What It's Really Like Working at an Animal Shelter

So recently I started to work at the local county animal shelter to help pay for the cost of my daughters ballet. Now to start we are basically a no kill shelter. The only way we put an animal down is if it is too sick to help or too injured to help. I have been at the shelter a month and my eyes have been opened to the life of a shelter animal.

It’s not all happy times. It isn’t just coming down feeding and loving on the animals. There is a lot more to it. I would say that 98% of the stories that I have are no where near like a Homeward Bound story. Animal runs, animal finds way back home or returned to the owner. I have seen maybe 4 dogs get claimed that have sat at the shelter a few days. The rest nobody comes forward for.

Yes we have our fun and cuties.



These are just 3 of the 15 cats we have at the moment. We have 3 different litters of kittens. One of which we had to nurse back to health and we actually lost one ?

My first week in is when I had my first hard case.

Meet Brea:


She was dropped off to us as being found on the side of the road. She was paralyzed. I sat on the floor with her along with the 2 girls I worked with pet her, loved her, and held her as she had a seizure. Rushed her to the vet. To find out it was rat bait poisoning. They admitted her and started treatment, but it was to late for this beautiful dog. they lost her during the night. In the end we believe the person dropping her off may have actually have been the owner but can not prove it. So as you can see not all cases are happy endings.

We had a littler of puppies come in. signed over from the owner to use. Cute cute babies. We found them a home and out they went. A few days later they come back and say here we thought we had a home for this one and we do not…….

Meet Tony. Cutie isn’t he ? We did find him a place to go to.


And just yesterday we had another dog brought into us. She found him on Saturday. Cared and loved for him until she cold get him to us.

Meet Jonah:


I know a lot of you are a little shocked at how he looks. But trust me this is after the girls bathed and shaved him. He has won over my heart. This boy is so loving and kind hearted how any one could have treated him the way they did is beyond me. Now when we first got him, he is a Shepard mix keep in mind, he was bald from the shoulders back. This was from itching and scratching at the millions of fleas that were on him. From the shoulders forward his hair was matted with blood from the fleas constantly biting him. So after a bath and shaving off all the nasty hair he has got to feel better. I was so anxious to get back to this little boy today and he meet me and my son tail wagging. He sat with my son most of the day. He knows basic commands like sit and shake.

You may be wondering, “Ok Brandi why the sappy post?” Well here it is. If you have a pet I ask you to do 2 things. Spay or neuter them and to get them micro chipped. If all the animals were micro chipped we could get them home. Or track who is abusing them. And then here is a reasoning behind the spay and neuter:


Those 2 things wold help the shelter world out so much!!! There are so many shelters that are not no kill and it breaks my heart to see such kind hearted pets be killed. Had Jonah been taken to a kill shelter he would have been put down. Not us. He is now on the road to recovery. With some much needed TLC from us and time he will be able to find a great home.

I also ask if you are looking for a pet, visit a shelter. Find a pet there. There are so many animals in shelters that would make great pets!

About Brandi Christian

Stay at home mom, Stepmom and Girl Scout Leader with a passion for a healthy lifestyle.

About Taylor Nikaci


  1. Michele

    I also worked at an animal shelter. I did the payroll for them from my home-but had to go there each week to pick up the p/r cards. My heart broke every single time and inevitably there would be tear running down my face by the time I left. I totally agree–get your pet spayed or neutered and don’t let them off the lead-treat them as one of the family-if you ever see animal abuse–report it!!

  2. April Hammond

    It is so nice that you were able to find a job at a shelter. Spaying and neutering are such important things to do to help reduce unwanted pets. I only adopt from shelters and always cry when I go to them. When I lived in NC I volunteered for an animal transport that would help relocate pets so they could find new homes. It was very rewarding.

  3. Liz Mays

    This nearly brought me to tears. I have two rescued pets (cat and kitten) and it kills me to know there are so many more out there that need loving homes. I’m sick over the mistreatment that brings some to the shelters.

  4. Audrey

    What an amazing experience to get to work in a shelter!! They all look adorable, would be so easy to get attached to them.

  5. Neely (@Neelykins)

    I bet its really fun to work around those animals. thanks for the perspective.

  6. Lisa Favre

    These animal photos are so cute that my heart is melting. I have a friend who has considered volunteering at the local shelter.

  7. Adriana Lopez-Martin

    What a wonderful post, thanks for volunteering. This makes a huge difference for the animals and also for the community. I am glad you are doing this keep it up =)

  8. STephanie

    Wow! You are working a wonderful job. I love animals in pictures and then I love them from afar but up close, I son’t know if I would be able to take on a job like this. I think it is awesome.

  9. Dogvills

    They are adorable! I have high respects for those who work at an animal shelter. You are doing a wonderful job and I hope you continue doing this.

  10. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    Animal shelters – even the kill shelters – do excellent work. There are just too many animals and not enough people adopting them. =( That’s why I love adoption so much.

  11. Colleen Lanin

    Ugh. I’m glad there are people out there like you doing good work to make up for all the jerks. I just don’t understand how people can treat animals like things. They are living creatures who absolutely do anything for us. So sad.

  12. Jeanette

    You are an amazing person to volunteer there. I have such a heart for animals I could not handle the terrible stuff there! It is a wonderful that you are doing!

  13. Dee

    I think it would break my heart to see how some animals are treated before the shelters get to them. I do believe in neuter and fixing the females. We have always done that and made sure they were micro-chipped before bringing them home.

  14. heather s-g

    I’ve often thought of volunteering at one of the local animal shelters, but I don’t know if I could take it. Just reading this post brought tears to my eyes. So important to get this message out there, thank you!

  15. lisa

    I would love to work or volunteer at an animal shelter. I am a huge animal lover (we have 7 dogs & cats in our house total) and I would love to help other animals in need.

  16. Melissa

    I work with Louie’s Legacy Animal rescue- we basically go to the shelters and try and take as many dogs and cats that we can find foster homes for until we can then find them their forever homes. I am so glad that you wrote about what happens in these shelters- I feel like the more people know the more it will be impossible to pretend this doesn’t exist and maybe when they are considering getting a pet they will look to a shelter!

  17. tara pittman

    I can imagine it is hard to let these animals go to new homes. I bet you want to keep them all.

  18. Brandy

    I think it’s awesome that you volunteered there! My number one rule for having pets is they have to be spayed or neutered.

  19. Kait

    I’m so happy you posted this! Sometimes I think people want to believe certain things about shelter animals. You have such a big and kind heart for doing work there.

  20. Christy Garrett

    Awwww, I am glad that you are able to help find all the unwanted animals homes. I have three dogs myself. I worked as an animal caretaker at the vet’s office. It is hard work. You have to constantly clean up any messes they make in their cage.I also saw a few animals that had to be put down. It is so hard when that happens.

  21. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    Wow, I think I would really love to work or volunteer at an animal shelter. I really love animals and I think I would enjoy the work! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  22. Melanie Burbage

    I worked a shelter/clinic for a bit and it was so touching. You definitely need to be able to handle the emotion that comes with each animal and it’s always really worth it.

  23. Mitch

    This looks like a rewarding job. I would love to sit and pet some puppies for a few hours some days!

  24. Kelly

    I wouldn’t be able to resist all the cute animals! Thank you for posting this – gives some really good insight!

  25. Amy Jones

    This is definitely a job I would take even if it breaks my heart..!

  26. Meagan

    Those puppies are absolutely adorable.

  27. Sarah

    I have always wondered what it would be like working at a place like this. I can imagine there is some good and sad in working there.

  28. Elizabeth O.

    It’s amazing what people can do in the shelters to give these animals the love that they deserve. I admire you all for doing just that. I can’t imagine why people would hurt them and treat them the way they were treated before they were rescued. I’m glad you’re a no kill shelter and I hope you get all the support that you need.

  29. Cindy Ingalls

    Shelter pets are the best. They will love you forever. It bothers me how poorly people treat animals. I wonder if they treat other humans just as bad. Microchipping is essential, it definitely helps should your dog ever get lost or go missing.

  30. Chavonne Harvey

    I love this post because it’s educational and informative for everyone. I love all animals and never turn away a stray who’s hungry. I’ve seen people who have animals and haven’t gotten them spayed or neutered and they have babies that they can’t take care of, I wish people were more educated about the problem. I love what you are doing at the animal shelter, saving so many lives. Animals are the best!

  31. workoutwithdi

    I used to do work for a rescue organization so I totally get the spay/neuter and chipping. I’d also add in adopt don’t shop! Too many animals in shelters, reduce the need for breeding by adopting from shelters and rescues!

  32. Marcie W.

    I am going to be honest and admit I did not fully read this post, as it was just too much for me to handle. Thank goodness there are brave souls like yourself who are strong enough to help precious animals in need.

  33. Melanie Smith

    I want to adopt a lot of animals, but my house is so small for that. But you are doing a great job! Congratulations!

  34. Nancy at Whispered Inspirations

    I volunteered at an animal shelter years ago and it was such a good experience!

  35. Charlotte

    I 100% agree with this. I work for a UK cat re-homing charity and the best thing you can do for your cats is spay or neuter them. People think they can make money for these animals but if you care for kittens properly and vaccinate them like you are supposed to people would know that if anything they are more expensive. So many aniimals in shelters there is no point in going to a private home as it just encourages more people to do it! I hate kill shelters too! all animals deserve life unless they are suffering and it is humane to put them down. Great Work!!

  36. Rose Pingol

    Oh! I’ve never been tried to worked at an animal shelter but if I have a chance, I would love to go. My heart is really fell to animals especially to the cats.

  37. Jenn

    Yes, this is so true. Our daughter works at an animal shelter, and I have volunteered a few times. It’s such good work.

  38. Jaime Nicole

    It’s so heartbreaking. I have a rescue pup that is my third child. Don’t shop, folks, adopt! It makes a huge difference!

  39. valmg @ Mom Knows It All

    If I worked at a shelter I am sure I’d want to bring all of the animals home. It sounds like it will be a good experience for your kids to have as well.

  40. Gwendolyn Mulholland

    I have not worked in an animal shelter but volunteered with several animal rescues. It is so important to spay/neuter your pets and to adopt instead of shop. So many people don’t realize how many animals are sitting waiting for a home. They are a lifetime commitment not a fly by night decision.

  41. Toughcookiemommy

    Our dog, Onyx, is actually a rescue animal. I commend the work that they do there rescuing and caring for animals.

  42. Sandy A La Mode

    The cats are toooo cute! I wish I could volunteer at a shelter more often.xo,
    SandySandy a la Mode

  43. rachel ferrucci

    We have a dog and 2 cats, all fixed but we don’t have them micro-chipped. I really need to do that. They are all so cute I want them all

  44. Ana De Jesus

    God that breaks my heart to think of the animals people never come back for or never choose. Its like high school all over again :/

  45. Jocelyn Cañasa Brown

    What a great post. Really awesome to get that info out there. I wish I had ore time to volunteer at our local animal shelter.

  46. Kimberly

    I’m not sure I’d be strong enough for the job. I’d want to take one home or be an emotional mess with one that was struggling. But I love how you described the warm heart it gives you.

  47. Vera Sweeney

    Those cats are adorable!!! I would love to volunteer at a shelter like this, though I am a bit afraid I will want to adopt them all!

  48. victoria

    They are so adorable! My son would asking me to buy him a cute pet like these

  49. Michelle @ DishesAndDustBunnies.com

    Once I have more time when my son enters school next year I would love to do some volunteering. I think volunteering at an animal shelter would be a great experience!

  50. Melissa Dixon

    When I was a vet tech I worked at an animal hospital that had an agreement with animal control where they took in all of the strays, sick animals, and impounded ones. They were given 5,7,10 day holds and then euthanized. I was amazed at how many animals were never given a chance. I rescued hundreds of animals during my time there that nobody else cared about and I have been doing it ever since. It’s quite a different perspective you get once oyu are in the inside.

  51. Momina Arif

    Animals are a blessing and its good to see people treating them kindness and respect

  52. Jeanine

    I couldn’t do it. I’d want to take every single one of them home and I’m one of those people who gets REALLY attached to animals VERY quickly. My poor heart couldn’t take it!

  53. Ann Bacciaglia

    It is so important to support your local shelter. I like to go take the dogs for walks. They are always so happy to get out for some exercise.

  54. Beeb Ashcroft

    I have a friend who does rescue and she is always in tears because the animal neglect and abuse is so great that she can’t keep up and wishes she could.

  55. Nikki Wayne

    I’ve never been in an animal shelter. This sounds a very noble job, I salute workers in shelters.

  56. Rebecca Bryant

    Son has volunteered at an animal shelter fro 2 years now and both our cats came from a shelter. It really is an amazing thing to see these animals survive adn thrive in their forever homes.

  57. Yolanda @ SeeingItTheirWay.com

    It takes a really strong person to work at an animal shelter. Hopefully your post reaches those who are part of the problem. Keep up the great work.

  58. Donna

    This saddens me, deeply, but I am so glad you are sharing this. We’ve always spayed or neutered any dog we’ve ever had… our Baxter was neutered in fact, when he was barely 12 weeks old, because our vet encouraged it. I hope all the fur babies at the shelter you work at can find good loving homes. I know it has to be a gut-wrenching job for you many days.

  59. Kand

    It breaks my heart to see animals who have been neglected. I would not be able to work in a shelter. I would want to bring them all home to love on!

  60. Cassandra @ Powered By BLING

    Kudos for giving back by helping these animals. I’ve never been to an animal shelter (animal allergies). I can only imagine how you must just want to love them all.

  61. Rachel The Everyday Mom Life

    Bless you for working here. My furbaby came from a shelter as a puppy and they had so many dogs it was crazy. I wish I could have taken all of them home.

  62. Christine H

    Thank you for all you do. My heart aches every time I see a lonely, scared and abandoned animal. Sometimes I just wish I could take them all, but I know I can’t. I really wish more people would adopt instead of buy, and to think very carefully before making such a big commitment.

  63. Terri Ramsey Beavers

    It’s so sad that so many animals end up in a shelter. I always have my pets fixed and I need to see about getting the micro chips. Even though I keep my pets with me 24/7 something could happen to them.

  64. Rachel Mouton

    My oldest daughter wants to volunteer in our local shelter. I would think it is hard to leave all of those cuties every day <3

  65. Brianne

    Such a sweet and real post. We have two dogs now, but if we ever get another one we are 100% adopting from an animal shelter.

  66. Lisa Rios

    You are doing a great job working at an animal shelter & this could have been a great experience for you. Though I don’t have pets at home, I love cats so much and these cats look so cute & adorable.

  67. Wendy

    What a great way to give back to the world! Love looking at all these adorable animals.

  68. Louise Bishop

    Thank you so much for loving the animals enough to help them! Rescue isn’t easy and it’s very heartbreaking for the mot part.

  69. Tami

    I don’t think I could work at an animal shelter simply because I wouldn’t be able to cope with all the tragic endings. I commend you for being a part of their lives.

  70. The Mad Mommy

    I always tell people rescue, don’t shop! There are so many great animals that need loving homes! I am the proud mama of 2 rescues!

  71. Cynthia @craftoflaughter

    I am so glad there are no kill shelters. So many animals need them! I love our rescue kitty we got!

  72. Roxanne

    My kids and I have volunteered at the ASPCA in our area. I see first hand what the volunteers do to make animal lives better. Simply amazing!

  73. Rorybore

    It’s so heartbreaking how cruel some people can be to defenseless animals. They are so precious and only want to be our loving companions, and to receive abuse in return – it’s so sad. Thank you for all the loving you give to these beautiful creatures.

  74. Karlaroundtheworld | Karla

    Microchipping’s really the way nowadays. The rat bait incident with Brea is just so unfortunate, I hope she recovers completely. I’d love to cuddle those kittens though!

  75. Mhaan Arambulo (@momyrockinstyle)

    Those are cute kittens! Working at an animal shelter sounds fun. Mhaan | http://www.mommyrockininstyle.com

  76. Theresa

    My daughter volunteers with the local shelter each week for animal adoptions. It is so sad to see the sames dogs coming back week after week that haven’t found a home.

  77. Leigh Anne Borders

    We rescued a pet from the shelter. My heart breaks for those animals, but I am so thankful that there are wonderful people like yourself that works with them.

  78. Terra Heck

    Aww, poor Brea. Those kittens are super cute. You made very valid points about microchipping/spaying & neutering.

  79. Murphy

    I am so glad there are no kill shelters. So many animals need them! I love our rescue kitty we got!!!!!!

  80. Hazel M Hampton

    Once I have more time when my son enters school next year I would love to do some volunteering. I think volunteering at an animal shelter would be a great experience!

  81. Hilton v

    You are doing a great job working at an animal shelter & this could have been a great experience for you. Though I don’t have pets at home i love dog so much.

  82. Patsy

    I am so glad there are no kill shelters. So many animals need them! I love our rescue kitty we got!

  83. rocky

    Such a great post you have here… Thanks for sharing.

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