Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CIA Program Gives Students an Opportunity to Shine

By Natasha Dolginsky, HSSV Volunteer

This week I had a chance to learn more about Compassion in Action (CIA) Program at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley.  CIA was created to provide a place where teens can learn about animal-welfare topics, socialize special animal guests and develop their very own outreach project to inspire their community to make a difference for them.  And from my conversation with Jaime Allen, HSSV’s director of education programs, it’s been a hit! 

What I was really impressed with is that the CIA program not only provides a unique opportunity for students to share animal issues happening in their communities but also teaches them what they can do to make positive changes.

It is undeniable that a very special connection exists between kids and animals.  I had a chance to chat briefly with a few of the most recent participants like Ivan, age 14, who said “I just love animals and I can connect with them easy!”   Kenny, age 15, shared his reasons for participating in the CIA program: “I want to learn more on how to help animals if I see an animal on the street, so I can help it.  I also really want this learning opportunity because it could be my job.”

The session was celebrated with a big event on April 19th when the CIA kids brought their second grade buddies from Stipe School to HSSV and taught them about responsible pet care, how to read animal body language, and the importance of community service.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Volunteering at HSSV Makes Us Feel…

By Alexandra League, HSSV Volunteer

I’m always amazed at just how many volunteers support HSSV. With so many volunteer opportunities, from adoption hosts to foster care and from community events to dog volunteers, I guess it’s no wonder that I’m always meeting new faces and know it’s rarely the last time I’ll see them. Not only does HSSV need its volunteers to enable it’s broad offering of services for animals and education for people, but as I’ve found, us volunteers benefit from the time we spend at HSSV too!

There are a lot of statistics on volunteering that I’ve found – from demographic data to how it can improve your health. I decided to ask HSSV volunteers, with the help of Kris Gunderson, Manager of Volunteer Programs at HSSV, very simply: How does volunteering at HSSV make you feel? I compiled the list of (mostly) one-word answers from 224 respondents to create a word cloud, which is a visual depiction of all the answers received. The image above shows the HSSV volunteers' responses and the larger the word, the more frequently that answer was given.

I may not have uncovered the secret to life… or maybe I have? If they say happiness is the secret to life, then just maybe volunteering at HSSV is your ticket! Thank you to all the volunteers who participated in the survey and for all you do for HSSV!

How does volunteering at HSSV make you feel?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Small Dog Adoption Extravaganza

by Jennifer Bush, HSSV Volunteer

Paris Hilton has one. You’ve seen them in movies and commercials. And right now, Silicon Valley shelters are overflowing with Chihuahuas and other small mixed-breed dogs.

To help these adorable dogs find loving homes, Humane Society Silicon Valley is bringing together Silicon Valley shelters and numerous Bay Area rescue groups for a small dog extravaganza! The “Good Things Come in Small Packages” pet adoption event is a one-stop-shop for small dog lovers to adopt or learn more about Chihuahuas and other small dog breeds.

Come meet a few of these pint-sized pups and learn if one might be a good fit for your home. And if you can't adopt a dog, you can still get involved by donating, volunteering or fostering an animal.

Humane Society Silicon Valley's “Good Things Come in Small Packages” Pet Adoption Event will take place Saturday, May 14 from 11 am – 4 pm at HSSV's Animal Community Center, 901 Ames Ave., Milpitas.

Already own a small dog? HSSV is offering affordable spay/neuter surgery for Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes throughout the month of May.

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Pet of the Week" Adoption Video Montage

By Laura Fulda

Dogs, and cats and rabbits, oh my! Did you know that Humane Society Silicon Valley found homes for more than 2,800 dogs, cats, rabbits and critters last fiscal year?

We wanted to take this time to thank our supporters for helping us find loving homes for so many animals featured in our "Pet of the Week" videos.

Check out this "thank you" video. We will feature a new Pet of the Week starting on May 23!

Friday, May 6, 2011

HSSV Offers TNR clinics in Medical Center

By Melissa Lisbon, HSSV Volunteer

As someone who has helped feed a feral cat colony, I was interested to know that on May 15th, HSSV will host a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) clinic for feral cats. I learned that HSSV partners with Peninsula Fix Our Ferals (PFOF) by providing the medical facility for PFOF to perform the surgeries. This partnership can definitely make a major impact on the feral cat population in our area. In HSSV’s 2010 fiscal year, more than 1,400 homeless cats were spayed/neutered in HSSV’s Medical Center alone!

For people who don’t know what TNR is, TNR reduces homeless cat populations by surgically sterilizing cats so they cannot reproduce. TNR, when accompanied by ongoing homeless cat management, is the most effective, humane method of reducing homeless cat populations. Cats are trapped, taken to shelters or veterinary clinics where they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and have their ears tipped/notched so they can be identified as part of a managed colony. Only healthy cats are placed back in their colony so there is not a health risk to other cats and animals. It is widely known that sterilization helps make cats better community citizens and as a result, colonies gradually diminish in size.

Did you know that TNR actually saves money? I learned that it costs cities up to $250 to pick up, house and euthanize one homeless cat. For the same price, they can spay/neuter five cats! Peninsula Fix Our Ferals will have future spay/neuter clinics for ferals on June 12 and 26 clinics at HSSV.

Want to learn more about TNR? Watch this video.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Follow-up | Celebrating the Supporters of HSSV at The Fur Ball 2011

By Alexandra League, HSSV Volunteer

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog sharing my excitement for the then upcoming Fur Ball 2011, a Venetian-styled black-tie soiree hosted by HSSV. As a volunteer preparing for the event, I was in awe of the production organized each year to celebrate supporters of HSSV and looked forward to my participation. Walking into the recently raised sweeping white canopies of the event’s tenting I admired the sea of vibrant table settings and colorful d├ęcor. The scale of it all was breathtaking and I knew this event would be unlike anything else I’d ever attended. From the centerpieces of masked dogs and cats, to the collection of animal-inspired silent auction items and the freshly laid grass in the Canine Comfort Area enclosed by a white picket fence next to the human-bathrooms – at the core of it all was the playful and heartwarming reminder that all of this was for the animals.

Now, the proverbial dust has settled and the tuxedos are at the dry cleaners given the likely dog slobber that decorates the shin region of almost every pair. In all, more than $500,000 was raised at the event to support HSSV’s mission to save and enhance lives. The endless encounters of the humans and their animals adorned in festive garb are implanted in the minds of the more than 500 individuals who attended the event as well as the 120 plus volunteers who made it all happen. Whether a guest, sponsor, volunteer or vendor, we all felt IT - the magic of the evening. And I, for one, cannot wait until The Fur Ball 2012!!

Were you there? What was your favorite part of the evening? Visit HSSV's Facebook page to see more photos from The Fur Ball.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Animal Starz of Humane Society Silicon Valley

By Natasha Dolginsky, HSSV Volunteer

Over the weekend when I was visiting Humane Society Silicon Valley (drooling over all the adorable  bunnies, cats, and dogs!), I learned about the Animal Starz program. I spent a few minutes chatting with Jaime Allen, HSSV’s director of education programs, who told me about this two-session course where kids, ages 10-13, learn more about the animals and get an opportunity to help as well! As part of the curriculum, students get up close and personal with special animals, make cat toys and blankets for the HSSV residents, and even create a piece of art to be displayed in HSSV’s Animal Community Center.

Schools are putting a much bigger focus on giving back and, starting at a pretty young age, kids are getting involved in their communities as part of school projects. In fact, the Animal Starz program was started in part to meet the increased demand from parents and students asking about volunteer opportunities for kids!

As a volunteer myself I’m very happy to see a bigger focus on community service in elementary and middle schools! I remember when I was younger, options for volunteer projects were pretty slim and volunteering wasn’t something I got involved in until high school.

It’s so nice to see programs such as Animal Starz in my own community. They teach kids about the importance of giving back, give them a fun way to complete a school project and help the animals at the same time. And hopefully more young volunteers now means that we’ll be seeing more volunteers as kids get older!