Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Whatever it takes!

by Elena Battles, COO & Feline Fan(atic!)

We've been blogging alot about cats these days. Truth is, each of us here at HSSV has feline-on-the-brain right now. It's kitten season- the time of year when cat breeding peaks and thousands of homeless kittens find their way to shelters as a result. And in case you hadn't noticed, kittens are cute. Darn cute. They scamper. They wrestle. They bat their eyelashes. Just look at Noodles here, a kitten available for adoption at HSSV. Are you kidding me with those whiskers?

It's just too easy for the amazing adult cats looking for homes to be overlooked when they're bunking next to cuties like Noodles. So today we launched a new promotion to encourage adopters to take a second look. Between now and August 31st, anyone adopting a cat 2 years old and over will receive a $125 gift card for any HSSV service- it can even be used toward the adoption fee! As a nonprofit organization, we depend on our adoption fees to provide for the animals in our care, BUT the cats need us to get creative. Whatever it takes!

Let's start with Pretzel. You can't tell me she's not as adorable as Noodles. And she can scamper and bat those eyelashes with the best of them, trust me.

Ready to help? Adopt. Share this post. Spread the word. Thank you!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Was Adopted in the Cat Community Room

Bridget Keenan
Director of Development

Our Cat Community Room is certainly a crowd-pleaser. Visitors ask if our cats are revolved from the individual condominiums into this room and back so they all benefit from this fabulous space, but that is not the case. You may wonder how certain cats are lucky enough to live in this room and the adjoining “Sun Porch”, and there’s quite a science to it, dependent on the proper mix of age, health, personality, and activity level. Appropriate cats for this room have been at HSSV for at least 2 weeks so the team can ensure they are healthy (think daycare where “little kids = germ bombs”).

They must be at least 6 months of age, but because they’re mellow and get along with everyone, they’re often “Golden Pets” (age 6 or older). But there may be a few rowdy cats thrown into the mix…the ones who get “The Zoomies”…because they have lots of room to expend their energy, and plenty of space for other less-active cats to get out of their way! These cats must be comfortable being introduced to new cats, and aren’t the type to hide (no fun going into the cat room and everyone is in a crawlspace!). So Cat Community Room residents are often the extroverts, although our cats in the condos can be extroverted, too! It adds up to a diverse room of interesting adoptables (or adopters, I should say, since everyone knows that cats adopt us!).

I myself got “adopted” in the Cat Community Room a few weeks ago, and it was a magical moment. I went into the room for a little kitty-therapy one Monday. I was jetlagged from a European flight the night before, and grieving the recent loss of my sister. I sat down on the wicker couch in HSSV’s Cat Community Room and this cute gray-and-cream muted tabby with green eyes immediately took one look at me, jumped off his perch, and hopped up into my lap. He put his paws on my shoulder and nuzzled my face. Hiya, fella!

But I was told there was a bonded pair, Alex and Rocky, in the room that I should check out, so after a few minutes I put him down and wandered over to see them. They had zero interest in me – it just wasn’t a love match. But ol’ Green Eyes kept following me around, putting his paws on my thighs to get picked up and held like a baby being burped. I finally asked “what’s your name, love?” and went outside to see his card and info. I my jaw dropped when I read his name was “Keenan”! (My last name being Keenan, talk about having a cat with my name written all over him!) After five straight days of similar visits, it was clear that Keenan was the one for me, and WE'RE now the bonded pair. (He had it all figured out on Day 1, and to this day wonders what took me so long.)

That’s why I love the Cat Community Room and condos…you can have your eye on one cat, but another will adopt you instead. Stop by and see who picks you out next time you’re at the Animal Community Center.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Leo, the Mexican Hairless Foster Dog, and His Journey North

By Lauren Gallagher, Controller & Shy Foster Dog Mom

It’s a common occurrence. Casaundra Cruz from HSSV’s Regional Rescue department shows up at my office door, asking me if I am ready to take another foster dog home. She says “You have to come meet this one, he is right up your alley, extremely shy”. I can never resist the shy ones, probably because I consider myself on the shy side too. Casaundra also let me know that he was a rare breed, a Mexican Hairless, also called Xolo or Xoloitzcuintli. I quickly googled the breed. I discovered that the Xolos are an ancient dog breed that was considered sacred by the Aztecs. I was intrigued.

When I met Leo, he was very scared, shaking, and not eating. He also had an odd gait, kind of like a tiny newborn fawn, which was very unusual since he was almost two years old. Veterinarians had determined that Leo had a neurological disorder, but it did not affect his quality of life.

But what struck me most about Leo was his appearance. He had dark, rough, and wrinkled skin, which felt like an elephant’s skin on his lower back. He had only a tuft of hair on the end of his tail, a little hair on his feet, and a flat toupee of black hair on his head. Underneath his tee shirt, however, his skin was very soft. Therefore, we concluded that he had been left in the sun a lot (probably too much) wearing tee shirts. He had a farmer’s tan!

So I took Leo home, and he quickly became part of my pack. He was such a gentle and sensitive little guy, scared of sudden movements and noises. We knew he would need to go to an experienced, adult only home. He had the sweetest way of jumping up on me in such a gentle, tentative way, tugging at the heart. Leo was very mellow. He loved to lounge either on my lap, nearby me on the couch, or in the round cat bed. Legend says that Xolo owners could wrap their mellow dog's warm body around an ailing body part, even over the shoulders and around the neck, to relieve pain like a heating pad!

Soon after we took Leo in, a friend of mine was visiting us here at HSSV's Animal Community Center, and met Leo. She quickly told me that she has close friends who really love to adopt this rare Mexican Hairless breed. So we sent pictures of Leo to them. Well, after a couple conversations, they decided to drive here from north of Seattle, Washington with their two female dogs, one, also a Mexican Hairless, and the other, a terrier mix. Both of their dogs were very fearful when they adopted them, so they had extensive experience. They sounded like an ideal family for Leo.

It was love at first sight and they adopted him. I recently received a report that Leo is settling into his new home quite well. He follows around his new canine sisters and recently was seen basking with them in the rare Seattle sun. He will certainly lose his tan up there in the northern Seattle area, and will need to wear sweaters! Leo was by far, my furthest foster dog placement, but he is in his perfect forever home!