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A loving and furry day inside San Diego's busiest animal shelter

The Humane Society offers pandemic pet tips to animal owners who missed veterinarian appointments.

SAN DIEGO — Millions of Americans adopted pets during the pandemic and now it's time to take care of those animals. 

In this Zevely Zone, I visited the San Diego Humane Society for some friendly tips from some friendly people. The San Diego Humane Society wants to say, "Welcome Back." After more than a year of appointment-only services, they are once again open to the public for people to walk in and adopt a pet.

Credit: San Diego Humane Society

I visited the busiest animal shelter in the county in Morena where veterinarians perform surgeries every eight minutes. 

"This is Mr. Grey. He came in as a stray puppy. We were able to determine that he has a dislocated hip," said Dr. Danielle Clem who was about to perform surgery on the injured puppy. 

A Good Samaritan discovered this little husky named Mr. Grey wandering near the border with a bad limp. 

"Every one of the animals that comes through our shelter is so special and we treat them as if they are our own," said Dr. Clem.  

Credit: San Diego Humane Society

The San Diego Humane Society offers a wide range of programs and services that strengthen the human-animal bond, prevent cruelty/neglect, provide medical care and provide safety net services for all pet families needing assistance with keeping their pets.

The Pilar & Chuck Bahde Center for Shelter Medicine helps about 40,000 pets a year. One table over, someone found a stray pig running loose and brought her in. Never a dull moment at this pet hospital.

 "No, no. Absolutely not. It's a real squeal," said Dr. Daniel Barbour who made sure the next time he sees this runaway pig, the staff will be able to identify her.

 "Yep, she's chipped that's her number," said Dr. Barbour.

Credit: KFMB

Registered Veterinarian Tech, Tarah Conklin, told us it's all in a morning's work. 

"We get iguanas, we've had a monitor lizard we've had bigger pigs than this, snapping turtles, snapping turtles lots of snakes," said Tarah.

Their cup is clearly overflowing, but somehow the staff wakes up every day with a smile on their faces. 

"We love it, I think everyone that is here loves what they do," said Dr. Zarah Hedge. 

She told us the animals are orphans, so it's up to their caring hands to patch them up and find them a home. 

"It feels phenomenal," said Dr. Hedge.

Credit: San Diego Humane Society

During the pandemic, a lot of families adopted new animals but then missed important vet appointments. Most animals are overdue for vaccinations, dental care, and regular checkups. At the Pilar & Chuck Bahde Center for Shelter Medicine alone, veterinarians perform 14,000 spay and neuter surgeries every year.  

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Stray animals have no history, so every day is chance the staff to be the animals' voice. 

"This is the best thing ever, I wake every day and I cannot wait to come to work," said Dr. Elena Kaplan. 

She was helping a kitty with a cold. The cat's fever was broken and soon the kitty will be ready for adoption.

Ten years ago, my family made one of our best decisions ever at the Humane Society.  The Zevely family adopted Dolly and she had brought us so much joy. Dolly has not only grown up but grown into our hearts and lives.

"Mr. Grey, you are a good boy," said Dr. Clem. 

As for the little husky puppy, there was good news; after his hip gets some help, the Good Samaritan who found him wants to adopt him! 

"Oh! You are going to make it. You are going to live," I whispered in Mr. Grey's ear.

Serving San Diego County since 1880, San Diego Humane Society has campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside, San Diego and Ramona.

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The San Diego Humane Society could not provide such a high level of care for each individual animal if it was not for support from the community. By volunteering or donating, you can support the organization's work. To learn about how to help the animals cared for at San Diego Humane Society, click here.

WATCH RELATED: San Diego Humane Society offers free, low-cost training classes for dogs (Jan. 2021)

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