Friday, April 24, 2015

Going Home: Jeepers and Dexter

Happy Feline Friday, everyone! We have a heartwarming story to share with you to kick off the weekend.

Meet Jeepers and Dexter, two handsome kitties that settled into a wonderful home five years ago. These best friends still enjoy cuddling with each other and continue to charm their family.

The pair’s adopter, Jen Brown, wrote recently to update us on their adventures:

"I adopted Jeepers and Dexter back in 2010 when I got my very first apartment. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have them with me. I love them to pieces!!!  Today they live in a nice big house and have two puppy brothers."

A big thanks to Jen for the thoughtful update! It means so much to us to hear how animals are doing long after they left Berkeley Humane.

Are you thinking about adopting a cat or dog? Please help us find homes for the wonderful animals at Berkeley Humane. You can check out our newest arrivals on our website, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Please come visit us if you’d like to meet them in person.

We are open for adoptions throughout the weekend - 11 am to 5 pm on Friday-Sunday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Going Home: Berkeley

Welcome to another Woof Wednesday, everyone. 

Today we have an absolutely lovely Going Home post. One of an adorable pup names Berkeley who brought some warmth so an adopter's heart after she had to say goodbye to her previous beloved dog.

There is really nothing I can add to the love in her story, so let's go straight to the message Laura left on our Facebook page. This is what she said:

"I had lost the dog-love-of-my-life --a graceful loving Golden Retriever. I'm 64-years-old and decided I had had enough of grief, enough of dogs. I vowed never to fall in love with a dog again.
Every morning I woke with no desire to get out of bed. Why bother? My Golden Girl was gone, no one to walk with, no one to talk with. I'd lay in bed and just think about my perfect Golden Retriever, and grieve.
One day out of boredom and lassitude, I started checking out dog-sites. I came across the Berkeley Humane Society site.
There, I saw a sight, indeed! A scruffy little black and white fella with chestnut eyes of a wise man! I got my depressed self together enough to take a ride out to Berkeley (I live in Walnut Creek) to see this little fella. Could he be as intriguing as he looks online?
They brought him out. He sat down, raised his head toward mine, and looked directly into my eyes, with his. It looked like a tiny little human was staring at me from inside that scruffy wire-haired puppy. His eyes didn't break from mine. How could I leave him behind?
I couldn't.
Now, when I wake up every morning, "Berkeley" greets me enthusiastically, ready to play and romp. He adores me, and I need adoration. He follows me, jumps up on the couch, but knows not to jump on the bed. He's as different from my Golden as he could be. But one thing's the same: the lively love you can get only from a best-friend dog."

With such a sad beginning, but such a happy ending, this story shows a lot of why we at Berkeley Humane love what we do so much. It's for the animals, but just as much for the humans. We all need love, adoration, companionship and a real and trusted friend. We're just the matchmakers, really, but it is a grateful job. 

Do you want to help? We're in need of volunteers and fosters and would welcome you lending a hand in the work that comes with bringing cats and dogs in touch with their new families. Read more here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Going Home: Houdini

Welcome to another Feline Friday. 

Today we have a very special post. It came to us through our Facebook and it gives us a glimpse into the life of Houdini the cat. As you know, we at Berkeley Humane love hearing from everyone who has adopted one of our animals, but we have a special place in our hearts for people who send us an update after a long time has passed. Today's post is one of those long term adoption stories: Houdini was adopted more than 15 years ago. 

As it is, with cats and dogs alike, they do not live forever. And when you adopt a cat and live with it for 15 years, there may come a time you have to say goodbye. That, too, we get in this post. This is what Houdini's adopter wrote us:

"We adopted our cat "Houdini" (she was called Penny at your shelter and she was about 3 years old at the time - she had been at the shelter for over 3 months being chosen over for the kitties I guess). But when we saw her we knew she was the one. She lived for another 15 years (and maybe a tad more - we lost track) with us and sadly last week her health declined rather rapidly and we had to put her down with the support of the Berkeley Dog & Cat Hospital / Special Veterinary Services

The moon will rise, the sun will set 
And you my friend, I will never forget"

We will not forget Houdini either, Hilary. Thank you for choosing her that day in the adoption center and for giving her a life full of love and warmth and contentment. And thank you for letting us know how she fared for all those years. We're sure she must have loved living with you.

Losing a pet can be very hard. Pets are often some of the least judgemental and most loving presences in our life, and when those fall away, it can come as a big blow. This is why Berkeley Humane offers a support group for people who have lost a pet. You can read a bit more about it on our website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Going Home: Arya

Welcome to Woof Wednesday!

We’re offering you double the smiles today with a wonderful picture of Arya and Roger, whose smiling faces prove how much happier the journey can be when committed adopters meet the right pets!

Adopter Rosie tells us:

“Two new best friends all due to Berkeley Humane. :) Welcome home to Arya and her new big brother Roger, who was adopted in June 2014. All smiles!”

Arya clearly has a talent for delightful expressions. When she was available for adoption at Berkeley Humane she posed for this personable portrait:

Look at that mug!

May there be many funny faces in your future, Rosie, and thank you for sharing your photo! It’s great to see Arya and Roger so happy together!

Are you looking to adopt more smiles into your home? Visit our website to learn about adoptable dogs or visit us Friday through Sunday from 11-5.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Volunteer of the Month: Carol – a dog’s best friend

After a hiatus, we’re back with the Volunteer of the Month series. In this series we celebrate our volunteers, and show appreciation for how much their work means for Berkeley Humane and the animals we rescue. Many of the hours worked at Berkeley Humane, are worked by volunteers and it is no exaggeration that without them, we could not be the organization we want to be.

Monday morning, 7 AM. Carol arrives for her usual shift of volunteer work at Berkeley Humane’s adoption center. In the next two hours she will spend time cleaning the kennels of those dogs unable to stay with a foster family throughout the week, for instance when they need medical care or are under evaluation. Caring for them is the main job of Berkeley Humane’s Canine Volunteers. This means cleaning kennels, but also training and socializing the dogs, assisting with adoptions, or just giving a dog some loving company.

If Carol has time left after cleaning, she will also take the dogs for a walk through the neighborhood. She might just let them sniff their fill of trees and street lights, but sometimes she also walks them past her house. If so, her grandkids, who she often cares for when their parents are at work, are happy to lavish the pooch in question with pets and hugs. This allows Carol to socialize the dog to interactions with children, while also teaching the kids how to politely and calmly approach dogs. Canine Volunteers receive training on how to handle the animals, and Carol loves how she continues to learn and always find opportunities to learn more about dogs and their behavior.

Carol has been with Berkeley Humane for about 18 months. She picked up her first shift after Jack, her doggy friend and fellow East Coast transplant, passed away. Helping animals by giving them clean kennels and a much-needed walk, became a wonderful way to honor the companionship she got from him. Carol’s volunteer work also led her to adopt a new companion: Pearl, a sweet white terrier mix, who Carol encountered during her work.

Carol and Pearl at Pearl's birthday party - complete with dog friendly peanut butter cake

When asked about the nature of the work, Carol shares that it helps to not to be squeamish. Cleaning kennels does involve dog poop, after all. Still, the gratitude of the dogs more than makes up for the less-than-rosy-smelling parts of the job. She also says that while cleaning takes up the most time in her shift because she is the first one to come in, she considers the walking of the dogs to be at least as important. For dogs who make do without a foster family, a walk is often a very welcome break from the kennel and an opportunity to get some extra attention.

One of the hardest parts of Carol’s job is seeing loving, sweet dogs who take a while to get adopted. She shows up on Monday morning hoping that the weekend’s adoption hours have emptied out the kennels, but sometimes finding the right family is not a one-week deal. Doing what she can to make their kennels comfortable and cozy helps, but in the end, she feels, every dog deserves a loving family. Life in a kennel, no matter how clean and regardless of the amount of walks, is not as good as a comfortable basket in a living room and a place in the heart of a family.

Our Canine Volunteers are highly treasured. Their work makes a world of difference, for the workload of Berkeley Humane’s staff, but especially for the quality of life of the dogs awaiting their adoption. As long as we cannot offer foster families to all our dogs – something we do aim for – it is the Canine Volunteer on who these dogs rely for much of their stimulation and fun.  

Do you want to become a Canine Volunteer? You will be trained in dog handling techniques and we offer shifts between 7AM and 7 PM on every day of the week. For more information, and for an application, please visit our website

Friday, April 10, 2015

Kitten Season and Donations for Berkeley Humane

Spring is here! It is the season for bright green leaves and blossoming flowers. It is also the season for kittens.

Over the next few months, we expect hundreds of kittens to come to Berkeley Humane. While we try our very best to help these little ones get off to a great start, it can be challenging to accommodate such a large number of animals over such a brief period of time. Caring for these kittens will require an immense amount of resources including manpower, specialized food, supplies, and medical care.

With that in mind, we wanted to acquaint our readers with some of the financial realities of our work here at Berkeley Humane.

Caring for kittens costs more than caring for older animals. Like human babies, kittens require a lot of resources - our staff and volunteers feed them around the clock, stimulate them to ensure proper digestion and provide medical care including vaccinations. Additionally, if a kitten doesn’t have a mom, we make sure it receives special food so it can grow up to be healthy and strong.

Here is a rough breakdown of how much Berkeley Humane spends on caring for different animals:

-$15 a week to feed a cat, on average. This is because they require wet food in addition to dry food.
-$10 a week to feed a dog.
-$20 for one vaccination (kittens receive multiple vaccinations to be fully protected).
-$25 for one flea treatment.
-$150 to spay or neuter an animal. We give this service to every animal that comes to our facility.

Such expenses can add up. On average, it costs roughly $900 per animal for a two-week stay at our facility (a typical stay is between 10 days and two weeks). Roughly half that amount is for medical care, reflecting Berkeley Humane's commitment to help injured or sick animals who might otherwise be overlooked in the overpopulated shelter system.

Our highest adoption fee is $250. That means we pay $650 or more for every animal we connect with a loving home.

That’s why your support is indispensable.

We have the passion, drive, knowledge and skills to help as many animals as possible. But we cannot do this alone. Your help in whatever form - whether volunteering time, making donations of food, blankets or toys, or money - will help us care for the animals until they find a loving home. And we know from experience that healthy and happy animals are more likely to find a new family quickly.

So please know that no type of help is too small. Every bit counts.

If you are interested in making a donation to Berkeley Humane this kitten season, please feel free to contact us. (You can donate online here:

We’ll be thrilled to hear from you and will welcome any questions or ideas. We sincerely hope we can come together as a community to care for animals in need!

You can contact us at: or (510) 845-3633 Monday through Friday.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Going Home: Jelly

Welcome to another great Woof Wednesday! 

The #LookingFur Love social media action we ran a while back gave us many great adoption stories. Today we want to share one of these, namely the story of the lovely Jelly. She has been with her human for 11 years now. That makes the story below is precisely the kind of long term success we love hearing back from.

Jelly's story is also the story of a 'foster failure' - the term used when a person who fosters an animal chooses to permanently adopt the animal and keep it in their home. Fosters are vitally important for the work of Berkeley Humane, and it is so very understandable that they sometimes find an animal that really becomes a family member that a 'foster failure'  is really the best kind of failure anyone can ever experience. 

This is what Rachel has to say about her journey with Jelly:

"Eleven years ago I brought Jelly into my home as a foster dog from BEBHS. It is one of the best decisions of my life. She came to stay with me because she was quite insecure and needed lots of TLC. Within 2 weeks I knew she would be with me forever. She is the sweetest, smartest and silliest dog. Over the years we have had countless adventures together. She is my best companion. At 13 years of age now, she has slowed down just a bit. I love to hear her snoring lightly on the couch behind me as I work at the computer or watch her through the window as she soaks in the sunshine in the garden. She is my dear dog and I’m so glad she found her way to me. Thank you. ‪#‎LookingFurLove‬"

Do you want a friend like Jelly? Come visit us during our adoption hours: Friday through Sunday between 11 and 5. And if you have already adopted your furry friend, tell us your story on facebook or by emailing the adoption counselor. We love hearing from you!