Bridging the Bond
The Cultural Construction of the Shelter Pet
Tami L. Harbolt
Purdue University Press
What happens behind the doors of the animal shelter? This book will introduce the reader to the work culture of animal shelter employees, volunteers, activists, educators, and pets. By weaving together her own personal memoirs with interviews with workers, the author describes the traditions, philosophies, history, and current social dynamics of a typical animal welfare community. She examines how the daily interactions, personal philosophies, disparate methods, technology, and life experiences of the humans and pets influence the care of homeless animals, often playing an intricate role in the life or death situation each pet eventually faces. The author also describes her own experience with a
dog, touching upon the issues of victimization and redemption that she finds characterize the animal welfare field. The animals in the book are presented as active participants in this daily drama, able to communicate their needs to their caretakers and form lasting impressions. Throughout the book, workers, volunteers, and activists tell their own stories
”stories that embody the hopes, frustrations, successes, and failures in bridging the bond between homeless pets and new families.