Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Volunteer Appreciation: Judy Cohen

Superstar volunteer Judy Cohen combines her dedication to animals and decades of administrative experience to support Berkeley Humane's financial and HR office.

Judy retired in 2014 after a long career working for the Peralta Colleges. She began as the financial aid administrator for the old Vista college, spent 22 years as the Financial Aid Supervisor at Laney, and then closed her career in the District Office as Director of Financial Aid for all four colleges.

After such a busy and stimulating work life, Judy knew that she wanted to keep active in retirement. In addition to enjoying the outdoors, swimming and hiking, Judy also makes volunteering a regular part of her life. She says:
I decided long before retirement that I wanted to volunteer. Knowing how much I love all animals, it was my daughter who suggested Berkeley Humane. I've lived in the Bay Area for over 40 years; familiar with the work of Berkeley Humane, I thought it a great way to help as well as keep myself active and thinking. I attended the orientation and volunteered to be in the administrative offices. I thought so many volunteers would rather work within the shelter, but with my background I could really help the most in the office.

Judy ended up volunteering in Berkeley Humane’s finance department, using her decades of experience to file, enter data, and wrangle numbers like a pro.

Berkeley Humane is so grateful for Judy’s expert support and cheerful presence. Roxy Rogalski, Berkeley Humane’s Accounting and HR Manager, had this to say about Judy’s work in the financial office:
Our finance department consists of two employees and Judy! Judy does everything from creating our annual files, boxing everything up, matching reports, inventory… you name it, and Judy does it. She always has a smile on her face, a wonderful sense of humor, and is always willing to step in and go above and beyond.

“I love working for Roxy and Ellen [Monroe, Director of Finance and Human Resources],” Judy continues.“And best of all, I get to visit with Ellen's awesome dog, Sami and treat her with carrots.” 

In addition to her regular hours in the financial office, Judy also volunteers at Berkeley Humane special events. One of her favorite experiences has been the Grumpy Cat event in January 2015, when the mobile adoption unit was revealed. “So many pets and children,” she recalls: “Grumpy [was] such a rock star.”

Image courtesy of the Furrtographer.

Grumpy Cat grudgingly receives the adoration of her loyal subjects. For more pictures of the event, visit our Facebook page.

Photo credit: JennyDee Photography
The Mobile Adoption Center (MAC) is a custom-built 26' RV that allows Berkeley Humane to extend its life-saving mission beyond its brick-and-mortar location. 

Judy herself is a devoted cat lover. She looks after three cats: Winnie, a Norwegian Forest cat; Fina, a Maine Coon mix; and Mister, a one-eyed feral male whose friendship Judy has been cultivating for almost eight years. 

At last, Judy says, 

“Mister has accepted as his ‘human.’ He lost sight in his eye about seven years ago after what appeared to be a fight with a raccoon. I fed him antibiotics folded in cream cheese and he recovered. Now we are good friends, but the other females are wary of him. I can pet his head and he even comes into the kitchen in the morning to say hello. He thinks the yard is his private castle.”

Fina and Mister (black cat). In a rare
congenial moment, Fina
and Mister actually share a lounge chair. 

Judy and her 17-year-old Winnie, her "true love."

Judy: "Winnie... my Norweegie!"
If Judy wasn't busy enough, she also volunteers at the Albany Senior Center, because "adults need support too!" She is the treasurer of their fundraising unit, the Friends of Albany Seniors, and a member of the "Friends" board. She is also considering taking on yet another volunteer role, perhaps with veterans.

Beyond her volunteer work, Judy says: "I am married to a super man, now together for thirty years, and feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful area and close to my lovely talented newly married daughter and the best son-in-law on the planet. I walk their dogs."

In closing, Judy had this wise advice for those interested in volunteering: “Wherever you volunteer, make sure it is from your heart.”

Thank you Judy, for all of the work that you do at Berkeley Humane and in your community!

If you're feeling inspired by Judy's story, there are plenty of ways for you to get involved. Says Jenn Suzuki, Berkeley Humane's volunteer coordinator:
Passionate and committed volunteers are vital to our success, and are integrated into every area of our operation. Whether it’s walking dogs, cuddling cats, working with data, or chairing an event committee, there are countless ways for volunteers to get involved. 
Have a special skill? Lots of love for cats and dogs, and an eagerness to do what you can? Learn more at berkeleyhumane.org/get-involved.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Woof Wednesday: Let's Just Walk!

Trying to walk a dog with poor leash manners can be quite a stressful experience. If you’re having trouble walking your dog, never fear! Berkeley Humane is holding a “Lets Just Walk” class starting on March 19 that offers a series of exercises which (with practice) will increase your dog’s ability to focus during walks. The ultimate goal is to reach relaxed leash walking with your dog, build team work and ensure that walking your dog in public is an enjoyable, stress free experience for everyone involved!

Walking on leash can ultimately be a very frustrating experience for dogs - they can feel uncomfortable, limited, or vulnerable if not guided and trained. When properly taught leash manners, dogs can get a lot of great mental and physical stimulation from a nice leashed walk!

Nancy Frensley, behavior and training manager at Berkeley Humane, explains that a good measure of walking manners is being able to recall your dog to your side when passing another person or dog, and have your dog stay walking right alongside you until passing is clear. As a rule of thumb, this is a good courtesy to extend to others - even though your dog may be very friendly, most dogs are not comfortable with other dogs rushing right up to their face, and some people may be afraid of dogs!

According to Nancy, a common mistake most people make is to not ask anything of their dog while on leash. She explains, “Without cues or a ‘job,’ dogs tend be free to do…well, what dogs do! They bark, chase squirrels, react to other dogs and sounds.”

Rather than teach dogs to robotically watch you and not enjoy the walking experience, Nancy emphasizes allowing dogs to sniff and explore in a relaxed manner on the other end of the leash, but guiding them to understand your requirements (such as heeling and walking beside you when called). A key to this is to be alert and aware your environment and recall your pup with positive cues before they get a chance to be aroused and riled up. 

In “Lets Just Walk,” dogs (and their humans) will learn positioning and heeling in all directions, which are both some key tools in working towards off leash etiquette.

“Good walking takes lots of energy and effort. An ideal walk is one where your dogs body is balanced over all four feet,” said Nancy, “This walking class will give people a very solid start and foundation to continue building on.”

You can register for the class as well as browse others at the Berkeley Humane dog training schedule page.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Going Home: Lola

Welcome to Woof Wednesday! This week we bring you an update on Lola (formerly Cordy), who was scooped up by Lauren and Nick towards the end of 2015.  

Although she quickly bonded with new squeaky toys, Lola was a bit too nervous to venture outside during her first weekend. Thanks to some patience and gentle coaxing, she has now adjusted nicely!

“We've been able to take her for an hour long walk in the morning and evening, usually with a stop at the dog park so she can run off some of her lingering puppy energy. We've been keeping a close eye on her interactions, but so far she seems to get along well with any dog willing to run REALLY REALLY FAST and tussle. We've ecstatic with her progress-we even got her to jump in the water for a bit on a long walk on the Bay Trail.”

"We think Lola is happy with her new life as well "

Thanks to Lauren and Nick for your awesome update! We hope you and Lola continue to have more great adventures together!

If you’re interested in adopting a dog, check out our available dogs here. Adoption hours are Friday through Sunday, 11am to 5pm. 

Thinking ahead to Valentine's Day? #SkipTheRoses and give your loved ones the gift of helping adoptable cats and dogs! Check it out here and donate to see your name on our Honor Wall!

Monday, February 1, 2016

#SkipTheRoses this Valentine's Day to help adoptable animals!

Our shelter animals don’t need flowers. The best Valentine's gift is a new home. Help us care for adoptable animals so they can steal their new owner's heart!

#‎SkipTheRoses‬ this Valentine's Day and send your loved one an e-card notification that a puppy/kitten has been saved in their honor. Then tell your friends on social media that you saved lives with the #SkiptheRoses tag!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Going Home: Raisin

TGIFF: it's Feline Friday!

To start the weekend off right, we have a short and sweet Going Home announcement for a short and sweet little kitty named Raisin.

Raisin was just a few months old when she found her snuggly new home with Amanda B. 

Amanda sent us this update via our Facebook page:

"Hi! I adopted Raisin a couple of weeks ago. Just wanted to let you know she is such a love. Thank you so much!!!"

Thank you, Amanda, for giving this itty bitty kitty her new home sweet home!

Want to welcome a new feline into the family? Berkeley Humane's Adoption Center is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays 11 AM – 5 PM. Come on by and see if your new kitty is waiting for you!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Going Home: Dahlia

Happy Woof Wednesday, everyone! Today we are back with a special story about Dahlia, who was formerly named Diamond. Not only did she become a precious part of her family, but she also helps her foster brother get used to life with a loving family.

Dahlia is the perfect role model for her foster brother. She is a quick learner, obedient, and makes sure to take care of her foster brother. Let us see what her family, Catherine, says:

"Hello, I adopted Diamond about six months ago from you and wanted to update you! She's huge now! And her ears popped up lol. We are fostering through OAS and PALS and she adores her foster brother. His name is Dancer and we changed Diamond's name to Dahlia. She is definitely a mellow dog and very very smart. She can get hyper but once I break out the treats she falls right into her obedience training. She loves walks and hikes, but has yet to understand the Heel command. She even loves taking baths lol! She was a devil child in the beginning when it came to biting, but since we got her foster brother she rarely bites anymore, except him. They wrestle and play constantly!”

What a cute and understanding dog! In the picture above, we can see Dahlia and Dancer proudly facing the camera.

In the right picture, we see these two happily playing with each other.

We thank YOU Catherine, not only for adopting, but also for taking part in a foster program. The dogs have received tons of love from your family. By participating in the program, we know that Dancer will have a higher chance of getting adopted in the future.

Even if one is unable to adopt, fostering is always another choice. Fostering helps the dogs learn how to live with a family, and helps them get comfortable in that environment.

If you are interested in our foster program in any way, please check out our link here!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Going Home: Henry

Ready to put a little woof in your Wednesday?

Today we'd like to share the adoption story of Henry, formerly named Giles. The pictures his adopters shared with us show a smiling, happy dog who was excited to be with them from the first car ride home!

Henry on his way to his new home
Henry's adopters, Jose and Berenice, had this to say about welcoming Henry into their home:

Giles new name is Henry after Henry Ford. My boyfriend is a huge fan of Mustangs that he decided to change Giles name to Henry. He responds to Henry very well. Henry has adapted to his new home since the first day. He has hes section of our pack yard where he goes potty. He enjoys his walks in the mornings and at night. Henry has learned to do a hand shake and he behaves very well with my 2yr old niece and 8yr old nephew and is very gentle with her.

Thanks for checking on Henry!

Jazlyn and Henry

Our 1st selfie with Henry


We're so pleased to learn how happily Henry has fit into your lives, Jose and Berenice. Thank you for the update! 

If you're looking to add some woof to your home, take a look at our adoptable animals.  To make sure your dog is as gentle with children as Henry, keep an eye on our dog training classes, where we occasionally run a "dogs and children" class.