Friday, September 27, 2013

What's Your Sign?: Zodiac Cats

 Our cats here at HSSV come to us from all different walks of life.  Some adopters say it's luck that brings a certain cat into their lives.  Others say the fate of each animal is written in the stars.  Whether or not you believe in astrology, we can certainly all identify with a particular cat personality.  So who is your Zodiac Cat?  Find your sign below!

March 21-April 20
Your Zodiac Cat:
You are adventurous, courageous, confident and quick-witted.

April 21-May 21
 Your Zodiac Cat:
You are patient, loving, reliable, and warmhearted.

May 22-June 21
 Your Zodiac Cat:
You are adaptable, communicative, intellectual, and eloquent.

June 22-July 22
Your Zodiac Cat:
You are loving, intuitive, protective, and sympathetic.

July 23-August 21
Your Zodiac Cat:
You are generous, creative, faithful, and enthusiastic.
August 22-September 23

Your Zodiac Cat:
You are modest, practical, reliable, and diligent.
September 24-October 23
Your Zodiac Cat:
You are diplomatic, charming, easygoing, and peaceable.
October 24-November 22
Your Zodiac Cat:
You are determined, powerful, passionate, and exciting.

November 23-December 22
Your Zodiac Cat:
You are optimistic, straight-forward, honest and philosophical.
December 23-January 20
Your Zodiac Cat:
You are practical, patient, ambitious, and reserved.

January 21-February 19
Your Zodiac Cat:
You are friendly, loyal, independent, and intellectual.

February 20-March 20
Your Zodiac Cat:
You are sensitive, compassionate, and kind.

All of these four-legged feline individuals are available for adoption today.  Who are you most compatible with?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Adorable Instruments of Mass Destruction Part II: Return of the Puppies.

Behold the epic cuteness:
Check me out.
The Puppies Are Here. 

And this time they brought friends:

Let me introduce you to my little friend.....

We have a plethora of pups available both at our Milpitas Animal Community Center and through our foster program. All of these ridiculous piles of adorable are waiting for good homes. There a couple of things to know before you decide to bring a pup home. The biggest being:

Puppies Will Ruin Your Life For A While. In The Best Way Possible. 

I'm so glad you're home. Someone broke in and pooped in your shoe.

Why? Puppies are a lot like babies. They don't have a great amount of bowel and bladder control so they need to go out a lot while they're growing. Figure about five to ten minutes after they eat or drink anything, it's outsy time. Losing patience with pups over housebreaking doesn't work - they honestly don't have the capacity to hold it. This means being home a lot while you're getting this squared away. And understanding that accidents happen and being able to let it go and move on.

In addition, they also need a lot of guidance and a lot of your time. The more time and training you put into your pup, the better a companion they'll be. But like toddlers, they shouldn't be left to their own devices for long periods of time.

Puppy:1 Big Screen TV:0 Must do the victory dance!

Puppies are also a lot like lawnmowers. Drunken lawnmowers. They stumble about gnawing on whatever they find in their path. They don't do it because they want attention or because they love that look on your face when you discover what the inside of your iPhone looks like. They do it because they're teething - puppy teeth are coming out and big-dog teeth are coming in. And because in the absence of thumbs, it's how they try out the world around them. Kids grab everything. Not having hands, puppies put everything in their mouth. They also do it because they're bored.

Luckily there's an easy fix for this - making sure they have enough toys and picking up anything you don't want to wind up inside their gaping maws. Not only is this good for your sanity (and electronics) it's also imperative to their health. The wrong thing (or too small a piece of anything) introduced into a puppy's gut can hurt them. Badly.

Yes, it's 4 AM but it's imperative I show you this odd squeaking noise RIGHT NOW.

Like college kids, puppies rarely keep bankers hours. When bringing home a new puppy, you should anticipate a few sleepless nights or midnight wake-up calls. Sometimes it's because their bladder doesn't agree with an eight hour rest, sometimes it's just because it's 4 AM and something in puppy's brain is saying 'Squeaky Toy Party. Right now'. Either way, you're going to get woken up a few times.

The good news? With some structure, puppies will generally get on a sleep schedule pretty quickly. Though it might not seem like it during 4 AM during Squeaky Toy Party, puppies actually sleep a lot. If you can keep them awake (or better yet get them playing hard) for a few hours before bedtime, they'll generally start crashing when you do. Also make sure they have a chance to do their business prior to bedtime. And no matter how nicely they ask, absolutely no bedtime snack.

I come home with you now?

That said: nothing is more fun than a new puppy. And we can help you get through the rough bits. We offer puppy and older puppy training classes to help you both get off on the right foot. Or the right paw. For pups adopted from us, we offer lifetime access to our behavior helpline and an adoption counselor who can help talk you through things and answer questions, even after you bring your pup home.

With that sort of support and this many pairs of puppy dog eyes, who can say no? To see some of our pups in action, check this out.

Little Mia and big sis Beatrix are both available at our Milpitas Animal Community Center. 
So is Natasha, who hasn't actually pooped in anyone's shoe. 
Taco never destroyed a big screen TV and he's available through our foster care program - click here.
Elton will be available shortly at our Milpitas Animal Community Center. 
Rusty will be available through our foster program as well.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spreading the Love: Past Pooches and Foster Families Reunite.

The Sharp-Misenheimers with past fosters and new families.
In the midst of a crowd of dogs and people on a sunny Sunday at Las Palmas Park, the Sharp-Misenheimer family stands out. It’s not the bright red hair the whole family has, it’s how popular they are. Person after person stops to greet them, their dogs erupting in spasms of joy at the sight of the family. A fox-like chihuahua puppy almost drags it’s adult human off it’s feet to get to the Sharp-Misenheimers. Shy with others, the pup bounds into the air to land kisses on the kids. The humans hug them, the dogs lick them but no one seems able to stay away from them.
Mom Lori gets a grateful kiss.

The Sharp-Misenheimer family is a foster family. When animals come in that are too young to be adopted (like Farrah, the bouncing chi pup) or too shy to be in a shelter (Benny, the adorably stubby white dog), our Rescue and Foster Team (RAFT) places them with foster families like the Sharp-Misenheimers. Families that teach them valuable skills, help them gain confidence and shower them with love.

At our recent foster family reunion, several of their past charges and their adopters came to visit, show off, and thank the foster folks for helping their dogs. As the rest of the party progressed, the Sharp-Misenheimers sat under a large tree and talked and laughed with these strangers whose lives they’ve touched.
Debbie Algieri with three of the pups she fostered & their adopters.
On the other side of the picnic, Debbie Algieri holds the leashes of two little brown terrier mixes. “It’s my babies from last year!” she says. The dogs, littermates who haven’t seen each other in over a year, wrestle at her feet. Debbie fostered this litter of five, three of which have come today. Later the three dogs play while Debbie talks with their families like old friends.

“People always think fostering is going to be sad” Bridget Keenan, our Director of Development and a dedicated foster mom says. “But it’s not, really. Saying goodbye to the first one is hard but after that it’s a happy thing. You get to meet their new family and see them go to a good home. You have some input on where they go. It’s great”.

Fostering offers a life saving option for many dogs. Without access to foster homes, there are few options for dogs that are too scared in a shelter environment, very young or needing some treatment prior to becoming adoptable. Being able to utilize the extra space of foster homes also means we can help more homeless animals from the community.
Puppy family reunion.

“We can’t increase the size of our building, but we can keep increasing our number of foster families.  Every family that volunteers to foster a dog, literally saves a life,” says Jeri Seiden, Manager of Rescue and Foster Care Programs.

For more information about becoming a foster family, please contact Casaundra Cruz at (408) 262.2133 ext 183.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Patches Saga (In Beatles Lyrics)

This is Patches, a sweet girl whose story is best described in song.
More specifically, songs by the Fab Four.

Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away

Patches came to us after her owner passed away.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being 'round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me

She was very scared and unsure of her new surroundings.

I get by with a little help from my friends

Patches befriends our staff and volunteers and even finds herself in a nice home.

It's all too much
It's all too much

The new home had unfamiliar cats and was a little too overwhelming for Patches.

Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged

Patches came back to HSSV to find a home as a single cat.

All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Patches’ motto this time around...

Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

...And still looking for her forever home.

Love, love me do
You know I love you
I'll always be true
So please, love me do

She's got a lot of love to give.  Won’t you come meet her today?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pogo: A Highly Dubious History Of A Very Lovely Dog

Like a lot of dogs Pogo came to us without a history. Lost in Sunnyvale, he was wandering about when a good Samaritan found him and brought him to us. His owner never came to claim him. Upon arriving here he went through health and behavior evaluations. Our volunteers have spent dozen of hours with him. While we can never know exactly where Pogo came from or what his life was like before, we can extrapolate based on what we know about him.

Pogo at the Olympic training facility in Vaduz, Liechtenstein

What we know: Pogo is incredibly athletic. Have a ball? He'll chase it. Got a hyper dog? He'll play with it. Is that a stuffed toy? Let's play tuggies.

What we can extrapolate: Prior to arriving at Humane Society Silicon Valley, Pogo was born into a family of noble canine athletes. Trained from birth to be an Olympic runner and fetch competitor, he was cast aside by his trainers when it was discovered that not only did the Olympics not have a fetch medal, they didn't allow dogs to compete in the track events.  This didn't phase our noble Pogo who continued to push himself, training hard by chasing squirrels and attempting to compete in collegiate sports. He was unable to compete in collegiate sports when he was once again stymied by being a dog. Even still, the little guy trained like Rocky.

Pogo shaking off after a poolside fashion shoot in St. Lucia

What we know: Pogo loves water. He bee-lines to our doggy pool in the yard and loves to sit, lay, splash and play in it. 

What we can extrapolate: After Pogo's eviction from his Olympic trainers, he was recruited by the Navy Seals to be a high level operative. They were impressed by his athletic stamina and fearlessness. Unfortunately, his willingness to run up to everyone and ability to be distracted by tennis balls and squirrels worked against him. He was a flop on covert missions. He briefly entertained a career in the intelligence forces but was let go when other operatives discovered he would do anything for cheese. Left at loose ends, Pogo did a couple of shoots for elite fashion magazines but abandoned modeling after discovering he hated to be shoved into clothing.

Pogo demonstrating his coding skills with an imaginary keyboard.

What we know: Pogo is very, very smart and learns new tricks and skills quickly. He's graduated from an obedience class since he got here and knows numerous commands.

What we can extrapolate: After washing out of a life of public service and modeling, Pogo decided he'd do best with a life lived by his wits instead of his body. He decided to learn programming. After completing an advanced coding class he came to Silicon Valley to find a job with a cutting edge tech firm. While walking to an interview, he found himself lost. Flagging down a good Samaritan, he was suddenly overcome by the exhaustion of being a dog trying to make it on his own. Yes, the independent life had been fun but it wasn't fulfilling. He wanted a bed. He wanted a tennis ball. He wanted to be a good boy. He wanted to be a dog.

Pogo with a shelter friend.

What we know: Nothing we extrapolated is probably true.

What we can extrapolate. Or something like that: A lot of times the word 'stray' carries a stigma to it. It brings to mind images of feral dogs or dogs cast out for being bad. In reality, stray dogs are usually anything but either of these. While other places have issues with feral dogs, this area generally doesn't. Most stray dogs in shelters here were owned animals who got lost or had owners pass away. Good dogs. Smart dogs. Dogs like Pogo who love people and love to play.

While it's highly unlikely Pogo ever was an Olympic hopeful, a Navy Seal, a model or graduated from a programming and coding class, he IS a great dog looking for a great home. Come meet him today. 

(All captions are patently untrue. Except for the last one.)