When i started, I had a bumper sticker on the van: "The more I see of people, the more I love my dog." The supe made me take it off; it was a little obtrusive. [But] after 15 years, I still see both sides -- understanding the animals' view and the people's view. I don't like cases where both sides lose.
There was this older gentleman whose dog kept getting away. It bit several people in the neighborhood. It wasn't vicious, just hyper. There were warnings, quarantines, and eventually we had to take it into protective custody for evaluation. We found it would bite under certain circumstances, so it wasn't adoptable; we had to put it to sleep. A 79-year-old man. If I could have done something, I would have -- we're a caring organization -- but events conspired against everyone. That night I went to bed and thought, I took a 79-year-old man's dog away and put it to sleep. Awful.
This job is people and animals. A lot of times people get very emotional. We got a call once: "There's a large snake in my pool house." Not to dump on women, but when women call, it's always a large snake. There are no small snakes. She described it as dark. The most common snake around here is the black snake -- not a big deal. She was told, "It probably ate a mouse; it'll move on." Next day she called again: "The snake's still there by the pool." We said, Okay, it's just getting sun; it'll go away when it's ready. The third day, she says, "It's here and it's trying to eat my dog!" Well, if she'd said it was 10 feet long, we'd have come right away! It was someone's pet python.
-- Interview by Ellen Ryan