Even by Nova Scotia standards, the storm was shaping up to be a doozy.

It wasn't just the heavy gales of snow that were expected. There would be ice pellets too, bombarding parts of the eastern Canadian province for hours on end.

And the forecast called for things to get worse as the day wore on.

A lot of people — even postal workers — probably wouldn't be showing up for work the next day.

But staff members at Homeward Bound City Pound in Dartmouth don't see much of a choice. At least, not for the dogs, cats, birds and even Guinea pigs who rely on them.

And so, staffer Shanda Antle unfurled the tried-and-true inflatable bed — and hunkered down in a playroom with one of her charges, a dog named Hawking.

"I walk and then travel by bus, so it was simply easier and more practical in a lot of ways to just come in ahead of the weather and stay overnight," she tells MNN. "As an animal shelter, missing work days isn't an option when there are animals that still require care."

And Hawking sure appreciated the company.

Hawking, a 2-year-old shelter dog. 'Hawking seemed to really enjoy it. He didn't fuss around too much, and was quiet all night.' (Photo: Homeward Bound City Pound)

Although Antle is a pretty solid sleeper, she opted to cuddle up with the nearly 70-pound dog for a couple of reasons.

Hawking isn't much of a snorer. Nor does he chew — an important consideration with air mattresses.

He also seemed more than amenable to Antle's taste in movies.

"I had pulled the couch around to the front desk computer earlier that evening so we could watch movies, and he had no objections to snuggling up to that either," she explains.

When you work at a shelter, this is what you do

It isn't the first time staff at Homeward Bound have dusted off the air bed for a sleepover. In fact, Antle says it's pretty typical for someone to bed down at the shelter when bad weather looms.

"This way, all the animals in our care can count on reliable meals, bathroom breaks, and playtime."

But even more importantly, the shelter's original Facebook post has gotten a lot of attention — and that can only be a good thing for dogs like Hawking.

"Who knew so many people would feel connected to that?" Antle asks. "Maybe some perceptions of shelters and city pounds have been readjusted a bit, and if it helps adoptions, so much the better."

Hawking is, after all, still looking for someone to bunker down with every night.

If you think you think that might be you, drop the shelter a line at adoptions@citypound.ca

Hawking the dog wearing Valentine's Day sunglasses. The shelter is hoping Hawking's moment in the spotlight might lead to someone stepping up and giving him a forever home. (Photo: Homeward Bound City Pound)

A shelter worker couldn't leave the dogs alone in a storm — so she slept over
With a storm bearing down on a shelter for rescued pets in Nova Scotia, this staffer decided simply not to go home so she could be there to care for them.