Guest Post #2 from HSSV: Labradoodle Back on His Feet | Love That Pup | Cathy Kirkman | Palo Alto Online |

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Love That Pup

By Cathy Kirkman

About this blog: This blog explores life in Palo Alto with our dogs, cats and other pets, as well as the urban wildlife around us, the title being a reference to Sharon Creech's lovely story, "Love That Dog." I grew up in Palo Alto surrounded by ...  (More)

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Guest Post #2 from HSSV: Labradoodle Back on His Feet

Uploaded: Dec 17, 2014
Here's another charming guest post from the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. We hope it inspires you this holiday season to consider adopting a pet in need or donating to support their charitable work.

When Baxter came to Humane Society Silicon Valley he had some inflammation to his spine ? due to injury or infection ? which resulted in his brain not quite knowing what his back legs were doing. Although he could only make it a few steps before he would flop to the ground, he didn't appear to be in any pain and his tenacity to always get back up was endearing.

HSSV's medical team determined that aside from his dragging back legs, he was in great health. To allow him time to heal, he was put on cage rest at the recommendation of a orthopedic specialist. This would allow him to heal and let the inflammation go down. He would need to be monitored all the time and would do best in a home situation.

Thanks to HSSV's foster program, HSSV's finance associate, Farinaz Khatabi, stepped up and offered to foster Baxter. Farinaz patiently crate trained Baxter and he became a fixture in our admin area, coming to work with her daily. Under her loving care, he steadily made progress until he was deemed well enough to move on to the next step - physical therapy.

Our friends at Scouts Fund donated physical therapy sessions at Scout's House and Baxter began working with them to build strength in his back legs. Once a week he did hydrotherapy and mobility exercises at their facility. While it seemed unlikely he would ever walk completely normally, he had made huge improvement.

First he could walk across a room without stumbling, then he was jumping on the back legs that weeks ago had not been able to support him. After nine weeks in our care, he was deemed ready for adoption.

These days Baxter looks a lot like any other dog. While his back legs are still a bit wobbly, it's not something you notice unless you're looking for it. If he slows down enough for you to notice it, which is rare. Newly adopted by Inna and Christian, he spends his days playing with his dog brother, a hound mix named Kipper who appreciates his energy level.

Baxter and his dog brother Kipper

Thanks to the donations and support we have received, HSSV is able to provide the services needed to help animals like Baxter. The added support also allows us to work with other community organizations like Scouts Fund.

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Posted by scooper, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Dec 20, 2014 at 4:08 pm

As a volunteer at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, I can say first hand, they do a tremendous job. Their comprehensive services make it possible to help dogs like Baxter. I hope Palo Altans can express their gratitude by making a small contribution?.better yet, if you are planning to adopt, check out their available dogs, cats and rabbits!

Posted by HSSV dogs & cats at PetSmart Mtn View!, a resident of another community,
on Dec 20, 2014 at 4:40 pm

HSSV is now the animal welfare organization that has the cats at PetSmart Mountain View. And on Saturdays from 1pm-4pm adoptable dogs are brought there too.

HSSV has a Twitter feed where their adoptable pets post in their own woofs, meows, and squeaks.
(You do not have to have a Twitter account to view the posts.)
Web Link
(click on link above)

AdoptMeApp HSSV @AdoptMeCA95035
Tweets by adoptable pets @hssv HumaneSocietySiliconValley. Pets, each w/ own unique hashtags, tweet their stories each day! Adopt! Sponsor! Love! @AdoptMeApp

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford,
on Dec 22, 2014 at 12:40 am

Well, Baxter must be one of the cutest dogs, ever. How wonderful that he was adopted! Thank you for this great piece and the beautiful photos.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown,
on Dec 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

HSSV is such a fine establishment that it's fun just to visit! They do everything right.... The staff & volunteers smile to greet visitors and are eager to help you find what you're looking for--or to let you explore on your own. The animals are relaxed, playful, comfortable, and HSSV manages a large number of foster homes for animals who need extra socializing or who need time to heal, like Baxter (who is obviously a poster boy for cuteness).

Meanwhile, in Palo Alto we have our own Animal Services (PAAS), a much smaller shelter in a facility that was built in 1972. I'm a member of Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter (FoPAAS), and we're joining in a campaign to raise the money for building a NEW shelter in Palo Alto. Nothing as big and gorgeous as HSSV, of course. But we want to expand:

* A larger veterinary clinic for increased spay/neuter surgeries
* Modern "roomettes" for showing adoptable dogs and cats
* A comfortable area for rabbits and other small pets
* Community rooms for schoolchildren to learn about kindness to animals, work on craft projects for the animals, and learn to draw portraits of animals who need homes.

Palo Alto Animal Services was being considered for closure in the spring of 2012. But the citizens of Palo Alto attended City Council meetings, did some fund-raising, and saved the shelter! Since then, however, PAAS has been staying open for business with a reduced staff. I don't hear any complaining from the staff, but I can count the warm bodies who work in the office, the veterinary clinic, and out in the community picking up strays. In 2012 there were 16 people on staff (two in half-time jobs). In February 2014, there were 8 people on staff, and even with volunteer support, those 8 had to work long hours to keep the shelter safe and comfortable for the animals and visitors.

Recently, our City Council asked its Finance Committee to investigate options for building a new shelter in Palo Alto, and FoPAAS is eager to help with raising money for such a Capital Improvement Plan. All the shelters in Santa Clara County are part of the Shelters First consortium, and PAAS is a valued member of the group. The shelters work together, support each other, exchange animals for adoption--all with the simple idea of saving animals and finding them new homes. A city as rich as Palo Alto with people who love their animal companions deserves a modern shelter they can be proud of!

Posted by animal point of view of PAAS, a resident of another community,
on Dec 26, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Even a cursory analysis of the self-reported live release rate statistics from PAAS shows it is a devastating place to be a homeless pet. The residents of Palo Alto should deeply regret keeping that "shelter" open instead of enabling a well-run facility with enlightened and progressive management to take over. It's a tragic mistake for the POLICE DEPARTMENT in Palo Alto to be running this so-called animal "shelter". Most other leading-edge cities, even Oakland, have made the transition to having their municipal shelter run outside of the police department.

It would be useful for a impartial third party who are experts in animal welfare rather than animal control to evaluate PAAS. Serious data analysis should be done to understand why so many animals (22%) are killed at PAAS. Other cities manage to do much much better. WHY?

And yes, Palo Alto is slightly better than Stockton! (78% live release rate vs. 74% live release rate) Shall we party?

This constant positive drum beating by FoPAAS without data analysis of any type speaks poorly for that organization and for Palo Alto city government and oversight by the city council. We are in the middle of Silicon Valley but no data analysis is done regarding the actual performance of PAAS. It's beyond shameful.

Palo Alto - the worst place to be a homeless pet.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman, a resident of Midtown,
on Dec 27, 2014 at 12:41 am

Anonymous Animal Point of View [portion removed]

I don't have to do data analysis to learn about the shelter's live release rate. All the local shelters track their own statistics and report them to Maddie's Fund. Anyone can go to the websites of the shelters in Santa Clara County and read the stats in the Asilomar/Maddie's Fund reports, which are published annually. To see the reports from Palo Alto Animal Services, go to Web Link You'll find reports for 2006 through 2013. The final stats & report for 2014 should be posted in May, 2015.

To read the Asilomar Accords, go to Web Link

Meeting the standards set by Maddie's Fund & the Asilomar Accords is important to all the Santa Clara County shelters. In 2012, Maddie's fund awarded the Santa Clara County shelters over $1,000,000 to be shared according to the size of each shelter. In addition, Maddie's Fund rewards shelters for Free Adoptions on the last weekend of May each year.

You speak with contempt of what PAAS accomplishes. (Apparently you are also hostile to FoPAAS, the Police Department, and the City Council.) You have a perfect right to express your opinions of these entities. What is not clear is how you expect to accomplish anything.

Posted by Cathy Kirkman, a resident of Southgate,
on Dec 27, 2014 at 8:42 am

Cathy Kirkman is a registered user.

I appreciate the comments and discussion about our shelter, and once again thanks to HSSV for the wonderful guest posts. I'm very glad to hear that the cats at PetSmart are from HSSV, that's a brilliant partnership!

I do think we can have a civilized discussion about our animal shelter, without personalizing it, or attempting to do so. I think we can all agree that our shelter needs improvement, and this includes Scottie's facilities and equipment wish list. But I think we also need to address the practices at our shelter, including the kill rate referenced above. I think more transparency and accountability about these matters can drive change.

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