The newest member of the team
The newest member of The City of Palatka Platt Drew Wastewater Treatment Plant’s staff doesn’t knock on the office building’s door when she wants to come inside to cool down in the air conditioning. She scratches but she also wants to come inside to check on her babies… all twelve of them, plus the rabbit.
Shadow, a mixed-breed dog, showed up outside of the treatment plant, off Brown’s Landing Road, in the city a few weeks ago scared, hungry and with her hair falling out.
“We started seeing her weeks ago outside of our fence. Somebody apparently dumped her off on the road near our facility,” said Brian McCann, the plant’s superintendent, “We started to put food out for her, but she was very skittish.”
But over time, McCann and his staff gained her trust.
“I think we’re the grateful ones that she trusted us to take care of her. She came to us because she was hurting. She didn’t look good. She was in bad shape. She was scared to death of everybody and anything. Day by day, she trusted us a little bit more and more. Finally, we could touch her for the first time and pet her, which was a big joy for all of us.” said plant administrative assistant Michelle Casto, “Eventually, she came out of the woods. She finally made it here to the plant because she was outside the gate to begin with. She’s very loyal and I think we’re the lucky ones, really. To meet such a dog like she is. She loves so much. She loves all of us. We’re very grateful to have her.”
“She started to follow us around. That is why we call her ‘Shadow,’ said McCann. “Little by little, she kind of took over and became really relaxed. Her hair started growing back. She started fattening up. She’s just a blessing to have.”
The team at the plant decided to share the expense for her food and care. When they took her to the veterinarian to get her shots, chip and spaded is when they were told she was pregnant.
Twelve puppies were welcomed into the water treatment plant family a few weeks later.
Shadow and her puppies picked a good place to call home.
“She had twelve puppies, and that is a lot,” McCann continued, “but we like challenges and we have found homes for all but three of her babies.”
Shadow continues to surprise the plant’s staff. Last week she brought home two more members to join the water treatment plant’s family.
“Yesterday, she brought us a bunny. We didn’t realize she had brought a bunny into the building and put it with her puppies until we heard something screaming. We thought it was a rat, so we ran back there, and it was a little bunny. We named it Hops, but apparently, Hops may have been injured and passed away last night.” said Casto last Thursday.
“Several hours later, after Hops was brought up here, Mama Dog brought up another. She walked all the way from the other end of the plant all the way up to our road, laid the second bunny at my feet, and looked at us like, ‘Hey, y’all got to take care of this Bunny.’ So that’s what we did.”
The second bunny is called Barley.
“Barley eats really good. He hops around, although we think it’s a girl. She just she’s doing really good. I got a lot of high hopes for her that she will make it. She’ll go home with Matt, one of our co-workers. Hops was going to be mine, but that’s okay; God has his way. Circle of life. That’s how it happens and I understand that even though it’s hard, but now we have Barley to look after.” said Casto.
“I think it’s great that all of the staff here have the compassion to take care of these animals that other people don’t want. I’ve been an animal lover myself since I was a little kid, so it makes me feel good to know that my co-workers here are of the same cloth,” said McCann. “We’re open 365, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Somebody’s always here. Holidays included. It doesn’t matter what; we have somebody here all the time. So, it’s a good place for us to have a dog that needs attention. We all love her.”
If you want to adopt one of Shadow’s three unclaimed puppies, please call the wastewater treatment plant at (386) 329-0146.