I went on a tour of Humane Society Silicon Valley a few weeks ago. They shattered the stereotypical animal shelter ideas that I had. They call themselves and “Animal Community.” Honestly, the place is like Four Seasons Hotel for animals. The cats and dogs are in private little hotel rooms with lots of windows for future families to look in at them. Some of them have a back door that goes out into a private little sunny patio. None of those wet concrete slabs and no steel cage doors that you usually see when you go rescue a pet.
I brought my friend Julie with me on the tour because she’s a dog lover and I knew that she would be really into it. I didn’t know that she would go back the next day to adopt one of the little dogs that we saw. She’s very happy with her new family member.
HSSV has a private dog park that is membership only. Dogs have to go through an audition before they join.
I wish I had counted how many volunteers I saw; they were everywhere—sitting in the rooms with dogs jumping all over them or quietly petting the cats. It was so special. I met a few “bottle baby volunteers” and they need more if you think you might be interested in volunteering. These special people get to take home baby kittens (this is the beginning of kitten season) and bottle feed them every 4 to 6 hours. They also need foster homes for puppies and kittens. Finnegan, our tour guide, told us that some families take in foster puppies of kittens for the summer. Everyone in the family loves having a pet for the summer and then they bring them back when the kids go back to school in the fall. It’s a nice summer project for the kids and not a long-term commitment for the family. Some volunteers just come in a read to the pets… is that the most adorable thing, or what?
Once an animal is put up for adoption, they will not be “put down.” There is no time limit involved. Everyone eventually gets a new family. It makes me all teary-eyed just thinking about how great that is for these animals. Everyone also gets a microchip and all of their vaccinations.
All of the animals are spayed or neutered before going to their new homes. I went into the recovery room in the hospital and saw 2 bunnies recovering from surgery right next to a pit bull who was also recovering. It was ridiculous to see a big, tough dog and two soft little bunnies just a few feet apart. They were looking around at each other, but everyone was on drugs so they were best friends.
They tell you a little about each dog and what kind of personality it has so you can be sure that you’re getting a good fit for your family. Not all dogs want to run in the park for a half hour everyday. Sometimes they’re looking for a home with lazy people who just like to sit on the couch most of the time. There’s a perfect fit for everyone. There were a few animals that come in sets. They either came into the shelter together and have always know each other, or they met in the shelter and became best friends and want to stay together. Truly a BFF situation, so they get to be adopted out as a pair.
They have all kinds of behavior and training information and classes. The little pet supply store is full of ethically sourced products. They even have a ‘pet pantry,’ which is a food bank for people who have pets and are going through an economic challenge.
HSSV has all kinds of amazing x-ray technology that other animal shelters don’t and special ventilation system in the recovery rooms so that air-borne sicknesses won’t be spread. They’re a private, non-profit and our tax dollars don’t support them. They’ve been is Silicon Valley since 1929. Their hospital is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and adoptions are during normal business hours. If you want to volunteer or adopt, you should definitely go to Humane Society Silicon Valley.Oh my gosh, I love this place.
And a big thank you to HSSV volunteer Jackie MacMillan for allowing me to use her beautiful photos! Here’s a link to HSSV on Pinterest and lots more of Jackie’s photography.