A Day In The Life: Beagle BudsMarch 29, 2019
Story by Olivia Ingle
Photos by Daniel Vasta
On any typical morning walking through the kennel at the Dubois County Humane Society in Jasper, one is greeted with a chorus of barks.
The dogs know their day is about to begin when the first volunteers arrive between 8 and 9 a.m.
On this particular day, March 21, those volunteers are Janet Sendelweck of Jasper and Lauren Hayes of Otwell. Both are animal lovers. And both enjoy their time at the local shelter.
Kennel Supervisor Linda Korn is there to help, too.
While Janet and Linda each take a dog out to walk one at a time, Lauren busies herself preparing the pooches’ breakfast inside a kitchen area just off the kennel.
On the other side of the kitchen is another, smaller kennel area meant to house four or five dogs that are maybe shy or don’t interact as well with the others.
That’s where you’ll find the inseparable pair Roscoe and Joel, two of the six beagle mixes in the shelter’s care on this day.
According to the American Kennel Club’s most recent ranking of popular dog breeds, which was released earlier this month, the beagle is the sixth most popular. It is the only breed that has made the top 10 in every decade since record-keeping began in the 1880s.
With the breed’s popularity, Linda isn’t sure why the humane society has so many.
Both Roscoe and Joel have been at the shelter since last summer. Some of the shelter’s other beagle mixes have been there just as long.
“I just don’t know why they’re not getting adopted,” Linda says.
Linda and Janet take Roscoe and Joel out for their morning walk on leashes to relieve themselves. The duo isn’t what the shelter calls a “bonded pair,” which are pairs of dogs that might cry without one another. But, it’s known that Roscoe and Joel get along well, and they’re often matched up due to that reason.
Once outside, it’s monkey see, monkey do for the two dogs. If one smells something, the other must smell it.
Joel, who is 4 years old, is known around the shelter as the beagle with a little extra something around his middle.
“Everyone spoils him with treats,” Linda says.
He wasn’t that way when he first came to the shelter, but now there’s no doubt he’s fed well.
He was a stray and was taken to a southern Indiana animal boarder before coming to the Dubois County Humane Society in May 2018.
Because of his past, Joel also suffers from bouts of anxiety.
Then there’s Roscoe. He’s smaller than Joel, has an underbite that makes anyone chuckle just a bit, and although he’s pushing 50 in dog years, he has more spunk than he knows what to do with.
He came to the humane society last July as an owner surrender.
There are 22 dogs at the shelter, and four are being fostered outside the shelter. Thirteen cats also call the shelter home; 10 are in foster homes.
Once Roscoe and Joel come back inside, it’s time to eat their kibble.
Joel decides not to eat right away, and sullenly sits on his bed.
Roscoe, on the other hand, digs right in. But, not without distractions. He eats some of his food and then leaves through the doggy door at the back of his kennel to bark at other dogs in the yard.
After breakfast, Roscoe and Joel go outside again for some time in the yard while their cages are cleaned. The volunteers clean a couple of kennels at a time while rotating the dogs outside.
Janet and Linda walk Roscoe and Joel to the side yard, which is fenced and has some straw to keep the mud at bay. There are multiple toys for the dogs to play with.
Roscoe, again, is the wild one, while Joel is a bit more reserved. Roscoe runs all over the yard and barks at every new dog that comes outside. Joel gingerly walks around smelling things, occasionally interacting with his rambunctious counterpart.
Meanwhile, Janet cleans the beagles’ kennels. Their water bowls get cleaned, and fresh water added; the kennels get bleached and squeegeed, and the beds get wiped down. Janet also adds a freshly laundered blanket on top of each bed.
Linda says “just about everything” at the shelter is donated — things such as cleaning supplies, the blankets, food, treats.
Adoption fees are $100, however, that money and more is spent on veterinary fees for each dog, making donations imperative.
When Roscoe and Joel return from the yard, Roscoe has allergy medication waiting for him. Janet hopes to trick him by sticking his pill inside half a hot dog.
“You little stinker,” Janet tells him.
“Roscoe ate the hot dog and spit his pill out,” Janet says to Linda and Lauren.
“You silly,” Linda says.
Janet tries again with another half of a hot dog, and is successful.
She then looks at Joel inside his kennel and laughs. He didn’t want to eat, but he’s gnawing on a bone.
“Joel found his bone,” she says.
“Joel dreams of his bone,” Linda adds.
The women move on with cleaning other kennels, and Roscoe and Joel are left to themselves.
Shortly after 11 a.m., Janet realizes Roscoe got sick inside his kennel, so she goes to clean it up and retrieves him a fresh blanket.
She and Roscoe have a special bond, because he lived with her for a week when he had a sore foot and needed some rehabilitation.
“So, he’s my bud,” she says.
“You want kisses?” she asks Roscoe while petting him inside his kennel. “You want attention, don’t you?”
After spending some time with Roscoe, Janet is finished volunteering for the day.
The shelter’s office hours are noon to 6 p.m. on weekdays, so the office staff begins to arrive. The shelter also recently hired a veterinary technician, Shelby Smoot of Nashville, Indiana, to tend to ailments in the hopes of cutting down on veterinary costs.
That afternoon, Joel goes on an adventure — Dog Day Out. The program allows the public to take a dog from the humane society on an excursion of sorts to get them out and about and socializing.
Linda says the shelter staff often suggests people take Joel, since he needs the exercise. On this particular day, Joel goes on a stroll at the Riverwalk. Roscoe stays at the shelter.
But, when Joel returns, the two beagles get some extended time in the yard.
Roscoe plays rough, nipping at Joel’s ears and face. Trying to deflect, Joel rolls onto his back.
The dogs both walk over to the outdoor water bowl and simultaneously take a drink.
Then, it’s back to roughhousing. Roscoe grabs a tennis ball before Joel quickly chases after him.
They remain in the yard until early evening.
Meanwhile, humane society volunteers and staff keep up with shelter operations, such as adoptions (94 dogs and cats have been adopted so far this year), cleaning the yards, laundry and other tasks.
Anna Payne, who works weekdays in the shelter’s front office, says it’s currently the shelter’s “slower season,” but an average of 25 people still come in to the shelter daily for various reasons. During busier seasons, she says close to 100 people may visit.
The front office closes at 6, but the animals’ day is still far from over.
More volunteers come in for the night duties, which include walking and feeding the dogs, filling their water bowls, changing out their blankets and wiping down their kennels. This all happens from about 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Once their bellies are full and they’ve been outside, it’s time for the dogs to curl up for the night. When they wake, a new and exciting day is ahead, a day closer to finding their forever home.
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