Waking up after surgery can be scary and disorienting. That's as true for animals as it is for people.
So staff at BARCS animal shelter in Baltimore hold cats and dogs as they're coming out of anesthesia — mostly from spay and neuter surgeries, and also sometimes from less routine procedures.
Often they'll sing and dance with these pets as well.
"Singing, cradling and cuddling animals waking up from anesthesia is a soothing way to comfort them. It helps them feel safe and it helps them stay calm," spokesperson Bailey Deacon told TODAY. "We do everything in our resources to show our animals comfort and love."
BARCS is a very busy shelter, taking in some 11,000 cats, dogs and other critters every year. And right now is as busy a time as ever.
So the shelter is asking folks to adopt, volunteer, foster and donate.
"This has been a very full winter for BARCS. We always rely on our community to help us," Deacon said.
Even with this extremely challenging volume of animals, Deacon said staff are working hard all the time to try to make each animal's stay there as good as it can possibly be.
"We understand that a shelter isn’t a home," she said.
The shelter has "enrichment volunteers" who make the animals special treats. BARCS' training team runs a hiking program and another effort to take the dogs out jogging.
They also have playgroups, in which dogs can go outside and socialize with one another while burning off a lot of steam. During this time, staff can also evaluate dogs' personalities to help place them in homes where they will make the best possible matches.
"Or sometimes it’s just the really simple things, like warm blankets and a loving touch," said Deacon. "We are never short on love. Our staff is compassionate and passionate about the work they do and the animals they serve."