rescued, she has been through Jenny Craig multiple times to control her fluctuating weight.

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Usually, it is uncommon for The Brittany Foundation to host young dogs, but Sophie is a sweet exception. This eight-month-old is overfilled with energy and loves to play fetch and tug-of-war.

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After a successful orientation day at the animal sanctuary, the B.A.R.K. members head back home. B.A.R.K. will bring in a new batch of student volunteers on the upcoming Saturdays.The dogs are left joyful and awaiting for their next visit.

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