Friday, July 30, 2010

Join Me at the Summer Music and Wine Festival!

by Valerie K. Kane, HSSV Volunteer

If you haven’t heard yet, this Sunday August 1, from 1 - 6 PM is the annual Summer Music and Wine Festival at the HSSV Animal Community Center. This will be my first time attending. I’m excited about all the activities planned, but mostly I’m looking forward to meeting Abbie, professional surf dog and HSSV alum.

I first met Abbie when a friend of mine found her Facebook fan page, AbbieSurfs. Ever since then, I’ve been following her surfing successes (1st place this year at the Lowes Surf Dog Competition in May), her off-water exploits (paragliding and sheep herding) and her turn in front of the camera as a surfer girl-dog in the movie Marmaduke.

Abbie will be at the festival with her Dad, Michael Uy, from 1 – 3 PM signing “pawgraphs.” I’m hoping she’ll let me snap a picture with her, too! She makes me proud to be a part of HSSV.

There’s a lot more to see and do at the Summer Music and Wine Festival, including dog agility, flyball demonstrations, music by the Joe Sharino Band, and of course wine tastings! Hope to see you there.

For more information about the festival, visit To learn more about Abbie, visit

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Man's Best Friend Design contest

By Jennifer Bush, HSSV Volunteer

What images come to mind when you think of your pet? What makes our connection to our pets so strong? Earlier this month, Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) sponsored a t-shirt design contest with these questions in mind. The theme of the contest, “Man’s Best Friend,” was intended to inspire artists to create a design that embodied the spirit of HSSV. The contest was led by Robin Poncy, manager of HSSV’s pet store, in partnership with, a community based t-shirt company with “a passion for doing good.”

Robin hoped to find a t-shirt design that would appeal to everybody, whether man or woman, young or old. She needed a cutting edge design that she could sell in the pet store at HSSV, called Whole Pets, as well as around the community. It would also become the official t-shirt for fundraising and marketing activities. The winning design would need to have broad appeal and fit HSSV’s mission of enhancing the human-animal bond.

Out of 25 designs submitted, Robin picked one titled “Our Very Own Island” as the winner. Simple and sweet, it features a boy and his cat napping comfortably on a private island. The winner, who goes by “kingmilk,” said the design is about “owning your very own island and sharing it with somebody you love.” The inspiration came from a cat that once wandered the neighborhood. The cat was always very friendly, but one day stopped showing up. Kingmilk, who designs as a hobby, has wondered about that cat for years. Robin Poncy loved that the design showed the best of what animals bring to our lives. Though alone on the island, the two are “in harmony and at peace with each other.”

On a personal note, this design really spoke to me. When I was pregnant with my first child, I was on bed rest for a few weeks. I would take naps on the couch and, although my dog, Berkeley, wasn’t usually allowed on the couch, I made an exception. I’d fall asleep, and she would curl up in the crook of my bent knee. Though these days she’d need an island big enough for a good game of fetch, “Our Very Own Island” reminds me of those blissful naps with my first “baby.”

How does the winning design speak to you? What is your favorite place to escape with your pet? Post your comments below!

The shirt will be available for pre-order at this Sunday’s Music and Wine event, for a discounted price of $15. Shirts with the new design will be available in the Whole Pets store later this summer.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Meet Our Pet of the Week


I'm Hunter and like a big cat on the African plains I love to stalk and pounce... but feather toys are my fancy, not real prey!

In fact I like toys so much that I will play fetch with you if you've got my favorite stuffed mouse.

Once I'm tired from all of my "hunting" I love to sit in your lap and drool in delight while you pet me all over.

I'm hunting for a heart to pounce on, are you the one? Learn how to adopt me!

How You Can Help

Every week, we ask the community to help us find one special pet a loving home. There are three easy ways to help, and you can do them all from the comfort of your home!

1. Click here to see Hunter's video, then share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

2. Print out Hunter's profile and post it at your local hangouts.

3. Donate online to help animals like Hunter get the care they deserve.

Together We Can Make a Difference!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Amazing Animals Summer Camp - An Update from the Counselors

Here is an update on Amazing Animals Summer Camp from camp counselors Sniffy (Noreena) and Spaz (Nick):

Tomorrow may be the last day of our current camp session, but there are still many sessions to come, and many more kids who are waiting to have some fun at Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV)! The past several days have gone by very quickly. One of the best parts of camp for the kids, based on what they keep talking about, was playing with HSSV’s adoptable kittens. We had all sat in circles in small groups and allowed a few kittens to play and meet us within the enclosed space. Everyone, after the lesson on cat body language, was attentive and considerate of the kittens’ needs—whether they needed a few minutes to rest, or simply some more time to get acquainted before letting themselves be pet and held. It was great to see teamwork and cooperation in passing around the toys, and a gentle shielding of any gaps between each other if a kitten tried to squeeze out of the circle! We counselors have come to the conclusion that interaction with animals brings out the best of these campers.

Presentations from Sulphur Creek Nature Center and an independent snake expert captured everyone’s attention. Sulphur Creek’s large owl stared imploringly back into its audience’s wide eyes, and they all gasped as the snake presenter lifted up his blue-tongued skink to his cheek for a “kiss” (which was, in fact, just the animal’s way of “tasting the air” with its tongue). We were impressed by several campers in particular that day. One girl named Ria seemed to know, or at least have a reasonably good guess to, the answer to every question that was asked about reptiles. Then, although she was visibly a little nervous, still volunteered to hold a snake—and offered again for another snake! Hands-on experiences truly enhanced the learning experience for the campers this week.

But all good things must come to an end, and today we participated again in our camp tradition of closing circle. However, after mention that Friday would be the last day, one camper named Rachel raised her voice and said, “I never want this camp to end!” Personally, that gives any of us who help manage this camp a sound sense of satisfaction. We are proud to be part of HSSV, that is clearly doing things right!

For more information about our Amazing Animals Summer Camp, please visit our website at

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Amazing Animals Summer Camp - Camp Counselors Tell Their Side

Last week, Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) started its Amazing Animals summer camp. We are junior volunteer camp counselors, but you could say we have some experience already—having worked in the same camp last year. However, we aren’t the only ones returning! Many of the campers this year told us they begged their parents to sign them up again after all the fun they had last year. Twenty minutes into the first day of camp, a little girl came up to us, grinning, and plainly stated, “I love this camp!” And we agree; it’s been exciting from the start.

As counselors, we have to wake up early to set up, but it is more than worth it when kids, clad in bright orange t-shirts stream into the building, calling us by our “pet names” (as opposed to our real names, which they are begging to find out). On Monday, we welcomed all the new faces, each one riveted to any mention of meeting animals up close and in person. The highlight of the day was meeting Harriet, a 7-year-old Golden Retriever. Each of the kids, armed with a treat, had the chance to introduce him or herself to Harriet and have her perform a trick like “sit,” “down” or “shake.” The room was buzzing with talk of the dog long after we had finished training her! On Tuesday, the kids had already gotten acquainted and eagerly awaited the next animal appearance. Instead of a single animal, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo brought several animals. We saw parrots, a Rainbow boa, hissing cockroaches, a guinea pig and a porcupine!

We as counselors note that exposing the campers to both adoptable and “wild” animals broadens their horizons and helps to promote their love for them. During the presentation, they asked questions nonstop and giggled at t he noisy, singing parrot in the background. With different animals to meet every day, we find ourselves right alongside the campers, guiding them and sharing their enthusiasm. Every junior volunteer counselor knows what it is like to love animals from a young age, which just makes it all the more fun to work with kids and animals at the same time. You can never have too many animal lovers!

Tomorrow, we’re going to meet an 8 foot long boa constrictor, play with baby kittens, and later, take the Dog Food Taste Test Challenge. We can’t wait to tell you all about it!
-Sniffie & Spaz, HSSV camp counselors