Last Saturday, the kids (with Emma in the lead) talked me into taking them to the Alameda City Animal Shelter. I’ve lived in Alameda for fifteen years and never could figure out where this animal shelter was that I kept hearing about. So the kids decided to show me. The shelter is actually down a tiny side street on the estuary end of Grand Street, right next to the Alameda City Maintenance Service Center.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I suppose I was a little surprised to see it full. The shelter is a bustling enterprise with a lot of volunteers. Through the main doors is the office and administrative area. Through a door to the right, down a short hall and through another door is the shelter itself. The dog area is around the outside with the cat room in the middle of the building.
There are a bunch of pit bulls in the dog area, each in its own cage. Cute little things just waiting to rip your throat out or eat your children. It was very telling that probably a third of the available dogs were pit bulls. A big chunk of the rest were chihuahuas.
The dogs all had this excited look look and barked hopefully when our little tribe passed by. When I mentioned this to one of the volunteers, she told me that one of the jobs of the volunteers is to acclimate the animals to humans so they’ll be pleasant and more attractive for adoption. There was a lot of tail wagging.
The cat room was also full of animals who seemed to be dying to get out and play with us. So we did. The kids favorite thing was the laser pointer that projected a red mouse that the cats chased around.
Emma found a cute little dog named Rusty that was neither a pit bull nor a chihuahua. He was actually a German Shepherd mix. Emma begged. I smiled and said, “Go home and ask your mom!” At that point, the kids realized there was no hope. They sighed resignedly, we thanked our hosts and headed home.