IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Shelter workers slow dance with dogs and cats waking up from surgery

The dancing, singing and cuddling help shelter animals feel safe, loved and calm as they wake up from anesthesia.
/ Source: TODAY

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.

Shelter workers slow dance with cats and dogs coming out of surgery
"There’s always music playing in our surgery room, so naturally singing and dancing happens," said BARCS spokesperson Bailey Deacon.courtesy of BARCS

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.

Shelter works slow dance with cats and dogs coming out of surgery
"BARCS is a great success story because of our heart. We are proof that even with little resources, big things can happen and lives can be saved," said spokesperson Bailey Deacon.courtesy of BARCS

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.

Shelter workers slow dance with cats and dogs coming out of surgery
Staff at BARCS in Baltimore lie down with a dog coming out of anesthesia after surgery.courtesy of BARCS

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."