Service Experience At An Animal Shelter

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 Exploring the sociological implications


Animal shelters are the places where homeless creatures are harbored. These places have been the home for many non human animals that have been abandoned and dumped by their owners. Many animal shelters are based in major cities but currently some are beginning to be established in rural areas. These shelters are increasing in number are from day to day and are becoming increasingly overcrowded, understaffed and under foundered. The animal shelter service presents the question on what should be done to the elderly and injured animals which no one would want to keep in his house. This questions calls for the examination of ethical values in the care of animals in animal shelters.

Animals play a major role in the human society. Animals are used for food purpose, entertainment, family structure, reaction, education science, language and for family structure. Human beings use animal produce in many ways depending on contradictory or ambivalent attitudes they have towards them animals are therefore treated in various ways by different people. Some see animals as commodities such as chicken,  cows and goats while others view animals of particular species as friends such as the dogs, cats and parrots. The way we perceive animals in both the legal and moral status forms the basis of sociological aspects which can in deathly be studies

Purpose

This paper aims at exploring the sociological implications arising from animal shelter service experience. I will present service experiences from my reviews, critique and readings in the reflection of the sociological issues from the care of animals.

Significance of the study

This learning guide and teaching can be a great resource for individuals with the interest to learn more about service experiences in Animal Shelter and also for teaching on society and animals. There are numerous authors who have examined animals within the larger context of social issues. The guide will be in form of annotated bibliography presenting ten journals and online resources on this field.


Arnold Arluke and Clinton R. Sanders (2006), Regarding Animals Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

This became the first book to be written on human-animal relationship as a sociological aspect. The main focus of the authors is on the contradictory and ambivalent ways on how species are viewed by human beings it examines how animals are considered as resources ,pests, and food while other animals species are seen as family members and friends. The book provides in-depth sociological insight from research carried out in primate research laboratories, animal shelter, among dog guide trainers and in veterinary clinics. The findings indicate how we can construct ourselves and construct animals.


From this book, I have learned that animals have a special place in our hearts and minds. This is an aspect that had not studied before; mainly because sociologists have dwelt  much on the aspects on the use of languages as a facility for social interaction. This creates a false believe that animals do not constitute to our social life in any way.  Through this text I am amazed at how animals figure in human feelings and thinking in a prominent way. Aspects like bird watching and fishing influence how people interact with one another giving a true meaning of the importance of these animals. Through the text, I have been educated on the central element played by animal in enhancing peoples culture. They act as symbols. I agree with the author that the study of animals present a means through which we can study human needs and thinking.


The sociological insight we get from the study of animals is how human beings enhance their culture through animals. Cockfighting for example is an example of a culture which   shows the owners personality. The concept of masculinity can be expressed through the cockfighting event depending on the animals prowess. The different views of animals have also s been experienced by the authors. Some have positive notion of animals while some have negative notion. The negative aspects in regard to animals can best be exemplified by the study of stereotypes in which one race can regard other races   as being subhuman and associated with animal like aspects. This can be seen in the historical event of slavery and the way Hitler regarded the Jewish race (Arluke and Sanders, pp163).  Others see animals for economic, recreation and food purposes.


Through the authors I learn that animals should be preserved and taken care of to educate humanity. Through the experiences in Animal shelter, we can observe that animals are species of living nature and just like human beings.  They demand compassion and respect. We also have to uphold the rights of animal through the creation and funding of animal shelter to provide for their needs. We have the responsibility of not killing even the old or the injured animals or even killing the healthy ones for food or sport (p 142).  I therefore want to be an advocate in fighting for animals protection within my school home and the society.


Arnold Arluke and Clinton R. Sanders, (2009) Between the Species: A Reader in Human-Animal Relationships Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Arluke and Sanders have presented three main units in their research. The first unit is on the society, the self and animals which include topics like thinking with animals, forming close relationship with animals and encounters with wild animals. The second unit is Animal Shelter which involves aspects like sciences, education, entertainment, agriculture animal welfare and health. The third unit involves rights selfhood and healing.


I never knew that animals play an important role in perpetuating a community culture.  Through this book, I have learned that despite animals being for the purpose of entertainment, food and sport, they perpetuate hierarchical relationship among human beings which are aspects like class privilege, sexism and racism. The authors have studied on animals and human beings interact within the social institution in the creation of identities. I have also learnt that human beings use animals to go beyond the species and the self in using them as symbols and illumination of human fantasy and experiences.  There is the merging of animals and human being in philosophical speculation, film, stories and treaties which are scientific in nature.


It is amazing to learn that animals make us to think. It  is  also  through  animals that human being  learn to be  human as seen in  Indian mythologies, elephant conservation during the  Victorian vivisectionists to modern day ownership of pets in the United states. Researchers, scientists, historian and philosophers have given   broad ways of imagining how human beings think and can be transformed to human like characteristics.


In the experience in an animal shelter, it is therefore highly recommended that apart from providing animals with basic needs such as food and shelter to also provide for the emotional needs of the animals which have undergone emotional stress through oppression and abuse and those who have been neglected, injured and aged can be approached with calm demeanor. I will also be an active participant in calling for law enforcement concerning positive human treatment on animals.


Clifton Flynn, (2008) Social Creatures: A Human and Animal Studies Reader New York, NY: Lantern,

Flynn in this edition provides the roles of animals for food purpose, language and also acts as companions. The book further provides insights on how pet loss can lead to grief and issues on abuse of animals. The book provide a range of perspectives from scholarly journals the various chapters provide the overview on human  animal  relationship, the study of human animal relationship, culture and animals, attitudes people have on animals, deviance and criminology, working and living with animals rights  which include social and philosophy movement.


It is interesting to learn that human and animal relationship is too evident in our day to day life and determine the positive health of animals. The author has presented that the psychotic stress assessment on animals greatly explains the interaction   seen between animal and human. Human beings therefore have a great role to play in managing the well being of animals. The use of  ethical and effective care  for animals lowers  the  risks  for  animals  and  increases  their  health  benefits. I will also contribute to the effects of overcrowding in Animal shelter which can contribute emotional stress and increase health risks to animals within this institution. It is important for these animals shelters to determine the number of animals they should care for so that each would have enough facility. Adequate funding of these animal shelters from community based groups can assists in lessening overcrowding.


Adrian Franklin, (1999) Animals & Modern Cultures: Sociology of Human-Animal Relations in Modernity London, UK: Sage.

Franklin examines the human-animal relationship changes which have happened in the 20th century. The author argues that in the early century animals were seen mainly for the purpose of resources. He presents a clear line to differentiate animals from humans. The attitudes human beings have on human animals had changed by the end of the century.  The author presents a highlight of fishing and hunting and the companionship of animals with man. .He also covers like wildlife parks, bird watching, leisure activities, and the meat industry. Emphasis on nation, ethnicity and class and gender issues area also given by the author.


I have learnt from this book that human and animal relations has constitute to change in terms of policy, political and intellectual terms. The significant and future of this concept is however not known. These changes have been attributed o politics and philosophies on animal rights and the animal rights sociology among other factors. The ethical and moral issues have been called upon from the various animal movements which have changed human perspective towards animals. This therefore shows us that the field of animal relation to human beings is very wide in incorporating philosophical views as well as historical aspects. There are also the aspects which have been controversial as people attitudes on animals are changing. This is the use of animals from food use, tourism, pet keeping to animal husbandry.


This paradox lies in the heart of modern sociology on animal-human relation. In the practice and experience in animal shelter, I would recommend the animal care givers to portray the modern culture in relating to animals in a more emotional and closer way. The creation of  more animal shelter and other related  institutions can serve as the only alternative for animals whom we have destroyed their habit or  those who have for long been enslaved for the purpose of  medical research.


Leslie Irvine, (2004) If You Tame Me: Understanding our Connection with Animals Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Irvine presents human relationship with cats and dogs and she argues that animals have the self sense. This argument is supported by various research carried in dog park, observation, interviews and in animal shelter. Animals according to the author are of great importance to us because of the relationship created through subjective experience. . Irvine challenges the human view in the anthropomorphize animals and instead offers the aspects of animal selfhood which articulates the possibility of having close relationship with animals. The interaction with animals according to Irvine shows the complex agency, emotionality, memory and subjectivity of the study of the self.


Through the work of Irvine it is amazing to learn that pets such as dogs and cats respond depending on how we interact with them. Though they cannot speak, they have the sense of the self through various studies in determining their cognitive, social behavior and emotional capabilities. It is surprising that these animals which have played an important role in human lives as pets use their eyes, noses and ears instead of their hearts like human beings to love. This is then the main reason which they have become the favorite and loved of pets by many families in America.


Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald (2007) the Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

The animal reader by Fitzgerald and Kalof presents diversity of perspectives which include cultural studies, sociology, ethics, philosophy, environmental studies and anthropology.       The book defines the whole concept of an animal and the ethical values in the field. Animals have been studied as reflective thinkers and philosophical subjects in this book. Other aspects studied by the authors are the roles of animals as for food, pests, domesticates, spectacle and in sport. The animals act as symbols and scientific objects according to the authors.


Through this text I get to learn the long history if human relation with animals in the societies. Animals have played a major role in human life such as provision of companionship, sport, and labor and in the provision of food. In contemporary days animals have been used in scientific testing and therapy. The use of animals has extended in bring out the symbolic power which connects the natural world and human.  The point the authors pass is whether or not animals can suffer? Since the answer is yes, human beings have the obligation to be ethical towards animals. This responsibility is important because by nature human beings are violent.


Through the various interdisciplinary studies from philosophical to social and historical studies, the main message passed by the authors is the need to be human in treating the subjects of our inquiries and showing the way we perceive the world around us. Therefore in our practices and experiences in Animal shelters we have to be human in the way we deal with animals in providing a positive relationship with animals nature and culture. Through this we will be supporting animal rights.


David Nyberg (2002) Animal Rights/Human Rights: Entanglements of Oppression and Liberation, Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

Nibert modifies the theory of Donald Noel of ethnic stratification based on species in relation to aspects like social class, gender and ethnicity in capitalism institution. The authors provide an explanation of non-human oppression in all forms such as vivisection and meat eating. The authors then argues that the of oppression animals leads to oppression of humans.


Human exploitation and oppression is similar to the experiences animals go through who  are  also in need of liberation of life within the spectrum of  cultural, environmental, spiritual , political and bioethical aspects. I have learned that dignity and freedom are aspects which define a sustainable global community and a humane society and economy. Unlike the various campaigns with various promotion and developmental programs attached to modern capitalists society.  The call for increased environmental and animal protection presents a friendly and just environment for ecological sustainability. Animal shelter practices are part of these movements of supporting the development of a sustainable ecology. It is therefore our duty to continue preserving the animal and the environments they live and for the benefit of the whole universe.


Animals and Society Section of the American Sociological Association retrieved from

This is a membership website with information meant for those interested in learning human animal’s sociological studies. It is therefore appropriate for the study of the courses on the society and animals. The sticking aspects from this  site is that the  only ways to understand what it is to be human is to examine the  social implications in the relation with animals.  Many stereotypic assumptions have been made in viewing animals as the others in an inferior way. Caregivers in Animal Shelters can work well with animals when they view animals in a positive perspective. This notional will help them to be emotional and physically attached to working with the animals with respect and love with the ethical goal to help them.


The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC)

The website for HARC offers information on animal hording through a collection of research. These studies touch on issues of animal mental health, welfare, pubic health in connection with various abuse forms and intervention. It is true that animal hoarding has an impact on communities and on individuals. There can be the creation of positive and beneficial relationship between animals and people. One of the major aspects discussed in the websites is the elimination of stereotype, because it leads to harming of animals. Through the Animal shelter practices we can promote positive behavior by the animal care givers. My aim is to support  the  HARC mission  to  call  for  awareness in hoarding behavior among  professionals,  attorneys mental health,  public health and among forensic psychologist.


Pet-Abuse.com

Alison Gianottto on animal  abuse  website  presents  some  of the  traumatizing  events and cruelty  which animals go through leading to death  or injury. From this website I have learned that animals demand protection and love. Subjecting them to stressful circumstances is in fact going against their rights. Through Animal shelters experiences, we can protect animals which have undergone injury and abuse and even neglected by their owners.

  Reference

Arnold Arluke and Clinton R. Sanders (2006), Regarding Animals Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

 Arnold Arluke and Clinton R. Sanders, (2009) Between the Species: A Reader in Human-Animal Relationships Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

 Clifton Flynn, (2008) Social Creatures: A Human and Animal Studies Reader New York, NY: Lantern,

 Adrian Franklin, (1999) Animals & Modern Cultures: Sociology of Human-Animal Relations in Modernity London, UK: Sage.

 Leslie Irvine, (2004) If You Tame Me: Understanding our Connection with Animals Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

 . Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald (2007) the Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

 David Nyberg (2002) Animal Rights/Human Rights: Entanglements of Oppression and Liberation, Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

 Animals and Society Section of the American Sociological Association retrieved from

On December 4, 2010

 The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC)

On December 4, 2010

 Pet-Abuse.com

 On December 4, 2010


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