Thursday, January 28, 2016

Three Reasons Spot and Arlo's Love Story Is All Too Human.

They're hip. They're hot. They're adorable. And they've taken the internet by storm. If you didn't hear about Arlo and Spot, our most beloved mismatched pair, check out these articles in Huffington Post and The Dodo. 

Arlo (the husky) and Spot (the poodle) were found roaming the streets in Oakland together. The awesome folks at Oakland Animal Services took them in and cared for them. We help out our buddy shelters by taking pets from them when they get crowded or have animals that need some extra help so we took Arlo and Spot in as transfers. They were given a big double room together and we all immediately fell in love with this incredibly odd, very charming and enormously devoted couple.

Shortly after they arrived here, Arlo was diagnosed with pneumonia. The two had to be separated while we figured out if it was contagious or not. Once we determined it would be okay, they were put back together. Now that they're back together, we've discovered a bit more about them and how, deep down, they're a lot like any couple, human or dog. 

He's my best friend AND my mattress.
1) There's A Lot Of Chat About Who Could Have Done Better.

Quick - assume superhero pose. 
"That husky is just gorgeous but the poodle looks like something you'd find in your lint trap".

"Spot is just the cutest thing but Arlo looks like he wants to eat you". *

George and Amal. Kanye and Kim. Miley and Liam. Ashton and Demi. It's impossible to be a celebrity couple without lots of folks trying to figure out who did better. In truth, both dogs did wonderfully. Arlo is outgoing and friendly and vivacious. Spot is very devoted, loving and protective in her own tiny-poodle way. 

When Arlo became ill and the two were separated they both had a hard time. Putting them back together immediately perked Arlo up and Spot.....Spot just flat out lost it she was so happy. 

2) Spot Holds The Relationship Together. 

I could stare at you all day.....
It's said that in every couple one person always loves more. In the case of Arlo and Spot, it's Spot. She has great big stars in her eyes that only shine for Arlo. She can never get enough Arlo. His face must be cleaned. He must be re-fluffed. She must drape herself over him. Spot showers Arlo with attention and devotion. 

You call it being a creeper. I call it 'adoring you'.
In fact we could do an entire photo series of nothing but Spot gazing at Arlo lovingly while Arlo eats, sleeps, plays and does just about everything except pay attention to Spot. 

Isn't he magnificent? 
3) Like Most Married Couples, They Have Their Moments.

We're not saying we'd win the big bucks on The Newlywed Game.
Yes, they sleep on top of each other. Arlo occasionally tires of being buried under kisses and cuddles. Sometimes he'll bark at her. Spot will have moments where she hangs out on the other side of their double room by herself. Everyone needs a little time alone. 

That said, what they have works. Despite finding themselves homeless, surviving the streets and dealing with Arlo's illness, they still always look for each other in a room. They still sleep on top of each other. They still give each other super awkward kisses while Arlo is getting his tube feedings. 

Don't worry folks, we're fixed.
Which is basically what it's all about. We can fight, we can drive each other nuts but when the chips are down, you stick with the one that loves you. Let that be a lesson to all of us. 

To keep appraised of Arlo's condition and when the pair will be available for adoption, follow us on Facebook

*actual comments from social media.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Spider Cat: Elusive, Insurrection-Stirring Ninja Cat Seeks Appropriate Garden Home.

NOT Spider Cat. Stunt cat portrayal of Spider Cat.
There are certain things in this world that are beyond human control: Tides. Weather. Earthquakes. Politicians. And Spider Cat.

This is Spider Cat.

Actual photo of genuine Spider Cat.
Spider Cat is a garden cat. A garden cat is a kitty who grew up without the benefit of human companionship and is now a little wary of this whole people-thing. He's a happy enough guy, he just doesn't want to hang out with you. He might come check you out while you're putting his food down but he doesn't want to bond. He's got a few people he'll say hello to but that's about it for Spider Cat.

Stunt Cat doing unrealistic portrayal of Spider Cat that involves walls and toy.
 You're not going to watch TV with Spider Cat. There is not going to be an adorable Instagram account for Spider Cat that will win the hearts of millions. If there was an Instagram account, it would look like this:

Actual Spider Cat demanding more vittles.
which is not likely to win hearts. It will be a lot of 'Bigfoot sighting' type photos - blurry shots of a butt or a tail.

Rare shot of Spider Cat Spider-Catting.
We're a lot of things at HSSV but the biggest thing we are is hopeful. We think there's a home out there for Spider Cat. And no, we don't mean some sort of beast-master who will turn him into an adorable lap cat and be able to crank out that Instagram account we've been talking about.

Spider Cat is a worker-bee. He's looking for a cut and dried arrangement: food and shelter for vermin control. We know that these homes are out there because we've found a bunch of them for other garden cats.

This isn't our first rodeo. A while back we decided we needed to do better for our less-social kitties for whom very, very few options existed. So we set up our Garden Cat Adoption program for working cats who find themselves needing a job. We needed a place to put these guys - they don't do well in traditional, human-interaction-heavy housing. With help from our friends Marilyn and Fred Anderson we set up the Marilyn and Fred Anderson Cat Garden. It's a safe, securely fenced courtyard outside our President's office. There are numerous little snuggle shelters, regular meals and plenty of good hidey-holes. It's way more comfortable than being in the shelter for cats who aren't crazy about human contact. We then work with local stable owners, business owners and gardeners who could use a hard working, low maintenance pest-control technician.

Once we find a placement for a Garden Cat, we help their new people set up a safe sleeping and feeding area and acclimate the cat to it's new digs. Great, right? We've saved a lot of lives that way. Of course everyone is spayed/neutered, vaccinated and health checked.

Tab, a Garden Cat that was digging Cat Garden life before Spider Cat turned up.
Anyhoo, life was completely copacetic out in the Cat Garden until the arrival of Spider Cat. Because Spider Cat HATES fences. If Spider Cat had a theme song, it would be 'Don't Fence Me In'.

Since coming to the Cat Garden, Spider Cat has been leading regular jailbreaks. No matter how we fortify the Garden he's up, over, out and hanging out at the front door waiting for his friend Billie (who works in the medical center) to bring him some vittles and say hello.

At this point in time we have no idea how he's getting out of the garden. We have created a kitty Fort Knox. El Chapo could not make it out of the cat garden. Houdini would be stymied. But Spider Cat gets out. He is an unstoppable feline ninja.

Stunt Cat re-enacting Spider Cat's fence technique.
To make matters worse Spider Cat been teaching our other, formerly perfectly content, Garden Cats to breach the perimeter as well.

Leading us to a situation where we have a parking populated by unsocialized, hungry cats which then have to be lured back to safety with copious amounts of wet food.

Professor B, who really digs the Cat Garden.
We need your help. Spider Cat is done with the Cat Garden and looking for a permanent placement. He is neutered, vaccinated and healthy (with the help of copious amounts of sedation) and ready to find his forever place. As long as he has a steady source of food and a safe place to crash, he'll stick around and work out your vermin issues for you.

While he doesn't want to cuddle, he is friendly with the folks that put his food down. Billie and ACT Dynell can pat him and he enjoys chatting with them.

We do believe there's someone for everyone. We know somewhere out there is a barn, nursery or garden that can appreciate Spider Cat on his own terms. Someone who will get as much of a kick out of his antics as we do. Somewhere that he can do his thing without leading an insurrection.

Help us find that place.

A note on the use of stunt cats: When writing about an elusive feline who is even more reticent about pictures than most cats, trying to find pictures can be a struggle. While Billie and Dynell, Spider Cat's hooman buddies, did their best to take pictures of him he just wasn't having it. As Spider Cat is a black cat and we have a whole bunch of absolutely lovely, social black cats hanging out waiting for homes, we decided to sub in stunt cats. If you are a lover of the housepanther and looking for a social home-kitty, check out Reuben, Buddy, Prince Charles and our other adoptable cats. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Behold The Awesomeness: The Mathematics of Adoption

Why yes, we are awesome.

It's not just us, there's a lot of awesomeness going around. So much that we can quantify the awesomeness in numbers. Numbers like...

That's how many animals went home during our Home For The Holidays promotion between November 27th and December 31st.  That includes...

adult cats who busted out into new homes.


kittens who found themselves forever people.

I can haz forever people? 
Dog-wise, we had...

of our furkids going flying into new homes. Flying like this....

Lovable? Incredibly. Aerodynamic? Not so much. 
But with more grace, more speed and (nominally) less slobber.  As for puppies...

Little instruments of mass destruction (and adorable-ness) wormed their way into the hearts of their new families.

Gimme five...and I pooped in your shoe. 
High five to you, too, little guy. We also can't forget the...

Bunnies, hammies, piggies and ratties who are enjoying their dinner in a new home tonight.

Nom nom nom nom.
All these numbers are great but the real magic is this one:

This is the number of animals we were able to transfer in from crowded municipal shelters in December as a result of all of the adoptions. Animals like Tessa.....

Why yes, I am a little speckle-y.
And Periwinkle.

Obey the kitten. 
There's a strange mathematics to animal adoption. Most people think you adopt an animal, you save that animal. That's one life saved. Right?

Wrong. Check this out:  

This little muffin is Angelo.

Angelo came to us from a municipal shelter in a rural area that gets more pets than adopters. The staff there is amazing and does whatever it can to find safety for it's animals. They gave us a holler and Candy, our fantastic transport coordinator, took our transport van out there and scooped up a bunch of their pets to bring here.  Angelo arrived on that transport. So Angelo is one life saved.

Angelo gets here and he meets his forever people.

Hi new wonderful forever people. 
They're really cool, wonderful forever people, too. And for all the love they give him, he makes their lives better as well. So now we're up to one life saved (Angelo) and two lives made better (his new forever people). That's three. And we're done, right?

Don't take this as an endorsement of any product. 
No, we're not. We're not done at all.

Because when Angelo's forever people took him home, we had an open room. A space for someone else to come it. Maybe even two someones if they're small. Someones like this:

The frog is looking at me funny. 
Or this. 

He's right - the frog is a creeper.
There's one or two MORE lives saved. Now factor in the human lives that those one or two animals are enriching and you're looking at another four or five.

We're not great with numbers.... we find them a bit confusing.

All this math-amatizing is exhausting. 
 But we're pretty sure that one adoption just impacted or saved seven or eight additional lives. 

Which means that it's actually our adopters that make us awesome.

And for that they deserve many kisses.

And a happy dance. 

Thank you!