Staff and volunteers of the Elmbrook Humane Society will be blogging about what's going on at the society, as well as other observations about life in Wisconsin.
The mission of the Elmbrook Humane Society is to promote the human-animal bond through adoption and education, to provide shelter to homeless animals, and to prevent animal cruelty and neglect. EBHS services the city of Brookfield, the villages of Butler, Chenequa, Elm Grove and Nashotah, and the towns of Brookfield and Delafield. EBHS shelters unwanted pets and strays, and rescues injured domestic animals and wildlife, provides resources for individuals with companion animals and provides Humane Education to schools and civic groups.
Visit our web site at www.EBHS.org.
The other day I wandered out into the reception area and was greeted by a young lady, about 9 years old, armed with a notebook and a pencil. She told me she had a couple of questions for me. I thought maybe she was a young, budding reporter or journalist, and I was not going to take any chances on a bad press story in a school newspaper so I immediately sat down and prepared myself to be grilled.
See, I have met the budding Tim Russerts and Barbara Walters from our community before. Unlike a seasoned reporter, who will try and gently gain your confidence and get you to spill your information about a certain topic, these youngsters immediately ask the tough questions about euthanasia, declawing, and adoption policies without giving you a nice warm up question first.
Fortunately for me, this young lady had only one question for me "How old do I have to be to volunteer?" I get this question a lot, too. Most elementary school kids, especially the girls, would love to spend every hour of the day here. The catch is that if you are between 10 and 15, you must volunteer with a parent. Now, I work at the shelter, so it is easy for me to have my kids involved here. But most parents work a 40 hour work week and do not get excited at the thought of coming in after work or on weekends to clean, do laundry, or socialize animals.
Since this young lady was not old enough to volunteer, I did give her an application to hold on to for her birthday, and asked if she would like a tour of the shelter. Not just the viewing areas, the whole building. She was excited so we went to find her mom and sister to get permission and to invite them along. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy giving tours to kids that are really interested in the shelter.
I took them first to the laundry room which before looked like a regular old laundry room, but through the eyes of these two young ladies it became this exciting hub of domestic activity. Then we went and saw where we house the stray animals, and the animals that will be coming up on to the adoption floor in a few days. They were full of questions about where the animals came from, how they are taken care of, and were excited to see so many animals that they could have never guessed were even in the building.
On to the surgery room and recovery area which in reality is nothing like the really cool operating rooms on Animal Planet, but showing the space to these two kids, it suddenly seemed like it. They were fascinated and interested and asked more questions than most adult visitors to the room. I took them to our outside kennel areas, and they were really impressed with how much time the animals got to spend outside, and loved that they all had their own pool to hang out in.
I had a great time with my new friends, Rae and Anna, and even though I was totally swamped when I ran into them, I genuinely enjoyed every minute I spent with them and was thankful for the respite. Seeing the shelter through the eyes of a visitor is always interesting, but seeing the shelter through their eyes proved to be much more exciting. My place of "work" suddenly became the coolest place in Brookfield, and I was all the more proud to be here.
I was in a meeting the next day when they stopped in, though I would have gladly stepped out for a second to say hello. Instead, I was greeted by two beautiful pictures drawn by them with really nice notes on the back. I hung them on my office door as a reminder of the fun I had that day, and a reminder of how cool the shelter really is for the people we serve.