All Things. Pawsible Spring Improving Lives

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1 All Things Pawsible Spring 2014 Improving Lives

2 President s Letter Dear Friends, To save and enhance lives both two-legged and four-legged. It s our mission statement. But what does that really mean? How we enhance the lives of our fourlegged friends is apparent we find homes for those without. We provide services medical and behavioral that allow animals to live longer, healthier lives. It may be more difficult to understand how we enhance the lives of people for those who don t share their lives with an animal. We all know that our pets make our lives better because we live with them. Surely by doing what we do and what we do very, very well for animals, we contribute to the lives of their owners, right? Yes, but it s much bigger than that. While assisting our community with pets both finding them and keeping them is definitely a big part of what we do, our contributions go deeper than that. In this issue we look at not only the pets whose lives we ve touched, but some of the people as well. We meet Meredith, whose connection with us helped her through a stressful time. We meet Kevin Williamson and Elizabeth Laverty, lifetime adopters, donors and volunteers, who have worn many different hats for us in the past. And of course we meet some amazing animals as well Smudge, Callie, Mickey and Minnie. All of who went on to enrich the lives of their new owners and inspire everyone who meets them. It s your support that inspires us to keep doing the work that we do. Thank You! President Humane Society Silicon Valley 901 Ames Avenue, Milpitas, CA (408) Humane Society Silicon Valley is an independent non-profit organization. We are not governed by or affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or the American SPCA (ASPCA) and receive no funding from these organizations. Adoptions/Lost & Found M F: 12 7 pm Sat & Sun: 10 am 7 pm Adoptions: (408) x150 Lost & Found: (408) x110 Pet Store M F: 12 7 pm Sat & Sun: 10 am 7 pm (408) x164 Grooming By appointment only. (408) x124 Medical Center Spay/Neuter Drop-Off: Mon Sat 6:30 am 7:30 am Pick-Up: Same Day 4 pm 6 pm (408) x108 Vaccinations/Microchips M Sat: 9 am 12 pm, 1-5pm Sun: 10 am 12 pm, 1 3 pm (408) x108 Medical Center is NOW OPEN SUNDAYS Neighborhood Pet Adoption Centers Open every day 10 am 7 pm San Jose PETCO 500 El Paseo de Saratoga, San Jose (408) Sunnyvale PETCO 160 East El Camino Real, Sunnyvale (408) Board of Directors Marilyn Anderson Sue Levy Kara Berg Kate Mulligan Sue Diekman - Chair Linda Netsch-Treasurer Sumita Dutta W. Stephen Sullins-Secretary Gayle M. Haworth Erin Toeniskoetter Terry Lee - Vice Chair Lars Rabbe Honorary Board John Diekman Gordon Moore Judy Marcus Tara VanDerveer Betty Moore Steve Wozniak

3 Smudge By the time he was seven weeks old, Smudge already had a reputation for being nothing but trouble. Taken from his mother at three weeks old, the white kitten with the mesmerizing eyes had never really learned the finer points of social interaction. When the Good Samaritan who found him brought him home, the little ball of fur immediately set to terrorizing the two older cats in the house, going after them with claws and teeth. Humans didn t fare much better with Smudge he loved attention but his idea of play usually resulted in bloodshed. After a harrowing month with the dainty little hell-raiser, the Good Samaritan brought him to us. Sweet and innocent inside his carrier, his behavior outside of it quickly confirmed what we had been told: this kitten was on a fast track to feline delinquency. Kittens like Smudge present a unique challenge for shelters. He was definitely not a feral kitten he liked people and other cats, but had no idea what to do with them. You couldn t call him unsocialized, just uncivilized. But with his violent play style, it would be impossible to find him a home. Luckily we had seen cats like him before and had a plan to clean up his manners. While we could never be the mother he had lost at such a young age, we had a cat behavior specialist and a special facility to give him the guidance he had missed out on. We had the Jungle Room. Smudge is just one of over thirty cats who have benefited from the Jungle Room in During his time in the jungle room, Smudge learned a lot. Under the patient tutelage of staff and volunteers, he underwent play and threshold therapy. Using positive reinforcement and food treats, we taught him that gentle play could be just as much fun as drawing blood. There was one additional ingredient in the rehabilitation of Smudge: he needed a role model. Due to medical issues, Smudge had been separated from other cats since he arrived. Now cleared, we introduced him to Jayden. Jayden was a bit older than Smudge and also very high energy. When we put them together, magic happened. The two rolled around playfully, working off some of their energy. When Smudge tried his old terror techniques, Jayden would swat him and then ignore him. Smudge got the message and the resulting change was drastic. Within 24 hours he was like a brand new cat, Behavior Associate Ashley Vinar recalls. The outlet of having a buddy, paired with the skills he had learned in the Jungle Room, had turned Smudge into a cat that could be described as, well, fantastic. He was friendly and affectionate. He would chase his feather toy for hours and loved pats. Gone was the manic tornado of claws and jaws. Now that he was greeting visitors and playing appropriately, it was just a matter of finding the right home for him. Or having the right people find him. Five months after he came to us, Smudge picked his people. When a young couple with other animals at home came to visit with him, he immediately glued himself to their legs, head butting and purring. He left in his carrier that day, looking just as angelic and innocent as the day we met him. The Jungle Room is a quiet room outfitted with comfy cat furniture, toys and training tools. The space was made possible by a bevy of individual donors who gave gifts of $25 to $500 specifically to help cats that are shy, undersocialized, or in need of play therapy to interact appropriately. Supporters of this room responded to an campaign about creating the Jungle Room. When we were ready to close the campaign and start outfitting the room, we still needed some additional funds to reach our goal. The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation swooped in to finish the campaign to complete the room. Smudge is just one of over seventy-five cats who have benefitted from the Jungle Room since Generous individual donors help make our creative solutions possible. Thank you!

4 Making a Difference In a flash of her trademark red, Elizabeth Laverty is on the move. Her ipad, never too far away, is clutched in her hand as she darts through the shelter looking for another volunteer to pose with a dog needing a home. Outside in the sunshine Kevin Williamson, her husband and a self-described clean freak, is working on the windows, spraying and wiping with the zen-like calm he always seems to exude. Later in the week, Elizabeth will meet with the marketing team to hammer out the details of a new program to showcase our pets on a Bay Area news show. This will be the third broadcast news show she s regularly appeared on to introduce our animals. Kevin will load up Baby Huey, a husky going to his new family, in their SUV for a six-hour roundtrip drive up to Grass Valley. It s all in a week s work for the Laverty- Williamsons. Since a 17-year-old Elizabeth first adopted a kitten from us almost forty years ago, the couple s lives have been intertwined with our organization. And we couldn t be more grateful for them. As volunteers, we feel empowered to improve the lives of the animal guests at HSSV... as donors, we are impacting change in our community. Elizabeth and Kevin wear a lot of hats here: Kevin is our Santa Paws and rumors suggest that he might have something to do with Scamp, though we refuse to ruin the mystique of our mascot by confirming or denying this. He s also a one-man cleaning and organizing army. In between other duties, he s the first to volunteer when animals need a transport, driving animals as far and wide as Davis (for a consult at the veterinary college) and to Spokane, WA (to reunite a lost pet with its military owners). He s also been a dog and rabbit socializer. Elizabeth, whose petite stature and signature red logo wear make her immediately recognizable, has an even longer list: over 350 adoption videos made. She has volunteered with corporate volunteers and participated in dog socializing, foster, behavior and other programs. She even teaches training classes for other volunteers in subjects as varied as dog behavior and photography. She s indispensable to us, says Finnegan Dowling, Communications Associate. There s nothing she can t do. If Elizabeth sees a need she just jumps in and fills it. She doesn t wait for other people to solve problems, she solves them herself. Kevin and Elizabeth are both recently retired from the IRS where they were agents. We liked to say that we made a living as accountants but made a difference at HSSV, says Elizabeth. They ve spent over 40 years as adopters, 30 years as donors,

5 and 11 years as volunteers. Married for 29 years, they believe Humane Society Silicon Valley is very much a family affair. Family including, of course, a fair amount of our alumni. They currently share their lives with two adopted dogs Barney, a Staffordshire terrier mix and Pepper, a large mixed breed dog. The two family dogs represent a small sample of adoptees and fosters from rats to cats to dogs that have been lucky enough to pass through Kevin and Elizabeth s home. the possibilities it opened up for our community and animals, and grateful for the extreme vote of confidence. As volunteers, we feel empowered to improve the lives of the animal guests at HSSV by connecting adopters and pets, Elizabeth explains. As donors, we are impacting change in our community through our investment of HSSV s life-saving mission. They ve spent over 40 years as adopters, 30 years as donors, and 11 years as volunteers. It s no surprise that Elizabeth and Kevin are special to us. But when Kevin and Elizabeth learned about HSSV s plans to strive for a 95% save rate and to lead other regional shelters to do the same, they asked how they could help. They agreed that by making a pledge of $250,000 over several years, they would like to be foundational supporters to help us achieve these goals. We were blown away by their gift appreciative for all Back at the Animal Community Center, Kevin loads the exuberant young husky into a crate in their new GMC Acadia, purchased for it s extra space for transports. A custom license plate reads We HSSV. Elizabeth deadpans, We knew we had become crazy dog people when we traded in our Corvette for a Volvo station wagon. How You Can More Closely Connect with our Life-Saving Mission Our President s Circle members work hand-in-hand with us to save lives and affect deep change in our community when supporting the life-saving programs illustrated right here in our newsletter. By giving $1,000 or more a year, cumulatively, to Humane Society Silicon Valley, you ll join our President s Circle and be further inspired by many unique opportunities to connect directly with those lives you help us save, while fully experiencing our mission here. Learn how to deepen your relationship with us by visiting : or call Bridget Keenan, Director of Leadership Giving, at (408) x133.

6 It s All About It s been a long journey for both Callie and Meredith. Stressed and exhausted, Meredith left a demanding, high-pressure job last year. Unready to re-enter the workforce, she was left with a lot of empty hours to fill, and flagging spirits. Volunteering at HSSV was something she had meant to do since she and her husband relocated here several years ago. Flush with time and needing something, she signed up as an adoption concierge, greeting people and answering questions at our front desk. Contributing is one way to get you outside of your own problems. To give something back. It s empowering, Meredith says. Being around the animals and the people worked magic on her. It encouraged me that there were good things going on in the world, and gave me something to look forward to. Being here flipped a switch for me it could turn a bad day into a good day. She also loved the dog volunteering classes. While her family has a dog in Texas, she and her husband never got one here. Callie doesn t cower any more. The little dog with the wispy fur and the underbite strains at the end of her leash to meet new friends. She wiggles with delight at other dogs, putting her dime-sized paws on their shoulders. On the other end of the leash, her person laughs and jokingly admonishes her. With her big green eyes and gentle Texas drawl, Meredith Ruffell exudes friendliness and welcome. Everyone knows Meredith and Callie, and when they walk through Humane Society Silicon Valley, everyone is happy to see them. That all changed when our Customer Care staff handed her Callie, an under-socialized Maltese mix. During quiet moments behind the adoption desk, staff and volunteers will often socialize our shelter dogs, giving them some much needed cuddle time. Callie, tiny and shaking, desperately needed some handling. Meredith had frequently socialized puppies, but she felt an immediate connection to the trembling pup with the disheveled fur. She persuaded her husband to come meet her. Even he noticed the bond that had forged between Meredith and the pup. No matter where Meredith was, Callie s little brown eyes followed her.

7 the Confidence He fell for Callie, too, and they adopted her. Frightened of other dogs, strangers, and just about everything else, Callie needed some work. And working with Callie helped push Meredith out of her comfort zone. On top of her volunteer work, she began socializing Callie in a world that Meredith herself had felt out of step from herself. Parks, outdoor shopping centers, car rides wherever Meredith went, Callie came too. In helping Callie gain confidence, Meredith regained her own both in herself and in the world around her. They enrolled in puppy classes and enjoyed the six-week course. To help with Callie s fear of large dogs, Meredith reached out to people she knew with large dogs and set up play dates. Once Callie gained confidence, Meredith signed up to be a member of the Sue and Dick Levy Dog Park. Having a safe, comfortable place to learn social skills with dogs her own size was invaluable. This is Callie as a puppy when she first came to us. It s hard to believe that the scared and terribly shy pup pictured here is the same dog as the one pictured with her mom (at left). In volunteering with Humane Society Silicon Valley, Meredith re-connected with the world that had previously exhausted her. In helping Callie gain confidence, Meredith regained her own both in herself and in the world around her. It s hard to tell which is more infectious these days Callie s enthusiasm or Meredith s sincere welcomes when she s behind the adoptions desk. Either way, we feel privileged to be a part of their story.

8 Mickey & Minnie Ponytails and poodle skirts. Beans and weenies. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Some things are just meant to be together. Like senior labs Mickey and Minnie, who came to us as a transfer from another shelter. Without our intervention, these two came dangerously close to losing each other forever. Found on the streets of San Jose, they were in pretty rough shape when they were brought to another area shelter. Both dogs were skinny and missing patches of hair. Minnie had visible growths on her stomach. Still there was something about the elderly dogs that caught the attention of the other shelter. Despite being older and infirm, the two were vitally, wonderfully alive and enthusiastic. Due to having very limited resources, the other shelter had decided they could remove Minnie s tumors but they d be unable to offer her care beyond that. That shelter then reached out to us. And thanks to gifts from people like Jennifer and Tom Werbe, who make a generous quarterly gift specifically to support animals like Mickey and Minnie, we were able to offer the pair the care they would need. There was also another reason for us to bring Mickey and Minnie here: at the other shelter they had to be separated the kennels were too small for two large dogs to room together, and they were becoming despondent. It was apparent that whatever the future held for Mickey and Minnie, they would need to be together. If there s one thing we ve is that Silicon Valley has a huge heart when it comes to animals. Mickey was the first to come over. We transferred him in while Minnie had her surgery. The next day Minnie was brought here, too. Despite recovering from an extensive surgery, they were beside themselves to be reunited. We did our best to keep them calm, and within hours the two were happily curled up together in the same yin and yang position we were sure had been their life-long sleeping position. While we tended to Minnie s recovery, the results of her biopsy came back: they had removed all of the cancer. We did some additional tests and X-rays that confirmed it hadn t spread. Though her prognosis was unclear as this form of cancer can recur she was ready to be adopted. But could we find an adopter that was okay with not one big dog but two, both elderly, and one with a history of cancer? If there s one thing that we ve learned from being in this community for over 85 years, it is that Silicon Valley has a huge heart when it comes to animals. Through our social media channels, we reached out to our community. And Patty answered. Patty had heard about us from a friend and started watching the labs on our website. Every day for a week she looked, and every day they were still there. Heartbroken after losing her large dog months before, she had been keeping an eye out for older, larger dogs. These two seemed made for her she needed them and they needed her. After a week of admiring them, she came in. The three became an instant family there was no way she was leaving without them. From the minute she brought them home, they settled in like they had always been there. They love her and she loves them, tennis balls and silliness and all. These two clowns are so much fun to watch she writes, we were meant to be a family. To make a gift of any size to help dogs like Mickey and Minnie, or to make a designated gift for part of our work that is close to your heart, please call us at ext 133 or visit