Friday, November 17, 2017

Not Jerry Needs to Talk to You About Something

Listen, we need to talk about senior pets. 

Who, me?

 Yes, you, Jim. In our view, seniors are pretty awesome.

What about me? Aren't I awesome?

Yes, Random Puppy, you're awesome too. But awesome in a "chew everything in sight, fingerpaint in your own poop, sing the song of your people" kind of way. 

The horror! The indecency! 
We know, Marilyn, you would never stoop to that level. Like a lot of senior buds, your manners are on point and your politeness is impeccable. 
 Exactly. Dignity, people.
That's not to say seniors aren't fun or playful. 
You better not be saying that. Because fun is my middle name. Or it would be, if I had one.
Seniors, like all animals, come in a lot of different shapes, sizes, and personality traits. And we have a big variety here just waiting to go home with you.

Like me! Pick me. I'm awesome.

Yes, Not Jerry, you're one of the coolest seniors around. But back to the point. We have tons of awesome seniors right now (dogs and cats!) who would love to go home with you and wouldn't create artwork out of their poop or scale your curtains.  
You're darn right. Curtain climbing is childish.
This week we're celebrating senior pets and all their mature, housebroken glory. Through Tuesday, 11/22, adoption fees for cats and dogs over 6 years old are only $50. And we'll have an extra special Senior Showcase at our Milpitas ACC this Saturday from 11am-12pm. Tons of awesome senior dogs will be romping in our dog park showing you their social skills and hoping to tempt you into giving them forever digs. Let them tempt you. Visit us soon.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Official Sarah Armes Cute-O-Meter.

This is Sarah. She works in our Development Department as a Campaign Manager.

Ruth Vader Ginsburg.
She usually doesn't dress like this but, you know, Halloween was this week. So there you go.
Yes, there we go. And make Halloween stay gone until next year. 
Anyhoo, as you might have noticed we tell a lot of stories here at HSSV. We tell stories about our amazing animals.

Yes, I am winking at you. Because I'm that cool. 
Stories about our amazing staff and volunteers.

Glen who, in addition to his million other duties, is The Human Cat Bed.
And stories about our awesome adopters.

Thanks for the new hoomans, HSSV. 
But how do we pick what stories to tell? Well, the HSSV staff is pretty awesome about telling us their stories....

Yes Suarez. We're looking at you. And not just because we love posting this sweater pic.
And when staff does tell us stories, they're recorded in a big repository that's just for stories. Think of it as a story box, if you will.

Not an actual story of photo repository. But that is a box.  
At which point we go through the story box and as we need stories - for newsletters, for the blog, for everything - we pull them out. So what does any of this have to do with Sarah?

I stick my tongue out when I'm thinking hard. 
Sarah is one of the gatekeepers for The Story Box. Every other week she sifts through all of the stories staff has put in the story box and decides which ones go where.

We went everywhere. Because look at us. 
At some point in developing the story process, we discovered the Sarah-Armes-Cute-O-Meter.

I think I actually achieved melt status.
While stories aren't picked based on cute, Sarah does make some pretty amazing faces when looking at pics of our animals. So amazing we actually had to document them and share them with you. This is the 'It's So Fluffy I'm Going To Die' face.

Don't eat your fingers, Sarah. We need you to answer your emails. 
Which was probably made in reaction to some little nugget like this. 

Okay, now we're all eating our fingers. 
The 'I Cannot Stand It, If I Keep Looking I Will Chew Off The Insides Of My Cheeks' Face...

Does she still have fingers? Can someone check? 
Which happens a lot with little muffins like Onyx..

Okay Onyx. Stop it right now. We're ALL eating our cheeks.
 The 'It Is So Cute I Need To Hunt It Down And Smoosh It Face'...

Still in the dark on the fingers? So are we. 
This one kind of scares us because Sarah gets all hunched over and grabs her neck like she's choking. We don't know whether to give her the Heimlich or just hand her someone like this and let her moosh cheeks until it passes.

Don't worry Fiona - the good news is it's hard to moosh if she doesn't have fingers. 
And finally there is the pinnacle, the ultimate, the Holy Grail of the Sarah-Armes-Cute-O-Meter, the infamous 

Pretty sure the fingers are gone. 
'I Might Actually Melt It Is So Adorable' Face. This one has a long recovery time. It usually takes a good ten minutes and possibly a strong dose of kitten to get her over this. 

Quick - grab the kittens in little sweaters! Now!

So what have we learned from this week's blog?

1) Sarah makes amazing faces.
2) All cute photo jokes aside, Sarah does work really hard and we have the most amazing, dedicated staff ever.
3) Even people who work around our animals all day are still susceptible to their charms.
4) We honestly do have the best, cutest, sweetest pets in the world here so you should make sure to adopt them. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Skinny On Model Shelter: Where The Rubber Meets The Road

You probably have questions. We keep talking about this Model Shelter thing. What is a Model Shelter? Why are we so proud to be the first Model Shelter in the country? What does this have to do with all the fuzznuggets and snugglemuffins you guys are so used to seeing on our social media?

Aforementioned poopies/snugglemuffins.
Relax, friends. We have answers. Super important answers. So bear with us and we're going to explain it. Okay? And trust us, it's very important. And there will be fluffnuggets and scruffmuffins.

"Iff my mouff" (translation: It's my mouse)
Here's why it's really important (and something that most folks don't know): there is absolutely no government agency or judicial act that looks out for the welfare of animals in shelters. None. Nada. There are over 3,500 physical shelters and 10,000 sanctuaries and rescues and no standardized baseline of care for the kids in those shelters.

The Model Shelter guidelines, created by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, are totally voluntary and guarantee that animals are receiving a level of care to protect against them from suffering and disease while in a shelter . It establishes a set of five simple but essential freedoms for animals in shelters. Ready for the five freedoms?

If by 'five freedoms' you mean a cookie then yes, I am so ready. 
  • Freedom from Hunger and Thirst: All animals have ready access to fresh water and appropriate diet to maintain health and vigor. 
  • Freedom from Discomfort: All animals have an appropriate environment to reside in, including shelter and a comfortable resting area. 
  • Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease: Preventative care and rapid diagnosis and treatment are made readily available. 
  • Freedom to Express Normal Behavior: Animals are given sufficient space, proper facilities and the company of animals of their own kind.
  • Freedom from Fear and Distress: Conditions and treatment are ensured to prevent mental suffering.

Everyone needs a little stress relief.

What does this look like? Here's an explanatory scruffnugget:

All better now, thanks. 
This is Trevor. Trevor came to us with parvovirus. While it was important for us to save Trevor, it was equally important that we keep every other animal in the shelter safe from parvo, which is super contagious. During Trevor's treatment he was housed in a quarantined area of the shelter and staff who handled him followed strict bio-security measures to make sure everyone else in the shelter was staying safe. As a result, Trevor got better and found a great home and not one of our other animals got parvo.

Another example? Who remembers Phil the Booger Cat? The super high energy, dog like, nutter-butter Philsy that we all loved so?

Finding Phil a home was fantastic but it wasn't enough. While Phil was waiting for that forever home, he needed to be able to express his natural behavior, to play, and to be comfortable in his space. Which, in Phil's case, required a specialized behavior plan that included one on one time with the behavior staff to get his ya-yas out, play therapy and a much larger space than most cats need. While every single animal gets one on one attention with staff and volunteers, it means going the extra mile to make sure every animal is being treated as an individual and their needs are being met.

Everyone needs friends. 
Okay, so these are big examples but the beauty of Model Shelter isn't in the big, it's in the little as well. It's not just about the dramatic cases, like Phil and Trevor, but in the case of every single animal, every single day. It's the right for an animal to not only have a life but have a life that has value. To have friends and exercise and safe places and things that give comfort while going through the transition of finding a home. To quote Dr. Kate Hurley, who coauthored the guidelines:
"We cherish life and we cherish welfare. We say no to needless death and we say no to suffering in our care, not for one animal, not for one day."

Everyone needs a place to get some alone time. 
To certify as a model shelter we met 543 guidelines and were audited by the UC Davis Koret School Of Vet Medicine. It was a big deal. And while we realize we're lucky to have resources and supporters like you guys that made it possible, we're looking forward to helping other shelters join us as Model Shelters. Because in the end, it's all about the scruffnuggets and snugglemuffins, right?


Friday, October 13, 2017

A Big Blog: A Rundown On A Big Week And A Big, Big Ask.

We need to ask you for some favors right now. Before we do, we'll explain why we need them. Just follow us here for a second. 

This is Tiffanie. Tiffanie, though you wouldn't know it to look at her, is having a pretty rough week. 

I still like cookies, though. So that's something. 
On Saturday morning, she was in New Orleans. She flew up here on an airlift with a bunch of other dogs. The nice folks at a New Orleans shelter were transferring most of the adoptable animals out  so they could house dogs from the recent hurricanes. While six of the airlifted dogs came to us, Tiffanie, her sister and a whole mess of other pets went to our friends at Petaluma Animal Services. This was on Saturday. The kids were pretty happy to get here. 

I am so happy to meet you I must bounce.
On Sunday the world fell apart for many of our California neighbors. As wildfires devastated the North Bay and Napa regions, space was needed in the shelters there. Our transfer van went to Petaluma and picked up fourteen dogs, including Tiffanie and several others who had just arrived from the south. 

Note the color of the sky in Petaluma. Smoke.
This might have been the end of Tiffanie's bad week (she's safely ensconced in a foster home now and not planning any more travel) it was just the beginning of a terrible week for so many more of our neighbors in the north. As the fires continued to rage, we received calls from Marin and Rohnert Park shelters. They were also trying to clear out adoptable pets to make room for the animals coming in from the fire. On 6 PM on Wednesday night we sent out an urgent call for foster homes. Because you guys rock we were crowded with foster folks within two hours. This time it wasn't just dogs. Senior kitty Joseph, happy to be away from the smoke, was on the transport. 

It's been a long day. Do you have treats?
As was outgoing Luke, who has already made new friends in his foster home. 

Thank you tiny hooman. I could use a massage. 
All told, Wednesday we took in eleven dogs, twenty one cats and two guinea pigs. 

As the situation develops, we're in touch with shelters in the affected areas and are ready to offer more assistance if need be. 

Now let's get to the bit where you can help:

Mahina shows off her 'who me? face. Yes, you guys. 
All of the animals we've taken, both from the fires and the storms, were available for adoption before catastrophe struck. They all have been waiting for forever homes. They have all been through an amazing ordeal and a lot of changes. 

They need forever homes. They need a life to settle into so they can start again. 

Even before I got to California, I had been waiting a long time for a home. 
If you have ever thought of adopting, this is the time to do it. Adopting an animal, even one that didn't come from the fires or the hurricanes, benefits way more than just that animal. 

  • It frees up adoption space for the ones waiting in foster.
  • It frees up a foster home for someone else needing to come in. 
  • It offers solace and comfort to the other shelters and individuals who worked so very hard to get these animals out of harm's way. 

If you can't adopt, tell all of your friends. Tell your lonely aunt - she'd love a big mellow cat like Valerie. 

She likes TV, I like TV...
Tell your jogging neighbor who could use a big handsome bubba like this guy.

Did I hear running?
Tell everyone. The stars are aligned. The universe has spoken, This is the best possible time to adopt. Right now.  Please. 

Thank you. 

For more information on our response to the fires and how to help, look here.

Again, a massive, enormous thank you to our donors, volunteers, fosters and staff who pulled together and made everything that has happened this week possible. You are heroes. Every single one of you. 

This was our lobby at 10 PM on Wednesday when the transfers rolled in. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Looking For The Helpers

This isn't our usual kind of blog but this hasn't been a usual kind of week, either. It seems important, after the news of the past week, to remember how overwhelmingly much good there is out there. 

So we have some really good news for you today: people are awesome. People are awesome and wonderful in big ways and small ways every single day. With so much sad going on, we wanted to showcase 'good'. We wanted to call out some heroes. We want you to share in our joy that amazing people exist and are out there quietly making miracles happen every single day.

This is Frank. If you've interacted with us in any way, you're probably within two degrees of separation from Frank and his wife Sue. They get around. If you've stopped by the front desk, he might have been the kind gentleman who answered your question. If your kids went to our education programs, he and Sue might have been the ones giving them a tour, answering questions with endless patience and kindness.

If you've been to our Petco West San Jose Neighborhood Adoption Center, you might have encountered Frank and Sue there, too. Our pocket pets - the hammies, the weet-weet piggies and snuffling, affectionate rats - have a special place in Frank and Sue's hearts. You can usually find Frank walking around with a fuzzy head poking out of his shirt pocket or Sue with a rat on her lap. These wee little pets can easily be the most overlooked and underrepresented kids we have and Frank and Sue make a special point of introducing people to them. Because that's what heroes do. They look out for the little guys.

Superhero movies are great but we don't need Batman or Superman. We don't because we have Frank and Sue and so very, very many more. How lucky are we? How great and beautiful and wonderful is our community?

We leave you this week with a quote from Mr. Rogers. Thank you, Frank and Sue, for being helpers. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bad Hair Yearbook Photos and Great Dogs: Meet The Class of 2017!

Listen up folks! School is in session and these students are definitely the top of the class. They're such big dogs on campus that each of them has their adoption fees waived. Let's meet some of the Big Dog Class of 2017, shall we?

Cheese is good. So are squirrels. 

Most Likely To: Be the first one to die in a zombie apocalypse.  
Future Career: Shot girl at the dance club. 

Busy Izzy can be a little dizzy. Or a lot dizzy. She’s so happy and so eager to get the party started that she tends to be everywhere at once. An eager social butterfly, she loves to dart from person to person and toy to toy. Were we working on training? Is that a puddle? I must splash in it! A ball? I must chase it. A person? I must say hello. If you love to have fun and want a friend who knows how to wring the joy out of every moment, Izzy’s your gal. 


Most likely to drop out of a marathon after a quarter mile.
uture career: research librarian.
Elsa is a quiet gal with quiet preferences. She likes leash walks and yard time but
s no go overboard
here. She doesn’t mind other dogs and kids but would prefer
they take their fuss elsewhere. She’s the one who doesn
’t mind binge watching all
the seasons of Game of Thrones at once and is systematically working her way
through the NYT Bestseller list.

Most Likely To: Drop out of a marathon after a quarter mile. 
Future Career: Research librarian. 

Elsa is a quiet gal with quiet preferences. She likes leash walks and yard time but let’s not go overboard here. She doesn’t mind other dogs and kids but would prefer they take their fuss elsewhere. She’s the one who doesn’t mind binge watching all the seasons of Game of Thrones at once and is systematically working her way through the NYT Bestseller list. 


Most Likely To: Become president. 
Future Career: Diplomat. 

Titan is the one thing everyone can agree on: he’s wonderful and easy. Other dogs, big and small? No problem, he gets along with them. Dog savvy cats? He leaves them in peace. Small children? Those are fine, too. If Dwayne Johnson was a dog, he’d basically be Titan. The gentle giant is beloved by all. 

We have other pooches-of-stature who are also in the Class of 2017, also looking for new homes and also have their adoption fee waived. Meet there all here!

Most likely to drop out of a marathon after a quarter mile.
uture career: research librarian.
Elsa is a quiet gal with quiet preferences. She likes leash walks and yard time but
s no go overboard
here. She doesn’t mind other dogs and kids but would prefer
they take their fuss elsewhere. She’s the one who doesn
’t mind binge watching all
the seasons of Game of Thrones at once and is systematically working her way
through the NYT Bestseller list.