Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Going Home: Poco Loco

Welcome to Woof Wednesday, animal lovers! There's nothing more satisfying than seeing an adopted animal relax with their new family. Poco Loco, our pooch of the week, is no exception. From his glamour shots to candid snaps at home, Poco Loco is clearly a dog with some personality. Just look at that face!

Adopter Sarah shared some update photos and quotes from Poco Loco himself. It looks like he's living up to his name and a little crazy in love with his new pad. What a beautiful smile! 

"Hi my name is Poco Loco and I found my forever home today." -Poco Loco

"Look at me I'm already crate training and loving it!!!"-Poco Loco 

Thank you for the update, Sarah, and for giving this playful spirit the tools he needs to thrive in his new home.

If you’re interested in learning more about training your new puppy or teaching an old dog some new tricks, Berkeley Humane offers several behavior classes for pups and their people. Check them out and see if one of them is right for you!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Holiday pet tips from Berkeley Humane

Share the spirit of the season with your pets while keeping them safe from some of the holidays’ unique nuisances.

Holidays feasts are for people, not pets.

Protect the dinner table from pet invasions! The butternut squash in your stuffing might be reasonably nutritious for your dog but the garlic is not. Familiarize yourself with some common foods that are harmful to pets.

Photo by Oliver Siodmak
That’s not to say you can’t make mealtime special:
  • Treat pets to a special can of wet food. 
  • Hide kibble under plastic cups for your dog to nose out. 
  • If you trust your animal, serve their dinner off the good china! 
  • Try out some new kinds of treats (but offer them in moderation to present stomach upsets). 
  • Keep serving your normal pet food, too. The routine will be comforting. 
  • Avoid the urge to overfeed. Overeating can be as unpleasant for pets as for people.

Yes, even the bones.

Leftover bones are not safe for animals. Cooked bones can splinter, causing major digestive damage. Raw bones can carry bacteria like salmonella.

Try a pet-safe bone from the pet store instead.

Even outgoing animals might need time away from crowds.

Photo by Leonardo DaSilva
The holidays go hand in hand with large gatherings (probably because few people can finish a roast turkey by themselves).

Whether your animal thrives on attention or eschews gatherings, it's smart to set aside a quiet place for them to regroup. Ensure your cats have access to hiding places like closets and under beds. Dogs can benefit from a quiet room or a towel over their crate. Place small bowls of food and water nearby so shy animals don't have to venture far.

We highly recommend arranging this space inside so your pets can stay warm and dry.

Fearful or allergic guests deserve an animal-free space.

Photo by Deb
As animal lovers, it can seem incomprehensible when someone fails to appreciate our pets like we do.

But the holidays are a great time to practice kindness, and the kindest thing to do for a fearful guest is to secure the animal in another room.

Animals pick up on stress, so giving them private space away from someone who is fearful and nervous is not only kind to the human, but to the animal as well.

Make it up to your pet later with extra treats and snuggles.

Plan ahead for travel.

Are planes, trains, and automobiles in your future this season?
Photo by Neil Howard

  • Many people recommend soothing pheromones (available as sprays and wipes) in the pet carrier.
  • Line the crate with towels, blankets, or clothes that smell like home.
  • Don't vary your pet's diet if you can help it-- familiarity is beneficial.
  • Disposable litter boxes ease hotel stops along the way if you're traveling with cats.
  • Remember to contact your airline about flight arrangements. Driving? Look online for pet-friendly hotels.

Your vet may have additional recommendations for reducing your pet's stress while traveling.

Keep an eye on ornaments, candles, and other attractive dangers.

Photo by Sarah Queller
Cats love Christmas trees. Bark to scratch! Branches to climb! Decorations to chase!

Hang glass ornaments in a way that reduces the chance of breakage (that may mean hanging them low over carpet, securing them with twine or zip ties, or saving them for another year).

Other nuisances include tinsel and ribbons — swallowing these can result in serious problems.

Make sure to place candles out of reach. Animals and open flames don’t mix.

Choose a pet as a family — not as a surprise.

We’ve all gotten a little teary-eyed at videos of people opening a present to find a new puppy or kitten inside. But the best way to ensure that a new pet will suit your home and everyone in it is to meet adoptable animals together.

In fact, Berkeley Humane’s policy is that all members of a household must be present to meet an animal and confirm that it’s the right fit for the home. Come visit us Friday through Sunday from 11AM to 5PM.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Going Home: Purrfect Pals

Welcome to Feline Friday, everyone! Have you ever worried or wondered whether or not to adopt another pet? This post will surely show that two can be better than one. Another furry friend not only becomes another family member for you and your family, but also a companion that your first pet can enjoy. 

Want advice on how to safely (and peacefully) integrate an additional furry family member to your household? Call Berkeley Humane’s free advice hotline for dog or cat behavioral tips!

Below, Ariane Mitchell shows us that love at first sight can happen with an animal. And that love becomes serendipity when it is shared with another furry friend. 

"These two were both adoptions from Berkeley Humane ... We adopted them a year apart ... It was pretty much love at first sight... It makes us so happy to give these two lovely creatures a loving home. Thanks for all you do Berkeley Humane!"

Thank YOU, Ariane, for giving these two beauties a loving home! This is the perfect example that it is never too late to give your pet another furry friend.

Aren't these two furballs adorable? They look so comfortable and content together!

Want to give your cat a feline buddy as well? Take a look here or stop by during our adoption hours from Friday through Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Berkeley Humane staff have excellent tips on choosing the right personality for your household and slowly introducing pets to one another.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Going Home: Macey

Welcome to another edition of Woof Wednesday! There’s nothing quite like bringing a furry companion into your life, and we love to bring you stories about our adoptees finding their perfect match. 

We received a wonderful message from Jacob later on the very same day he met his new pal Macey that makes for a lovely little update. 

Jacob came into Berkeley Humane back in August with lots of questions and later left with sweet Macey. By the end of the day he reported that she already couldn’t bear to leave him for anything more than a few seconds!

“Just wanted to say thank you to the entire staff for being so lovely and answering all of my questions so thoroughly and patiently. Macey already can't leave my side for more than a few seconds! This is a very surreal experience for me for a variety of reasons but I can only imagine the same is true for her. Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful, weird, quirky, funny girl!”

Sounds like these two are off to a fantastic start. Congratulations on your new partner in crime, Jacob!

If you would like to make a furry addition to your family, please come by during adoption hours, Friday - Sunday, 11am - 5pm. Feel free to bring all your questions — our knowledgeable staff will help guide you to the right choices for you and your household!

Friday, November 13, 2015

#FeedFluffy — buy a cat t-shirt!

Berkeley Humane feeds 1,000 dogs and cats each year.  With the purchase of a soft t-shirt in your favorite color, you can help feed a cat or dog for a week!

We offered the dog version of the t-shirt a couple of weeks ago and fielded a ton of requests for a cat version. Here you go: the ‪#‎FeedFluffy‬ t-shirt starring a cat! 


Purchase a limited edition t-shirt now and help provide nutritious meals for shelter animals! Even better, gift them to an animal-loving friend or family member this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Going Home: Jackson

Once again, Woof Wednesday is back! As the temperature turns cold, remember to keep warm! Meanwhile, Jackson (who went by the name Jerboa during his time at Berkeley Humane) is definitely helping his new family keep warm. Nothing is like cuddling with a bundle of joy.

We love to hear about the pleasant surprises a dog can bring. Dogs will be dogs, and they will offer us plenty of laughs and happiness. Who could resist such a cute dog?

Let us see how Jackson adapts to his new family. Below, Rachel will show us how playful and loving he can be. Be prepared to have your heart melt!

"Things are going great! We decided to call him Jackson, and he has already added so much to our home!

The introduction between Jackson and our roommates' dogs went better than we even imagined- they are dying to play together, but for now since he still has kennel cough we are keeping them apart.

We love him so much, and feel so grateful that we found him. I'm attaching a few pictures so you can see how our family is coming together.

Also, we intend to sign up for the basic training course that starts in October, so you can look forward to seeing him then, as well!"

A few months after this initial communication, we got back in touch with Jackson's family to ask about health, training, and more. Rachel had even more wonderful things to say!

"His kennel cough cleared up easily, and as it did we got to know more of his personality. He's definitely got the spirit of a puppy in him - all cuddles and energy when we come home and always eager to play. Other things we've discovered about him in the past few months:
  • He loves stuffed animals- he always has to have one near him or in his mouth if he's walking around the house.
  • He's afraid of the dark. He doesn't like to walk at night so we put a bike light on his collar so that he can go outside with his own nightlight when he has to.
  • He's very eager to please and easy to train. We've been taking the introductory class at Berkeley Humane and he takes to the commands and directions really well.
  • He loves to cuddle and if you'll let him he will press as much of his body against you as possible at all times in all positions.
We were able to successfully introduce him to our roommates' dog, and although they have since bought their own place and moved out, he loved playing with their rescue pittie Maggie- their favorite game was running in concentric circles together around the yard as fast as they could.

We are just so happy that we ended up at the adoption fair that day, and at the right time to meet Jackson and take him home. He has brought so much joy to us and we can't imagine our family without him."

Sounds like Rachel was fated to adopt Jackson! She and her husband have been giving Jackson all the love in the world. We can tell that Jackson has become an important member of the family.

If you would like to meet your fated match, feel free to drop by during adoption hours Friday-Sunday from 11am-5pm.

Check out Berkeley Humane's training classes (maybe your dog can learn alongside Jackson!) and sign up here!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Volunteer Appreciation: Foster Phoebe

No foster, no rescue. That's it, really. Well, maybe not quite, but the work foster families do for Berkeley Humane is amazingly important on many levels. First off: they open their homes to animals in need and do what they can to give the animal the environment it needs. They do so knowing that they'll have to say goodbye to that animal again, even when they get attached. But foster families do so much more. By taking animals into their homes, they give very valuable insight into how animals behave in a home situation. This helps us with optimizing the personality evaluation of every animal. Sometimes it also allows us to see if an animal works well with children, dogs or cats, which is valuable information for any prospective adopters. 

For young animals living with a foster family has an extra benefit: it helps socialize them and exposes them to situations that they will also encounter once they find their new homes. For the very young ones, their foster family also plays an important role in providing necessary care. It is the foster family that gets up in the middle of the night to let a whining puppy out to pee. It is the foster family that carefully monitors how much each newborn kitten eats. They make a great difference to each animal that passes through their home.

With that in mind, we want to introduce you to one of our amazing foster people: Phoebe B. 

How long have you been fostering and who was your first foster?

My husband and I began fostering about three months ago. An email was sent out over the 4th of July weekend about fostering some puppies, but unfortunately my response was too slow. Kylie Reed, the foster care coordinator, told us that we could foster an adult dog that week if we liked, and as we were preparing to go to Berkeley Humane, Kylie contacted us and let us know that she unexpectedly had another group of puppies that needed a foster home for a week. I was over the moon, and that is how we got our first fosters, the Frozen Puppies. We started with four the first week, three the next, and only sensitive Sven was left by the third week. Sven was actually so much bigger than his littermates that upon first sight Berkeley Humane staff wondered if he was the mother! By the third week he could easily jump the puppy gates we used to enclose our foster area, but fortunately my husband was home from work that week. He and Sven spent every waking moment together, and Sven was even here for my family-only birthday celebration. Sven was adopted the following weekend, so all that intensive snuggling and socializing appeared to have helped Sven come out of his shell and charm his forever family.

The Frozen Litter

How did you learn to say goodbye to each foster animal?

I feel the puppies are comparatively easier to send off to adoption since they have each other. They may be a little unsettled by all the change, but ultimately puppy psychology is wired towards finding ways to make things fun. Puppies are also in a carrier, so I can't see their little faces when I leave. The older puppy I fostered--Sam Brock--was very hard to give back because it was clear that he was confused as to why he wasn't leaving with his foster family when we dropped him off for adoption. This could have been particularly hard for me since I was especially attached to Sam, and I am hopeful that future partings will be less emotional. We are relatively new fosters, so we'll have to see if we get better at letting go, but it is a personal goal of mine to maintain more equipoise when facing impermanence, so this is a prime opportunity.

Who was your favorite foster animal?

Sam Brock charmed everyone in my family, including my prickly chug-huahua Gilly. We brought Sam home a week or so after the Frozen Pups, and we learned that the only dog who could be contained by our gates was apparently Gilly. Like Sven, Sam too could go where he liked in the house, so he was never far from us since we had to keep an eye on him at all times. Gilly is such a tough old bird that she would cringe away from Sam whenever he touched her, but finally one day they both snuggled up in my lap, and that was a really touching moment. He and Gilly made a handsome pair, and we got a lot of compliments when we took them out for their walks. I will admit that one of the reasons I began fostering is that I feel I have a little more love to give than Gilly wants to absorb, and Sam was so thrilled with me, loving my songs and dances and clearly wanting to be close to me whenever possible. He came so far during his short week with us, getting house trained and learning to walk on leash. Giving Sam up to go to his forever home was one of the hardest things I've had to do in recent memory: he is a treasure, and I'm sure his new owners adore him.

Who was your most challenging foster animal?

Cindy Lou Who of the Seuss pug pups was by far my most challenging foster. Her personality blends a potent mixture of smart and mischievous, so she got into plenty of high jinks. The moment requiring the most patience was when I had come home after a particularly hot and hard day to discover that the puppies had done a creative origami project with their pee pads. It took a good deal of time to clean up that adventure, especially since I had pug puppies bouncing all over the place while I was doing it. I finally got the foster area spotless and was placing their clean water dish on the floor when Cindy Lou Who leaped up and knocked it from my hand. It was an important moment because after I refilled the bowl I stood calmly, holding out my hand in the direction of the puppies while making a shushing sound. I was shocked when they all sat down and looked up curiously into my face. I realized that I could ask even these young puppies for what I needed, just like I do with my own adult dog. It was incredible. Even Cindy Lou Who, who pushed the boundaries the most because she is so smart would really communicate with me.

Cindy Lou Who
What is the hardest part of fostering? What's the most rewarding?

My husband and I don't have a car, so our first foster experience was exciting since we were carrying 15+ lbs of puppy and crate home on our 20-minute walk. We were fully committed and wouldn't dream of setting the crate down, but it was hard, especially in this summer's heat. Now my good friend generously shuttles the fosters who are too young to walk to and from our house, and that has been a huge help. For me the worst part is the third day after the puppies get adopted. They are so much work that at first you are a little grateful for a break, but when you wake up on the third day your mind and body have forgotten all the hard parts, and it is a little tough to fully embrace that they are gone. The most rewarding aspect is the knowledge that you are shaping the desirability of someone's future companion. It is a heady business knowing that you are sharing time with this animal that will someday be a beloved part of another family. It's fun to try and think of simple little skills you can impart that will make the dogs even more adoptable, and my favorite trick is teaching the puppies to sit calmly and patiently during food preparation and presentation, which is a trait that is easily cultivated through reward. Of course it is always important to utilize the positive training methods endorsed and utilized by Berkeley Humane. I will also mention that the fosters are the only creatures that appear to be enchanted by my impromptu song and dance performances. My own dog seems rather resignedly humiliated by my melodious narration of daily events, so a receptive audience is more than welcome!

The Seuss Puppies

How has fostering changed your life?

I think we often don't realize how much we are capable of until we simply have to do it. Before I started fostering I wondered where I would find the time and energy, but when you are responsible for the well being of innocents, you just find a way. I really appreciated how the fosters took up a lot of my focus and energy throughout the week, leaving little time for dwelling on less important matters. It's strangely freeing to do something so consuming, particularly when it has such a happy ending. Having the fosters made me invite more people to my home to allow for socializing the puppies, and many of my friends and family have been inspired to find their own puppies, so honestly my choice to foster through Berkeley Humane has changed several lives, and all for the better.

Is fostering time consuming?

Each situation is likely unique, but I do find that the fosters take a lot of time and commitment. I think that could be my own personal choice for the older puppies and dogs, but I spend much of my free time with the fosters. Puppies are going to be a lot of work for anyone, and it really helped me appreciate the important role of mother dogs. As cute as the puppies are, to ensure a pleasant experience for both puppies and humans, you must have plenty of time in your day to foster little ones.

The dapper Sam Brock

How does Berkeley Humane support you in your fostering?

Berkeley Humane provides wonderful support, including advice via many communication methods and supplies during the fostering period. The monthly foster availability form makes it easy to communicate, and all staff and volunteers have been enthusiastic and responsive.

What motivates you to continue fostering?

It is exciting to get a new dog, and fostering allows you to have a new animal in your home on a relatively regular basis. If you have a pet who is a little stingy with affection, caring for foster animals can inspire your own pet to invest more vigorously in the pet-owner relationship. I feel proud to be a foster parent, and it gives me lots of great stories to share with my friends and colleagues. It is hard to explain exactly why it is so wonderful, but I think it has to do with the fact that you really are helping your community, growing and learning the entire time, but in the end it just feels like you're having fun with puppies and sweet dogs!

Phoebe, thank you and your husband for what you do for the animals that enter your home. We could not do it without you!

Do you want to help and, like Phoebe, liven up your life with furry houseguests? Go here to learn what you need to do to help us help animals.