Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Difficult Process of Kitten Building.

Kittens are cute, right? 

Bask in our ridiculous adorableness. 
Adorable. Fluffy. So playful. Unfortunately we have to burst the kitten bubble. We have to tell you honestly: they don't start out that way. We don't want to say that they start out homely but...

We're sure he has a great personality. 
An enormous amount of work goes into building the finished product. And not all stages of kitten development are something for Hallmark Cards.

Kittens come out basically looking like a cross between a soaked hamster and a terrible stuffed toy mistake. They are helpless, blind and deaf and need help with everything. Not just the eating bit...

Like a small, adorable Gollum with a drinking problem. 
But the bit where they get rid of the eating bit. Yes, the pooping bit. 

We are coming. And we are needing to poo.
Usually these things are not a problem as they have mother cats that are pretty ace at handling them and are not icked out by the helping-with-the-poop bit.

Unfortunately mom is not always around. Sometimes it's because she's injured or stressed or hurt or because the kittens are purposely taken away. Sometimes it's a case of good intentions gone awry - people see very young kittens without mom and assume they're abandoned. They're usually not - mom just went to grab something to eat or use the restroom but that's a whole other story. Front Street Rescue in Sacramento tells it beautifully and succinctly

Anyhoo, the long and short of it is we get a lotta little fluffy jellybeans that require a whole lotta care.

Poooooop time! Get to it!
Luckily we have amazing foster parents who are willing to take care of the little muffins in their home. They do the bottle feeding, poop-helping and raising them to go be good feline citizens. Foster parents like Kristine and her seven year old daughter Emma, who are foster veterans. Emma even makes special beds for the kittens.

And foster folk like Jessica who gets some help raising her kittens from nanny dog and HSSV alum Maggie.

I'm a very busy, very tired pibble. 
Jessica not only has fostered a ton of kitties for us, she also runs the cutest instagram EVER

Check meeeooow-t.
We're not just writing this as an excuse to fill you up with tons of adorable kitten photos. Oh no. We're telling you this because saving orphaned kittens takes a village. It takes more than a village, it takes a large city. Or something with significantly more population than a village as 'village' implies not very many people at all.  It requires a lot of people and a lot of resources.

Resources like boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. 
Underage kittens can be the most vulnerable population entering shelters. Their immune systems aren't developed. They're totally helpless. And, as cats are seasonal breeders, they arrive in huge numbers, swamping shelters and draining foster home and supply resources. In the past few days we've had over two dozen coming in daily. All need care. All need foster homes. All need forever homes.  And all need to be spayed/neutered before going into those forever homes to stem this tide. 

The good news is that you can help. 

And yes, we are looking at you. 
If you live nearby, you can foster. While we do have a lot of the super teeny-need-help-to-poo kittens, we also have some that are weaned and pooping just fine but are too young to be in a shelter. Whatever your ability level is, we have some kitties that want to crash with you.

I can poop by myself, thanks. But I could use a crash pad. 
If you don't live near by but you lurf us, you can help out by purchasing beverages for the underaged. Which means going to our Amazon wishlist and buying Kitten Milk Replacer, bottles, beds and other stuff that we go through by the mountain load during kitten season.

If you don't live near us but want to foster, PLEASE check with your local shelter or rescue. We guarantee somewhere near you there is an organization that is probably in desperate need of your help. 

Don't know where that rescue or shelter is? Google it!

C'mon guys. You don't need to be in Silicon Valley to know how to google.
Last year we sent over 2,000 kittens out to foster homes. A veritable drop in the national kitten bucket. Yes, they come out looking like damp hamsters. Yes, they need help with the pooping thing. But yes, they deserve happy lives and forever families. 

So let's build some kittens.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Four Reasons Our Medical Staff Kicks Butt.

#1) No Teeth, No Problem.

Check out my three toofers. 
In case you haven't noticed, we get a lot of wee little dogs. Small dogs tend to have big dental problems - everything is just crowded too close together in those tiny little mouths. So a lot of our smaller muffins come in with painful dental issues.....

She's got too few, I have a bunch of spares. So it goes. 
which our amaze-balls medical team totally handles on a day to day basis. In addition to spaying/neutering, microchipping, doctoring, etc, etc, etc our pets, they also wind up doing full dental cleanings and procedures on a large number of our dogs and cats. In fact they're so good with the dentals that we even take in animals from other shelters who have dental issues needing treatment. Like 15-odd cats from a rural shelter that had been hanging out for a very long time because they needed some serious mouth make-overs. We brought them here, got their smiles more functional and got them adopted.

So drooling when you's a thing. People dig it.
No one is psyched about going to the dentist but everyone is psyched about getting a home.

#2) They Make Casts Look Good.

I'm rocking the 'Easter themed tibia' look. 
Being in a cast stinks. But it shouldn't mean you have to look like pathetic, too. Our techs are famous for making the best looking casts and splints in the biz. Not only do they provide support for healing bones, they're also flippin' adorable.

It's not a cast - it's a kickstand for a mobile trouble-machine. 
In addition to being dental wizards the vet staff is also bone wizards, too. Our Dr. Moore is amazing with the complicated orthopedic problems. We also work with specialists when we get a super-duper hard case. The same way our mad dental skills mean we get a lot of transfer animals with bad teeth, our ability to work with bone breaks means we can help other shelters when they get kids with broken or deformed bones. Which is awesome.

I got the tulip cast. Which makes me cooler than the last two dogs. 
And if the thought of our absurdly hard working vet techs taking a couple minutes out of their day to carefully craft little hearts and tulips on casts doesn't melt your heart, you might not be human. We're just sayin'.

#3) This. Just....

Don't I look like a hairy, happy flower? 

Snickerdoodle lost a leg. No biggie - it had been hurt for a long time and was causing her a lot of pain. She's happier with it gone.

Doesn't that fourth leg slow you guys down? I'm streamlined for speed!
But it does mean she has to wear the Cone of Shame until her surgery site heals. Or is it the Cone of Joy? Our medical team partnered with our education team to makes cones a little happier. One of the activities our Education Team does with kids visiting our Animal Community Center on field trips and day camps is to decorate the cones for healing pets. It's a win/win. The kids have fun and the dogs get ridiculous amounts of extra lovings and attention. Because NOTHING draws a crowd like rockin' a cool head cone.

#4) They Are All Enormous Suckers.

You are powerless over my puppy breath, hooman. 
Ridiculous suckers. In the best way possible. Kitten season finds a veritable parking lot of carriers in the vet tech station - most of our techs foster kittens and run back and forth bottle feeding their little charges. Talk about bringing your work home with you at night.

Even the doctor peoples cannot resist us. 
If counted up the number of HSSV pets that have been fostered and adopted by our techs, assistants and vets you could easily fill up an entire shelter. Heck, if you even winnowed down that number to 'hopeless/hard cases adopted or fostered by our medical staff' you could STILL fill a shelter. Pets like Westley, the kitten who came back from the dead.

I was only dead for a few minutes. No biggie. 
 Shawna, our Manager of Medical Operations, fostered and then adopted him. And wonderful, scaly Sweet Pea...

who Dr. Berger took home with her family while she recovered from horrible skin issues. Dr. Berger didn't keep the 'Pea but she did a lot of smelly baths in her home until Sweet Pea was furry again. Sweet Pea, meanwhile, is living the life. You can check her out on instagram - search #dailysweetpotato for pics from her new owner. 

What? You've never seen a pit bull in a tutu before? 
There's actually a billion reasons why our medical team is made of awesome but we only had space for four (or else this would have been a novel). While they do everything for our shelter pets, they do have time to do spaying/neutering and vaccines for the general public in our clinic. More deets (including how some folks can get these services free) can be found here

In the meantime, let's all just bask in how amazing they are and how many lives they save. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Have You Checked The Date On Your Calendar?

We love April 1st. Love love love it. 

April Fool's Day... I feel so....misguided.

Perhaps you clicked the link because you already knew that Mr. Snappypants was not an adorably mismatched puppy with some quirky behavior issues...

Pom mix puppy? REALLY? 
 But actually a honey badger. 

Which does have some behavior quirks but is nothing you would ever want to own as a pet. At least not if you enjoy things like breathing, having fingers, etc. 

The good news is that the little muffins Mr. Snappypants is pictured with are genuine, real life puppies and available for adoption. 

We are all deeply in love with Photobomb Puppy in the back. 
But if you clicked through to the link because you knew Mr. SnappyPants was a honey badger and you like the idea of a pet with a little 'tude, you should pop by and meet Bree AKA 'The Land Shark'.

What's a finger? You have nine spares. And some toes, too...
Bree is diabolically brilliant, hysterically funny, incredibly playful and cuddly with those that she loves. And love and cheese are pretty tightly bound together in her miraculous mind. She's never met a stuffed toy she didn't like but takes people on a case by case basis. She'd appreciate it if you kept your paws off her toys until you know each other a little. If you like the sass, she brings it. Hard.

While we're copping to things, KissyFurSnuggums is not actually a pet cat, either.  

But you only have one nose and I'm about to launch. 
She's really a manul, or Pella's Cat. Which are wonderful, amazing wild cats with the most expressive faces..

But again, not something that should ever be a pet. 

But let's say that you knew that - that you were totally on board with the fact that this was actually a little more than your average housecat. Then you should meet Tab. 

Come meet me, bring a toy and try not to be annoying and we shall talk. 
Tab, much like Honey Badger, doesn't care. He does care - about playing and toys and hanging out with his hand-selected buddies, but he represents all that is feline about cats. He really doesn't care what you think of him. He is independent, opinionated and likes things on his own timeline. His play style can be a little disarming (in a 'kevlar might be appropriate' kind of way) so it's best to stick to things like feather toys and lasers. Not only are they his favorites, they also allow for some distance between your arms and him. 

If you're looking for an eccentric roommate that will keep you on your toes, keep you laughing and remind you of your place in the universe*, Tab's your man.

If you were looking for a Honey Badger or a manul, sorry to disappoint. But come on guys, surely you have to be wise to our April Fool's Day tricks by now. 

They lied...why did they lie?
Happy April Fool's Day From HSSV!

* your place, if you didn't know, is well under the cat's place in the universe.