Humane Society Silicon Valley

The following are several blog posts I wrote as a volunteer for Humane Society Silicon Valley.

May 11, 2011

Small Dog Adoption Extravaganza

by Jennifer Bush, HSSV Volunteer

Paris Hilton has one. You’ve seen them in movies and commercials. And right now, Silicon Valley shelters are overflowing with Chihuahuas and other small mixed-breed dogs.

To help these adorable dogs find loving homes, Humane Society Silicon Valley is bringing together Silicon Valley shelters and numerous Bay Area rescue groups for a small dog extravaganza! The “Good Things Come in Small Packages” pet adoption event is a one-stop-shop for small dog lovers to adopt or learn more about Chihuahuas and other small dog breeds.

Come meet a few of these pint-sized pups and learn if one might be a good fit for your home. And if you can’t adopt a dog, you can still get involved by donatingvolunteering or fostering an animal.

Humane Society Silicon Valley’s “Good Things Come in Small Packages” Pet Adoption Event will take place Saturday, May 14 from 11 am – 4 pm at HSSV’s Animal Community Center, 901 Ames Ave., Milpitas.

Already own a small dog? HSSV is offering affordable spay/neuter surgery for Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes throughout the month of May.

Original post can be found here:

March 10, 2011

Dieting Can Be Deadly For Cats

By Jennifer Bush, HSSV Volunteer

oreo_carol_office1One of the things I find so impressive about the Humane Society Silicon Valley is how much care and attention is given to each animal who comes through their doors.

This is Oreo, a cat who came to HSSV last September. Oreo arrived weighing in at a plump 11.2 pounds. She was overweight, but in her first month at HSSV, staff noticed that she wasn’t eating well. Since arriving, she had lost more than 18% of her body weight. It is very dangerous for a cat to stop eating, so the staff admitted her to the HSSV hospital.

HSSV’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Julia Lewis, diagnosed Oreo with a life-threatening metabolic condition called fatty liver syndrome or hepatic lipidosis.  According to Dr. Lewis, fatty liver syndrome occurs when cats, especially ones who are overweight, stop eating or are put on a sudden diet. “Animals who stop eating use their body fat for energy. Fat cats have a lot of fat and this overwhelms their liver’s ability to use that fat effectively.”

oreo_j_77632 _vert1When the liver doesn’t do its job, a cat may feel nauseous, which in turn makes her not want to eat, starting a potentially deadly cycle that won’t stop until the body stops metabolizing the cat’s body fat. To combat this life-threatening situation, cats need to get enough energy into their bodies in the form of calories. This often involves placing a feeding tube and an aggressive IV fluid treatment.

Oreo’s life was in serious danger. Fortunately, the HSSV medical staff took great care of Oreo, syringe feeding her and watching her around the clock. It took three months of constant love and attention before Oreo was finally eating on her own.  I’m happy to report that Oreo was just recently adopted and is maintaining a healthy weight of 8.5 pounds!

Remember, the best way to prevent fatty liver syndrome is to make sure your cat is eating an appropriate, nutritionally balanced diet. If you think your cat may be overweight, do not put him on a diet without speaking to a veterinary professional.  Your veterinarian can help you create a healthy plan to get your pet’s weight back on track.

Although it is okay for your cat or dog to skip a meal every so often, no pet should go without food for days. To learn more about feeding your pet, take a look at this information sheet or talk to your veterinarian.

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February 11, 2011

Discounted Spay and Neuter Rates Available in February

By Jennifer Bush, HSSV Volunteer

February is National Spay/Neuter Month, and Humane Society Silicon Valley is offering discounted rates to spay or neuter your dog or cat. If you have a four-legged friend who is at least 4 months old and hasn’t been spayed/neutered, HSSV’s experienced veterinarians can provide the safe, high-quality surgery your pet needs to live a long and healthy life.

If you still need convincing, read the ASPCA’s Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet. The surgery provides important health benefits, including a longer life expectancy, lower rates of certain cancers, and fewer behavior problems.

By spaying and neutering your pet, not only are you providing the care your pet deserves, but you’re also helping the entire community. Even if you have indoor-only pets, spaying and neutering helps control the population of unwanted and stray animals, many of whom end up in shelters. In fact, if a male and female cat and their offspring are left to breed on their own, they can have over 2,000 cats in just five years!

Last year alone, HSSV performed more than 5,250 spay and neuter surgeries. Do your part! Participate in National Spay/Neuter Month by spreading the word or scheduling an appointment for your furry best friend.

Pricing, qualifications, and other details can be found at the HSSV website, or call 408-262-2133, x108 to make an appointment.

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January 12, 2011

January is National Train Your Dog Month

Jennifer Bush, HSSV Volunteer

When I brought home my new puppy, my first thought was “now what?” I wanted to be responsible, and I had dreams of being one of those people you see, sitting at an outdoor café, with their quiet pup by their side. So I enrolled in a puppy training class, and began the process of developing my 8-week-old into the best friend I knew she would turn out to be.

If you’ve recently added a new puppy to your household, it is important to make sure you get your relationship off to the right start, and HSSV’s behavior and training classes can help. The Beginning Puppy classes teach basic manners and obedience, and the drop-in Puppy Socials help give new pups the social skills they need to get along with other dogs. You and your dog might even make a new friend to visit at the dog park.

If you’ve mastered the basics, but wish your dog were more comfortable out in the community, HSSV offers the Canine Good Citizen prep class. Or if, like my pup, it turns out your dog thrives on physical and mental challenges rather than hanging out at a café, consider trying a dog sport, like Flyball or Agility. My dog is never happier, more focused, or more exhausted, after a challenging agility class! And I’ve never felt closer to her than when she’s watching me, waiting for her cue to get off the starting line.

HSSV offers many specialty classes and seminars, in addition to the ones listed above. HSSV also has classes for cat and rabbit owners! See the Behavior & Training page for a calendar of classes and registration information. Discounts are available to Santa Clara County adopters.

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August 18, 2010

A Purrfect Match

By Jennifer Bush, HSSV Volunteer

HSSV finds homes for more than 3,000 animals every year. But the HSSV mission goes beyond adoption. It is “to save and enhance lives.” And sometimes HSSV makes an extra special match – one that seems truly meant to be.

In HSSV’s recent eNewsletter, one such special match was featured. Flynn, a black and white kitty, came to HSSV with a neurological disorder that made it hard for him to keep his balance. Although many shelters would consider a cat with a permanent neurological disorder to be “unadoptable,” HSSV knew Flynn deserved a loving home.

Then one day, Delores Anderson visited HSSV in search of a dog. But, fate had other plans for Delores. As soon as she saw Flynn, it was love at first sight. Delores, who is in her eighties, said she knew he would be slow and that they would “make a good twosome.” She shakes a little herself, and thought they could both “wobble together.”

In fact, that wobble inspired Delores to give her cat a new name, “Wobbles.” Despite his challenges, Wobbles loves to follow Delores around the house and play with his mouse and other toys. Delores said that “sometimes he falls into something, then he’ll just think that is where he’s supposed to be!”

I asked Delores if there was anything she wanted us to know about Wobbles. She responded “a little friend like that will really help you with your loneliness.”

If you’d like to read more stories like Flynn’s, sign up for HSSV’s eNewsletter here.

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July 29, 2010

Man’s Best Friend Design Contest

By Jennifer Bush, HSSV Volunteer

169503-our-very-own-island-galleryWhat 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.

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