08/07/2012 07:20 pm ET Updated Oct 07, 2012

Those Who Care for the Homeless Animals

The first people I see when I come to work are a group of professionals we call our animal care technicians. I am embarrassed to say that I've never before used this space to talk about this team; that I have contributed to them remaining among the "unsung heroes." I'd like to correct that now.

You have a dog or a cat, maybe more than one or two. You are responsible for keeping them fed and clean, happy and feeling safe, getting them to the veterinarian when needed. You are intimately and directly responsible for them, for paying attention and reacting to the thousand and one things they say to you in a language you recognize but don't necessarily speak yourself (at least not fluently). Our ACTs have that same responsibility, magnified hundreds and hundreds of times over.

With the exception of the 1,500 or so injured and orphaned native wild animals PHS/SPCA will make well and release this year (these animals cared for by a separate group of talented technicians trained for wildlife's special demands), the ACTs will care for every one of the thousands of animals who come to us. And they will do so with the highest standards of efficiency and professionalism combined with remarkable sensitivity and kindness. They balance the requirements of the population (which can be over 1,000 animals at a time) with the needs of each individual, and they do so with a remarkable kindness and extraordinary commitment.

An animal shelter is the place homeless dogs and cats (and in our case, rabbits, goats, iguanas, parakeets and so many more animals) find safety and love while waiting to go home with you. Each of us here (the 107 employees and the more than 1,400 volunteers) has a key role in making sure we live up to that definition, and every role is necessary to make up the hole of it. But the ACTs are certainly at the core of it all: theirs are the hands that feed and comfort, the backs that bend to clean, and certainly theirs are among the hearts that get touched by the endless stream of scared, searching faces. And this group of ACTs is completely up to the task -- they have earned my respect, and deserve yours as well.

P.S.: Speaking of caring for the animals, I'd love to have you join us Saturday August 18th at our annual Mutt Strutt Dog Walk-a-thon. We're set for 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Coyote Point Park (bayside in San Mateo, this is the one day every year the Park opens to allow dogs). Come, walk, stay and play to benefit homeless animals. Check out the website click on Mutt Strutt on the right.