SNIFF NOTES: It’s all about the animals


The other day I came out of our staff lounge to find one of our Animal Care Technicians stapling a photo to our Happy Endings board on the wall.

She had the cutest smile on her face and as I walked by she said to me, “Look at my girl.”

The picture she pointed to was a beagle who had been in our adoption kennels a little while ago. She said, “I loved her so much and look how happy she looks now.”

I stood with her for a bit and the pup did have a genuine appearance of canine bliss.

Our Animal Care Technician finished putting the photo up and went back into our adoption kennels to care for the current charges.

The moment stayed with me, though.

Today we had a tour with students from a cyber school and we brought a dog in to see how she would do with a group of people. Molly is an Akita/German mix who is quite shy with new people. She’s a good looking girl who will just need someone to take the time to allow her to trust.

Well, Molly did not want to go too far into the room with the school children and their parents. It wasn’t until one of our Animal Care Technicians came in with her that she felt safe enough to be in the room for a while. She is very attached to the people who care for her and you could definitely see that in her interactions today.

All of this has made me realize that from the top down, this organization is all about our animals. From our board members to our receptionist to our office manager to our animal care technicians, each person is touched by one (or possibly all) of the four-legged friends we serve and it’s evident.

Just the other day, one of our animal care technicians showed me a video she had made of one of our dogs in adoption. The pup was having a grand old time in our outside run with a toy. At one point he actually used his back feet to kick it up in the air so he could chase it again. Hilarious!

She’d set the video to music and really made it incredibly cute.

It was touching.

We have a whole lot of cats in the back office area because they have special needs. We work very hard with all of our animals to give them every chance to get acclimated to shelter life. As a result, sometimes we have what we call “office cats.”

Well there are two boys who share our shelter manager’s office who pretty much have the run of the back office hallway. Pokey and Carmine are both up for adoption, but are special kids. Pokey had a really bad urinary tract infection that required attention and he needed more space to run. Carmine came into us because of his owner’s health. He suffers from seizures and will need to be on medication for the rest of his life.

Just today, they were stretched across our office manager’s desk while she was doing her work, with expressions that sure seemed to convey ownership. When they are allowed to roam the halls, they go absolutely everywhere and when our office manager is in, they know they can do pretty much whatever they want in her office.

Pokey also likes to watch the rabbits in our small animal room. He will actually lie in the hay that we have for our bunnies. I’m not kidding when I say these boys think they own the place.

Then there’s Maude. Heh. Anyone ever watch that show? Our Maude is a 7-year-old calico girl who came in as a stray and can be a bit on the sassy side. She’s just the kind of cat that faces the world on her own terms. Just today, she put her front paws up on my leg as I was typing and gave me a little meow. She’s a real nice girl who just needs someone to understand that some cats just need to be their own kind of cat.

I told a fellow employee a long time ago that the one perk we have with this job is the fact that we get to spend time with sweet, loving animals.

Every day, all of us work tirelessly for the animals in this shelter. That’s truly what our jobs are about and that is evident in the photos on our walls, in the faces of our Animal Care Technicians and the four-legged babies residing in our offices.

When it comes to what’s important to us, at CVAS, this organization will always be about the four-legged babies we love so very much.   

Jennifer Vanderau is the Publication and Promotions Consultant for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter and can be reached at [email protected]. The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at 717-263-5791 or visit the website

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