Friday, March 27, 2015

Going Home: Tyger & Simba

Happy Feline Friday, everyone! We want to help you start your weekend off right, so we’re bringing you a going home start that’s twice as nice. That’s right, our featured family this week choose to adopt not one, but two adorable kittens! Tyger and Simba might look and act very different but read on to see just how well they’re getting along; with each other and with their new family!

We don’t have the original email from the adopters but here is what they told us… Two kittens with VERY different personalities, one very energetic and playful and one who was very shy almost to a point of being catatonic.  The adopter has two sons, each picked a cat to be "theirs".  Since being in the home, both cats have bonded to one another and have been feeding off of each others' personalities, which is very beneficial for them both. The family loves the kittens.

This is just the kind of story that we love to hear at Berkeley Humane; two happy kittens and one big happy family! We’re so glad that Tyger and Simba have formed a solid relationship with each other, as well as with their new adopted family. As you can see in the pictures, these very different kittens have one thing in common: they both love cuddling! A big thank you to Tyger and Simba’s new family for sending us this update.

Spring is finally here and that means… kitten season! Warmer weather means lots of new kittens to care for and we need your help to do so. Kittens can be a lot of work and Berkeley Humane needs to raise $10,000 for formula, lifesaving vaccinations, and medical care for hundreds of kittens. Visit to see how you can contribute. Any and all donations will help, please consider donating today and helping more kittens like Tyger and Simba find permanent homes!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Going Home: Remus

Happy Woof Wednesday, everyone! We hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring weather!

Today we share the delightful story of Remus. The pup’s adopter, Sarah Grimes, wrote recently to mark his adoption anniversary and to let us know how he is thriving in his new environment.

Happy one month adopt-aversary to Remus! Look at this proud guy. He makes strides everyday toward health and happiness. A month ago he wouldn't even look at me. Now he is wagging his tail and being a giant goofball! If you have the time and patience (lots of it), give a rescue dog a chance. Seeing them learn to trust and love life is an incredibly beautiful, rewarding thing.”

A big thanks to Sarah for the wonderful update. Her thoughtful message shows how having a loving home can transform an animal’s life.

Are you thinking about adopting a dog or cat? Please consider one of 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 Friday to Sunday at 11 am to 5 pm.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Guest post: Otis, thank goodness we found each other.

by Christine Kent

In June 2012, my heart was broken: Buster, my incredible 17-year-old cat, was euthanized because of mounting health problems. When I brought him home to bury him in the backyard he loved, the idea of another cat taking his place wasn’t really on my radar.

A few months went by, and I was starting to miss that kitty energy around the house. Fostering cats for Berkeley Humane did me, and hopefully the cats, a world of good: I got in plenty of cat petting and playing, while prepping cats for their future homes with someone else. They were all terrific cats, although none of them made me think, this is The One.

Then in December came Otis: a small, fluffy, quiet, sort of tabbyish-with-white feet cat, a little more than a year old. He’d been in the Hayward shelter for a few weeks, I was told, and had only just arrived at Berkeley Humane a day or two before. He needed a foster home while he was up for adoption.  The vets at Berkeley Humane assessed his personality as “sweet and shy,” which sure seemed to be true. As I gently put him in my cat carrier, I thought, “What a cutie—I bet he’ll get adopted in no time.” (Little did I know.)

Otis maintained his quiet-and-calm demeanor as soon as I got him home. When he perched on a chair in my kitchen to have a peek around (and check me out), I bent down to pet his head and look at him—and that’s when the “falling in love” moment happened. I’m the one you’ve been looking for, Otis said, or so I imagined, using that pet-to-human telepathy. Otis, I told him, thank goodness we found each other.

A couple of hours later, I told my partner Mark that Otis was The One. “Already?” he said. “How can you tell—he just got there!” But I was even more sure the next morning, when I texted Berkeley Humane to sheepishly explain that was I was about to turn into a “foster fail” (I bet it happens a lot). A few days later, I formally adopted him and told everyone, “I got Otis for Christmas, and he got me!”

Two years later, the little cat who was deemed “sweet and shy” is completely at home here, and is probably the boss of us. (We joke that if Berkeley Humane assessed his personality today, they’d call him “bossy and confident.”) Watching Otis careen through the house after his toys, or hide in a box and pounce on imagined threats within, is better than TV. He has bonded deeply with Mark, and they share a special language of chirps, purrs, and special ear and nose rubs. And Otis lords it over the schnauzer upstairs, making sure he knows who’s Number One.

Otis showed up at the right time—he made my house a home again, after too many months without a pet. He is loved.

Christine volunteered as a foster at Berkeley Humane and adopted Otis in 2012.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Going Home: Roux

Happy Woof Wednesday, everyone! We’ve got another wonderful going home story this week to brighten your day and warm your heart. Today, we’ll be checking in with Roux (formerly Honey Bee). Although she was adopted somewhat recently, Roux seems to be very at home with her new family, and even a new canine pal! See what Sylvan had to report below.

"Thanks for checking in on Honey Bee! So far, everything is going well, she is a fast learner and a big time snuggle addict. We're working on not climbing up on furniture and people, on peeing outside (instead of inside), and less chewing on things. Our strategy is positive reinforcement, and it seems to be working so far. We love her dearly, and are so happy we found her. 

I've attached a few photos of her, and us, and her older brother, Theo."

A big thank you to Sylvan for sending us this update! It’s wonderful to hear Roux’s new owners staying so positive about her training; bringing home a new dog can present some challenges but it sounds like her family is doing a great job of helping her adjust. We’re certainly happy that Roux found such a fantastic and loving new home!

Berkeley Humane is very proud of the dogs and cats who we've been able to help and especially happy that we are able to make so many families a little bit merrier. We wouldn't be able to accomplish so much without our volunteers though! If you would like to help, visit our website to see how you can volunteer; there are so many different ways to get involved, call or email us today!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Going Home: Sir Kenzie

Happy Feline Friday the thirteenth today! 

How is your luck holding up?

It's great for Sir Kenzie. He not only got adopted by two stellar humans, but he got himself a  feline friend - albeit one that he has to win over. Still, for two unrelated tomcats to get along peacefully, that's a great start.

Here is what Sir Kenzie's adopters have to say:

"Here's our new boy Sir Kenzie (attached picture below).  He's Precious.  We loved him from the very beginning.  Took about 4 - 5 days to finally be comfortable leaving him to roam our home with Tommy...his 6 year old Tabby brother.  Tommy is the resistant one.  Kenzie wants to play and love Tommy.  It will happen.  Both are good boys.

THANK YOU sooooooooooooo much for our new little guy.  You all were so great with me and my son, Rob.  We are very happy.

Sharon and Rob Murphy...."

Here we see Sir Kenzie surveying his kingdom.
Look at that noble cat. He really does deserve the name Sir, doesn't he? And it's no wonder that a cat that lovely and charming landed on his feet in a loving household. 

Do you want to bring good luck to a cat? Come to our adoption center and see if any of our fantastic felines can become a fit friend for you.  We're open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 11 to 5. Also don't forget to take a look at our website, to get a sneak peek at the cats. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Helpful Hints to Understanding Dog Body Language

Welcome, friends, to another wonderful Woof Wednesday!  As most of our readers know, Berkeley Humane does an amazing job of finding homes for dogs and cats in need. But that’s not all that goes on, we also offer some fantastic training and classes led by our very own Behavior and Training Manager, Nancy Frensley. Nancy also offers private dog training and evaluations for dogs and owners who benefit from one-on-one attention.

I was fortunate to attend an insightful Brown Bag Primer focused on dog body language last Wednesday, where Nancy shared many tips to help attendees better approach and interact with dogs. With help from a short video, Nancy discussed the “Zoom Room Guide to Dog Body Language,” making sure to explain the different behaviors each dog exhibited.

The first topic covered was Facial Expressions. Nancy first showed us examples of relaxed dogs and pointed out certain indicators to tell when a dog is at ease such as: open mouths, ears that are relaxed/ forward, relaxed eyes, and happy expressions. Next we looked at worried dogs. Dogs that are worried will have: closed mouths, ears that are pointed backwards or sideways, wrinkles around the eyes or forehead, and often will be shrinking back from whatever it is that is scaring or worrying them.

Next, Nancy explained Stress Signals, which are behaviors dogs exhibit when they are stressed by a situation. These are also called Calming Signals, because they are used by dogs to diffuse aggression and calm interactions. Common stress signals to look out for are: a lifted paw, repeated yawing (when not tired), the “Half Moon” (wide or scared) eye, and nose licking. According to Nancy, you should look out for these signals any time your dog is encountering a new situation or meeting new dogs/ people. If you notice your dog displaying stress or calming signals, remove them from the situation or distract them until they calm down.

We then moved on to Body Language, and how to determine if a dog if relaxed, nervous, or alert. Dogs that are relaxed will have: a low, wagging tail; a friendly expression that looks alert and interested, and all four paws on the ground. Dogs that are nervous, however; will be slouching or slinking, with their tails tucked and a wary expression. They will have stiff legs and often will try to hide from what is making them nervous. As Nancy mentioned, nervous dogs are much more likely to bite so it is important to be wary of these body language displays. She then discussed the body language of alert or aroused dogs (rather than nervous). These dogs will have: closed mouths, ears forward or pricked, a forward stance, and an upright tail that may wag slowly.

Lastly, we looked at danger signs to look out for in dogs. These signs include: teeth showing, lips curled back, ears back, the “half-moon” eye, and growling and snarling. It is very important to be aware of these behaviors because dogs exhibiting them will often bite.
Throughout the discussion, Nancy gave helpful hints on how to approach dogs in each situation. For example, if a dog is very nervous or scared you can throw a treat behind them to distract them and divert their attention.

If you found these tips helpful and would like even more be sure to check out the Dog Training page of our website, There you can find information on our many behavior classes or private training available with Nancy, as well as great at-home resources and you’ll have access to our behavior advice hotline!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Going Home: Atticus and Clover

Happy Feline Friday, everyone!

On this bright and sunny day, we have another Going Home story for you. This time, it involves not one, but two kittens: Atticus and Clover. Today's post says a few things about introducing cats to new territory, as well as to other cats. Both of those situations can make cats a little tense, and combining them may add to that. Still, as we can read, cats are also able to adjust and get used to those things that cause them tension, and learn how to accept new places and other cats. 

Here is what Atticus and Clover's new family says: 

"We are all doing well.  Unfortunately, Atticus & Clover met a little too soon and they are not quite at ease with each other.  There's been some hissing and a little growling but no claws or teeth.  They each have there own room as a home base but Esther & I are letting them out at the same time for longer periods each day in the hopes they can at least come to a mutual disinterest.  Today they have both been out for quite a while and have just ignored each other.  So, progress!

Thanks for checking up and thanks to all the staff and volunteers for all their help.

We'll keep in touch"

Have you struggled with helping your newly adopted pet adjust to it's new environment, fellow pets or other things? We have a behavior help line you're always welcome to call. Our adoption counselors, too, will happily help you with questions or requests for advice. 

Part of what makes an adoption a real success story, is commitment of both adopter and the adoption center to make the animal a real part of it's new family. That means that we take our role in helping you and your pet very seriously. We're always here to help you when you need some reassurance, some quick tips or more in depth advice. It's why we offer post-adoption medical services as well as positive reinforcement training classes

In the mean time, we always want to hear from you how things are going. If you have adopted an animal from us, and want to give us an update, please email your adoption counselor with your happy tale (and maybe send them some pictures). If you let us, we'll then put you and your pet in the spotlight here on the blog.