After a career that spanned three eventful years, Harley the cat is retiring from his position as Chief Dog Tester at the Animal Humane shelter in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The fearless and friendly 12-year-old cat enjoyed his job and had an excellent benefit package including sunbathing spots on desks and many naps between his calls to duty.
Sam Blankenship, lead adoption advisor with Animal Humane, said Harley is very brave; he looks death in the eye every day.
Three years ago, Harley was hired to meet with dogs that came into the organization’s care and test if they can play well with cats, by coming face-to-face with them.
Phase one of Harley’s job was a meeting with his canine clients in the safety of a caged cat condo.We walk the dog through see how fixated the dog is on Harley, Blankenship said.
If the dogs pass the first phase of testing, they are moved on to phase two, where Harley really earned his catnip: He steps out of his cage and meets the dogs face-to-face.
Most cats wouldn’t stand for close encounters with canines, but Harley took it in stride. He stared down giant dogs and casually strolled by the smaller ones.
If the dog passes both of those [tests], most likely he’ll do fine in the home with cats, Blankenship said.
More than 700 dogs, from pit bulls to yappy Chihuahuas, have paid Harley a visit.
Blankenship said about 50 percent of the dogs tested pass and get the Harley stamp of approval, which is displayed as a graphic on the organization’s website.
It’s not a bad thing for those dogs that don’t enjoy the cat’s company, Blankenship said. It just lets helps the adoption advisors make a better match between dogs and their potential families.
On Tuesday, Harley put his last two clients through the test and called it a career. The cat never did fill out an application or have an interview for the job, but he didn’t need one. Animal Humane staff knew from his friendliness and laid-back disposition that he was just the right fit for the position.
Harley beat out 70 employees to win the organization’s Employee of the Month award in November.
Animal Humane has now put Harley up for adoption and is looking for a relaxing and comfortable forever-home where he can enjoy his retirement.