Animal lover, sure, but dogged by the memory of a stubborn pig?

Think you work with a bunch of animals? Meet Steve Dostie. For as long as most people can remember, Steve has been the man behind all the barking, meowing and occasional oinking at the Greater Androscoggin County Humane Society.

The executive director of the shelter, it is his job to manage all the critters that come to stay with him and to help decide whether they will be delivered to new homes or to less savory fates.

Here, Steve talks about his commitment to the profession of beasts and weighs in on such timeless debates as who would win in a war between cats and dogs.

How did you get into animals so much that you made a career out of it? I started working at a neighbor’s boarding kennel when I was 10 years old. I have always enjoyed being around animals and decided after high school to make it a career. The shelter was not my first choice, as I had attended a dog training academy after high school and taught classes for over 20 years; I applied for a job at the shelter in 1980 to supplement my income and the rest is history. I’m still here after 29 years.

Ever meet an animal you could just not get along with? Ten to 15 years ago pot belly pigs were the “in” thing, and the shelter started to take them in for people who discovered they don’t make the best pets. There was one pig that we just could not see eye-to-eye on things. … He eventually found a placement in a rescue. It was a happy day!

Are you really mad at President Obama for getting a Portuguese water dog? Absolutely not, but it would have been nice if he did what he said he was going to do, that is, adopt a dog from a shelter. They needed a non-shedding dog because of allergies, and there is no reason why he could not find one for his family at a shelter. Just in our small piece of the country, we receive dozens of non-shedding dogs every year, from small Bichons to standard poodles.

What’s the best part of your job? Knowing that we help thousands of displaced pets find new, caring homes every year.

What’s the worst? Knowing that there are too many cats in our community to find homes. But saying that, through our proactive programs the shelter has for cats we have seen a significant decrease in our cat intakes this year.

If the world of dogs went to war against the world of cats, who would win? I would consider myself a dog person, having only one cat that resides with my family. So you would think that I would say a dog, but I would have to say it would be the cat. You may think they are lazy and like to lay around in the sun all day, but what they are really doing is thinking up ways to rule the world…


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